Japanese Novel Review: 神去なあなあ夜話 Night Tales from Kamusari by Miura Shion (三浦しをん)

I purchased this novel at Chicago’s Kinokuniya after reading and falling in love with its prequel, The Easy Life in Kamusari(神去なあなあ).  This novel, 神Night Tales from Kamusari(去なあなあ夜話) is written just like the title sounds.  Its been a year since the main character as moved, and he writes a diary secretly at night going over different things that have happen to him since the end of his internship year.

Finishing this novel has really put Miura Shion towards the top of my favorite authors list.  I really enjoy her writing style and her ability to get into niche worlds in each of her novels.

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Japanese Novel Review: 生きる僕ら We are Alive by Maha Harada (原田マハ)

This is a book review for the novel We are Alive(生きる僕ら) by Harada Maha(原田マハ).  I purchased this novel from Amazon.jp for 759 yen as a part of a bulk order late last year. Harada Maha is a very popular author in Japan and out of all of the books that she has written, this book stood out to me the most. I am obsessed with stories of people moving to the country side so I knew immediately that I had to buy this book.

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Japanese Novel Review: 星の王子様 Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I decided to read this novel after reading 君の膵臓をたべたい(review can be found here) as this story seemed to play a large role in story line especially at the end when Haruki is reading over Sakura’s diary. I have been looking into find more light reading as I found found many of the novels I have purchased recently to be enjoyable but heavy.  I found 星の王子様 on Aozora Bunko as a free illustrated e-book. While this is my first time using Aozora, I have heard of it before as anything free tends to become popular in the language learning community.

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Japanese Novel Review: 君の膵臓をたべたい I want to eat your Pancreas by Sumino Yoru (住野よる)

I purchased this novel from Chicago’s Kinokuniya store location for 11.99. I now have a car again and am super happy that I am able to go to Kinokuniya more often.  I’m just more excited about books when I can pick them out in person and it makes me happy to randomly spot a book that has been on my mind for a while. I was on the look out for some light reading and decided to pick up some books by Sumino Yoru as it seems like his books are popular in the language learning community. I have heard of I want to eat your Pancreas(君の膵臓をたべたい) but I was surprised to find that this book was a runner up for the 2016 Booksellers Award. That really peaked my interested and helped me to make the purchase. I also picked up a copy of Sumino’s Blue, Painful and Brittle(青くて痛くて脆い). Sumino’s novels tend to turn into many other forms of media such as movies, anime, and manga which can make these novels great language learning tools.

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Japanese Novel Review: 妊娠カレンダー The Pregnancy Diary by Ogawa Youko (小川洋子)

In 1990, Ogawa won a biannual literary award called the Akutagawa Prize (芥川龍之介賞) for this novel. The Akutagawa Prize is considered one of Japanese’s most prestigious and sought after literary awards. When picking this novel, I was a little bit intimated due to its award winning status. Usually when I pick books based off of awards, I tend to stick to the Bookseller’s award as it seems more accessible. It is true to some extent and this book will be a vocabulary tester as words are used in surreal ways to describe normal situations.

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Japanese Novel Review: 天国はまだ遠く Heaven is Still Far Away by Seo Maiko (瀬尾 まいこ)

Recently Seo Maiko(瀬尾 まいこ)’s words have really made their way into my heart and she has become my favorite author. Heaven is Still Far Away(天国はまだ遠く) is the first novel’s of hers that I have read. I purchased it off of Kinokuniya’s USA online site for $9.99.

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How many Japanese novels do I read at one time?

Reading Multiple Books at a time

If your goal is just picking up a book and reading, then I think reading from random books based off of your mood will help to to reach that goal. But maybe try to think about what is tempting you to read multiple books at the same time.

What makes you want to take a break from a book?

Are you bored of the story?
Is the vocabulary too hard for you?
Too many cultural references that you are unfamiliar with?
Are you just not into the writing style?
Just looking to switch things up?
Do you have more fun reading this way?

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Japanese Novel Review: キッチン Kitchen by Yoshimoto Banana(吉本ばなな)

I had a hard time deciding whether to review this novel or not. Yoshimoto’s Kitchen is famous in both Japanese and English. It is often recommended for beginners and is the go to recommendation for those who are looking to get into the world of Japanese novels. I reread the book, took some notes, and really thought about whether or not I would be able to add anything of value to the discussion on this book. Then it hit me, while I love this novel, I do not think that this is a good book for beginners. I will get more into why I think so in my review below as well as offer some alternative suggestions for those looking for a good first book.

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Japanese Novel Review: 西の魔女が死んだ The Witch of the West is Dead by Kaho Nashiki(梨木香歩)

This is a review of the novel The Witch of the West is Dead(西の魔女が死んだ) by Kaho Nashiki(梨木香歩).  This is a young adult novel that really high lights that fact that juvenile fiction isn’t always easier then regular novels from the language learners perceptive.  I do not recommend that this be any language learners first book.

I bought this book while I was visiting my partner’s parents in Osaka at Book-Off.  I have seen the book a few times and the very easy to read title and cute cover stuck out to me.  It was only 100yen so I decided just to pick it up and opened it up for the first time this year. I was inspired to read this story due to the fact that a Japanese blogger I watch often mentioned it as being one of her favorite books.

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10 Tips for reading novels in Japanese(or any language)

Here are a few thoughts that I have about reading in general and some tips to make it easier for language learners to start reading or to find new books to read.  I think these ideas can apply to any language.  So if Japanese is not your target language, please just replace that word with your language of choice when reading this article.

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