In Defense of Collecting Books

Illustration by Paisen Japanese https://www.instagram.com/paisenjapanese/

I tend to lean towards a minimalist mind set. I do not own many things and it really surprises people who come into my apartment when they notice all of the empty space and distinct lack of furniture and storage. When I moved to my current apartment, my heaviest box was filled with exclusively Japanese novels. As of right now I have a collection of 35 Japanese novels.

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Japanese Novel Review: 神去なあなあ日常 Wood Job by Miura Shion(三浦しをん)

Illustration by Paisen Japanese https://www.instagram.com/paisenjapanese/

This is one of my favorite Japanese novels!

The book I will be reviewing and accessing today is 神去なあなあ日常.  In this review, I will be referring to it in English as Wood Job, which is the name of the Japanese movie created based on this novel. It was written by the fairly popular Japanese author Shion Miura(三浦しをん).  I am a huge fan of this author and love how she is able to showcase so many different worlds in her novels. Her writing style does different between novels and some are harder then others.

I bought this book at Chicago’s Kinokuniya for 10.99.

Why did I pick this book?

I decided to get this book because I loved the movie Wood Job. Back when I lived in Japan, my partner and I would often go to a DVD rental store and pick out random movies to watch. I fell in love with Wood Job right from the start.

Recently, I’ve been interested in story lines about people living in Japanese cities, and their journey moving to the country side and getting used to a new life style. This is most likely because that is what I am planning to do in the near future! I am not sure why it took me so long to decide, but hopefully by next summer that is where I will be living.

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Buying Japanese Books in America: Chicago Kinokuniya

Just wanted to share with you guys where I buy my novels and what kind of selection that I have.

I currently live in the Midwest and to be honest there are not very many choices for buying books in person. Kinokuniya in Arlington Heights, IL seems to be the only option available to me at this time. Its somewhat far away and the round trip ends up being a few hours. But I feel fairly strongly about being able to read the first few pages of a book before committing to it. Writing style is really important to my enjoyment of reading a book. Reading a description of the plot or reading a book review isn’t enough for me to make a decision.

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Japanese Novel Review: 魔女の宅急便 Kiki’s Delivery Service

 

 

This is a great book for N3-N4 level students!

This is the review for 魔女の宅急便 Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono(角野 栄子)This is her most popular novel.  After watching the Ghibli film adaption of her novel, she was inspired to continue to story and has written 5 additional novels to expand on Kiki’s story.

Kiki’s Delivery Service is by far my favorite Ghibli movie, although recently I did see Whisper of the Heart for the first time and really enjoyed it. When I first moved to Japan, I really related to Kiki’s story. I felt like I didn’t really have any skills or any specific plan, but just basically set out on my own and moved to a random new sea side location. I was really excited to live so close to the ocean as the area I am from is extremely land-locked. When I saw the novel that the book was based off of in a store, I quickly brought it. I think this may have been one of the first books that I bought in Japanese.

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What are book covers and why are they so popular in Japan?

What are Japanese book covers?

For over a 100 years, people in Japan have been using book covers made from various materials to cover the front and back of their books. These book covers can be reusable, made of materials such a cotton, PVC, or leather. They can also be one time use as well, such those made with paper.

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Japanese Novel Review: 君の名は Your Name

 

Last year, I did not watch animated films often. I think that I didn’t have enough knowledge of anime to find movies that I would be interested in.

I remember when I first started hearing about the movie Your Name. I saw it mentioned a few times in the news about breaking records in ticket sales. I read articles that mentioned that people loved the movie so much that individuals were going to the movie theater multiple times to see it. Even then I didn’t really look into it. I just figured that it would be too new to be available in America. And the fact that anime fans saw it multiple times? My image of anime fans is that they watch their favorite series on repeat. So I didn’t really see the big deal about that either. But I was wrong, and now I am a repeat watcher of Your Name as well.

I started watching it with no prior knowledge of the story line. I really enjoyed the music and the scenery shown in the movie. I did not expect the plot twist at all and over all really enjoyed the movie! This movie inspired me to start looking into other animated films as well and I have found a few that I really enjoy.

I purchased Your Name at Kinokuniya in Chicago for 10.99. Kinokuniya also had copies of novels based off of other popular movies directed by Makoto Shinkai.

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What are Aoi Tori Bunko Books?

 

Aoi Tori Bunko(青い 鳥 文庫) is a book publication that is created for Japanese elementary school children. The books are created by the publishing company Kodansha(講談社).

There are fiction books made for the readers enjoyment as well as educational books that can be used as supplemental educational resources related to elementary school classes. In these books, all of the kanji will have furigana and the story will use simple grammar.

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What are Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko books?

Look for this on book covers if you want furigana

Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko (角川つばさ文庫) is the publisher’s version of popular books for younger readers. While this may not apply to 100% of the Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko, they tend to have the same text as the original Kadokawa Bunko publications. The main difference being that the text will include furigana.

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JLPT Textbook Review: 500 Practice Questions for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N2

Just a heads up, but I have not been able to take the JLPT exam yet. In this review I am sharing my studying experience and comparing it to other study resources available.

The Book
500 Practice Questions for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) Level N2: New Edition(新にほんご500問 N2) written by Noriko Matsumoto and Hitoko Sasaki. This book is part of the Nihongo Sou Matome JLPT textbook series. It is a popular series known for its ease of use. Each textbook is broken down into days to help the learner develop and maintain a good study pace. While it is easy to use, this book series is also known for being the easiest JLPT textbook series content wise as well. I am usually more concerned with getting a good amount of content and study time out of the books I invest in, so the main series that I use for JLPT is Shin Kanzen Master(新完全マスター). This is my first time using a book from the Nihongo Sou Matome series.

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Do you need a Denshi Jisho(electronic dictionary)?

Short answer is NOPE!

But if you are thinking about it and have some cash to spare it could be a value learning tool for you.

I was toying with the idea of purchasing one for a while but figured I could just make due without one. I started thinking about how many times I day I use free online Japanese dictionaries and how I wasn’t 100% happy with the experience…. so I decided to just go for it. Reading is my main hobby right now so if it’s something that I really want, I should just get it at this point. I don’t think my interest in Japanese novels is going to go anywhere any time soon.

My electronic dictionary requirements
– I wanted a Casio Ex-word
– I wanted one with these three dictionaries included
– 広辞苑
– 新和英大辞典 第五版
– NHK日本語発音アクセント辞典
– I wanted a writing pad below the keyboard
– I wanted an older model
– I wanted to spend under $150

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