Japanese Novel Review:5分で読書: きのう失恋した Yesterday’s Heartbreak in 5 Minutes by The カドカワ読書タイム Team

I found this book for free on yomeruba.com. I saw from a post on reddit that this website has been doing campaigns where they have a monthly selection of novels that can be read for free. I decided to read this novel to see if it would be a good choice for beginner students. This is my first time reading a Japanese novel online. I really prefer paper based novels as I love everything related to trees in general. But I really wanted to seek out more beginner reading materials and I am interested in find free materials online to help me with my budget. There are some more expensive hardcover books that I am interested in, but my current budget would only allow me one paperback book per week.

Ive heard of this book series before, but basically it is a collection of short stories with the same theme.  Each story is broken up into sections that would take a Junior High School level Japanese student around a few minutes to read. I think that this format would work well for language learners as well! It is nice that it basically tells the reader a good place to stop. While the description might make it seem like its the same thing as chapters in a normal novel, the timing of these breaks is more consistent.

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積ん読 Tsundoku – My reading line up

I was inspired to write this blog by Peregrinja’s post over on her blog, The Blog of a Reiwan Lady, on her own habit of collecting novels but in Japan and back home.

I am sure that for most people reading this blog, Tsundoku(積読) is a word that you have seen before.  Its basically the habit of collection books but not actuality reading them. The word implies that the book collector had originally planned on, or still does plan on reading the vast amount of books that they have managed to collect.

When I was younger, I was an avid reader in my native language and would read non-stop no matter where I was. My parents really supported my hobby and got my as many books as I wanted. While I had an extremely large collection of books, they were all books that I had read cover to cover and I never really got into the habit of letting books sit around unread. That changed when I moved to Japan. I started feeling guilty about reading books in my native language when I felt that I should have been using that time to focus on my Japanese. This lead to me putting a pause on reading for pleasure for quite a long time.

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Japanese Novel Review: 愛はなんだ What is Love by Mitsuyo Kakuta(角田 光代)

 

So I randomly saw the movie based off of Mitsuyo Kakuta(角田 光代)’s What is Love (愛はなんだ) and fell in love with the atmosphere of the movie.  I have never took an interest in directors before and usually know nothing about them, but for the first time I can say that I am a fan of director and his name is Imaizumi Rikiya(今泉力哉)!

I started watching other movies he has created and found them equally as enjoyable. 

I didn’t even realize that What is Love was based off a book until I saw Inhae’s review on it over on her blog, Inside that Japanese Book. I looked more into the author Mitsuyo Kakuta(角田 光代) and she seemed really interesting and has written some award winning stuff so I decided to buy the novel at Kinokuniya’s USA online store for $8.99.

Story review:

Romantic Horror seems to be the best way to describe this type of story.

This is the story of Teruko Yamada and her process of slowly destroying her life over her obsession with Mamoru Tanaka.  Since the day she met him at a friends party, she started to lose touch with everything else.  Anything unrelated to Mamoru was put in the ‘I don’t care pile’ and left to rot away.  Her work performance started to suffer.  The coworkers that she used to get along with grew distant as she stopped answering phone calls and started coming into work late.  But that was okay with Teruko!  She and Mamoru were doing great from her point of view.  They weren’t official, but they were hanging out, having fun, and she knew things were going somewhere.  He even suggested that she quit her job so that means he was thinking about marriage, right?  She started to live the house wife life and take care of all of Mamoru’s needs. Until he started to feel overwhelmed with Teruko and started to pull away. 

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August and September Goals

 

In this post I want to reflect on the goals I created last month and make new goals for how I would like to move forward in September. Here is what I had planned for August.

I did not read either of the two books that I picked out for myself.  I guess that style does not work for me and I need to be able to pick each book based on my mood the day I start reading it. I think I may have to officially give up on reading Weathering with You(天気の子).  I saw this movie in theaters and really enjoyed it, but I am just not into the idea of reading another novelization of an anime. I think I am just going to give it to a Japanese Professor I know so that she can re-home it.  Having books around that I do not enjoy is kind of bothering me so hopefully I will be able to do something about it soon.

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Japanese Novel Review: 時をかける少女 The Girl Who Leapt Through Time by Yasutaka Tsutsui(筒井 康隆)

This review is for the Japanese novel The Girl Who Leapt Through Time(時をかける少女) by Yasutaka Tsutsui(筒井 康隆). I have had this book for so long that I have forgotten when and where I even got it! I used to carry it around with me often so the book itself is very well loved and the book cover is long gone. If I had to guess, I am sure that I bought it at a used book store in Japan for 100 yen.

Why did I pick this book?

When I was first learning Japanese, I thought that if I picked one actress to learn from and copy, that maybe my Japanese accent would be overall more consistent and easy to listen to. I am not sure if it actually worked or not, but the actress I ended up picking was Naka Risa(仲里依紗) as I really enjoyed her speaking style and the types of roles that she tended to play in films.

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Japanese Novel Review: コンビニ人間 Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata(村田沙耶香)

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

This review is for the novel Convenience Store Woman(コンビニ人間) by Sayaka Murata(村田沙耶香). This novel has won the Akutagawa Prize, which is one of the most famous literary prizes in Japan. It was such a hit in Japan, that is was translated into English as well. This is a review for the Japanese version of the novel.

I bought this book at Kinokuniya at Chicago for 9.99. It took me a few tries before I was able to purchase this book. I had a hard time paying so much for such a short book! I was finally able to do and am glad that I did. I am happily awaiting the day I am able to move back to Japan and spend all of my time in used book stores and libraries. I hope that day is coming sooner then later! But who knows with COVID.

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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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