Archive for the ‘Reading’ Category

Approaching Murakami: ノルウェイの森「Norwegian Wood」

Monday, April 9th, 2012

Still from the movie, "Norwegian Wood"

“I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me.” – The Beatles, “Norwegian Wood”

Thanks to my work schedule, today is my Monday, so to me, it’s Murakami Monday (this won’t last long, will it?)! Here’s something a little more modern for all you readers out there — Haruki Murakami’s 1987 novel, Norwegian Wood. I am not well-versed in the weirdness of Murakami’s novels. In fact, I started with 1Q84, which is probably not the best book to start with when you’re jumping into this pool. Norwegian Wood, from what I understand (seeing as I have not read the entirety of this author’s works yet), is probably a safe bet when you’re going to introduce someone to Murakami’s books. It has its own quirks, yes, but the level of said quirks is nowhere near as high as the others. This book, titled after a Beatles’ song of the same name, is seen as a coming-of-age story that deals with love and loss.

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How to Read Battle Royale Even When You’re Squeamish

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

As you can see from the photo above, one of my most recent purchases was Koushun Takami’s (高見 広春) Battle Royale complete collection. Okay, so before any crazy ideas start bubbling up, this is NOT going to be a comparison of Hunger Games vs. Battle Royale. There are plenty of other resources and articles for that, especially since it’s getting out of hand. Let us gather together and see these two amazing series (which is, yes! An opinion!) for what they are. Yes, BR may have come first, but so did Theseus and the story of the Minotaur. Please fasten your seatbelts and acknowledge that many things these days are no longer “original”. All good? Crazy fans and hipsters at bay? Good. Let’s proceed.

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日本昔話: Folktales, Fables, and Folly

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

The cover of Japanese Children's Favorite Stories

When I think about my childhood, I tend to think about the stories my mother used to read me. I had the most beat-up copies of Mother Goose and my favorite part was watching the dish run away with the spoon. Japanese folklore, however, possesses a magic all its own. It may not have tableware eloping with each other, but there are tales of teakettles turning into badgers and children being born from peaches. On top of having some of the most amazing tales, they’re also great for practicing basic Japanese comprehension. Continue reading and have a look at some of my favorite stories, some links for e-books in hiragana, and a fun 70’s cartoon with a super-long opening theme!

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Book Review: Kappa by Akutagawa Ryunosuke

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

I love Japanese literature. I’ve gone through the motions of taking all the Japanese literature classes in college, and while some professors were sub-par, there were some amazing instructors who helped me fall in love with it. The first novel that comes to mind is Akutagawa’s Kappa. It made me laugh out loud. It made me ponder. It even stimulated a surprisingly insightful conversation with my usually quiet father. The overarching message of a ruined society is cleverly disguised in satire, and the radical and seemingly far-fetched “Kappaland” masks it in gaiety and absurdity.

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Things To Look Out For In Manga

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Yesterday evening, I got myself started in something called 多読 (たどく), or tadoku. Tadoku is a program created by @lordsilent and heavily advocated by my good friend Lan’dorien. The idea is to read as often as you can for a month. You can register with TadokuBot to have your scores monitored and compare yourself to other Japanese learners. Not to mention, it’s a great way to network.

Because of this, I recently got into the Bleach manga in raw Japanese. While I’ve already read the first chapter of the first volume, I continue to go back and reread what I did before to make sure I remembered the vocabulary. Here’s the catch though – reading manga is nothing like reading something like the news or a twitter feed.

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