Posts Tagged ‘reading’

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.


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!


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.


単語 Tuesdays: Hair

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

First of all, before I hop into the post, I want to explain what 単語 Tuesdays are. If you don’t know the word, 単語 means “vocabulary.” Every other Tuesday will come a vocab lesson based on a theme. In today’s case, it’s hair!

Hair comes in all shapes and varieties. You can have long hair, short hair, straight hair, afro hair, blonde hair, fluorescent orange hair… you name it, someone’s got it. There are things you can do to your hair also: cut it, dye it, wash it, set it on fire… (I don’t recommend that last one.) Japanese has quite the vocabulary for hair, so let’s take a look!


Five Awesome Japanese Learning Video Games

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

One of the best ways to learn Japanese is through video games since they’re highly interactive and memorable in most cases. There are a few games out there to help children learn and Japan is no exception – especially in the writing department. There are even games for adults to practice writing (due to writing becoming a scarce act). Let’s check out a my top five games, shall we? (Note – most of these are on the Nintendo DS and Nintendo Wii systems.)

How to Pick Up Vocab Like a Ninja

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

It’s easy to learn the grammar of a new language and use it like a formula. You can write sentences with some words you know. And hey, you can even impress some of your friends by telling them 私の名前はxです (My name is x). But does this really do you any good, if you hardly know any words?

In my experience, picking up vocabulary seems like the most difficult thing about learning a language. Some textbooks present to you vocabulary terms that you would use in specific situations (like ごちそうさまでした, “it was a feast”), which are mainly social words. But vocab you would use on a regular basis (like 電車, train、車, car、バス, bus、みかん, melon、動物, animal、etc) are not introduced for quite a while depending on the book. Sometimes the vocabulary are rarely used. So how do you add more words to your language arsenal? Read on.

How I Study Japanese

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

There are many different ways to study a language, but there is certainly not one right way to do it. Well, actually, there is – the one that you enjoy doing, and one that helps you learn (and retain what you learned). That said, a lot of people have been wondering how I go about studying Japanese, so I’m going to share my method with you today in the hopes that it can help somebody out.

Truthfully, I didn’t always have a certain way of learning Japanese. I often bounced around, trying various websites and books out, but I had no direction nor was I really getting anywhere. For an entire year I knew only romaji, then I learned hiragana and katakana (miserably), and then the year after that (three years in) I had memorized by heart the JLPT 4 (before it was upgraded to the N series) kanji, thanks to the Learn To Write Kanji and Kana 1 work book. I knew a little bit about grammar (like the は、が、を、に、で particles), had a small base of vocab (I could say things like 私はラーメンを食べます), but other than that my Japanese was rather pathetic for such a long time span spent studying. That was when I decided I wanted to change things.

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.


Books You Must Have For Studying Kanji and Kana

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Over several years I have accumulated almost a library of books in the study of the Japanese language. Some of them were quick one-time reads, others were garbage, and the rest (a large portion) I read on a near-regular basis. A majority of these books are extraordinarily helpful for English speakers learning the Japanese language because they explain things in deep detail in a way you would rarely find on the internet or in a classroom.

A majority of my books are Kanji dictionaries while others actually teach things such as radicals and distinguishing between look-alike characters. I could easily say that without these books I wouldn’t have learned anywhere near as much as I have, and I feel that they will help somebody. I have linked to Amazon (some are on, which you have to separately register for) if you’re interested in purchasing (I’m not selling these books so profits go to either Amazon or a direct seller).