Japanese novel review: 「百の夜は跳ねて」(Across 100 Nights) by 古市憲寿 (Noritoshi Furuichi)

After struggling to find a good job after graduating college, Ryota hits upon the idea to become a high-rise window cleaner, a dangerous job with poor pay. One of the job’s perks is being able to spy into other people’s lives and see moments that would otherwise be unknown to the rest of the world,… Read More »

Japanese novel review: “The Woman in the Purple Skirt” (“むらさきのスカートの女”) by Natsuko Imamura (今村夏子)

The other day I stopped by the Kinokuniya bookstore in Beaverton, Oregon, and stood before the bookshelf of hardcover Japanese fiction as I tried to figure out what to read next. I ended up choosing “The Woman in the Purple Skirt” (むらさきのスカートの女) by “Natsuko Imamura” for two reasons: it had won the prestigious Akutagawa prize… Read More »

Interesting Japanese loanword “マウンティング” (mauntingu, a.k.a. “mounting”)

Anyone who studies Japanese for even a short time knows there is a huge number of loanwords, and there seems to be more being coined every day. While they come from a bunch of world languages, yappari many are from English. This is both a blessing and a curse. If the word sounds like its… Read More »

Japanese grammar: Introductory phrases with ~n da kedo (〜んだけど)

In the post I’d like to go over a common way of expressing an introductory idea in Japanese. We will begin with a basic form of this, んだけど (n da kedo) and then go over some variations. First, let’s look at a simple example: 僕、ずっと日本語を勉強してるんだけど、まだペラペラじゃない (boku, zutto nihongo wo benkyou shiteru n da kedo, mada… Read More »

Classical Japanese poetry translation: “The Forgotten Garden” (廃園) by Yoshinobu Morikawa (森川義信)

Despite the many prose translations I’ve done, I’ve never attempted to translate an entire poem from Japanese to English before. That’s partially because I generally don’t read poetry that often (in either Japanese or English), and hence am even less comfortable trying to translate it. Another reason is that generally I’m pretty picky about what… Read More »