Category Archives: culture

Japanese literature review: “コンビニ人間” (Convenience Store Woman [Konbini Ningen]) by 村田沙耶香 (Sayaka Murata)

When I discovered the book “Convenience Store Woman” (Japanese title “コンビニ人間”) by Sayaka Murata had won the 155th Akutagawa prize (arguably the biggest prize for Japanese literature), I decided to check it out myself. I purposefully stayed away from reviews or information about the book, and all I really knew was the book was about a woman who… Read More »

Japanese literature translation sample: “コンビニ人間” (Convenience Store Woman [Konbini Ningen]) by 村田沙耶香 (Sayaka Murata)

On the blog Shosetsu Ninja, Yeti reviews Japanese books, and he has recently also started putting up a few translations of samples of books and other things. Last year, after discovering the book “そして、星の輝く夜がくる” on my blog (which I did a short translation of here), he read it and posted his own review here. (Update: This… Read More »

Japanese literature magazine review: 小説幻冬 (Shousetsu Gento) 

These days rather than reading Japanese novels, each which can still take me quite a long time to finish, I’ve been reading a literary magazine called 小説幻冬 (“Shousetsu Gento”, where “shousetsu” means ‘novel’ or ‘short story’) published by 幻冬社 (Gentosha). [Gotta love the name “幻冬”, which is made up for the characters for “mysterious” and… Read More »

Japanese Site Review: カクヨム (kakuyomu) – a great place for free novels and short stories

Sometime last year I wrote a review of the site “syosetu.com” (小説家になろう) which is a nice place to get your fill of free (and legal) Japanese novels and short stories. Since then, I have been a pretty heavy user of the site, reading portions of a great many stories, and writing emails to handful of authors to get… Read More »

A discussion about the origin of Japan’s name (日本, nihon / nippon)

It’s amazing how you can study a foreign language for so long, yet somehow overlook what seem like basic things. The other day I was reading a book about Japan written for elementary school children which talked about Japan’s history and culture. On one of the first few pages, it said that the Japanese call their country… Read More »

Japanese Study Resource List

Dictionary Goo: My favorite Japanese dictionary. http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp/ Japanese Stack Exchange: A great place to have difficult Japanese questions answered, especially grammar related. http://japanese.stackexchange.com Reddit Learn Japanese: A good place to ask questions about Japanese and learn about resources. https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnJapanese/ Oshiete Goo: Knowledge sharing site (Japanese only). Great place to see polite, intellectual Japanese. http://oshiete.goo.ne.jp Reajer: bilingual readers… Read More »

How does Godzilla unpeel a banana in Japan?

Language and Culture are inextricably connected, and to master a language of any country surely requires a strong grasp of its traditions, manners, beliefs, and other aspects of culture. Getting a proper fill of culture is one of the most difficult things about studying a foreign language self-taught when not in a country where that… Read More »

Event Review: Mochitsuki 2017: 21st Annual Japanese American New Year Celebration (もちつき)

Around May last year, my family and I moved to Portland, Oregon from South Florida. One of the reasons was it’s active Japanese culture, and I recently attended an event which truly personified this culture:  Mochitsuki 2017, held in Downtown Portland today (Jan 29). Mochitsuki (餅つき or もちつき) is a tradition in Japan which involves pounding glutinous rice to… Read More »

Japanese children’s book review: 「にほんのマナー えほん” (Japanese Manners Illustrated Book)

Studying Japanese using Japanese books written for children is always something I suggest to leaners who are in the beginner or intermediate levels. As long as you pick a book that isn’t too difficult (you can start with baby books to be safe) you will some good reading practice, and also the satisfaction of actually reading a… Read More »

Japanese book translation excerpt: “Turn your kids into billionaires by teaching them to code” by Kohji Matsubayashi

So far, the translations that I have posted on this blog have mostly focused on portions of books, short stories, or online novels. But when I came across the book “Turn your kids into billionaires by teaching them to code” (子供を億万長者にしたければ、プログラミングの基礎を教えなさい) by Kohji Matsubayashi(松林弘治), I decided I wanted to translate at least a small portion of this… Read More »