Category Archives: Reviews

Japanese book review: 「書道」の教科書 (Calligraphy Textbook) by 横山豊蘭 (Houran Yokoyama)

A few weeks ago I began learning the art of Japanese calligraphy, which is called “shodou” (書道). I posted a lengthy article here on some of the things I discovered, and included some hints for those interested in learning shodou. Right around the time I finished that article, a book arrived that I had purchased,「書道」の教科書… Read More »

Japanese literature review: “The Legend of Fukiage: Book 1″ (吹上奇譚 第一話) by Banana Yoshimoto (吉本バナナ)

Banana Yoshimoto is one of the most well-known Japanese authors in the Western world, with over 10 novels translated into English. Because I generally try to read, review, and translate authors which are not yet very well known in the West, it might seem odd that I choose to read and review one of her… Read More »

Japanese Literature Review: “Twins Teleport Tale” (フーガはユーガ) by Kotaro Isaka (伊坂幸太郎)

After a few months focusing on a classical Japanese translation project without much time spent on reading modern Japanese, I was eager to get started on “Twins Teleport Tale” by Kotaro Isaka, which I had picked up in my local Kinokuniya store late last year on a sale. My reasons for purchasing this book were… Read More »

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 »

Japanese Novel review: “Nimrod” (ニムロッド) by Takahiro Ueda (上田 岳弘)

My reasons for purchasing Takahiro Ueda’s novel “Nimrod” are pretty typical: I liked the cover, liked the title, plus I liked the vague but significant-sounding marketing description on the obi (paper band used for marketing). Also, the book was relatively short, and (last but not least) the book was a winner of the Akutagawa prize,… Read More »

Japanese novel review: “Shoplifters” (万引き家族) by Hirokazu Kore-eda (是枝裕和)

I can’t think of too many Japanese movies that become popular enough in the U.S. to the extent that they come up in casual conversation. “Shoplifters”––written, directed, and edited by Hirokazu Kore-eda (是枝裕和)––is one exception. In fact, it has grossed over $2 million dollars in the U.S., making it one of the most popular foreign… Read More »