Category Archives: Reviews

Japanese Literature Review: 「猫を抱いて象と泳ぐ」 (Swim With an Elephant, Embracing a Cat) by 小川洋子 (Yoko Ogawa): A nostalgic ode to chess

Yoko Ogawa (小川洋子) is an award-winning Japanese author who has written over 30 works, with at least eight of them translated into English so far. She is perhaps most known for her novel “The Housekeeper and the Professor” (博士の愛した数式) which was also made into a movie. I read Ogawa’s book “Little Bird” (ことり) last year… Read More »

Japanese Site Review: audiobook.jp (Japanese audiobooks)

While I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving print books (including E-books), Japanese audiobooks have some significant advantages. For a non-native speaker, I get extra information on the nuances of the text, especially for dialogue when there is a good voice actor. I don’t have to look up unfamiliar or forgotten Kanji characters, and I… Read More »

Learn Japanese with a famous Youtuber: Hikakin (ヒカキン)

Compared to learning a foreign language in an environment where that language is spoken daily, learning away from such an environment has several disadvantages. In fact, that was one of the original themes of this blog. (I’m mostly talking from experience about Japanese here, but I believe this applies to other languages) Besides cultural things… Read More »

Introducing Mr. Mizuhiro Kaimai (開米瑞浩), diagram wizard

The other day I had the luck of finding out about Mr. Mizuhiro Kaimai (開米瑞浩) when he left a comment on one of my blog posts and introduced me to a section of his blog where he talks about “Japanese Grammar in Logic Diagramming”. In this series of articles, Mr. Kaimai discusses several aspects of Japanese… Read More »

Japanese short story highlight: Yoko Ogawa’s “Hexagonal Room” (6角形の小部屋)

Since reading (and reviewing) Yoko Ogawa (小川洋子)’s novel “Little Bird” (小鳥), I’ve been interested in exploring more of what this unique author has to offer. Just today I came across an audio narration of one of her short stories called  “Hexagonal Room” (6角形の小部屋)here on Youtube, apparently from a radio talkshow. (Make sure you start listening… Read More »

Japanese literature reading mobile app review: “Sukima Dokusho” (すきま読書)

Those interested in Japanese novels and short stories have a variety of free options available: sites like Aozora Bunko (青空文庫) which contain older titles and “Shousetsu wo yomou” (小説を読もう) which cater to newer ones. While it’s relatively simply to just pull up stories from such sites on your desktop machine, I think many readers out… Read More »

Japanese Novel Review: “Boy of Civilization” (文明の子) by Hikari Ota (太田 光)

I’ll be the first to admit that the novel “Boy of Civilization” was a hyoushigai (表紙買い) for me, which basically means I bought it after being attracted by the cover. Not only was it beautiful on its own, but it also reminded me of the cover of “Lagos on a Journey” (旅のラゴス) by Yasutaka Tsutsui.… Read More »