Category Archives: Reviews

Japanese Drama Review: “義母と娘のブルース” (Stepmother and Daughter Blues)

In my early years studying Japanese I watched a huge number of Japanese dramas, and while this really helped improved my listening and vocabulary skills, it also made me accustomed––or should I say overly sensitive––to the common tropes of this form of media. That, plus the fact I generally try to spend more time in… Read More »

Japanese book review: 一流の人が学ぶ 氣の力 (“Ki for Business Professionals”) by 藤平信一 (Shinichi Tohei)

Before I begin this book review I should give some background information about myself. I’ve been practicing Ki-Aikido (more formally known as 心身統一合氣道, “Aikido of Mind and Body Coordination”) for around 2 years now. Besides practicing in a local dojo several times a week, I have trained once in a Japanese dojo, and also have begun reading… Read More »

Japanese novel review: さざなみのよる (sazanami no yoru) by 木皿泉 (Izumi Kizara)

Despite the fact I can get Japanese books quite easily while living in the U.S.––ebooks, online order of paper books, or even buying them in person at Kinokuniya in Beaverton––whenever I go to Japan I feel a need to buy at least one or two novels. There is some logic to this: first, because Japanese… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “The Power of Ki” (氣の威力)by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一)

It’s been around a year and a half since I’ve started training in a martial art informally called “Ki Aikido” that was created by Koichi Tohei (藤平光一). It is formally named “Shin Shin Toitsu Aikido”, and written in Japanese as 心身統一合氣道, which literally means “Aikido of Mind and Body Unification”. The casual term “Ki Aikido”… Read More »

Japanese Book Review: “ふしぎがわかるよ!” (A visual encyclopedia for children)

For learners of Japanese I often suggest children’s picture books because they are typically shorter, easier to understand, and have less kanji (if any) when compared to teen- or adult-oriented books. I’ve reviewed a few of them on this blog (this, this, and this). While you can learn much about Japanese language and culture from… Read More »

Hitori Saito (斎藤一人): entrepreneur, best-selling author, motivational speaker

In this post I’d like to discuss Hitori Saito(斎藤一人), a man who is somewhat famous in Japan these days. Hitori Saito is the entrepreneur behind Ginza Marukan (銀座まるかん), a successful cosmetics and health food business. He also has a large number of books (many available on Amazon Japan, what you could call 啓蒙書 or “enlightenment… Read More »

Pronunciation: one of the hardest parts about learning Japanese (and a review of a great resource to help with that –– OJAD)

The other day I came across a recently-started blog about learning Japanese that talked about how easy Japanese pronunciation was. This really frustrated me, but my search for a way to leave a friendly comment to the author ended in failure, so someday you may come across that post (and others like it). After over… Read More »

Japanese novel review: “火星に住むつもりかい?” by 伊坂幸太郎 (Koutaru Isaka)

On my last trip to Japan, I couldn’t help but pick up a copy of Koutaru Isaka’s novel ”火星に住むつもりかい?”, published by Kobunsha as hardcover in 2015, and then as a paperback in 2018. There were several factors that contributed to me choosing this novel. First, I really loved the cover image––an (apparently) CG-generated closeup of… Read More »