Category Archives: Reviews

Gotta catch ’em all (in Japanese): Learning Pokemon cards in a foreign language

In my college days, I was really into the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering, although in the last decade or two I don’t think I’ve played a single game. One of the fun things about having children is the possibility of exposing your hobbies and interests to them, and if you are lucky they… Read More »

Japanese literature review: “Utopia” (ユートピア) by Kanae Minato (湊かなえ)

On a recent trip to Japan (which I am in the process of reporting on here), I browsed through many bookstores. Because my reading speed in Japanese still hasn’t quite caught up to my English reading speed, rather than actually read a few pages of a book I generally focus on searching for covers and… Read More »

Japanese book review: 「脳が若返る!大人の古典・名文暗唱ドリル」(“Revive your brain! Recitation drills of classic literature”) by 篠原菊紀 (Kikunori Shinohara)

Generally, I try to focus on fiction works in both my reading and translation of Japanese. It’s not that I don’t enjoy non-fiction, it’s just that I have limited time and fiction is usually more relaxing and interesting for me. However, I recently had an opportunity to read through the book 「脳が若返る!大人の古典・名文暗唱ドリル」 compiled by 篠原菊紀 (Kikunori… Read More »

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 »