A few months ago I released the first volume of my new bilingual reader series “Kantan! Read Japanese stories like a native” that listed several versions of a fairy tale along with guides on particles, particles, and verb tenses to help Japanese learners of any level read through and understand the story without much prior knowledge.
After getting some good feedback on this book from readers I decided to do a second volume. It took me some time to find the right story, but after going through over 50 stories I settled on “The Bowels of the City”（街の底) by Riichi Yokomitsu (横光利一), an important 20th century Japanese author. I really love this piece for its experimental style and rich atmosphere that contrast with the straightforward fairy tale in the first volume.
I’ve also included readings and descriptions of over 500 words in the text to make it easier to follow, as well as explanations of all the conjugated verbs so you don’t need to know the rules of conjugation. “The Bowels of the City” packs a lot of images and feelings into a small space, and I think those learning Japanese will find it rewarding and educational to be able to comprehend it at a deep level.
In this second volume I’ve included detailed commentary to give some historical context and help readers think about the story at a higher level.
The book is available on Amazon for a limited-time low price of $0.99 USD (or equivalent). You can jump to it on Amazon using this link. Or you can check out the series that includes both volumes here.
I have really enjoyed making both volumes––a nice combination of Japanese translation and explanation––and am looking forward to making a third volume. If you have any ideas for candidate stories, please let me know in the comments.