雪女

Rating: ★★★★

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「雪女」はちょっと怖くて切ない話だ。主人公の巳之吉は普通の人で、真面目に働いて穏やかな日々を送っている。しかし、雪女にあって仕事仲間の死を目撃した途端に話の雰囲気が変わる。巳之吉は普通に生き続けようとする。普通に結婚して、普通に子供をもって年を取っていく。それでも、雪女のことを思い出したら、彼の人生がまた異常な方向に…。このサスペンスに満ちた話は以外に悲しくて興味深かった。

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wanted to read an eerie, gripping story that goes beyond the usual “happily-ever-after.” I am not that good with scary stories, but this book had just enough scary elements to keep me on the edge of my seat without making me want to put it down. There are a decent number of kanji, but the illustrations and dialogue make the plot pretty easy to follow, so I think an advanced second-year Japanese student could read and enjoy it.

北欧女子オーサが見つけた日本の不思議

Rating:

これはオーサ·イェークストロムというスウェーデンから日本に来た女の人が自分のブログで描いた4コママンガを集めて作った本です。二冊があります。一冊目にはシェアハウスのことどか日本語を勉強することどか色々な面白いことが描いてある。日本に生活している日常をよく紹介しているから、読むと日本文化を理解するのに効果的だと思います。そして二冊目には日本に来た友達のことと自分が漫画家としてデビューすることについて話しています。

I would recommend this series to anyone who want to know more about Japanese culture and Japanese daily life, and who want to experience a “culture shock” maybe. The vocabularies and expressions are easy and with the pictures I think first-year student can understand it easily.Nordic Girl AsaIMG_7144

寿司 ・ 女の子

Rating: ★★★★★

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寿司 talks about the history of sushi. It explores how sushi became a national dish for Japan. Not only that, it also touches upon how there is a variety of sushi and how one can make sushi conveniently at home.

女の子 starts out a little sad actually. The story is about a lonely girl who is trying to adjust to her new life in the city. She doesn’t talk much throughout the story, but you can tell that she is a character with many insights to the world.

I would recommend both of these books. Starting out in level 0, I never expected myself to be able to transition so smoothly when I started reading these two books. The kanji were not so difficult at all although you may have to look up some of the characters. The pictures made it easier for me to understand the stories. Both books are children friendly and have happy endings. If you’re thinking about making a jump from level 0 on the Japanese Graded Reader series, I would recommend you to consider these choices since the length of both stories are neither overwhelming or underwhelming.

ちびまる子ちゃんの敬語教室

Rating: ★★★★★

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As a second year Japanese student, I find the honorific language particularly difficult to remember. I usually confuse honorific words with humble expression and vice versa. It is always easy to remember that in Japanese, you should upgrade your partner (the person you are speaking to) while lowering yourself. However, the verbs are all irregular and thus easy to be mixed together, at least for me.

Therefore, I recommend this book because of three reasons

  1. It is a manga, so it will be interesting to read. Besides, as a manga, it has a lot of pictures. If you find it difficult to understand the text, the pictures will help you a lot to guess the content. You, therefore, don’t need to have a dictionary on hand immediately to assist with the book. I have more motivation to open the book as it is not a boring textbook, full of long sentences or difficult kanji.
  2. The characters are very cute and story lines are very funny! You will laugh a lot with Maruko-chan! Honorific language will become easier if you can learn it the way Maruko does!
  3. There are not many difficult kanji as it is a book aimed at children. There is also furigana along with kanji to help you.

While I am still reading the book as I have just recently discovered it, I recommend it to anyone who learnt honorific languages before as it will make more sense. Yet, if you are a first-year student eager to prepare for next year, I guess you can also try it out of curiosity. It is a great book to check out as it is way too cute and helful!

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P/S: If you love Maruko-chan, you can meet her in anime series too!

蜘蛛の糸、鼻by芥川龍之介

Rating: ★★★★★

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These two stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa are really philosophical.

鼻 is about an old monk with a very long nose. He worries about his nose all the time but doesn’t want others to know about his worries, so he pretends not to care. The story ends up to be funny and satirical, as the old monk manages to shorten his nose but then decides that he wants the long nose back. Every one of us in real life is similar to the old monk, because we all care too much about other people’s opinions sometimes. If we let go such burden, our life will be much more easier.

蜘蛛の糸 is about a sinner who has done only one good thing when he was alive: he once chose not to step on a spider. The sinner is then given a chance to leave the hell by climbing up the thread of a spider’s web. When he almost gets to heaven, he saw other sinners climbing up as well and got very angry. As a result, the thread breaks and he sends himself back to hell again. The sinner is selfish, he hates to see other people leaving the hell even though that doesn’t affect his own chance to get out. Such selfishness is not uncommon in daily life, and this story should serve to give us some warnings.

The language is not hard and the stories are very intriguing. I would recommend this book to first and second year Japanese students.

 

聖☆おにいさん

Rating: ★★★★★

「聖☆おにいさん」はブッダとイエスの以外に日常的な話だ。漫画を舞台にすることで、この聖人たちの変顔を見せたり、時には伝説的な光景を描いたりできるから、すごく興味を持った。私にとって一番面白いのは、ブッダとイエスの友情だ。普通は二人のことを同時に想像しないだろうけど、見ているうちに二人の仲の良さはなかなか納得した。必ず、読んでいる人は誰でもそうだと思う。

This manga is so good that I would like to recommend it to everyone I meet, but it can be a bit tricky to understand at times because of the lack of furigana. I think 3rd and 4th year students would be able to understand it enough to really enjoy it. It’s not your typical manga, but that’s what makes it enjoyable: you only start to predict what will happen after you really get to know the characters Buddha and Jesus and how they relate to each other and the world at large. Everyone who can read it should definitely give it a try.

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一休さん

Rating: ★★★★★

Me and Ikkyuusan

ふるいはなしのがだいすきだから、この本を見て読みたかったです。この本は一休さんの話を三つです。一休さんはとても有名なおぼうさんでした。この本は一休さんの子供の時の話です。子供の時、一休さんはとてもあたまがいい子供でした。一休さんは寺に住んでいました。お坊さんになりますから。さいしょうの話はみずあめにすいてでした。二番の話はとらとしょうぐんにすいてでした。そして、さいごの話は一番上のおぼうさんの友だちにすいてでした。とてもたのしくて、おもしろかったです。日本のれきしの人はとてもおもしろいと思います。レベル二の本ですが、あまりむずかしくないと思います。さいしょうのページはちょっとむずかしかったですが、話はやさしかったです。とてもいい本です。

ドラえもん

Rating: ★★★★★

Doraemon was the first manga I read when I was in primary school. My Mom is very strict in book selection so it is rare that a manga can survive her censorship.

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This series is really amazing. It tells a story of a cat-like robot coming from the 22nd century to help a clumsy student, Nobita. More than a robot, Doraemon has become a family member in Nobita’s family. He calls Nobita’s parents as Mom and Dad. He lives together with the family, in the same room with Nobita. He shares every moment in life with the family. Not to mention that, Doraemon uses his amazing and futuristic equipment to rescue Nobita again and again whenever the clumsy but kind Nobita gets into trouble.

Doraemon becomes close with not only Nobita as they live together but also the kids in Nobita’s neighborhood: Suneo, Takeshi and Shizuka. Together, the group has experienced a lot of adventure from travelling back in time to getting lost in fantasy world.

Doraemon is my childhood. Therefore, when I come across the book in the bookshelf, I was very thrilled. Since it is a manga, the language used is informal and easy to understand. It does not contain many Kanji and always has Furigana to help you. It is suitable for all level of Japanese readers. Especially if you struggle with daily conversation like me, I highly recommend the book!

I’m so happy that now I can read my favorite manga in its original language! Come join Doraemon and me in this journey back in time!

夢十夜

Rating: ★★★★★

私は夏目漱石の『夢十夜』の漫画を読みました。でも、この本はとても難しいだから、『第一夜』と『第三夜』だけ読みました。夏目漱石は日本の有名な作家です。そして、この漫画は面白いと思います。

『第一夜』は愛のstoryです。奥さんはもう死にました。だから『墓のそばに百年待ってください』と言っていました。ご主人はそうしました。もう百年が来ました、そして墓ではなが咲いて、空で星がありました。ご主人は空を見ました。

『第三夜』は難いです。fateのstoryと思います。お父さんは子供をおぶっていました。目の見えない子でした。でも、あの子はoutsideに分りました。そして、声は子供のでしたか、言葉つきは大人のでした。空に雨が降りました。お父さんは大きい杉の根に行って、百年前これで一人の盲目お殺してと覚えました。子供はとても重くなりました。このstoryはちょっと怖いです。

I would recommend this book for third year and forth year readers. Kanji readings are always provided, but the language is quite native and hard to understand.

 

クリスマス·キャロル

Rating: ★★★★

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「クリスマス·キャロル」は英語から翻訳された本だ。主人公のスクルージはとても無慈悲でお金が大好きな人だった。クリスマス·イブの日で、人々がクリスマスのために色々準備しながら明日のことを楽しんでいたが、スクルージはクリスマスが嫌いだから全然嬉しくなかった。その夜、彼のところで三人の幽霊が次々訪ねた。その奇妙な経歴がスクルージの人生を変えた。

I would recommend this book to people who love Christmas. There are many kanji in this book but they are not very difficult, so I think a 2nd year Japanese student can understand it.