I love this book! This book is very interesting and contains many pictures. Traditional Japanese clothing has a long history. It is really beautiful. There are different kinds of traditional clothing, among which I like haori the best because it looks cool.

I would recommend this book to every Japanese student. This book is fun to read for there are many interesting and nice illustrations. Even though it might be challenging to students who just start to learn Japanese or students who do not know many kanji, this book is worth reading. Students can get to know Japanese culture.



This book is based on a 1906 novel by Itou Sachio. It seems to be quite famous; there are several film adaptations. I didn’t read this one for a while because I didn’t like the art, but I actually found it quite touching. It’s a sad story about two teenagers who fall in love but aren’t allowed to get married.  I would recommend it to any level 3 or 4 students.



I was quite excited to find out that this manga is (probably loosely) based on the life of a real nineteenth century English explorer, Isabella Bird. It tells the story of her travels across Japan with her interpreter Itou. I think there is a strong theme of respecting cultural differences.

I understood most of the book thanks to the pictures, but the vocabulary is pretty tough and there were definitely some jokes that I didn’t understand. Even so, I think it would be a fun read for my fourth year classmates.

日本の歴史のお話 前編



This book introduces the early Japanese history and I did find the book a bit little hard to understand because there are lots of Kanji and names. I think the book would be easier to read if you already know some Japanese history. I like this book because this is the first Japanese history book I read.



I wanted to write this review because I wanted to caution students a bit. It looks like a picture book at first, but it actually includes very difficult poetry and kanji without kana in the last half. I only recommend this for advanced Japanese students. Even for me, (4th year) it was difficult. However, the photographs are really beautiful and the first half is very easy.



This is picture book version of the Studio Ghibli movie, “Whisper of the Heart.” It’s quite easy to read, especially if you’ve seen the movie before. It’s meant for a younger audience so not that much kanji is used, which actually makes it a bit difficult to read sometimes. The story focuses on middle schooler named Tsukishima Shizuka, who loves to read fantasy books. She notices that a boy named Amasawa Seiji has almost always checked out the books she reads before her and he wonders what kind of person he is. One day, she chases a cat she meets on the train and that is where the story begins. The story is quite nice and reminds me of the beauty of youth.


世界のどこかで 日本のどこかで 〜本当にあった話〜



I found this book a lot more engaging than I had expected, although it’s a bit of a strange combination of stories. I think knowing that the stories are true makes them more enjoyable. Fair warning: at the end there is a story about a cat that made my cry a little bit.

I think the vocabulary might be too challenging for first or second year Japanese students, unless they can read a lot of kanji. Overall I would recommend it.

Style from Tokyo



I find this book really interesting because it introduces the fashionable outfits in Tokyo and also talks about the stories of the people who wear these outfits. While reading the stories, I find that it’s obvious that an outfit is reflecting a person’s  personality and occupation. Although the Japanese expressions are advanced in this book, the book is still really interesting to read since you have the photos and you can read their story in context.




The poems in this collection are all about the beauty of the morning and sunlight, and the photos help you understand the contact of each poem and are gorgeous to look at. I recommend this book to more advanced Japanese readers who want to refresh their mind after a tough day.

花ざかり君たちへ V. 6



This is one of my favorite mangas. In this volume, a sports journalist, who has been obsessing over Sano for some time, goes to Sakurazaki High School to write an article on Sano’s recovery and recent decision to start high-jumping again. Mizuki and the journalist soon start competing over which of them knows more about Sano. This volume, like the previous five, is quite funny.

This manga doesn’t have too many difficult words but you definitely need a dictionary to read it. One of the main characters is actually from Kansai, so his accent is sometimes indecipherable but what he says usually doesn’t change the story line so it doesn’t matter much.