(After School Art Room)
by 麻沢 奏 (Asazawa Kana)
Genre: fiction, romance, coming of age
Great for: Lower-Intermediate and above (JLPT N3+)
Length: 309 pages
Amazon Japan: 放課後美術室（麻沢 奏）
“I have no color” thinks high-school freshman Saki, as all she does everyday is study, just like her mother told her to. But when she goes to the art room in search of her senpai Haruka Kiriya, the one she became a fan of during middle school when his painting stole her heart, she instead finds an elusive, womanizing boy. Saki decides to join the art club, keeping it secret from her mother, but finds out the boy she saw that day was Haruka Kiriya. Their meeting slowly changes Saki and Haruka. Surely everyone can be saved by this love?
Why Japanese Learners Should Read 放課後美術室 (After School Art Room)
I’m not normally one for romance novels, and although I find this story (much like the male lead) frivolous at times, in the end it was a heart-warming story that had me rush through the book in less than a week.
Saki is a relatable character (at least to me). She lack confidence, doesn’t think of herself as pretty, compares herself all the time to others, just does what people tell her to, and finds it hard to put how she feels into words. Pretty much a typical high school girl. And although some people might find this annoying at first, you soon grow to love her.
This is a very easy to read novel that lower intermediate Japanese learners will find enjoyable while also discovering lots of useful vocabulary and kanji! Even as an advanced reader there were still a number of words I didn’t know.
It’s also great for intermediate-level learners because it follows every day situations. Meaning the vocabulary and phrases used are ones you’ll probably see over and over again in daily life!
I always recommend making your own list if you have the time/energy as lots of new terms pop up in the strangest places! Here are a few I picked up from this novel.
口を尖る = to pout (literally “pointer the mouth”)
占拠（せんきょ）= occupation (or land but also “occupy one’s mind”)
玉砕（ぎょくさい）= honorable defeat
咀嚼（そしゃく）= break into bite-sized pieces
へし折る = to smash
胡坐をかく（あぐら）= to sit cross-legged
梅雨（つゆ）= rainy season
動悸（どうき）= palpitation (e.g heart)
胡散臭い（うさんくさい）= suspicious looking
襟足（えりあし）= nape of neck (the “collar leg”! XD)
吐露（とろ）= (to) speak out
雲泥（うんでい）= great difference
言い淀む（いいよどむ) = to hesitate to say
訝しい（いぶかしい) = suspicious
飄々（ひょうひょう）= airily (this popped up a lot…)
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