Studying Japanese Through Translation

There are a plethora of English translations of Japanese novels and out there. But is reading translations a good way to study Japanese? Can you learn Japanese effectively through translation? This article looks at some methods for studying Japanese through translation, and discusses if it’s an effective way to learn Japanese. This will only focus on studying Japanese language and NOT on studying Japanese translation. If you’re interested in studying Japanese translation I recommend checking out the J-En Translations blog.   Techniques for Studying Japanese Through Translation For this I tested these techniques on two books, If Cats Disappeared From the World and… Read More…

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Life, Death, and Cats 世界から猫が消えたなら (If Cats Disappeared from the World) for Japanese Learners

世界から猫が消えたなら (せかい から ねこ が きえたなら) by 川村 元気 (Genki Kawamura)   Author: 川村 元気 (Genki Kawamura) Genre: novel, Great for: Beginner – Intermediate (JLPT N3+) Length: 229 pages Amazon Japan (Kindle): 世界から猫が消えたなら Bookwalker Japan: 世界から猫が消えたなら (Read the first 14 pages with 試し読み!)   Japanese Synopsis (from Bookwalker) 僕は生きるために、消すことを決めた。 今日もし突然、チョコレートが消えたなら電話が消えたなら映画が消えたなら時計が消えたなら猫が消えたらそして僕が消えたなら世界はどう変化し、人は何を得て、何を失うのか30歳郵便配達員。余命あとわずか。陽気な悪魔が僕の周りにあるものと引き換えに1日の命を与える。僕と猫と陽気な悪魔の摩訶不思議な7日間がはじまった―――消してみることで、価値が生まれる。失うことで、大切さが分かる。   English Synopsis (translated by Japanese Talk Online) I must chose to lose something if I am to live. How would the world change if chocolate vanished? If phones vanished? Movies? Clocks? Me? What would people gain and what would they lose? A 30-year-old postman asks. There not much time… Read More…

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5 Second Trick to Remembering Vocabulary When Reading Japanese

Different people learn and remember information in different ways. This is obvious when you talk to different people about how they learn languages, such as Japanese. (I personally like using mnemonics but my spouse is a wizard an can “just remember” words… I’m not jealous…) Anyway, this is just one of many different methods you can use to remember vocabulary. It’s actually an incredibly quick trick I’ve been using when I read novels. (This is partially so I don’t spend so much time later drilling vocabulary with flashcards.) When I first come across a word I don’t know I try… Read More…

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Japanese Short Stories「5分シリーズ」(5 Minute Series)

5分シリーズ (5 Minute Series)   Author: Various (published by エブリスタ) Genre: short stories, moving Great for: Intermediate (JLPT N2) Length: Around 210 pages Amazon Japan: 5分シリーズ(5分後に涙のラスト) (will need to search for others) Bookwalker Japan: 5分シリーズ   Japanese Synopsis (from Amazon Japan) 小説投稿サイト「エブリスタ」が主催する短編小説賞「三行から参加できる超・妄想コンテスト」入賞作品から、さらに選りすぐりのものを集め、加筆・修正。20000作超から選ばれた最高の感動体験8作。   English Synopsis (translated by JTalk Online) A collection of short stories from the novel website Eburisuta which were hand selected or won the “Great / Imaginative Contest for Sangyo”. Eight incredibly moving tales handpicked from 20,000 stories.   Why You Should Read 5分シリーズ (5 Minute Series) There are multiple books in the「5分シリーズ」 by エブリスタ, and each one… Read More…

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Light Novel Comedy「はめふら」(Bakarina)

乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった… is a Japanese light novel from 2015 which also has a manga release and just got an anime (which is airing Spring 2020).   First off, let me clarify the names for this series: Japanese official title: 乙女ゲームの破滅フラグしかない悪役令嬢に転生してしまった… Japanese unofficial title: はめふら English official title: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! English unofficial title: Bakarina As we’re talking about the Japanese novel, which even the author’s editor said had one of the longest titles ever, I’ll be referring to it as はめふら. Author: Satoru Yamaguchi Genre: light novel, comedy, isekai, reverse-harem, romance, otome games… Read More…

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Study Beginners Japanese With Science!

By study beginners Japanese with science, I don’t mean Matrix-level download the language to your brain (although I wish I did!) I mean, using science books aimed at young Japanese people to learn a wide variety of general knowledge and Japanese vocabulary. The science books I’m talking about in particular are なぜ?どうして?科学のお話 or “Why? How? Science Stories”. Here’s a review of these science books aimed at children and how you can use them to boost your Japanese! なぜ?どうして?科学のお話 (Why? How? Science Stories)   Genre: science, textbook, for children Great for: Beginners (JLPT N4-N3) Length: about 180 pages per book (total… Read More…

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Fantasy, Mystery「かがみの孤城」(Kagami no Kojou)

かがみの孤城 (かがみのこじょう) by 辻村 深月(つじむら みずき)   Author: Mizuki Tsujimura Genre: coming of age, drama, (light) fantasy, novel, award winning Great for: Intermediate (JLPT N2) Length: 554 pages Amazon Japan: かがみの孤城   Japanese Synopsis (from Amazon Japan) 鏡の世界で謎を追う不登校児 大人と子どもの目が共存する救いの物語 大人である現在の自分と、子どもだったあの頃の自分の両方を、同時に、ここまで慰め、励ましてくれる小説なんてはじめてだ。辻村深月の新作『かがみの孤城』のことである。 中学一年生のこころは、ある出来事を機に学校へ行けなくなり、いつも家で過ごしている。ある日一人で家にいると、部屋の鏡が突然輝き始め、潜り抜けてみると、そこは城の中だった。集められたのはこころを含め、似た境遇にいるらしき中学生が七人。九時から十七時まで滞在が許されるその城で、彼らにはひとつの課題が出される。猶予は一年。戸惑いながらも七人は、少しずつ心を通い合わせていくのだが……。   English Synopsis (translated by JTalk Online) Truants Chasing A Mystery in the Mirror World – A Story of Salvation for Both Children and Adults “This novel began as a story that would comfort and encourage both myself when I was a child and myself as an adult now.” The latest novel from Mizuki Tsujimura, Kagami no Kojou. Kokoro is… Read More…

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Hacks for Reading Japanese Novels

Hacks for Reading Japanese Novels

  I recently shared on Twitter how I had just finished reading a novel and felt inspired to write something useful about it. The following are a few hacks I’ve developed/picked up while reading Japanese novels. Hope you find them useful for your own reading! Bookmark Names and Terms Not that you should highlight every name or term, but instead write frequently used universe terms and names onto a piece of paper used as a bookmark. These are great because you can quickly reference terms as you come across them without having to flick back to a previous page where… Read More…

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Why You MUST Read in Japanese

When I started learning Japanese I drilled vocabulary, grammar and kanji. In my young mind language = words. For many years that was all I focused on, figuring that listening and reading was only achievable from learning this core information. Yes, vocabulary, grammar and kanji are incredibly important. But they mean nothing if you don’t read. You don’t magically learn how to read just from learning this information. You learn to read by reading. Reading then supplements and adds to your knowledge of vocabulary, grammar and kanji. But reading does SO much more than that.   First Attempts to Read… Read More…

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