Language Diary #1

Welcome to the first entry of my language diary! This post is mainly about the books that I am reading at the moment.

Currently Reading

『誰か』by Miyuki MIYABE (宮部みゆき)

I am reading 『誰か』by Miyuki MIYABE (宮部みゆき). I never read this author before, but I see her name everywhere!

『誰か』is the first novel of a series involving the protagonist Saburo SUMIGURA. From what I know, Sugimura is a private detective, but in 『誰か』 he is just an employee in his father-in-law’s company Imada Konzern. This first novel will certainly show how Sugimura gave up his job and became a detective.

I find the book a little difficult to read at times. The dialogues are okay, but some descriptions and all the passages relative to Sumigura’s work at Imada Konzern are a bit challenging. I like the novel so far, but I am reading it slowly. I hope to finish it by the end of the month, it is my main reading goal for January.

ボクたちはみんな大人になれなかった by Moegara (燃え殻)

I found this book very intriguing, I loved the cover and the title appealed to me, so I bought it on Amazon with my order of JLPT textbooks.

I had no idea what the novel was about when I started it. On the cover, it says 「好きだった人の名前を、SNSで検索したことはありますか―?」but I find it misleading. The story is about a man of 43 who sees the name of the girl he loved some twenty years ago popping up on Facebook. This brings him back to the ’90s, the lost decade after the collapse of the economic bubble, the depressive working hours and a cheap love hotel.

At first I didn’t like the novel because of the author’s writing style. I prefer reading long novels with descriptions, complex characters, a constructed plot and so on. This novel is short and made of a succession of scenes rather than a plot, impressions and atmosphere rather than descriptions.

Harry Potter in Japanese, translated by Yuko Matsuoka

I got nostalgic of the universe of Harry Potter and wanted to re-read the books. I would not have read them in English because I have other priorities, but I figured out that reading them in Japanese would be a good excuse. I can say that it is to improve my reading skills in Japanese and learn useless interesting words like 一角獣 (ユニコーン, Unicorn) or 不死鳥 (ふしちょう, Phoenix) 😄.

It is strange because I don’t read Harry Potter to read something easy in Japanese, I read in Japanese to read Harry Potter, I mean, to get an excuse to spend time reading Harry Potter instead of progressing on my TBR pile.

It was an impulse buy, without a doubt, so I downloaded the e-book version to start right away. I have reached 30% of the book this weekend and it is by far the easiest novel I am reading now. I find it even easier than any of the books I read last year. I also find interesting to see how Yuko Matsuoka managed to translate perilous passages.

For example, when Harry asks Hagrid the difference between a stalagmite and a stalactite, Hagrid answers “Stalagmite’s got an ‘m’ in it”. In Japanese, the exchange is as such:

Harry: 鍾乳石 (しょうにゅうせき)と石筍(せきじゅん)って、どう違うの?
Hagrid: 三文字と二文字の違いだろ。

which I find even funnier.

Music: Yonawo

I discovered Yonawo on iTunes, and I like it very much. This is the song “ijo” of the EP “ijo”.

13 thoughts on “Language Diary #1

  1. I have seen the 2nd novel a lot and i loved the cover too but from you description its wasy right?
    I also have Harry Potter but i haven’t read it yet 😂💔

    1. I should have mentionned it in my post, but the second novel is actually challenging to read. Some passages are easy, and suddenly, I would stumble across a difficult part. But I heard it was a best-seller in Japan.

      Good luck if you decide to read Harry Potter. I am almost half-way through the first book and like it!

  2. My sensei used Harry Potter books in our translating class and I’m surprised that they managed to convey the humour in Japanese way.

    Your blog has inspiring me to read more jn Japanese and I just bought the konbini ningen novel so let’s hipe that the novel wouldn’t ended up collecting dusts 😂

    1. Thank you! I hope you will like konbini ningen! 😄

      I also try to pay attention to the translation when reading Harry Potter, it certainly was difficult to translate, but the result looks great!

  3. I left a long comment recently. Maybe it got marked as spam.

    I was sharing this site

    I thought it would be useful for your korean studies if you ever decide to learn korean.

    It inserts Hanja into the text. However you have the option of choosing Chinese characters that are used in Japan, China, or Taiwan. It’s not perfect since there are homonyms in korean. It definitely motivates me to read more in korean for 2019

    1. I found it in the spam file!! I don’t understand why… Thank you for the link, it works well! It is so easier to read with hanja! I had forgotten that some hanja are really complicated, I have tried to insert Japanese kanji instead and the result is much better for me. Thank you!

  4. Very interesting read. I will have to wait a LONG while before I can read any of that though. 🙁
    My initial interest in learning Japanese was to read and understand the spoken word. I doubt I would ever get to use it conversationally. I just want to read manga, light novels and understand Anime with out subs. Not to mention getting to check out all the Japanese websites on culture, ect.
    Alas, I get disheartened from having attempted so long and not making any headway. I understand that is my fault, I get discouraged and then quit for a while. Or get over whelmed by studying to much without seeing much progress.

    I want you to know your blog is inspirational. I get excited about learning and it seems possible again. So, thank you! Keep up the amazing work, and one day I might be able to actually read the snippets you post in total Japanese 😉

    1. you don’t have to wait forever. there are pop-up dictionaries like yomichan, rikaikun, rikaisama etc.

    2. I think that you don’t have to wait to start reading in Japanese. Do you know the Japanese Graded Readers series? This is how I started reading in Japanese. While it is not “real” Japanese, the stories are great and the progression is smooth. It was more fun to study with it than doing grammar and vocabulary exercises!

      I don’t know many manga, but it should be possible to find easy ones. You can find recommendations of manga for Japanese learners on Kotobites’ website:

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