Light Novel Review: 彼女は一人で歩くのか? Does She Walk Alone? – 森博嗣

does-she-walk-alone(Kanojo ha hitori de aruku no ka? – Mori Hiroshi)

This is the first light novel I have read. I’m not quite sure what makes it a light novel. Maybe the target audience is young adults, however I found it pretty engaging as an adult. It seems like light novels are a popular choice for beginners, but it didn’t seem any easier to read than other popular fiction I have read so far. It did have a bit more action.

Other books I have read by Mori have been mysteries, but this one is science fiction. I don’t read any science fiction in English, so I don’t have a lot to compare it to. It’s definitely not because I wouldn’t like to read more science fiction. That’s one of the many many things I would like to do that won’t become high enough priority to put in the time.

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Thoughts on 雨ニモマケズ by 宮沢賢治

I read an article by Roger Pulvers on Nippon.com about Miyazawa Kenji, and became interested in reading Ame Ni Mo Makezu, which is available in public domain on Aozora Bunko. I included the original text here:

雨ニモマケズ – 宮沢賢治

雨ニモマケズ
風ニモマケズ
雪ニモ夏ノ暑サニモマケヌ
丈夫ナカラダヲモチ
慾ハナク
決シテ瞋ラズ
イツモシヅカニワラッテヰル
一日ニ玄米四合ト
味噌ト少シノ野菜ヲタベ
アラユルコトヲ
ジブンヲカンジョウニ入レズニ
ヨクミキキシワカリ
ソシテワスレズ
野原ノ松ノ林ノ※(「「蔭」の「陰のつくり」に代えて「人がしら/髟のへん」、第4水準2-86-78)
小サナ萓ブキノ小屋ニヰテ
東ニ病気ノコドモアレバ
行ッテ看病シテヤリ
西ニツカレタ母アレバ
行ッテソノ稲ノ朿ヲ負ヒ
南ニ死ニサウナ人アレバ
行ッテコハガラナクテモイヽトイヒ
北ニケンクヮヤソショウガアレバ
ツマラナイカラヤメロトイヒ
ヒドリノトキハナミダヲナガシ
サムサノナツハオロオロアルキ
ミンナニデクノボートヨバレ
ホメラレモセズ
クニモサレズ
サウイフモノニ
ワタシハナリタイ

According to the Wikipedia article about the poem, it was never published in Miyazawa’s lifetime, but was found after his death, as many of his works were, so I’m not sure if it was intended for an audience or not. I especially think it may not have been his intention to publish this because the poem is about his desire to be a humble servant. The desire to serve people without recognition seems to be more of a self reflection than something a poet would intend to publish.

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Japanese Book Review: 塩狩峠 – 三浦 綾子

shiokaritouge(shiokari touge – Miura Ayako)

I don’t think I’m giving away too much by revealing the end of this story, because you find that information in the first two sentences of the Amazon description. Although this is a fictional story, it is written to promote awareness of a real life hero. Although not much is known or written about Nagano Masao, who gave his life to save a train full of people from a horrible wreck in 1909 in Hokkaido, Miura fleshes out his story in the life of Nagano Nobuo.

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Japanese Book Review: 人間失格 – 太宰 治

ningenshikkaku(ningen shikkaku – Dazai Osamu)

Ningen Shikkaku is one of the most famous novels in Japan. I have begun reading a novel by Miura Ayako, and Dazai is one of her influences, so I decided to go ahead and read one of his most famous works from Aozora Bunko in parallel.

It’s not a long book, but the language is challenging, and of course it is very grim. Dazai uses very long sentences, and sometimes entire paragraphs are comprised of only one sentence. The long sentences flow surprisingly well once you get used to the style, however if you need to look up too many words, then I think it would be hard not to get lost. I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to someone who isn’t used to reading in Japanese, but since it is in the public domain, it doesn’t hurt to give it a try.

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Japanese Book Review: 宮本武蔵 – 吉川英治

(miyamoto musashi – Yoshikawa Eiji)musashi1

I picked up this book more than a decade ago, and I have tried reading it two or three times since then. Each time I couldn’t make it through the first chapter before giving up. It’s actually an epic novel and this is just the first of 8 books in this reprint. I finally read through the one book I own. The first book is a fictional account of the historical famous swordsman’s life starting at age 17 after the battle of Sekigahara to the point when he is a young man trying to find a worthy opponent to practice his mostly self taught martial art.

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Japanese Book Review: そして、星の輝く夜がくる – 真山 仁

soshite_hoshi_no_kagayaku_yoru_ga_kuru(soshite, hoshi no kagayaku yoru ga kuru – Mayama Jin)

This book is about a teacher, Mr. Onodera, who experienced loss in the Great Hanshin Earthquake. After the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami he comes to the fictional Tohoku village, Toma, to fill in as a short term teacher and bring encouragement to the children. I chose to read this book because it was highly recommended on Self Taught Japanese where you can even read a translation of the beginning of the book.  Continue reading “Japanese Book Review: そして、星の輝く夜がくる – 真山 仁”

Japanese Book Review: 冷たい密室と博士たち – 森 博嗣

tusmetaimisshitsu(tsumetai misshitsu to hakasetachi – Mori Hiroshi)

This is the second book in the Saikawa and Moe series, which starts with Subete ga F ni naru

According to an Amazon Review this was actually the first book that Mori wrote in the series, but they were released in a different order by the editors. I thought that the first one was very focused on the mechanics of the mystery, but this one was even more focused, and there wasn’t a whole lot in the story to flesh out the characters. There is even an email that describes each suspect in bullet points. It hard to write any more directly than that. I think the style difference between the first and second books makes more sense when you realize this one was actually written first.

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Japanese Book Review: Wの悲劇 – 夏樹 静子

wnohigeki(w no higeki – Natsuki Shizuko)

I found two more blogs that review Japanese books recently. They are both focused on mysteries, but they mostly review books written in Japanese and update regularly. Reading through some of their posts I learned that there is a lot more to the mystery genre than I realized. I tried reading a book that was reviewed on both My Japanese Bookshelf and ボクの事件簿.

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Japanese Book Review: トップ・レフト 都銀vs.米国投資銀行 – 黒木 亮

topleft(top left Togin vs. beikokutoushiginkou – Kuroki Ryo)

This is the second author I have read that writes business novels, so I can’t help but compare it to Ikeido Jun‘s works. Even though this is in the same genre, it is quite different. I’m excited that I can discover new things even within the seemingly narrow classification of business novels.

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Japanese Book Review: 陽気なギャングの日常と襲撃  伊坂 幸太郎

youkinagyangunonichijyoutoshuugeki(youki na gyangu no nichijyou to shuugeki Isaka Kotaro)

This is the second book out of three in the Youki na Gyangu series. I previously posted a review of the first book. You definitely need to read the first book before picking this one up because the characters are not explained and there are many references to the previous plot. I thought this one would be about bank robbery as well, but that turned out to be a minor part of the plot. The central plot was about the four criminals saving someone they happened to see being kidnapped during one of their bank attacks.

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