Japanese Book Review: Gasoline Life – Isaka Kotaro

(ガソリン生活 – 伊坂 幸太郎)

The times I have been to Japan, most of my transportation has been in the form of trains or buses, but the setting of this novel, Sendai, is actually closer to what my life is like in the United States. I’m not particularly interested in cars, but they are a necessary part of my way of life. Gasonline Life was an opportunity to read about people in Japan with a more familiar lifestyle — told from the perspective of their car.

A green Mazda Demio narrates the story based on what he overhears from his passengers and many conversations with other wheeled vehicles, from the all-knowing freight locomotives to unintelligible bicycles.

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New Book Highlight: Eighteen O’Clock Music Bath – Unno Juza

Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese has released a new volume of Science: Hopes & Fears following a collection of short stories by Juza Unno. This second volume consists of a dystopian novella by the same author. Written in Japan in 1937, this is an early example of dystopian work that has previously never been translated into English. If you are a fan of novels such as Nineteen Eighty Four from George Orwell, then please pick up a digital copy of “Eighteen O’Clock Music Bath” and see Japan’s early contribution to the genre. I helped with translation checking and editing of this novella.

This story made me think of Mori Hiroshi’s W-series. I have only read the first three books so far:

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 6]

This is the sixth and final chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

I’m Sorry, I Won’t Do It Again

The Anekawa couple wasn’t coming out of the bedroom, so we left their place behind, realizing this would be our only chance. It was a risky bet, but now the wind was drying our cold sweat—we made it.

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 5]

This is the fifth chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

I’m Moving Back In With My Parents

“I’m moving back in with my parents.” I never thought the day would come when I would say those words. The only thing there for me is nagging. My parents are the type of people that still say a woman’s place is in the home, so I can’t imagine us seeing eye to eye.

My job comes with responsibilities. It’s not like I’m making a weekly magazine for fun. I’m hoping the articles I write will reach the world, resonate with the world, even a little. Occasionally I’ll write some worthless, exaggerated piece: actors and their suspected affairs, celebrity ratings, secret pop star rendezvous. But no matter the topic I want to take it head on. That’s why I just keep getting busier.

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 4]

This is the fourth chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

If Only It Had Been Three-Minute Udon…

Do these noodles feel any different? I was slurping them up with my head cocked to the side, unable to recall what they were like before, when a sound came from the entrance; Abiko and I exchanged looks.

My expression stiff with wide eyes, I broke into a cold sweat.

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New Book Highlight: Science – Hopes & Fears – Selected Stories by Unno Juza

Unno Juza, known in Japan as the father of Japanese science fiction, has never been translated into English until now. Thanks to the creator of Self Taught Japanese, English speakers now have access to some of his work.  This E-book, available on Amazon, contains several intriguing and shocking short stories. I helped with some of the editing as a volunteer, and I’m excited to share some thoughts about the final product in this post.

If you are fascinated by how the the future has been imagined historically, then these stories will be perfect for you. They were written in the 1930s and 1940s and touch on many scientific fields. One example is the mention of electricity. I like to see electricity in classic fiction and try to understand the image of the technology held by people of the time period and how they envisioned it progressing.

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 3]

This is the third chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

Chapter 3: Why a Book About Kyoto?

On the right was a Japanese style room with a tatami floor, and the room on the left was set up like a bedroom.

I went to the bedroom on the left, Abiko took the Japanese style room, and after ten minutes of rummaging we met up in the living room to compare our findings. Abiko was carrying a Kyoto travel guide, and I was holding a watch and a ring.

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 2]

This is the second chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

Chapter 2: My Eyes Have Been Failing Me

In elementary school, being the kid that wins races is a big deal. Things were simple back then. However, when you get to middle and high school, running fast is no big deal—it won’t make you popular. No one pays attention unless you have outstanding looks or you’re involved in some kind of activity.

I’m still in my early twenties, so Abiko, in his mid-forties, says, “I don’t want to hear you say, ‘When I was young…’ ” and Aoi says, “If you were so fast, you should’ve just joined the track team.”

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Japanese Short Story Translation: “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” by Kisaragi Shinichi [Chapter 1]

This is the first chapter of “Five Minutes Won’t Cut It” (大泥棒に5分は長い), a short story by Kisaragi Shinichi 1(如月新一). I have permission from the author to translate this work, and I plan to release the complete story in six chapters.

Thanks to Locksleyu from Self Taught Japanese, both for inspiration to start this project and for help with verifying the translation and editing.

Chapter 1: Five Minutes Is Just Too Long

“I thought it was usually three minutes. Only three. Five minutes is just too long.”

“Too long for what?”

“Look—Ultraman finishes off giant monsters in three minutes. What could possibly take five whole minutes?”

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Bilingual Japanese Book Review: Powder Pursuit by Higashino Keigo

バイリンガル・レビュー: 雪煙チェース – 東野圭吾

Here is another entry in Higashino’s series about skiing and snowboarding. I also reviewed and posted a short translation of Hakugin Jack, from the same series. This novel features two of the same characters from Hakugin Jack, but it’s not necessary to read the previous novels before reading this one.

This is a murder mystery, but solving the murder is an afterthought to the story of Tatsumi, the prime suspect, fleeing the police as he tries to find the “goddess” who can confirm his alibi. It jumps back and forth from the perspectives of the fleeing second-rate college students to an underrated pawn in the police force and his partner in pursuit. It plays out as both a police procedural, complete with Metropolitan Police Department politics, and a fugitive story.

これは東野さんのスキーとスノーボードについてのシリーズの一冊になる小説です。このシリーズの作品の『白銀ジャック』もレビューしました。二人の登場人物は両方の小説に登場しますが、『雪煙チェース』を読む前に前の作品を読む必要がないと思います。

殺人ミステリーですが、竜実という主人公の逃亡で、アリバイを証明できる「女神」を探している筋書きは一番注目されています。二流大学生の逃亡の場面とポーンの警察と彼の相棒の追跡場面で交互に展開する物語です。警視庁の地位争いを含めた警察小説と逃亡者物語と同時に進んでいきます。

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