Month: June 2018

Japanese News: June week 4

Politician criticises the press Let’s start this post with a shocking statement by Taro ASO, who is both Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance. Seeing that the LDP had received high support among people under 30 during previous elections, he used this result to criticise the press. He said: “一番新聞を読まない世代だ。読まない人は全部自民党(の支持)だ.” To me, this is a strange way to attack the press. I guess that he wants to criticise the newspapers which, like Mainichi, make a lot of reports about political scandals and point out the problems of the government. Young people who don’t read newspapers are not “corrupted” by them, or at least, I think that this is the core of the message. But it is then easy to reply, as did a member of the communist party: “新聞を読んで真実が伝われば自民党支持にならないというのは、ある意味でその通りだ” (source) The most shocking part is that Aso says that people should not read newspapers: “新聞(の購読者増)に協力なんかしない方がいいよ。新聞販売店の人には悪いけど、つくづくそう思った.” 購読・こうどく: buying (a book or a magazine) and reading it つくづく: really, keenly, deeply, profoundly, (think) from the bottom of one’s heart IR Bill or Integrated Resorts Enabling Act …

Book Review 「君たちはどう生きるか」by 吉野源三郎

I have finished reading 「君たちはどう生きるか」by 吉野源三郎 (よしの・げんざぶろう), and as I said in my monthly review on Monday, I did not enjoy reading this book. This being said, I do think that the novel has a lot of qualities and a unique format that makes it interesting, but it just wasn’t for me. This book was first published in 1937. It is a novel for children or at least, young readers, and it has gained considerable popularity with the publication of a manga adaptation last year. It seems now that this story is very popular among adults. (learn more) Why I did not enjoy reading this book I have no intention to criticise the novel in itself, but I cannot start to understand why it is so popular among adults now… Though I usually appreciate reading books for younger readers (sometimes I even wonder if I am not learning languages only to have a good excuse to read books for children), I read this one without real enthusiasm. Children book? I am confused concerning who should read …

Monthly Review: June

We are entering the last week of June and almost reached the half of the year! 😮 If I had to sum up the month of June, I would call it: “going back into my comfort zone.” Though I am still drawing and journaling with as much enthusiasm as last month, the focus of this month is reading, so let’s talk about books! I have been reading several books at the same time this month, but I was not convinced or as enthusiastic as I thought I would be by most of them. Though I have been quite diligent during the first half of June, I finally gave up the battle and returned to the safety of my comfort zone by reading easier and more familiar authors. Japanese books: disappointment and frustration I will post about all these books on my Wednesday section, but this is an overview: 「君たちはどう生きるか」by 吉野源三郎: I finally finished it and will post my review the day after tomorrow, but I can already say that I did not enjoy reading this …

Japanese News: June week 3

Only two main topics this week! The Diet session and M. Kake’s press conference: Japanese supporters clean up the stadium after winning against Colombia On Tuesday, Japan won its first match (2-1) of this year’s World Cup against Colombia. What struck observers, however, is how Japanese supporters took the time to clean up after themselves in the stadium. Colombian press talks of “sportsmanship”. Even though they won, Japanese supporters stayed respectful and willing to give a good image of themselves. This is what the Colombian press said: “ゴミを拾う日本人サポーターを祝福するコロンビアファンの姿が多く、スポーツマンシップに溢れる光景であった.” 溢れる・あふれる: overflow Current Diet session to be extended If I understand this article correctly, this current Diet session was to end on June 20th, but Abe wants to extend it for a month to pass important bills: 政府・与党は、20日に会期末を迎える今国会を1カ月程度、延長する調整に入った. 調整に入る・ちょうせいにはいる: I am not sure, but I think we can translate it literally by “enter (a phase) of adjustment or regulation.” This adjustment being here an extension, a prolongation. According to the article, the main reason for this prolongation is that Abe wants to pass a bill relative to …

Currently reading: 「虚ろな十字架」by 東野圭吾

I am a little frustrated with some of the books I am reading at the moment, and I sometimes avoid reading at all because the books I have are either too difficult or not that interesting to me. This is why I thought that I could always have a novel by Keigo HIGASHINO as back up for the times when I just want to relax and read something easy. As I don’t mind reading several books at the same time, why not always have one that I know I will appreciate and read without problems? I picked 「虚ろな十字架」randomly, I was just careful to avoid a novel that would be part of a series. Now that I have already read some chapters, I can tell that the main topic of this book is the capital punishment. I am very happy with this book because death penalty in Japan is a topic that interests me. Since I read 「赤い指」 I do not see Highashino’s books as pure detective stories anymore but as the reflection of societal issues. …

Writing in Japanese every day: how I built a new habit with マイブック

I am not doing much to actively study Japanese lately, but there is something that I do every day since February: writing a page in Japanese in マイブック. マイブック is a sort of agenda that looks exactly like a book. It is published by 新潮文庫 every year. It uses the same format, paper and characteristics than any other book by this publisher. But of course, the inside is blank. The only things you get on each page is the date. The book is also divided into 12 “chapters,” from January to December. Before I bought マイブック (a minor investment of 370 Yen), I was struggling to get into the habit of writing in Japanese every day and kept failing in my attempts. But when I got マイブック, I started writing at least a sentence or two every day and ended up filling the whole page every single day after a month or two. So what changed? I have tried to sum up how I got into the habit of writing every day: Get an agenda …

Japanese News: June week 2

These are the topics that I found interesting this week! As usual, I have skipped all international matters. Fukushima (imperial visit and dismantling) The attack in the Shinkansen Wedding anniversary Hakamada case (paragraph break down and some reflexions on Japanese grammar) Majority at 18 Fukushima Imperial visit It is the sixth time that the Emperor and Empress visit Fukushima since the disaster. It would also certainly be the last time before the Emperor’s abdication next year. Among other activities, they met four representants of the victims from 富岡、大熊、双葉、浪江 and gave words of comfort and encouragement for the future like: “ご苦労も多かったと思いますが、それを乗り越えて良い生活を築いていかれるよう願っています。お元気で.” (source) From the various articles I read on the subject, it seems that the words uttered by the Emperor and Empress really mean a lot to those who receive them. Dismantling Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc announced that it will dismantle four reactors at the Fukushima’s second nuclear power plant. The Japanese name for Tepco or Tokyo Electronic Power Company Holdings is 東京電力ホールディングス(HD)and is abbreviated into 東電HD. The Japanese word for ”second nuclear plant” is 福島第2原発. The …

Currently reading: 「君たちはどう生きるか」by 吉野源三郎

If you live in Japan or stay in touch with recent Japanese publications, you certainly have come across the title 「君たちはどう生きるか」by 吉野源三郎(よしの・げんざぶろう). Though not living in Japan, I happened to see several times the cover of the manga version of this book but never really paid attention to it. The other day, however, I saw the same title again in a bookshop but with a different cover. Curiosity got the better of me and, before I could tell myself that buying a new book when I already have so many to read at home is not reasonable, I found myself queuing at the register with the book in hand. About 「君たちはどう生きるか」 The book is a novel written in 1937 by Genzaburo YOSHINO. The novel was originally written for children or young readers, but it is now seen as a book that adults can enjoy too. Last year, a manga adaptation by 羽賀翔一(はが・しょういち)put an eighty-year-old story back on the bookshops’ bestsellers shelves. At the same time, a new edition of the novel was published, and this …