Month: July 2018

Currently reading: 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」by 日向奈くらら

Even if I still haven’t finished the novel 「光」, I started a new book of my reading challenge: 「私のクラスの生徒が、一晩で24人死にました。」by 日向奈くらら (ひむかな くらら). It has an English title, which is “24 students in my class died overnight”. To be frank, when I returned from my haul in Kyoto and listed up all the 13 books I had bought for the year, I regretted a little having bought this one. I can’t say exactly why, but I felt that this book was maybe not for me. I have started it, and I am pleasantly surprised. To say things plainly, I am totally engrossed in the story. It is a mix of horror, detective and mystery novel told from the point of view of the professor of the class in question or sometimes, the detective in charge of the case. What interests me is that school bullying (いじめ) is at the centre of the plot, and this is a topic I am always keen on reading about. There is enough suspense to say this book is a page-turner. I …

My listening exercise for the second half of 2018

In my checkpoint about how good I was doing in 2018, I had to admit that I hadn’t work much on listening. I regularly come up with a renewed motivation to listen to more Japanese, but as long as it does not find a concrete plan and schedule, it often remains at the stage of “I would like to…” or “it would be great if…”. This is why I have designed, if I may say so, a listening exercise that I have been doing every day since last Monday and, hopefully, will be doing on a daily basis until the end of the year. My exercise is very simple, I use the audiobook and the book version of the same novel. I first listen to the audiobook and transcribe what I hear. After that, I check myself with the book version and look up words I didn’t know. Finally, I write lines of kanji that I forgot or couldn’t write. It may sound boring, but I actually enjoy doing this exercise very much. The exercise …

Japanese News: July week 1

The topics I studied this week are: The labour reform: a recap Post-Abe: a list of the 5 candidates who could succeed Abe Football: Politicians’ reactions to the last match and a Korean digression The execution of Aum Leader Matsumoto. Labour reform On Friday 29th, the Diet enacted the Labour Reform bill. Despite many criticisms, the 高プロ was not removed from the text. As it stands, the reform contains three major topics: The system “同一労働同一賃金” will ensure that regular and non-regular employees get the same salary if they do the same work. I think that nobody criticises this point. A maximum cap for extra time “残業時間の規制”. Even if the opposition welcomes this instauration, they criticise that it is only fixed at 100 hours per month, which is higher than the 過労死ライン. The so-called 高プロ or 高度プロフェッショナル制度. This is the most controversial part of the reform. According to this system, some skilled professional workers with high salary will no longer be concerned by the working-hour regulation system: 高収入の一部専門職を労働時間規制から外す. According to the opposition, the 高プロ will only increase the number …

Book review: 「虚ろな十字架」by 東野圭吾

「虚ろな十字架」is both a typical Keigo HIGASHINO and a surprising one. Typical in its setting, its characters and the way the story unfolds. From the very beginning, I felt that I was on familiar grounds, reading an author that I appreciate and whose writing style seems to be unchanging throughout the years. The novelty of this novel was in the topic it chooses to handle: the capital punishment. The whole story, though absorbing in itself, can also be read as a debate over the death penalty. In this respect, the novel has a social dimension and an interest that reaches much farther than the pleasure of reading a mystery novel. As for the story in itself, it reminded me of some other novels by Higashino that I have read. It is not a traditional detective story with an investigation made by the police. Murder is to be solved, but instead of tracking down a murderer, the reader will start a journey into the characters’ past. Also, Higashino forces his characters to face difficult moral choices, a …

Half-way through 2018! Time to check our yearly challenges.

We are halfway through 2018, it is time to check our New Year’s resolutions! How are your challenges doing? It is now the perfect time to adjust them if it didn’t work or even drop it all and make a new start with mid-year goals. As for me, I had a lot of ideas and things I wanted to do for 2018. As I passed the JLPT in December last year, I felt free from learning vocabulary and grammar and thought I could just enjoy myself, so ideas were flowing. The problem is that all these great ideas never made it to the organisational phase. I cannot even say that I have given them up, it is just that I never made concrete plan, goals and schedule for them (for example: listening to more Japanese, watching more Japanese films or drama, even cooking Japanese dishes…). I guess that the formula “I want to do more…, watch more…, read more…” is not concrete enough. I should have made a list of the 10 films I want …