June wrap up

June has not been a good month to me, I haven’t read much, and I fell in a bit of a blogging slump as well. I also broke my 2021 reading challenge for the first time by not completing my Kogoro Akechi book for the month 😅

To illustrate June, a cat resting under a bench near the Seoul City Wall.

Currently reading

Reading challenge

『黄金仮面』 by Edogawa Rampo (江戸川乱歩)

My reading challenge is to read the12 books of the Kogoro Akechi series by Edogawa Rampo this year. I was supposed to read one book a month, and I was doing well until now. The book I was supposed to read this month is 『黄金仮面』 , and it is only 307 pages long.

I started this book on June 7th, and I still haven’t finished it today. There are two reasons for this. First, I did not like the beginning at all, and I had a hard time getting into the story. Even when things started getting more interesting, I did not find this novel engaging enough to make me want to catch up and complete my challenge on time.

The second reason is that I read a very engrossing but very long novel at the same time: 『空飛ぶタイヤ』 by Jun Ikeido. During the time I spent reading this book, I barely touched the Akechi one. After that, it was hard to pick up the book again.

I reached the point where I should have read 50 pages a day to complete my challenge, which could have been be doable if I had liked the book more. As it is, I can only read 5 pages or so before getting tired of it.

I will try to finish it and read the next novel in July to catch up with my challenge. I feel like it will not be easy, but I’ll try!

Non fiction book about Japan, Korea and China

『最新データで分かる 日本人・韓国人・中国人』 edited by 造事務所.

When I bought this book, I was not so much interested in knowing more about these three countries as in seeing how this Japanese book would talk about it.

The book stays very superficial on each topic, it is made to be easy and agreeable to read, not to give you a thorough view of the current state of each country. I personally enjoy reading it because I am always eager to see what Japanese media say about South Korea. It is also easy to read and cut in short chapters (one double page each).

Books I finished

Best book of the year so far… 『空飛ぶタイヤ』!

『空飛ぶタイヤ』 by Jun Ikeido (池井戸潤)

This is the second Ikeido book I read and it looks like all the books by this author are page-turners. Even if you are not an avid reader of business/corporate novels, I really encourage you to give this one a try. It is suspenseful and exciting, it only took me 8 days to read because I could not put it down.

As for the Japanese level, I found it easier to read than 『アキラとあきら』, which had a lot of bank-related things in it. 『空飛ぶタイヤ』 is not difficult overall. I would say that N2 is a good place to be to read this book comfortably. The writing is easy overall, but it is a long book with some difficult vocabulary here and there.

Started a new series… but not excited.

『プレゼント』 by Nanami Wakatake (若竹七海)

『プレゼント』 is the first book in the Akira Hamura series, a detective series that I wanted to start this year. I did not really like it, and it took me a while to read. It is a collection of short stories, so even though I was able to complete one story in one sitting, I always waited a long time before starting a new one. It only took me 7 days to read, but over a period of 41 days… so yes, I really was not motivated by this one.

Beautiful illustrated book that makes you want to travel

『かなしきデブ猫ちゃん』written by Kazumasa Hayami (早見和真), illustrated by Karin Kano (かのうかりん)

『かなしきデブ猫ちゃん』 is the story of a cat who travels all around Ehime prefecture. It reads both like an adventure book for children and a love song to Ehime prefecture… and it sure makes you want to travel.

It is relatively easy to read, the entire text has furigana and the illustrations do help to understand the story as well.

You can learn more about the book on the official website.

Plans for July

Thankfully, the Jun Ikeido has been here to save the month, because none of the other books I read has been particularly exciting. My main plan for July is to update my blog more often, I have several book reviews that need to be posted. Catching up with the Akechi series will also be my priority, so I might not read much else in July overall.

  • Finish the 6th Akechi and read the 7th.
  • Catching up with my book reviews.

Book review: 『逃げるな新人外科医』 by Yujiro Nakayama


Title: 『逃げるな新人外科医』 (ねげるな しんじん げかい)
Author: Yujiro Nakayama (中山裕次郎)
Publisher: 幻冬舎文庫
405 pages

Yujiro Nakayama is a surgeon and author of medical fiction and nonfiction. This novel is the second volume in the series 泣くな研修医. There is a drama adaptation as well.


I loved the first book of the series, 『泣くな研修医』, and I loved this one as well. I find that they are very similar, so if you liked one, you will certainly like the other too, though the first one may have been a little more impressive to me.

In this novel, our protagonist Ryuji has finished his internship and is now a surgeon, but he still has a lot of challenges to face. I found that the first novel pictured very well the awkward position of new doctors: even though they went through long studies to learn their job, it feels like they have to learn everything from scratch when they are faced with real patients.

In this second volume, Ryuji has gathered some experience, but he still makes mistakes and wonders if he can ever be a good doctor. His position is made even more delicate when he works with a new talented intern.

I find very interesting to see how Ryuji evolves, and I loved following his quest to gain confidence and become a good surgeon. I highly recommend to read the series in order for this reason.

All this being said, I also found that the scenes outside the hospital might be a bit weaker than the rest. In this novel, they mainly describe a romantic relationship, and they did not manage to make me feel involved or even interested. I found that the author is very good at picturing life and work inside the hospital, but the romantic scenes were not at the same level in my opinion.

I also found that the novel stays very minimalist in terms of characters. There are only two main patients in the whole novel and I find that the number of colleagues with whom Ryuji interacts is also limited. This makes for a quick and easy read, but this book is so good that I cannot help but wanting more: more stories, more patients, more cases, more colleagues, more challenging illnesses and fights for life.

Finally, I found that, similarly to the first novel, it would be great to know more about Ryuji’s family. The end of this novel was very brutal I found, and I wish it had given us more time to digest it.

In spite of these minor critics, I loved 『逃げるな新人外科医』, it reads extremely quickly, and it is a real page turner. I just wish that the story as a whole and the character of Ryuiji were a little deeper and more complex.

When it comes to the Japanese level, there is some medical vocabulary, but not as much as you would expect, and there are a lot of recurring words as well, so even if you are not familiar with medical words in Japanese, this should not be a problem. And if you intend to read the whole series (3 books) like me, the vocabulary you build up will be useful for the next books as well.

May wrap up

I think that June, more than any other month, always takes me by surprise. I even wrote “April wrap up” as title for this post, and it took me a while before I realised my mistake!

We had a lot of rainy days lately, and I fear that June is going to be the same. To illustrate May, this is a view of Bugaksan (北岳山) from the back area of Gyeongbokgung (景福宮). There is this vast and calm strolling area North of the palace which was quite deserted. I guess that most people stay near the main buildings and don’t realise that the park extends much farther North.

Finished in May

Kogoro Akechi challenge

『魔術師』 by Edogawa Rampo (江戸川乱歩)

I read the 5th book of the Kogoro Akechi collection and this one was one of the most interesting story so far. I also found it easier to read than other titles of the series. I guess that I am simply getting used to the author’s style and preferred vocabulary.

In any case, my reading challenge is doing well, and I am confident that I will be able to complete it 🙂

Saburo Sugimura series #2

『名もなき毒』 by Miyuki Miyabe (宮部みゆき)

I loved the first half of this novel and read it quickly, but it took me forever to read the second half. This novel is good, but so slow…

My reading tracker tells me that during the period I was reading this book, I left it untouched for 10 days. I find that this number is the best indicator of how I felt towards a book. I track the number of days it took me to read a book (the days where I actually read the book) and the period it took me to read it (the number of days between the starting and finishing dates), but what is really interesting is the difference between the two. 10 days is on the higher end to me.

Overall, 名もなき毒 was on the easy side in terms of language level, but the slow pace made it hard to stay committed to the story until the end.

Medical page-turner

『逃げるな新人外科医』 by Yujiro Nakayama (中山裕次郎)

As far as reading time goes, this book wins the podium as it only took me two days to read.

It is a real page-turner, it has a quick pace with a lot of things happening and an overall engrossing story. New paragraphs often start with things like 翌日, 翌朝 or 三十分後, meaning that the story directly jumps to the next action or event, without filling the empty space in-between, which makes for a real page-turner.

The book is also filled with dialogues and mainly based on them rather than descriptions or explanations.

Medical jargon and specialised vocabulary are also often explained to the reader, which makes the book very easy to read even if you are not familiar with medical terms. For example:

サラサラの薬とは、血液をサラサラにする薬のことである。心筋梗塞や脳梗塞といった重大な病気を防ぐが、手術のときには血が止まりにくくなるという欠点がある。(p.24) Here the author does not only explains what this medication does, but he also underlines the consequences for the surgery, which makes the story very easy to understand.


This is also the second book I read by this author, so I am used to all the basic medical words that were in the first novel and also appear in this one.

Overall, this is an engrossing read that is much easier to read than you would expect from specialised fiction.

One story, two books

『あの日の君に恋をした、そして』and 『そして、その日まで君を愛する』 by Koichi Nitori (似鳥航一)

It has been a long time since I read a light novel and these two books seemed very intriguing. They are part of the same story, but tell different events and are told from two different points of view. I found this idea interesting and decided to give it a try.

Roughly speaking, the story is about a father and a son who wake up in each other’s body when they are both 12 years old, with a gap of 30 years. One story is told from the father’s point of view, the other from the son’s point of view.

あの日 is mainly a mystery novel, and I found it very entertaining. そして is more an every day life romance, and I found it quite boring to be honest (just my personal taste speaking here, both novels are good).

What I want to point out is that these books are extremely easy to read in Japanese. あの日 in particular was super easy. I don’t think that there was a single word in the whole novel that I didn’t know. I think that it can be a very good first novel to read in Japanese, and definitely something you can try if you are around a N3 level. The story is engrossing enough to make you want to continue reading even if you are struggling a bit.

そして was also easy, but it is really uneventful so I found it needed more commitment to go through it. I also find that the whole story makes more sense if you read あの日 first.

Currently reading

Akira Hamura series #1

『プレゼント』 by Nanami Wakatake (若竹七海)

I am starting a new detective series with プレゼント. It is a collection of short stories and the first book in the Akira Hamura series. What I find strange is that only every other short story features Akira Hamura, while the other stories are about another detective.

I have read 3 of the 8 short stories and I have loved none of them… The stories are good, but I don’t really like the author’s style, the way it is written. Maybe it is just a question of getting used to it, so I will finish the book, but I am a little disappointed.

Engrossing corporate novel

『空飛ぶタイヤ』 by Jun Ikeido (池井戸潤)

I have decided to challenge myself with another Ikeido and chose one of his most famous novels. It is not difficult to read overall, but there are some passages that I need to re-read twice or more to understand. I don’t have much problem with business-economic related words (thanks to the JLPT), but I sometimes need to look up expressions that I don’t know. For example, I just came across 溜飲を下げる, followed by しのぎを削る or 切羽詰まる.

I really like that Jun Ikeido makes his novel accessible even for people (like me) who are not into business/bank/corporate things. When a specialised word appears, it is always explained. For example:

過積載というのは、車両に定められた重量を超えた荷物を積み込むことだ。これをやると、トラックだけではなく、その運送業者そのものが営業停止を食らうことになる。(p.17) I like that the author does not only explains the word, but also the implications it has for our characters. This makes the story very easy to follow.


There are a lot of characters in this novel, I noted 46 names in the first 200 pages. This is far more than most novels, and I am only at the beginning! I also take notes after each chapter to note what happened, because it is a very long book and I am reading it slowly.

Plans for June

That’s it for May, I don’t have any particular goal for June, except to finish the two books I have started. I will try to read another one as well (certainly a mystery or something easy), but I don’t think that I will have time for more, given that the Jun Ikeido is very long.