Author: Inhae

Currently reading: 『探偵倶楽部』by Keigo HIGASHINO

I still have three books to read this year to complete my 2018 reading challenge and 『探偵倶楽部』(たんていくらぶ) is one of them. It is a collection of five short stories, featuring the mysterious “Membership Detective Club”. I already read the first two short stories and I plan to read the third one in November. The membership detective club is a detective agency composed of only two persons: an unnamed detective and his assistant. They work for wealthy and selected persons. The interesting feature of this book is that little is known about this detective, not even his name (as far as the first two short stories are concerned.) The stories seem to focus more on the staging of the murder and the events afterwards. As a reader, we follow the characters involved in it, but at the same time, we never quite know who did it, which makes things very exciting. I read the first short story at the very beginning of the year, but I found it rather difficult at the time. The writing was …

Taking a break… but not completely!

I have already mentioned it on Friday, but I am not studying at the moment. This does not mean, however, that I am doing nothing in Japanese! I think it is necessary to stay in touch with your target language on a daily basis. If you don’t want to or cannot study for a long period of time, try to define one or two short and easy activities that you will perform every day no matter what. It might take only 20 or even 10 minutes to do, but at least, you will have worked on your target language on a daily basis. I try to always keep good feelings attached to my target language, and I don’t want to feel the burden of mandatory homework on it (this is why I prefer to learn on my own than in a classroom.) If I am more interested in other things than learning Japanese, and if I skip my study sessions to practice these other activities, I will inevitably feel guilty. As a result, Japanese will …

Japanese Immersion: November week 1

This post will be short because I have done nothing interesting this week to study or get immersed in Japanese. I have only studied Anki and I have written a short text in Japanese every day (a little more than the half of an A6 page). I would like to say that I have been busy, but I haven’t. I just didn’t want to study Japanese this week, I was more into journaling, writing and drawing. The good thing is that I listened to some Japanse music while doing these activities, and here are some songs that I particularly like: First of all, my favourite singer on this list: Alfred Beach Sandal. I like his album Unknown Moments, but my favourite song is “Horizon” from the EP ABS+STUTS: I find that this is a song perfect to listen to while drawing, I can’t stop hitting the “repeat” button 🙂 If you like this style, you can check STUTS too (who worked with Alfred Beach Sandal on this song), but his work will be either instrumental or …

Book Review: 『コンビニ人間』by Sayaka MURATA

I bought 『コンビニ人間』by Sayaka MURATA (村田沙耶香) on an impulse in October and finished it before having time to write about it in my Wednesday “currently reading” section. In the meanwhile, I read an excellent review of 『コンビニ人間』(Japanese version) by Kazen from Always Doing. 『コンビニ人間』 is a short novel of 160 pages that won its author the Akutagawa prize. The book “人間はさー、仕事か、家族か、どちらかで社会に所属するのが義務なんだよ。” (p66) In a society that constantly throws this kind of reminder to your face, how are you supposed to find your place when, at 36, you have neither one nor the other? Through the story of its protagonist Keiko FURUKURA,『コンビニ人間』describes the struggles of those who are “not normal” and won’t fit in the society either because they cannot or they don’t want to. “あ、私、異物になっている” (p.84) At 36, Keiko is still doing the job she started 18 years ago, like many other students, in a convenience store. Sayaka MURATA describes perfectly well the unpleasant situations a woman will have to face if she cannot justify her existence either by her work or her family. When she …

How to start writing in Japanese

One of my goals for November is to write in Japanese every day for a month. I have been thinking about how to write in a foreign language if you don’t have a native to correct you, and I thought that I would write about it today. If you are like me, writing is not as much difficult than discouraging. You take the grammar and the vocabulary you know, build your sentences, and while you don’t really struggle to write, you end up full of doubts and incertitudes: “what I wrote does not sound Japanese”, “it sounds like an example sentence, but I doubt whether a native would say that”, “is it even correct?”, “why do I keep using the same grammar over and over again?” and so on. A method to write in English To begin with, I would like to present a book I find truly inspiring. Originally, it is a book for Japanese who learn English and is called 『Q&A Diary 英語で3行日記』. This book was translated into Korean for Koreans who learn …

Japanese Immersion: October week 5

As I mentioned on Monday, I have finished watching the 10 episodes drama 『シグナル 長期未解決事件捜査班』and I have started a new one this week! I also continued reading the political magazine Sapio. Japanese drama シグナル: final thoughts I have watched maybe 4 or 5 Korean drama entirely in my life and started dozens of them without being able to make it through the first episode. Korean dramas are not for me, even though the story of most of them appeals to me, I just don’t like watching them. The same happened for the drama “Signal” when I tried watching the Korean original version when it came out. I have watched I think 3 episodes, but I found most of the scenes too long and the main character irritating. These and other little things made me give up this highly acclaimed, suspenseful and remarkably well-written drama. The Japanese remake is a condensed version of the Korean one. While the Korean version has 16 episodes of 1 hour (more or less), the Japanese remake has only 10 episodes …

Book Review: 『日本語びいき』by Yumi SHIMIZU

『日本語びいき』 is definitely one of my best books of the year! The author, Yumi SHIMIZU (清水由美), is teaching Japanese to foreign students and wrote this book for her fellow native Japanese speakers. Through 21 short chapters, she invites her reader to rediscover the Japanese language and let oneself be amazed by patterns that natives usually take for granted. Here is how she concludes her book: “何か一つでも、日本語について「ほう!」と思っていただけましたなら、うれしいです。” About 『日本語びいき』 First of all, I appreciated greatly the structure of the book. Each of the 21 chapters can be read independently and will not exceed 10 pages. I read them in order, but you could jump to the topics that appeal to you most (the author sometimes refers to previous chapters, but I still think that they can be read in any order). Being very short, the chapters are pleasant to read and I never felt overwhelmed with information or grammatical details. It also has funny illustrations by ヨシタケシンスケ. The topics of the book are very wide, the author talks about grammatical particularities, pronunciation, hiragana as well as usages. …

Monthly Review: October 2018

October has been a month for discovering new paths: I have started studying Japanese history and I have watched my very first Japanese drama. The two books I had ordered about Japanese History have finally arrived, but before that, I had started reading as many things as possible on the Internet. I am taking notes in a notebook too, which allows me to use the new three Pilot Iroshizuku inks I bought this month (namely, 深海 shin-kai、月夜 tsuki-yo and 松露 syo-ro). I have finished watching the drama 『シグナル 長期未解決事件捜査班』(シグナル ちょうきみかいけつじけんそうさはん) and this is the first Japanese drama that I watch from start to finish. I am looking for other detective dramas now! But most importantly, I have achieved my goals for the month, which were: It was not a difficult challenge, but it helped me to stay focused and make an effort to finish the books I had started before commencing new ones. I finished『流星の絆』at the beginning of the month, 『未来のミライ』two weeks ago and 『日本語びいき』this weekend (I will write my review on Wednesday). I wanted to …