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Adam’s Japanese Book Recommendations – Part 5 — 31 Comments

  1. Thanks Adam!

    With some luck, I was able to get my hands on some similar-themed Japanese Youtube channels, which I have been using as listening material for a while. Text-heavy Japanese games are where I spend most of my reading time lately, but getting myself a few books won’t hurt :). Japanese Kindle’s region/address/Credit Card hassles have prevented me from getting one in the past. Is the situation any better now?

    “and interesting to see that some of the Japanese phrases you’ve tried to master naturally are better not said at all”

    Any examples spring to mind?

  2. Thanks for doing these reviews Adam, they are very helpful! Right now I’m reading 1リットルの涙 (about 1/3 through). It’s very good but sad as well. Might go for a motivational book next. By the way, you can read Japanese Amazon store Kindle books on your device even if it’s registered on the US store, though you have to take a few extra steps to do it. Now I can’t imagine reading any other way. The built in dictionary is just too convenient :)

      • netflix was amazing until they went all proxy blocking crazy….
        Problem is licensing around tv shows is just insane. I guess there is just less money in books these days.

        ps. I’ve been watching matsukos shiranai sekai and it’s pretty good so far. I particularly like the food fighting competition! Kobayashi has always been my king, glad to see him mop the floor with everyone. I was surprised with Matsuko’s curry eating performance.

    • Can you explain how? I bought a kindle specifically for Japanese books, and then found out I couldn’t use them. I haven’t even opened the packaging on my kindle. A complete waste of time and money.

      • Sure. First you have to install the Kindle for Windows / Mac software (so this won’t work on Linux). https://www.amazon.com/gp/digital/fiona/kcp-landing-page

        Then when you buy a kindle book on amazon.co.jp choose to have it delivered to your Kindle for Windows / Mac. To do this you have to have an account on amazon.co.jp. You can register with fake information from for example http://randomprofile.com/japan-random-names but of course put in your real credit card number. It will work even if it’s not a Japanese credit card.

        Next install calibre and the DRM removal plugin. You can follow this guide: http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/06/25/how-add-kindle-drm-removal-plugin-calibre/

        Then import the book from where it was saved on your computer by the Kindle for PC/Mac program into calibre. When the book is imported the DRM is removed, so you can right click on the book and choose ‘Open containing folder’. Then simply plug in your Kindle and transfer the book (should be a .mobi or .az3w file) to the Documents folder on your Kindle, and you are good to go.

  3. I wasn’t sure where to ask this/these question(s) so I thought this seems like a good place. I’ve decided to dramatically increase my immersion reading. One thing I’d like ideas on is what device to choose.

    I’m not to fond of reading ebooks on my phone and definitely not on my computer. I would like something book sized, something that has a J-J dictionary and with lots of options. I was considering either a version of the Kindle (if it has J-J dictionaries) or a tablet with the kindle app. I was wondering, does anyone have any suggestions based off of what they love to use? Kindle for the no-glare, book-like screen and probably real Amazon integration or a tablet like an iPad with built in dictionaries with the newer operating system? I would also like something very easy with few workarounds. Thanks for any suggestions!

    • I’ve used a Kindle Fire for the past for years. It’s ridiculously cheap, you can set the Japanese dictionary, and it has good options.

      • Thanks for the reply. Does the kindle fire have the e-ink tech that the regular kindle has for a screen that looks like paper with no glare too? It was one of my main considerations. Thanks one again.

        • Please scratch that last stupid and unresearched comment of mine.

          A better question: would you choose a regular kindle e-ink or kindle fire if all you wanted to use it for was reading? I already have a regular android tablet so all the extra stuff doesn’t matter in my case. Like, do all kindle come with J-J dictionaries? (Most important thing for me) Thanks for your time.

          • I have a kindle paper-white — it comes with a J-J dictionary.

            Note: I purchased it in Japan, but I believe that doesn’t matter.

            • Thanks for the info! Do you love the Kindle?

              I have an Amazon Japan account so I hope it easily registers like my phone.

            • I use a Kindle Paperwhite (easier on the eyes, I’ve found) that I bought in the U.S., and it works perfectly with Amazon Japan. You just have to make sure you’re logged into your J-Amazon account instead of the U.S. one. Also, I am able to store and read books on my Kindle that are from both U.S. Amazon and J-Amazon. I love my Kindle, and I prefer it to regular old books now–the dictionary feature is great!

          • I’ve never used the e-ink version, so I’m not sure of how the Kindle Japan store works through it. But what I do like about the Kindle fire is:

            1. The ability to easily search the store, read reviews, read samples, and make purchases.
            2. Highlights
            3. Easy dictionary access
            4. Easy VPN access

            I also believe a Fire is significantly cheaper.

            But since the glare doesn’t bother me, if that’s the number one priority for you, then you’d probably want e-ink I would think.

  4. Can anyone recommend any books for me based off these parameters?

    I’m looking for either crime drama or historical fiction (like Uther or something). Preferably light novel or full novel.

    I’ve read so many fantasy books in the past and I don’t want to anymore.

    Thanks for any recommendations!

      • Sorry, another question regarding reading that has been bothering me for a while.
        A while back I read one of your posts or comments that said, if you’re reading 1 book a year, that’s not nearly enough. It should be more like 1 a week.(or something like that). I’ve been on the same book for about half a year. I look up almost every word I dont understand and I often scrutinize over what sentences mean. I seem to read only about 4 pages in a day when I get the chance to read. This seems very slow! (As a comparison, I can probably read about 100 in a night with English). Am I going about this the wrong way? To finish a book in any decent amount of time would take many more pages per day.
        I’m certainly able to read the words and sentences I know much faster, it’s the stopping and researching. Part of the reason this is bothersome is I have on average minimum 300-400 anki reviews a day which makes time for reading limited. I much prefer immersion over anki.

        • While I’m not Adam, he proposed in some post of his the following:

          Don’t stop reading every time you stumble upon a word you don’t know. This process has two key points:
          1. New definitions branching and cramming time gets separated from immersion time, which shouldn’t feel like a chore. This way, you avoid unintended connections like reading == studying, which eventually could lead up to boredom towards whichever thing you’re immersing in.
          2. In order to do this, what you gotta do is: take note of the words you don’t know (type them on your phone/computer, highlight them in your Kindle or if it’s a physical book, underline them with a pencil so you can erase it later) but DON’T stop to add cards for them. Just keep reading, even if you don’t understand what is being said. This is the hardest thing to do, since it’s really easy to get frustrated when you don’t understand what you’re reading (avoiding this frustration is something that has to be trained). Then after you’re done reading for that day (or at the end of the week), take a look at your highlighted words and then spend some time searching for their definitions and adding cards for them.

          After you did that, what you can do is re-read a chapter after you’ve added every unknown word. Then you will start getting what you had read the first time when you didn’t understand many things.

          I think this is probably the best way to approach immersion, since not only does it make the process more fun, but also will help with your problem. You will be stopping less and, subsequently, reading more because of that :)

          • Thank you so much! I knew I had to be doing something wrong. I’ll put this into practice and try to ignore the OCD tendencies.

  5. Speaking of book recommendations, Adam: is there any book touching the matter of 日本神話 you recommend that’s not very hard to read? Also interested in similar -not hard to read- books for 日本の歴史 (although a little bit less).

      • Yeah, I know 古事記 is a thing, but tackling a non-adapted version of it is a whole different story. I will look for some manga in the vein of what Adam suggested por 日本の歴史.

        Thanks!

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