Share Your Recommendations – November 2016 — 5 Comments

  1. Anime:
    ** 未確認で進行形 (Engaging to the Unidentified)
    Yet another moe comedy series. Our hapless 16 year old girl gets married off to a silent boy, and he and his sister move in with her and her family. Gags, overreactions, and routine acceptance of the absurd follow.

    *** 東大教養囲碁講座~ゼロからわかりやすく~ (The Tokyo University Go Lectures – Easily Understood from Zero)
    As title says, introduction to the board game Go.
    ***** 方丈記 (An Account of My Hut)
    Kamakura-era essay on the author’s Buddhist philosophy. Great first work to read in classical Japanese prose.

    *** ザ・ボイス そこまで言うか!(The Voice – You’re Going to Discuss That Far?)
    In a similar vein (might be related?) to そこまで言って委員会, except in podcast form. Political and economic news and discussion.

    Have also been watching random コント (konto, short comedy sketches) on Youtube. Ended up stumbling on 陣内智則 (Tomonori Jinnai)’s sketches. They usually involve him trying a normal thing (riding an airplane, learning a school baseball team’s pep song) that keeps getting more ridiculous. They’re hilarious.

    Anyone have any books on economics or political theory to recommend? I’d give it a shot as long as it’s not a straight textbook.

  2. Anime:
    Continuing watching Yugioh… it’s still entertaining.

    I’ve been addicted to Comico recently so I have 2 recommendations (one which I mentioned in a previous comment)

    ** パステル家族: Basically a enjoyable comedy about a 5 person family and their circle of friends. Only rated 2 stars because of lack of furigana and a little less chance to understand from context.

    ** ぼくらのじかん: Short, heartwarming stores about elementary school children of various ages. Every single story is just made of adorableness and I ended up binging it on a 2 hour plane flight, trying not make squealing noises at all the cute things. While generally easier than the previous recommendation, the dialogue is completely handwritten which does mean you better know your kanji.

    Outside of Comico…
    ** タッチ: A really wonderful coming-of-age story about two twins (one the baseball team’s ace, the other a pervy slacker) and their childhood friend, the girl-next-door. It’s slow, but in a good way – just like a long-cooked meal is tender and flavorful, so is this manga as the characters develop and interact with eachother. I’m not too far into it but I’m eager for more. Also, YMMV but the art is amazing.

    I’ve also been reading me some 宇宙兄弟 (**** – skimming basially, at my level) as I’ve been on a bit of a space kick thanks to relistening to The Martian audiobook. Yeah, not Japanese, but man do I really want to reread/rewatch it in Japanese. Looks like the Bluray is actually just as cheap on amazon jp as it would be at Walmart, so I’ll probably go ahead and buy it for myself. I’ll just have a space movie marathon as I have the live action 宇宙兄弟 movie too!


    – Mushishi (☆☆) — Realized I never finished season 2 here. It’s a beautiful show and its dialog is not too tricky to follow.

    – Hibana (☆☆☆☆) — Excellent Netflix adaptation of a novel of the same name. Directed by Ryuichi Hiroki, one of my favorite Japanese filmmakers. The dialog can be tough to follow sometimes — the show follows manzai performers so much of the conversations tend to be super-fast and filled with wordplay (and Osaka-ben). Netflix provides JP subs though, which wound up being really helpful for me.

    – Kill la Kill (☆☆☆) — Finished this series up, finally. Pretty insane and awesome.

    – Creepy (☆☆☆) — New Kiyoshi Kurosawa movie! Lives up to its name.

    – Shin Godzilla (☆☆☆☆) — New Godzilla movie?! Directed by Hideaki Anno?! Just got a chance to see this here in the states. Added an extra star due to all the (hilarious) bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo.


    – Norwegian Wood (☆☆☆) — I’ve read this book two or three times in English so it’s really cool to pick it up in Japanese. Great read as always. Also still mind-blowing to think about reading Murakami’s actual words instead of filtered through a translator.

    – コンビニ人間 (☆☆☆) — This is the first time I’ve gone out and found an actual contemporary JP novel, not something I’ve read before in English and not something that I knew anything about beforehand. This was the most recent winner of the Akutagawa Prize for literature and supposedly is pretty good. I’m enjoying it so far though am only like 40 pages in. Really funny, though!


    – Some audio from above shows, but not too much to be honest. I need to get back on the passive immersion train :'(


    – Nothing right now, but I’ve had my eye on Final Fantasy VII in Japanese. I think I’m finally good level-wise, but it’s a huge commitment in any language soooo… we’ll see how that goes.

    • I loved reading Norwegian Wood in the original too – enjoy!

      As for FF7, I recently played through it on the iPhone re-release, and you probably know but on this version there is an option to max out your stats immediately. I took this and it made it much easier to focus on the language (and didn’t dampen the nostalgia and emotional impact of the storyline), and having completed it originally on Playstation didn’t feel the need to go through all the hard bits and grinding again!

  4. Watching:

    Midnight Diner – Tokyo Stories (on Netflix.) This is brilliant – gentle stories set around a diner that only opens from midnight to morning set with mouthwatering shots of everyday Japanese cooking. I read the manga when I was in Japan (also highly recommended) and Netflix have now picked up the series and can be watched from overseas, with Japanese subtitles too.


    風の歌を聴け – Murakami’s debut novel. Based on a typical cool and detached Murakami hero spending his summer drinking with his friend in Jay’s bar and a girl he meets. Sentences are short, easy to understand, but really enjoyable because as usual with Murakami the simplicity adds depth. Chapters are also very short which can make it feel you’re making progress easily.

    Listening –

    Still listening to Day Catch ( but since it moved off iTunes to web based player I am looking for a replacement as it’s really inconvenient to listen on your phone on the go. Still great daily news content and discussion though.

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