What I’m listening to now

Want to feel dumb? Then listen to this podcast where a middle-school student discusses a diverse range of topic such as 電力自由化, the electricity market (PX), derivatives, M&A, and LED. I especially liked vol94 and learned a lot about the electricity exchange. Check it out!


When I was in middle-school, all I remember doing was fooling around and play games. Not to mention trying to survive through middle-school.

What I’m watching now

I was delighted to learn that one of my favorite shows 「ケロロ軍曹」 is available on hulu! (May not be available in your region). Of course, you should watch the subtitled episodes and try to avoid reading the subtitles as much as possible. I highly recommend!

It’s shocking how much Japanese learning material is available online now. When I was learning Japanese, I was stuck with just my crappy textbook from my Japanese class. (Going to my Japanese class was uphill both ways, by the way.)

It’s really annoying though that Netflix always streams the dubbed version of animes requiring you to get the DVDs. Personally, I can’t stand dubbed anime. I can’t put my finger on it but it just sounds wrong. I think most anime watchers prefer subtitles, wouldn’t you agree?

What I’m watching now

I found this fairly interesting video podcast the other day. It’s a Japanese cooking show about Korean food. Talk about being multicultural!

I already learned a new word: 「長蛇」. I had no idea that the on-yomi of 「へび」 is 「ダ」. I love how Japanese TV shows emphasize things said by showing it in large text on the screen. Makes it real easy to learn new words.

What I’m reading today

Ok so I lied when I said I wouldn’t be posting more of what I’m reading. I realized that all my previous posts were for very high intermediate or advanced levels. So today, I read a very cute children’s story about a baby snake. Children’s books aren’t great for learning Kanji and often don’t really engage adult readers but you know what? Maybe you have a child and you’d like to read a Japanese children’s book to him or her. Or maybe you’re a beginner and you want to be able to enjoy reading something in Japanese without having to spend weeks on the first page.

The site 「パブー」 has a bunch of other free stuff to read and it’s even available in PDF format.

Anyway, the one I read about the baby snake is really cute and it’s even got some Kanji in it. So it’s actually pretty awesome. Maybe I’ll load the free children’s books onto a tablet to read to my baby instead of buying them from Kinokuniya, which can get pretty expensive very fast (unless you have to buy the tablet).

Difficulty: 1/5
My rating: 5/5

What I’m reading today

So while I have a physical book to read in convenient locations around the house (such as certain locations where I get to sit undisturbed for a few minutes *ahem*), I like to have something online to read as well in case I don’t happen to have a book on me. I figured it was finally time to start reading some of the more famous Japanese literature works. I tried to read 「こころ」 before but it was too depressing for me to get very far. Now, I am reading 「吾輩は猫である」 and I’m enjoying it a lot more.

I also got the Android app to get these ebooks from 「青空文庫」. Unfortunately, the mobile version doesn’t seem to have the handy furigana text, which is too bad because this is fairly challenging reading even with the modern kana and kanji conversions (such as いう instead of いふ). There’s tons of Kanji I’m not familiar with, too many to list here but here’s an interesting sentence:


Apparently, 言っておらるる is the equivalent to 言っておられる. I’m not too far into the story yet but I’m enjoying it so far. I like cats and this book doesn’t seem as depressing as 「こころ」. I’ve got a couple novels I’m going through now so this will probably be my last blog post on what I’m reading for a while. But I think I’ve introduced a number of resources with tons of reading material so please share interesting things you’ve read or are reading in the comments!

Difficult: 4.5/5 (with 新字新仮名)
My Rating: Will update later

What I’m reading today

So apparently, while I was busy with life (new job, new family member, etc.), the next Haruhi book came out over a month ago. For those of you non-anime fans, 「涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱」 has been the hottest thing probably since Evangelion. Actually, you don’t have to be an anime fan because the stories originally come from novels.

I bought the latest volume: 「涼宮ハルヒの驚愕」, which has finally come out after 4 years of delay. So actually, I’m going to be reading the previous book again just so I can remember the story. To give you a taste of what the books are like, here’s the first sentence from the first volume. The sentence is so wordy it’s also the first paragraph. So that should give you an idea of the writing style.


The anime starts off the same way as well so you can hear the first couple lines of the book.

If you don’t happen to have a Japanese bookstore handy nearby, it looks like you can order it online. I haven’t tried ordering from the site myself so that’s for you to try.

I personally really enjoy the books. It has a nonlinear narrative, which I always like (my favorite novel is Catch-22) and it’s further complicated by the time traveling bits. Plus, with 11 books in the series so far (last one is split in 2), there’s plenty of reading material!

Difficulty: 4/5
My rating: 5/5

What I’m reading today

So today, I read a pretty mundane article about the author’s attempt to gradually lose weight instead of making drastic weight changes.

Not super interesting but still good reading practice. Here’s a bit convoluted and kinda of confusing analogy between the author obsession with eating and a classmate that you like but try to ignore. Even my explanation sounds awkward.


In addition, it looks like the American stereotype that we all carry guns in a modern wild west is still well and alive in Japan.


It was almost comical to see the surprise on some of my Japanese friends when I told them I don’t own nor have ever fired a gun. That was many years ago but it doesn’t look like the stereotype has really changed in the last 10 years.

New vocab (for me): ドンパチ
Difficulty: 3/5

What I’m reading today

I read the first volume of サラダデイズ today. I probably won’t be reading too many comics myself but thought the site (jコミ) is worth sharing with you all as it has a bunch of free comics to read online.

This particular title, which I picked at random, is a collection of short love stories. The stories are OK and the drawing is pretty good. I don’t think I can read more than one volume but others may enjoy it more or some of the other numerous comics on the site. It also has all the readings in furigana, which is nice.

Nothing too much of interest language-wise but I did learn a couple new words such as 「中傷」.

New Kanji (for me): 貞
Category: Love stories (comic)
Difficulty: 2/5 (has furigana)
My Rating: 3/5 stars

What I’m reading today

Lately, I’ve been spending some time trying to improve my writing skills in Japanese, which definitely needs some more work. What’s the first step to improving writing skills? By reading of course! So I’ll be sharing with you guys what I’m reading right now on the internet.

I’ve been trying to find some interesting short stories on this online literature magazine called 「破滅波」. I just learned a new expression today: 「音を上げる」 and here 「音」 is read as 「ね」 not 「おと」. It’s from a story called 「僕はガードマン」:


Unfortunately, it’s in Flash so I’ve been using the IME drawing pad to look up Kanji.

One word I thought might be tricky is on page 8:


Here, a group of yakuza is approaching the guardman. By context, 「大事」 doesn’t mean “important” and instead should mean “a big matter” so it should be read as 「おおごと」 and not 「だいじ」.

It’s a fairly short story in an ordinary everyday life setting about how the supposed best people in society act in the worst way and vice-versa.

New Kanji (for me): 憤
Category: Everyday life observations
Difficulty: 3/5
My rating: 3/5 stars

Feel free to share any interesting reading you’ve come across.

Podcasts I’m listening to now

Ever since I rediscovered all those Japanese podcasts in iTunes, I’ve been trying to find some interesting ones. So far, I’m really enjoying ゆうのテキトーお悩み相談室 (itunes link). It’s really funny! It’s also pretty risque so don’t ask some Japanese kid to help you with understanding it!

There’s also a bunch of audio dramas (such as this one) that seem like it might be worth a listen. At least, the format is different from the usual talk radio.

I’m also listening to this Korean podcast.

Any other podcasts that you would recommend?