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Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers 1 free CD included Pap/Com Bl Edition

29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-4770030580
ISBN-10: 4770030584
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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From the Back Cover

* 6 short stories in vertical text with translations of all the complex passages
* Japanese-English dictionary for quick lookup, tailored to your needs
* Notes explain subtleties of nuance, usage, grammar, and culture
* Free CD with audio narrations performed by a professional actress
* Profiles of the individual writers place the stories in context

About the Author


MICHAEL EMMERICH graduated from Princeton University. After completing research in Japanese literature studies at Ritsumeikan University in Tokyo, he went on to earn a Ph.D. in Japanese literature from Columbia University. He is the highly acclaimed translator of Nobel laureate Yasunari Kawabatas First Snow on Fuji; Banana Yoshimotos Asleep, Goodbye Tsugumi and Hardboiled & Hard Luck; Genichiro Takahashis Sayonara Gangsters; Mari Akasakas Vibrator; and Taichi Yamadas In Search of a Distant Voice.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha USA; Pap/Com Bl edition (June 2, 2008)
  • Language: English, Japanese
  • ISBN-10: 4770030584
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770030580
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 1.1 x 5.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,203,939 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Zarxrax on July 24, 2008
Format: Paperback
I love this book! It presents you with 6 short stories (each one around 12 pages long or so, but the last one is only about 2 pages). On one page it presents the Japanese text, and on page opposite of it you will find a translation of the phrases. Towards the back of the book, you will find another 50 pages or so of additional notes, which explain things such as words or grammatical patterns and other such things. There is also a japanese-english dictionary containing the words that you find in the stories. I love this format, because everything you need is right here in the book, so you don't have to constantly be looking up phrases on your computer or electronic dictionary. You can just lay back, relax, and read! However, the format of having the notes in the back of the book make it a little annoying, since you have to keep flipping back and forth, but you should be alright if you use two bookmarks to keep your place.
The stories themselves are real Japanese, just as the title says. These aren't watered-down stories designed to be easy for beginners. I've only read the first story so far, and I found it extremely challenging. The translations and notes and everything really helped out a lot. Although it took me over an hour to read the first page, as I continued on, I found that my speed was increasing quite well. I've completed advanced classes in Japanese in college, and I could hardly understand any of the sentences in the first story. However, the notes are all so helpful, I feel like I learned enough from just one page of this book to make the price worth it. If something is difficult to explain in English, the author will sometimes provide you with additional sentences for the purpose of helping you understand how a certain phrase or grammar point is used.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Anatoli on September 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
The other reviewer have already praised the book enough and I agree wit their assessment. This is a must have book for Japanese learners.

Something that might discourage some buyers: the texts chosen are not simple at all, they are very challenging. The audio recording is natural but very fast, you need to work hard to be able to understand the text by listening. it's a big jump in difficulty from reading/listening to Genki, Japanese for everyone, Minna-no Nihongo and other popular textbooks, which was exactly what I was looking for.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
This is the Japanese reader I have been hoping for! I can hardly believe that such an excellent book has finally been made available after suffering through sub-par readers for so long. This book is just awesome, and if you are studying Japanese then you are going to want it as soon as possible.

Japanese has always suffered from a dearth of good readers. Some, like A Japanese Reader are so dense and academic as to put off all but the most dedicated student. Some, like Mangajin's Basic Japanese Through Comics, are fun to begin with but don't get you very far. The biggest problem has always been that middle ground, that 2-kyu level where you need some help getting over the hump from constructed text and into the real world.

I had the previous edition of Read Real Japanese, and this release is a vast improvement. The old version relied far to heavily on romaji, which anyone reading at this level should be long past. This new edition eliminates this problem, using only the kanji and hiragana character sets. All kanji are initially presented with furigana, but afterwards appear on their own so you have to work for it. The stories are presented with the right hand being the original text, then the left hand presenting translations on difficult passages. In the back, there are more detailed translation notes and a dictionary of all the words used.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Simon on July 20, 2011
Format: Paperback
Michael Emmerich has chosen well. The six short stories are absolutely marvelous and leave a taste for more. Hence, the book accomplishes its self-proclaimed goal: serving as a gateway to reading contemporary Japanese fiction in the original language.

But those who do no like anti-climaxes should be forewarned: about half of the stories end in a way that is neither happy, sad, modern, post-modern or much of an ending at all. Of course, for this, Emmerich is not to fault. Rather, it may well be a feature of much contemporary literature. The authors take you on a roller coaster ride and as the coaster makes its way up the slope, the landscape is breathtaking and you bubble with excitement. But at the top, just when you expect things to get even better, the ride ends. You are left feeling slightly dizzy and wondering whether the experience was really all that great.

At 2,730 yen, the book is not exactly cheap. True, it is 255 pages long. But the actual literary content is a fraction of that. The rest are notes, translations and an introduction by Emmerich. All of them are meticulously written and they do a good job in making the Japanese texts accessible. You won't catch Emmerich writing trite sentences such as "Tawada Yoko has received a multitude of awards". Instead, he makes it "Tawada has received more well-deserved awards than there are pockets in a fisherman's vest".

But one does wonder whether the fifty-page dictionary, containing everything from aa (why, thank you, who would have thought it meant "oh, ah"), over ookii, to wanruumu, was really a necessary addition to the book.
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