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Posts tagged 中川 圭一

Kochi-Kame (こち亀 or こちかめ)

kanji game for the nintendo dsAbout a month ago, I decided to upgrade my previously mentioned なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習 for the Nintendo DS to the new version called Nazotte Oboeru Otona no Kanji Renshuu Kanzenhan (なぞっておぼえる大人の漢字練習完全版). The new version has about 300 more kanji and some other nice new features. For only a few dollars more than what I could sell my old version for on ebay, I figured it was worth it (and have been very happy with that decision since the arrival of the “game”).

kochi kameAnyway, since YesAsia offers free shipping I decided to grab a manga while I was at their site since the only manga I can obtain locally are all in English, and that’s no fun. So I rather randomly selected this Kochi Kame one. (The full title is a mouthful, Kochira Katsushika-ku Kameari Kōen Mae Hashutsujo or こちら葛飾区亀有公園前派出所.) My selection wasn’t totally random as I figured my kids would like it given the cover (which turns out to be quite different from all of the other Kochi Kame covers).

For under $10 I wasn’t expecting much. To my surprise, it’s almost 200 pages in length. I started reading it this past weekend, and the content has exceeded my expectations as well. I laughed out loud several times. Apparently this series has been running for decades. I didn’t encounter it when I lived in Japan in the 80s, but I didn’t actively read, seek out, or purchase manga then either.

About the only manga I read in the 80s were a few books given to me. One was What’s Michael? (ホワッツ マイケル?). Another was Osamu Tezuka’s (手塚治虫) Buddha (ブッダ). And then I also had one or two Doraemon (ドラえもん) books that I think I found. Kochi Kame is actually the first one I ever purchased.

kochikame ryotsuI was happy to find furigana next to every kanji which made for easy reading. I only had to look up, on average, the meaning for about one word a page. Kochi Kame stars Ryotsu (両津) who, although sometimes in his police uniform, has yet to do anything police related in the four episodes I read this past weekend. Instead, he has some money-making scheme in each that always ends in disaster and/or failure. Although the first few installments began to seem somewhat Scooby Dooish in their predictable outcomes, I can’t imagine becoming bored by them anytime soon, and the fifth episode (that I read today) had a completely different storyline that wasn’t formulaic.

My son finished learning hiragana this past weekend so he was very proud to be able to read real manga in real Japanese for the first time too. Now I just have to help him understand what the sounds coming out of his mouth mean. 😉

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