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Posts tagged Japanese Manga

Akuma kun (悪魔くん)

akuma kun

When we were in Tokyo last spring our trip coincided with the Tokyo International Anime Fair on Odaiba at Tokyo Big Sight. We took the kids and had a great time. Unfortunately, my SD card in my camera crapped out on me and all of those pictures were lost. (As were all of my tsukiji pictures… arrggh…)

Amongst the tens of thousands of people at the anime show were a few foreigners, but my kids were the only foreign kids that I saw. With my daughter’s blond hair we really stuck out and got lots of attention. We even got to bypass the line to get in (which was, and I’m not exaggerating, over a mile long). Skipping the line had to do with the fact that we were a family rather than our foreignness or my daughter’s hair color.

At the fair a bunch of characters came up to us in costume for pictures. They weren’t familiar to me, but they looked great in a crazy way. They then pulled my kids into a baseball game of sorts that my son won by hitting the ball through someone’s legs. His prize consisted of some posters and gifts related to the anime or manga they were promoting. They’ve been hanging on his wall ever since. The title? ge ge ge no kitaro (ゲゲゲの鬼太郎)

Recently I became interested in the author of gegege, Shigeru Mizuki (水木 しげる), because of a biography on him in a magazine. I wanted to read some of his manga, which aren’t easy to come by in the states. However, through the university I’m affiliated with I can check out books located at virtually any college or university located in the northwestern portion of the U.S. The only one they had available with Mizuki San as the author was Akumakun Seikimatsu Taisen (悪魔くん世紀末大戦).

I read Akumakun Seikimatsu Taisen this past week and have mixed feelings about the content. The illustrations and characters are outstanding. However, the story is rather hit and miss. Occasionally it is brilliant, but at other times it seems like it was written by a 10 year old who ran out of ideas. For instance, at the end, using the magic flute to call one of the disciples (because he can’t stand the sound) is very clever. But then to use the same flute a few pages later to wipe out the numerous godzilla-like creatures who are coming out of the ocean to attack Tokyo lacks creativity. A few minutes of thought could have provided a more unusual and original way to take on those sea-dwelling monsters.

Anyway, it was mostly fun to read. I was even able to recognize, without a dictionary, some of the words that I learned by reading Harry Potter in Japanese that I never thought I would need to know again like tsue (杖) for magic wand or staff. This book lacks furigana so you’ll need to know a fair amount of kanji to read it without constantly referring to a dictionary.

Managajin (漫画人) for sale

I have finished reading the above magazines so now they can be yours. All issues, previously mentioned, of Nihongo Journal (日本語ジャーナル) on this blog have been sold, but as of today all of the Mangajin issues are still available. The more you purchase at once the lower the price per issue.

These issues of Mangajin are Nos. 22, 25, and 26 from late 1992 and early 1993. The Nihongo Journal is from September of 1993.

You don’t have to be able to read any Japanese to enjoy these magazines. Mangajin is mostly in English. All parts that are in Japanese have been translated into English too. If you are learning Japanese they can be useful to your studies though.

Japanese magazines for sale

I’ve finished reading a couple more magazines that need a new home. If you want them, or the earlier items mentioned, let me know.

Nihongo Journal, August 1993 features articles and pictures on selecting a dictionary, J-league soccer, preparing for the JLPT, and much more. Clocking in at over 120 pages, this magazine can keep you busy studying the Japanese language for a while. Most articles include English translations. All include furigana. Some are aimed at beginners. Others target those at upper beginner and intermediate levels.

Mangajin, No. 24 is no longer available from the publisher and is quite difficult to find. This is one of the better ones I’ve read (not that the others aren’t good). There is much about mizu shobai in this issue. The Crayon Shin-Chan and What’s Michael? manga in this issue are absolutely hilarious. Mangajin expanded to about 100 pages starting with about issue No. 20. Good stuff!

Japanese learning materials for sale or trade

Yesterday I finished the previously mentioned Kochi Kame. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this manga. It turned out to be not so Scooby Doo like after all. Only the first few episodes had similar storylines. The rest showed a wide variety of plots and were unpredictable so that was good.

After finishing I tossed the book into a drawer filled with other Japanese things I’ve finished (since my bookshelves are already overflowing). I realized then that I have too much to read in the next year before returning to Japan so there is no way I will revisit these again. That being the case, I’m willing to part with them for cash or trade.

japanese learning materials for sale mangajin nihongo journal genki benkyo

Here is what I have:
Mangajin cover
Japanese Business Glossary, 220 pages from 1983
Dictionary of Legal Terms, about 550 pages from 1993
– 5 issues of Mangajin, Nos. 9, 17, 18, 19, and 21 (Note that issues 9 and 19 are very rare and can no longer be purchased from the publisher for the normal $6.50 to $20 an issue plus postage. No. 21 is also rare and available for $20 + shipping from the publisher.)
Nihongo Journal, June 1993 (These are no longer available from the publisher and usually go for $20+ an issue when they show up on eBay.)
Kochi Kame, 190 pages, 158 kan from January of 2008.

All of these items include translations and/or furigana so you don’t have to have intermediate or advanced Japanese skills to benefit.

You can have them all for US$50 delivered in the U.S. If you don’t want everything, if you are outside of the U.S., or if you’d like to trade for these items, email me and we can arrange different terms.

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. 😉

Manga! Manga!

Manga! Manga!I’m going to be out of town the next few days so I thought I’d post about a book I just finished before heading out. Manga! Manga! by Frederik L. Schodt (and with a foreward by the famous Osamu Tezuka 手塚治虫) was an interesting read. The contents are very dated now, and it wasn’t as fun to read as Mangajin, but I still found it hard to put down.

I’m currently reading Autobiography of a Geisha (along with about ten other things), and it is even more of a page turner.

My kids’ blog is now up here. Hopefully, they will use it so you can read about our adventures through their eyes.

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