Reading Club

Discussions on Japan's history or Japanese books!
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Mukade
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Mukade » Wed 03.22.2006 1:09 am

clay wrote:
Providing Mukade doesn't mind my little plagiarism :o
Umm...I don't mind at all. The thing is, with a graduate degree in comparative literature, I think I can write a better blurb than that. Let me give it a whirl:

1995's Yoru no Kumozaru (The Evening Spidermonkey) is part of an ongoing collaboration between writer Murakami Haruki and graphic artist Mizumaru Anzai, which began back in 1987 with Murakami Asahido (Murakami's House of the Rising Sun), and continues today with the 2006 release of the verbosely-titled 'Kore dake wa, Murakami-san ni itteokou' to seken no hitobito ga Murakami Haruki ni toriaezu buttsukeru 330 no shitumon ni hatashite Murakami-san wa chanto kotaerareru no ka? ('Let's Mention this to Mr. Murakami,' and, Will Mr. Murakami Really be Able to Properly Answer 330 Questions Presented to Him Without Interruption by the World's People?).

A collection of Choutanpenshousetsu (ultra-short stories, or 'flash fiction'), these stories were originally part of an advertising campaign commissioned by a Japanese stationary company. The stories, with Mizumaru's accompanying illustrations, appeared as full-page spreads in magazines and as poster adverts on commuter trains. Their short length (1-2 pages, on average) enabled commuters throughout Japan to briefly enter Murakami's fantastic, dream-like world, even if for just a short time, before returning to the bland reality of daily life.

For those studying the Japanese language, these stories provide an excellent introduction to reading Japanese literature in the original language. Murakami is a successful and well-known author at home and abroad, and Mizumaru's prints are regularly shown at the Space Yui Gallery in Minato-ku, Tokyo. The combination of Murakami's otherworldly narratives and Mizumaru's stark, quirky images is pure magic, and is sure to delight anyone with a bent towards the slightly surreal.

However, since Murakami's style is relatively simple (often referred to by Japanese critics as being very 'English-esque'), students of Japanese will find translating his work less taxing than more complex, 'literary' authors. What's more, the short length of each story gives beginning students a chance to work through a full narrative in a relatively short period of time - a much less daunting task than trying to work through an entire novel.

Even if you think your language skills are not up to task, you should give this text a look. With a good dictionary and a little spare time, you may be surprised by how much you can decipher. Besides, these stories are so much fun, you won't even realize you're studying.

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Shibakoen
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Shibakoen » Wed 03.22.2006 1:48 am

That really sounds like a good text. I'll have to see if I can get a copy. I figure I'm too late to order same as y'all, but I'll see if I can't get my girl to drop by a book store or whatever.

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Harisenbon
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Harisenbon » Wed 03.22.2006 1:54 am

Even if you think your language skills are not up to task, you should give this text a look. With a good dictionary and a little spare time, you may be surprised by how much you can decipher. Besides, these stories are so much fun, you won't even realize you're studying.
MUST . . . BUY . . . MORE . . . MURAKAMI . . . :o

I swear, you should be in advertising. ;)

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Mukade
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Mukade » Wed 03.22.2006 5:27 am

Well, all of his collaborations with Mizumaru are of this 'flash fiction' genre, although many of them are 'flash non-fiction.'

For a more advanced student such as yourself, you could try some of his regular short fiction. 中国ゆきスローボート is one that stands out.

If you like his surreal stories of bizarre happenings, but are looking for a bit more of a challenge, check out Shimada Masahiko (島田雅彦). He has several short story collections out, as well. A good place to start would be ドンナアンナ. Some of his scenes are really quite interesting - like a bar room discussion between a director and his star actor turning into a professional wrestling match; or a guy who, after playing pachinko with soybeans, decides to play a solitary game of hide-and-go-seek.

Be careful, though. Shimada likes creative imagery. He also likes to take traditional metaphors and idioms and turn them on their heads. It took me forever to figure out some of the phrases, like 漁夫の損 (which is supposed to be 漁夫の利). But in the end, you really learn a lot from translating - even strange stuff like this.

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clay
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RE: Reading Club

Post by clay » Wed 03.22.2006 8:37 am

Thanks Mukade-san. I will send that to Max. We probably will have to order more!

How many more people are interested in a copy?

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AJBryant
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RE: Reading Club

Post by AJBryant » Wed 03.22.2006 12:01 pm

MUST . . . BUY . . . MORE . . . MURAKAMI . . .
Check out the short story 「パン屋さんの襲撃」-- it's a hoot.


Tony

richvh
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RE: Reading Club

Post by richvh » Wed 03.22.2006 12:19 pm

There's a number of payment options besides credit card.
Richard VanHouten
ゆきの物語

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Harisenbon
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Harisenbon » Wed 03.22.2006 8:06 pm

Check out the short story 「パン屋さんの襲撃」-- it's a hoot.
That sounds like something that would be right up my ally. ;)
As soon as I finish DaVinci Code (I have till the movie comes out to get through 下), I'll check that one out.

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Mukade
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Mukade » Wed 03.22.2006 9:52 pm

Also, once everyone gets the text, I would recommend checking out the story ことわざ if you are interested in getting a taste of what Kansai dialect is like. Although Murakami was born and raised in the Kansai area (Kyoto and Kobe, to be precise), he typically writes in standard dialect. This one story, though, is written completely in Kansai dialect (and very funny, to boot).

I could easily get a native of the area read the story out onto a sound file (my computer has a built-in mic, and I'm surrounded by Osaka-ites as I type this), if anyone is interested in hearing what the particular intonation and stress is like in Kansai dialect. It's very different from standard dialect, and it's impossible to tell that from just reading some text.

Would anyone be interested in hearing something like that?

cybermat
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RE: Reading Club

Post by cybermat » Wed 03.22.2006 11:25 pm

Just placed my order. Thank you Clay for hooking us up. :)

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keatonatron
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RE: Reading Club

Post by keatonatron » Thu 03.23.2006 5:39 am

Mukade wrote:
Would anyone be interested in hearing something like that?
Absolutely!

aKuMu
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RE: Reading Club

Post by aKuMu » Thu 03.23.2006 5:43 am

Mukade wrote:
I could easily get a native of the area read the story out onto a sound file (my computer has a built-in mic, and I'm surrounded by Osaka-ites as I type this), if anyone is interested in hearing what the particular intonation and stress is like in Kansai dialect. It's very different from standard dialect, and it's impossible to tell that from just reading some text.

Would anyone be interested in hearing something like that?
that would be really cool :D

Frumious Boojum
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Frumious Boojum » Thu 03.23.2006 11:01 am

Just tried to order a copy (had to wait until some funds were added back into my account), but it won't add to the cart.... :(

Usually don't have this trouble... do more copies need to be added before I can add to cart?

Frumious Boojum
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Frumious Boojum » Fri 03.24.2006 10:04 pm

I finally got it to add to the shopping cart. :)

Order placed!

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Kates
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RE: Reading Club

Post by Kates » Fri 03.24.2006 10:35 pm

Got mine ordered, too~ I can't wait to get this started! XD

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