on 7 January 2010
In my pursuit to learn japanese, I found that the best way to absorb the language is to actually read various literature in japanese. Hungry for japanese text, I purchased most of the bilingual books I can find in amazon and bookshops in japan.
Whilst the stories offered here is interesting enough, I found this book to be hard to swallow. It doesn't have exhaustive grammar explainations like other books. It is instead filled with seemingly random and pointless trivia about japanese culture. I am often frustrated since the commentaries are pitched at a few levels too low. Learners who attempt to read japanese literature would certainly have gone way past the level of commentaries pitched in this book.
You will find very little furigana in the main text itself. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it would help us practice reading kanji.
All in all, try other bilingual books first before getting this one. I'd rather get a full japanese novel than this book.
The grammar explanations in books such as 'Breaking into Japanese Literature' or 'Read Real Japanese Fiction' are more valuable.
Then once you have better grasp at the language, books like 'Best of Totto-Chan: The Little Girl at the Window (Kodansha Bilingual Books)' (which has no grammar explainations but has a more readable story) would be helpful.
on 9 December 2010
I actually prefer this to Breaking into Japanese Literature. I think it's a well-rounded book with lots of useful vocab. If you want to learn how to read editorials and that sort of thing, I'd get it. It's actually my favorite of all the Japanese readers I've got so far, which includes Exploring Japanese Lit., Breaking into, and Reading Real Japanese. Second only to the classic videogames I'm replaying (for the first time) in Japanese in terms of sheer fun.