There is a world of difference between reading Japanese that has been specially contrived for students and reading real Japanese—that is, real-world Japanese written for native speakers. The contrived variety might be called schoolmarm Japanese: standard to the point of insipidity, controlled to the point of domestication, restricted to the point of impoverishment. The Read Real Japanese series, comprising one volume each of essays and fiction, provides the real thing—lively writings by contemporary authors.
Read Real Japanese Fiction presents short works by six outstanding writers, from popular to avant-garde. The spellbinding world of Hiromi Kawakami; the hair-raising short horror of Otsuichi; the haunting prose of Banana Yoshimoto; even the poetic wordplay of Yoko Tawada—whatever your taste, you are sure to find some stories in this book that bowl you over and leave you wanting more.
Following the form of real Japanese novels, the text runs from top to bottom, right to left. To guide you in your reading, each double-page spread features translations of nearly every sentence or phrase, making it possible to understand the meaning at a glance. Moreover, in the back of the book is a tailor-made Japanese-English dictionary covering all the words appearing in the stories, and a series of notes that elucidate issues of nuance, usage, grammar, and culture. Best of all, the book comes with a free audio CD containing narrations of the works, performed by a professional actress. This will help you to get used to the sounds and rhythms of Japanese, as well as the speed at which the language is normally spoken.
Whether you are a dedicated student or a dabbler, and regardless of your mode of study, Read Real Japanese Fiction will serve as your gateway to the pleasures of reading contemporary Japanese fiction—in the original.
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