On Reading Japanese

HonAs you may know, I studied Japanese in the past (and have an actual BA in it, can you believe it). My Japanese however has gotten rusty. I talked about this before for the Language Freak Summer Challenge, and at the time I promised myself I’d read more Japanese to get on top of it.

I am finally getting to that, and I have decided to share my findings with you, in the hope that it may be of use to someone.

Reading extensively (多読 tadoku) is one of the best ways to improve and and get comfortable in a language. Personally I am on an eternal quest to find books that are both actual literature and also readable, to keep the reading fun. I am lucky in that I actually have (almost) unlimited access to books in Japanese, but despite that I struggle finding books that are readable enough to someone of my level of Japanese. Books that are aimed at foreigners/students of Japanese just keep disappointing both in content as well as in reading level, while real literature is often too difficult when you’re not fluent.

So the aim of this little project is finding real literature – that is, literature that I would also read in languages I am fluent in – that is both interesting and readable. This can be literature suitable to different levels of Japanese and I will try to advise on that as well. Posts will probably not be frequent (so for my followers who do not know Japanese: please don’t worry!), but if they help anyone I’ll be happy enough.

As for me, I took JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test) N2 over four years ago when I was living in Nagasaki and my Japanese was at its best – and passed. Then last December I retook it and passed again (just). I am rusty, but am looking forward to getting comfy with the language once again!


  1. Ula

    Best of luck with that again! 🙂 I am trying to get back into German. I studied it for 8 years and have barely anything to show for it, which is so embarrassing. I tried a bit of Duolingo but TV programme is more fun! 😀

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