Nichi-Yōbi News: Week 2

Well, it turns out that Momotarō was right to look away in disgust last week – it seems that my Japanese wasn’t quite as impressive as I’d hoped.  Matt of A Novel Approach informed me that the ten-ten (the little marks on the top right of the final character) are actually superfluousGomen – I’ll fix it up next week, promise…

Anyway, let’s get on with this week’s summary of what’s been happening in January in Japan.  Once again, we’ve had a good number of reviews on a wide range of books, from Murakami to Kawabata, Ekuni to Tanizaki – all collected for you here.

And, speaking of Tanizaki, old Jun’ichiro was the subject of this week’s J-Lit Giants post.  Please have a look – he’s a writer well worth checking out.  Next week’s giant?  I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait until Wednesday to find out…

As you all know, our group readalong book is Hiromi Kawakami’s The Briefcase, and it seems to have been a good choice (if I do say so myself!).  This week, the novel was one of five chosen for the shortlist of the 2012 Man Asian Literary Prize, giving Kawakami the opportunity to become the first Japanese writer to take home this award – congratulations!

As the news of the shortlisting unfolded, another piece of news soon appeared on Twitter.  Apparently, Portobello Books will be publishing another Kawakami book in July, one entitled Strange Weather in Tokyo, bringing the number in English translation to three (after The Briefcase and Manazuru).  I enjoyed The Briefcase (as you’ll see in my review at the end of the month), so this is a book I’m looking forward to 🙂

Another successful writer is (of course) Haruki Murakami, and Friday of this week was his 64th birthday – happy birthday, Murakami-san 🙂  Conicidentally, Random House have released an i-Pad app, a calendar for 2013 which (apparently) also has a few stories which are previously unreleased in English.  I’d like to see the list of stories first, but it still sounds like a nice little present for your favourite J-Lit fan… or yourself 😉

Finally today, a tweep(!) I followed recently, @wendy_tokunaga, has been forwarding all kinds of Japanese-related links.  I’m a sucker for these things, and I can’t resist reading them, even when not all are that relevant.  However, a couple of good ones were a page giving information about Japanese culture in New York and an interview with a sake sommelier in a New York restaurant.  If that sounds like your kind of thing…

That’s all for now – I’ll see you next Sunday with some more rubbish useful information – hope you’ll join me 😉


About Tony

Championing the wonders of fiction in translation... ...but quietly (the kids are asleep...).
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11 Responses to Nichi-Yōbi News: Week 2

  1. matttodd says:

    I feel rather unfair pointing that out – your kanji are quite nice!


  2. Tony says:

    Matt – Ah, but I strive for perfection 😉


  3. Ally says:

    Reading the post reminded me I have “Manazuru” translated into Romanian lying around somewhere 🙂 I was quite extraordinary to also see Murakami's 1Q84 translated into Romanian a year before the English version.
    Happy Japanese Literature reading to all! 🙂


  4. Tony says:

    Ally – I hope to get a copy of 'Manazuru' soon :0

    As for '1Q84', it did seem to take a long time to get into English – how did the other languages do it so quickly…


  5. 大阪 の クリス says:

    I don't know what the problem with ニューズ is because it does indeed need the marks. Sorry to burst matttodd's little grammatical power trip . . .


  6. Tony says:

    Thanks Gary 🙂


  7. Tony says:

    大阪 の クリス – Now you've got me paranoid! I've just done some quick web searches, and it appears that both are used a lot. However, most of the big sites tend to use it without the ten-ten…


  8. matttodd says:

    「ニューズ」 is listed in dictionaries, but common-usage would suggest that 「ニュース」 is the widely accepted spelling…

    I was just trying to help! Sorry for causing any confusion!


  9. Chris in Osaka says:

    It's simple:ス = su, as in the katakana of my name Chris: クリス. But to make the sound ズ, which equals zu, you clearly need the ten-ten marks. I'm far from an expert, but I don't see any ambiguity.


  10. Tony says:

    Chris – That's if you assume that Katakana is there to faithfully replicate the foreign (usually English) pronunciation of loan words, which is definitely not always the case. The Japanese often decide to transliterate words in their own, inimitable, style (as the name of the convenience store 'Sunkus' – = thanks! – shows). Even when they do stick closely to the original pronuniciation, as Matt says, though the dictionaries do list your version, common usage indicates that the ten-ten is not used. This might be an example of a word which is in the process of changing its spelling – who says languages are static? 😉


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