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On April 27th, Shinchōsha will publish another book related to Murakami Haruki, called The Horned Owl Takes Flight at Dusk (みみずくは黄昏に飛びたつ), or Haruki Murakami: A Long, Long Interview). The book is a long, long interview (11 hours, 250,000 characters) of Murakami by Kawakami Mieko, herself an award winning writer from Osaka (her novella Breasts and Eggs [乳と卵] won the Akutagawa Prize in 2008). It will cost 1,620 yen and can be pre-ordered now.
Kawakami Meiko asks Murakami Haruki everything!
11 hours; 250,000 characters; “an entire book” of an interview
The secret story of the birth of Killing Commendatore, memories of boyhood, feminism, global fame, and what happens after death… An Akutagawa Prize-winning author and a passionate, avid reader since her teens asks Murakami Haruki everything.
Not just an interview
How do you come up with similes?
What does it mean to “descend to the second story underground”?
Is it true you can write without deciding on the ending?
What are “ideas” and “metaphors”?
Actually, a story about a man seeking a man?
Why is writing style important?
Aren’t women tasked with too many sexual roles?
What does it mean to accept your “shadow”?
Do you always write ten pages a day, no matter what?
Why did you return to the first person voice?
Why don’t you read your prior works?
What does it feel like to have your new work read by tens of thousands of people?
Now that you’re globally famous, are there critics you want to go back and respond to?
What happens after we die?
Will there be a “Murakami Haruki Prize”?
A precious record of the origins of creative works, and their bare faces, that everyone wanted to know but couldn’t ask, drawn out through vivid words
Publisher Shinchōsha has announced Murakami Haruki is going to publish a new novel in Feb 2017.
The image says:
First super-long novel in 7 years
Publication set for Feb 2017
2,000 pages completed, 2 volumes total
He said it’s going to be “a very strange story, longer than Kafka On the Shore, and shorter than 1Q84.” Those novels sold more than 4 million & 8.4 million copies, respectively. (Source: Asahi Shimbun)
It’s been almost 4 years since his last novel was published, in 2013. That was Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage.
He published the short story collection Men Without Women in 2014.
Want ongoing updates (in Japanese)?
Below I explain how to subscribe to email updates from the publisher about the novel.
– Go to the Shinchōsha website.
– Click the black button, or this link. It says, “Those seeking forthcoming information, [click] here.”
– Click the black button. It says “Send.”
I’ll aim to publish the updates here as they come out.
World-renowned Japanese writer Murakami Haruki has a new book out, his first collection of short stories in nine years. The title is「女のいない男たち」or The Men Without Women, and it includes six new stories, all of which were first published in the last six months.
While Murakami’s novels are always published in English within a year or so of their initial publication (the next one, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, will come out this year), his short story collections are not usually published in English. That is, the publishers usually make their own collections, such as in the case of The Elephant Vanishes (17 stories spanning the 1980s, and published 12 years later in Japanese as「象の消滅」). The Chinese publishers seem to do the same thing. The difference is that the Chinese publishers will take a well-known story, make it the title of a collection, and publish it with a bunch of lesser-known stories. The English-language publishers seem to publish fewer, larger collections and simply don’t bother to translate and print the lesser-known stories. Thus, I surmise that this book may never come out in English as The Men Without Women. Fans who don’t read Japanese will have to wait for the next short story collection.
As for the title, I translate it as The Men Without Women rather than Men Without Women (or Men Whose Women Are Gone, etc.) because otoko tachi (rather than simply otoko) seems to refer to specific men. Indeed, in each of these six stories, the protagonist is a man without a woman. However, it is probably not a coincidence that Ernest Hemingway published a collection of ten short stories about men in 1927, called Men Without Women, and the name of that book in Japanese translation is—you guessed it—Onna no inai otoko tachi. It was translated by Ayukawa Nobuo in 1982, just when Murakami was beginning his writing career.
The Japanese Wikipedia page includes some trivia about the new book. Apparently, it is usual that it does not include a preface. The two stories “Drive My Car” and “Yesterday” were supposedly altered somehow before publication in the book, and “Drive My Car” has already been translated and published in Korean by Yang Eog-gwan (梁億寬).
Below are the front and back covers of the book, with English translations of the story titles, descriptions, and dates/places of publication. All translations are mine, and thus later publications may make different choices.
The Men Without Women
First issue April 20th, 2014
[His] short story world for the first time in nine years.
That story is
And exceeds expectations.
Bungei Shunju publication / Fixed price (JPY 1574 + tax)
Six stories that intertwine and echo.
“Drive My Car”
Bungei Shunju Dec. 2013
Stage actor Kafuku hires Misaki, a female driver. Why did his deceased wife have to have a relationship with that man? Little by little, he began to tell Misaki.
Bungei Shunju Jan. 2014
What is the strange “cultural exchange” proposed by his classmate Kitaru, from Den-en-chōfu but who can speak perfect Kansai dialect? And then, 16 years passed.
Bungei Shunju Mar. 2014
What did his friend, the confirmed bachelor Dr. Tokai, obtain for the first time by sacrificing his life?
MONKEY Vol. 2 Spring 2014
Shut up in the “house” that is a lonely island on land, Habara is toyed with by the story that even the world finds captivating, told by the “contact person” woman after the affair.
Bungei Shunju Feb. 2014
Betrayed by his wife, Kino quit his job and opened a bar. Then at certain times, a strange presence would envelop the place.
“The Men Without Women”
First published here
One night after midnight, a phone call from his former lover’s husband came to deliver sad news.
Korean grammar and Japanese grammar have a lot in common. They both use SOV word order and lots of particles; distinguish between “noun-adjectives” and “verb-adjectives”; don’t conjugate for plural, gender, or number; and are agglutinative (meaning they form structures by combining discrete parts with distinct meanings). However, Korean grammar is not exactly the same as Japanese grammar. For instance, negation is different.
In Japanese, verbs (and verb-adjectives) are negated by conjugation. (Strictly speaking, this could also be considered suffixation.) A verb nai that means ‘to not exist’ or ‘is not’ is added after a verb stem.
Verb: iku ‘to go’ or ‘[I/you/he/she/it] goes/is going/will go’
Verb stem: ik–
Negative: nai ‘is not; does not exist’
Negated verb: ikanai ‘to not go’ or ‘doesn’t go/isn’t going,’ etc.
Example: kare wa Tokyo ni ikanai ‘He isn’t going to Tokyo [with the rest of us].’
Korean can also conjugate verbs in this way. A verb anta that means ‘to not do’ can be added to the end of a verb. However, in Korean this is not the most colloquial or common way to make it verbs. The most common way to negate verbs is to add an adverb an ‘not’ before the verb.
Verb: gada ‘to go’
Verb stem: ga–
Negated verb: an + ga + ayo [present tense] = angayo ‘[I/you/he/she/it] doesn’t go’
Alternately, and less commonly:
Negative verb: anta ‘does not do’
Negative stem: an–
Negated verb: gaji + an + ayo = gaji anayo ‘doesn’t go’
NB: The formal form gaji an sumnida is much more natural. Adding anta to conjugate verbs is more formal than using an, but not formal enough for most formal situations, so gaji anayo is rarely heard, according to Lesson 21 of Talk to Me in Korean (TTMIK). I’ve been using TTMIK audio lessons to learn Korean.
Japanese and Korean grammar are similar, but not the same. Besides negation, can you think of any other differences?
It’s been a while since I published a blog post. I’ve been updating the look of my website after moving to a self-hosted WordPress site, which was really easy using Michael Hyatt’s method, which you can find in the link.
Today I want to share with you my YouTube channel. My username is kieranmaynard, so you can find me at youtube.com/user/kieranmaynard. Please take a look at my intro video, in three languages! (English, Chinese, and Japanese, with subtitles.)
Thanks for watching!
There’s a lot of great writing out there about learning languages (much of it better than mine), but there are some things I’ve learned studying languages that I wish I had known a long time ago. For one, I have found that learning a language may be thought of as divided into four phases. I have only anecdotal evidence, but this has been my experience learning Chinese and Japanese.
Assuming you start out with no prior knowledge, in the beginning you know nothing. In reality you almost never know “nothing”—Japanese, for example, is full of English words that are readily understandable, and Spanish is full of Latin cognates—but in the beginning you can’t understand more than a word or two of what you read or hear. The first step is to learn how to pronounce the language you are learning, and how to read and write it in a phonetic script (like Chinese pinyin, Japanese romaji, or the Spanish alphabet). After this stage I would begin to memorize the most frequent words, preferably embedded in short phrases and sentences with English translations. Some people do pictures. I find it’s easier to copy English translations, and the most common words are so common they don’t need much help to remember. In the Beginner stage you need English translations to make heads or tails of most sentences and spend a lot of time sounding out words.
After Beginner you will reach the Intermediate stage. I define intermediate as the point where you can read texts and listen to speech and understand some parts with the aid of a dictionary. There’s no fine line between Beginner and Intermediate. I probably spent more than a year as a Beginner in Japanese, but not more than a week as a Beginner in Spanish. This was only partly due to differences in the languages themselves, but mostly due to the fact that I made almost no effort to engage with real Japanese (for native speakers, by native speakers) in the first year I learned that language, whereas I began Spanish with Borges and Wikipedia pages. The Intermediate stage is what is usually stretched indefinitely by language courses of all stripes. (Perhaps because by the time you level up, you no longer feel the need to pay them for what you can get for free?)
When you are fluent, you are Advanced. I get asked a lot how I define fluency, and the honest answer is: I don’t. At some point I just didn’t need to check the dictionary all that much to read Japanese, and the same thing happened with Chinese. At some point, I didn’t have to keep asking people, “What did you just say?” It’s not that I was suddenly able to understand everything, but that I was able to understand enough. I believe a dedicated learning can skip the Beginner stage in a couple of weeks and make it to Advanced in not more than a year. The key variables are your level of interest and how much input you receive. The former depends upon your ability to know thyself and pick engaging materials, and the latter depends on your consumption.
4. “Native Fluency”
Like many language learners, I too hope to someday evolve into a “native speaker.” Do the scare quotes betray my skepticism? I have a gut feeling that a native speaker is nothing more than a speaker who is really good at matching patterns in sound to memorized patterns in speech, and at catching high-frequency words while ignoring words they don’t quite understand. In other words, just someone who is Really Advanced because they kept getting better until they were “good enough” at their language to do what they want with it. That is, they have internalized the most frequent patterns of speech and text so as to know what to expect, and how to break those patterns to be “creative.” (Or how to follow the patterns and bore us to death.) I talk a lot about “patterns” because I think they are the key to efficient learning and effective use of language. My teacher Dr. Kretzchmar once said that on the level of language, almost all “creative writing” depends upon the manipulation of expected patterns of language. Grasp the patterns, and you hold the key of the mundane. Open the door to the garden of language delights.
It’s almost the New Year in China. On February 10, the world will enter the Year of the Snake. It’s thus spring break in China, so I came trough Japan and arrived in Seattle today where I will transfer to Atlanta.
The writer Nagai Kafū studied abroad in Shanghai and arrived in Tacoma by boat from Shanghai in 1903. In 1908 he published his Amerika monogatari, or American Stories. It seems he encountered brazen racism in American and didn’t altogether enjoy his time here, though he liked the theatre in New York. Did you know a Japanese writer wrote stories about America in 1908?