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Reading

~Chinese / 中文
《平如美棠》饶平如

~Japanese / 日本語
「女のいない男たち」村上春樹
「職業は武装解除」瀬谷ルミ子

~English
"Notes on Democracy" Arundhati Roy

~Korean / 한국어
《그렇습니까? 기린입니다》박민규
《소나기》 황순원

~Finished / 読了 / 已读
「コンビニ人間」村田沙耶香
"Factory Girls" Lesley Chang
"Your Republic is Calling You" Kim Young-ha
「色彩を持たない多崎つくると彼の巡礼の年」村上春樹
《裸命》陈冠中
"River Town" Peter Hessler
"Oracle Bones" Peter Hessler
"Country Driving" Peter Hessler
「カンガルー日和」村上春樹
「こころ」夏目漱石
「火の鳥9」 手塚治虫
《呐喊》鲁迅
《娃》莫言
《朋友》余华
"Inside the Kingdom" Robert Lacey
《活着》余华
"A Room of One's Own" Virginia Woolf
「羊をめぐる冒険」村上春樹
《阿Q正传》鲁迅
《倾城之恋 》张爱玲
《茉莉香片》张爱玲
《金锁记》张爱玲
「深夜特急」(2)沢木耕太郎
「1973年のピンボール」 村上春樹
"One Foot In Eden" Ron Rash
「双子の星」宮沢賢治

[New Book] Murakami Haruki interviewed by Kawakami Mieko – “The Horned Owl Takes Flight at Dusk”

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.

 

川上未映子が村上春樹を訊き尽くす!

Kawakami Meiko asks Murakami Haruki everything!
11時間、25万字の「まるごと一冊」インタビュー本

11 hours; 250,000 characters; “an entire book” of an interview

『騎士団長殺し』誕生秘話、少年期の記憶、フェミニズム、世界的名声、そして死後のこと……。
芥川賞作家にして、10代からの熱心な愛読者が、村上春樹のすべてを訊き尽くす。

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.

ただのインタビューではあらない

Not just an interview

比喩はどうやって思いつく?

How do you come up with similes?
「地下二階に降りる」とは?

What does it mean to “descend to the second story underground”?
結末を決めずに書けるって本当?

Is it true you can write without deciding on the ending?
イデアとメタファーって何?

What are “ideas” and “metaphors”?
じつは男を求める男の話?

Actually, a story about a man seeking a man?
なぜ文体が大事なの?

Why is writing style important?
女性が性的な役割を担わされ過ぎてません?

Aren’t women tasked with too many sexual roles?
自分の「影」を受け入れるって?

What does it mean to accept your “shadow”?
何があっても一日十枚書くの?

Do you always write ten pages a day, no matter what?
なぜ一人称に戻ったのですか?

Why did you return to the first person voice?
過去の自作を読み返さないのはなぜ?

Why don’t you read your prior works?
新作が何十万人に読まれる気分は?

What does it feel like to have your new work read by tens of thousands of people?
世界的に成功して、見返したい批評家はいます?

Now that you’re globally famous, are there critics you want to go back and respond to?
死んだらどうなる?

What happens after we die?
村上春樹賞はつくられますか?

Will there be a “Murakami Haruki Prize”?

誰もが知りたくて訊けなかった
創作の源泉とその素顔を
鮮烈な言葉で引き出した貴重な記録

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

Source: Shinchōsha

Murakami Haruki’s New Novel Due Feb 2017 – Here’s how to get updates 

Publisher Shinchōsha has announced Murakami Haruki is going to publish a new novel in Feb 2017.

Promotional image from Shinchōsha’s website

 

The image says:

Murakami Haruki

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.”


– Fill in your email in both boxes.

– Click the black button. It says “Send.”

That’s it!

I’ll aim to publish the updates here as they come out.

 

Other sources:

The Hindu

Murakami Haruki’s new book: “The Men Without Women”  

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.

Last month I got my preordered copy of The Men Without Women (Japanese: Onna no inai otoko tachi) at Kinokuniya New York. It’s available for purchase online here for $24.50.

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).

Edit: The story “Sheherazade” was published in the Oct. 13 issue of The New Yorker and translated by Ted Gossen, a professor at York University in Toronto.

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.

 

Front cover

Onna no inai otoko tachi - Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

Onna no inai otoko tachi – Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

 

「女のいない男たち」

The Men Without Women

First issue April 20th, 2014

 

Murakami Haruki,

[His] short story world for the first time in nine years.

That story is

Deeper, sharper,

And exceeds expectations.

 

Bungei Shunju publication / Fixed price (JPY 1574 + tax)

 

Back cover

Onna no inai otoko tachi (Back cover) - Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

Onna no inai otoko tachi (Back cover) – Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

 

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.

 

“Yesterday”

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.

 

“Independent Organ”

Bungei Shunju Mar. 2014

What did his friend, the confirmed bachelor Dr. Tokai, obtain for the first time by sacrificing his life?

 

“Scheherazade”

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.

 

“Kino”

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.

Onna no inai otoko tachi - Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

Onna no inai otoko tachi – Murakami Haruki (Copyright 2014)

How Korean grammar differs from Japanese: Negation

Hangugeo and Chosonmal, both of which mean 'Korean language,' written in hangul.

Hangugeo and Chosonmal, both of which mean ‘Korean language,’ written in hangul.

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.

 

For example:

 

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.

 

For example:

Verb:                            gada ‘to go’

Verb stem:                   ga

Negative:                     an

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?

 

Intro Video to Kieran’s YouTube Channel

Hello!

 

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!

 

Kieran

Four Phases of Learning a Language

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.

 

1. Beginner

 
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.

 
2. Intermediate

 
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?)

 
3. Advanced

 
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.

Seattle, 110 Years After Kafu

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?

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Kieran Maynard

Kieran Maynard

Writer, translator, researcher, traveler specializing in Japanese and Chinese literature.

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