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Currently Reading From Japan – February 2015

I have been learning how to read Japanese in my spare time, and have been astonished at how much I’ve begun to recognize now. I’ve been able to start reading some stories in Japanese, but still have to have some help from a digital translator or dictionary. I thought I’d show you what I’ve been currently reading and tell you how it is.

Newest Josei

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Koudaike no Hitobito – Kozueko Morimoto

This story is set around three siblings that you see pictured on the cover there. The grown Koudai siblings, Shigeko, Kuzumasa, and Mitsumasa, are gifted with ESP. The series follows the experiences of the siblings as they interact with others. It shows how relationships with others can be tricky if you can read minds. I really love the premise of this series and the characters are endearing. Mitsumasa starts dating a girl from work because of her active imagination. Shigeko questions her relationship with a long time guy friend and if it can be more. Kuzumasa has always had a crush on his brother’s admirer, but teases her endlessly to where she interprets it as meanness. Kozueko Morimoto does a fine job of showing the advantages as well as disadvantages of having ESP using these three adorable siblings. I so want to read this in English!!

When Kie, Mitsumasa's girlfriend, imagines the beautiful dark-haired blue-eyed siblings as vampires, the Koudais all have to laugh at her vivid imagination

When Kie, Mitsumasa’s girlfriend, imagines the beautiful dark-haired blue-eyed siblings as vampires, the Koudais all have to laugh at her vivid imagination

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Ginban Kishi – Yayoi Ogawa

Chitose works for a publisher and her best childhood friend Kokoro Kijinami is a well-known men’s figure skater. When Kokoro starts competing for top spots in men’s figure skating, Chitose is always there to support him. In the beginning, Chitose is trying to cheer Kokoro up and she pretendingly casts a spell on him from a childhood anime they both watched called Lady LaLa about a witch and a knight. But it’s as if Chitose’s spell really works on Kokoro because he can suddenly perform quadruple jumps when he hasn’t before. Since that time, Kokoro’s manager always expects Chitose to come wherever Kokoro is performing and cast her “spell” because she’s the only one who’s able to make it work. Meanwhile, Chitose and Kokoro dance around the idea of a romantic relationship since they have been childhood friends. Kokoro gets jealous because Chitose’s boss starts paying attention to her. Her job begins to interfere with her support of Kokoro. Ahh! I really enjoy this series. The male figure skaters are nice eye candy, but the relationship between Kokoro and Chitose is really cute. Yayoi Ogawa is already a good storyteller, but the ice skating in this series is like the cherry on top!

Chitose watches Kokoro Skate

Chitose watches Kokoro Skate

Newest Shoujo

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Uuchu (Sora) o Kakeru Yodaka – Shiki Kowabata

Ayumi Kohinata is tricked into switching bodies with Zenko Umine on Akatsuki Day. Umine is shunned by her classmates because for years she has been overweight and antisocial. So in a strange ritual, Umine takes over Ayumi’s body and her life. Ayumi in Umine’s body tries to convince others that she’s Ayumi, but no one will believe her. And Umine is trying her best in Ayumi’s body to make sure that no one recognizes her, not her friends, and definitely not her boyfriend, Shiro. Shiro’s best friend, Kaga, makes a discovery one day that convinces him that Ayumi IS in Umine’s body. He then begins to help her try to find a way to switch back. Turns out Kaga has always loved Ayumi, and even makes connections between her gestures in Umine’s body and her old self. Meanwhile, though Shiro has made the connection too that Ayumi’s body contains Umine, he continues to date her, while discretely helping Kaga. Shiro has decided he wants to find out from Umine how to switch bodies with Kaga. This series keeps building on the intrigue side of things. We know that Shiro wants to take over Kaga’s body because he’s popular, and he only dated Ayumi to spite Kaga. So why is he jealous of Kaga if he doesn’t really like Ayumi? Or does he? Then Umine is getting REALLY pissed that Ayumi is able to attract boys in her overweight body. I think Kowabata’s message with this series is that personality is more important than looks, obviously. It’s really rare for a shoujo to have such an atypical looking heroine, too.

Ayumi in Umine's Body with Kaga

Ayumi in Umine’s Body with Kaga

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ReRe Hello – Touko Minami

Ririko Hayakawa’s family runs a business where they complete odd jobs for money. With just her dad working to support the family, and their finances in the red, Ririko has to step in and work for her dad when he gets ill. She shows up at Minato Suoh’s house to help with an odd job and turns out it’s a high school boy Ririko saw on the train. He’s living alone and needs help with unpacking, so he hired Ririko’s dad for help. While she’s there he requests that Ririko cook for him. After eating her food, he decides to hire her to cook for him everyday. Thus Rirko and Minato begin seeing each other every day. Minato begins to fall for her, and Ririko works her butt off everyday to try to make ends meet. Minato eventually gives Ririko a cell phone for when he needs to contact her. That’s how the series came to be called “Ring Ring, Hello”. This series is cute and sweet. I enjoy that it isn’t a high school setting because that makes it a little different than typical shoujo.

Minato and Ririko finally have a real date in a recent chapter.

Minato and Ririko finally have a real date in a recent chapter.

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Laura

Author/Editor
Super mom and teacher until the kids go to bed, then romance manga addict and writer until the caffeine wears out! Specializes in the shoujo and josei genre of manga and anime.
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9 Comments

  • Oh sorry I forgot: Do you read manga on kindle? I really want to read From Far Away but it’s out of print and only available through Kindle devices. I don’t have one but apparently you can download a free app. I like having the physical copy, but with the price, it’s not worth it. I was considering getting it in Japanese, but wanted to have your opinion on whether or not manga on kindle is worth it or if there are any risks? Thanks so much!!!

    • I hope you don’t mind my answering here. I read Manga on Viz app, and really like the zooming ability and not worry about shelf space. I got the out-of-prints viz series (From far away, Basara, and Boys Over Flowers) and on-going series, and enjoy the reading experience a lot. There are 2 things that bug me a bit regarding ebooks. First, the last page is not included – I like it because of the blurb and art. Second, the spreads through 2 pages sometimes don’t line up well, so the arts don’t look as nice.

      All these series sound interesting. I hope they get license, btw, I got Ashi-Girl based on reading your post. It’s fun.

      • Thanks for chiming in with your e-reading experience. It’s very helpful.

        Ashi-girl is a series I’ve considered purchasing in Japanese. I’m glad you like it, I might have to check it out now. I have a few other series I’ll write about next month. 🙂

    • I haven’t ever used Kindle to read manga. I have used the Viz manga app and the Crunchyroll manga app that I downloaded onto my iPad for free. So far my experience with both apps has been very positive. If you want to purchase digital, then I recommend through the Viz app, not Kindle. I’ve not purchased am entire volume from Viz yet. I’ve looked at previews and single chapters, so my experience is limited. I think what badzphoto is telling you is very relevant and helpful.

    • I should clarify when I wrote “last page” what I meant was the back cover of the physical book isn’t included, not the last page of the book, we don’t want to miss the ending of the book 😉 other than that, all the pages of the books are there. And they are very fast in response when I had problems, so far I only 2, both are my errors, though.

  • Wow!!! This is so cool! Looks like we both will have to do our best! 😀 I am definitely going to try and read some of the series you are reading too:)

    Good luck! You can do it!!

    • 🙂

  • […] Reviews: Jason Thompson dedicates this week’s House of 1000 Manga to Aya Kanno’s Otomen.  Over at Heart of Manga, Laura posts brief reviews of ongoing series in Japan, from Yayoi Ogawa’s Ginban Kishi to Touko Minami’s ReRe Hello. […]

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