Mary Mar 02, 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.
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!!
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!
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.
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.