Saturday, January 02, 2010

NY Resolutions and Shit


There it is, the last sunset of the decade. Of course, my window is facing South East, so the sunset is a reflection off the Tokyo Dome Hotel (I think). It was a good year. I did a lot of shit.


Maybe the raddest thing of the year was this Christmas present I randomly got at a gift exchange.


A fucking vegetable lasagne MRE. Holy shit! Me, and the guy who bought it obviously, were the only people at the party who knew what it was. There was also a tiny bottle of Jagger along with it. I wish I remember the guy who did that, cause he is the best gift giver ever. I gave a bottle of Suntory whiskey to the gift exchange. Speaking of booze...


My New Years resolutions!

#1 on the list is simple. Drink more. Out at bars, at home watching anime porn, on the street after eating another bowl of ramen. That's it. Drink and see what happens. Keep it simple sucka.

#2 is a bit more of an endeavor. My Japanese reading ability is to the point where I need to start.... reading. Everyone says to read manga, Japanese comic books. "Start with kids manga," they say. "Doremon," they say. Well, I have no desire to read about god damned Doremon and his stupid doko demo do-a. Japanese manga spans all genres, from sci-fi to erotic boys love aimed at girls to real life true stories about samurais and other cool historical things. But, I've never actually read a manga. Never.

So, my off the wall New Years resolution is that I will only read Japanese manga for the next 12 months. No literature in book form of any kind. Nuthin but manga.

So the obvious follow up question, which manga will I start with? Not Doremon or Pokemon! A JHS student of mine suggested a samurai story based during the Meiji era. Other people suggested other things. My buddy Nate said to start with Crayon Shinchan, cause that's for kids but hella funny regardless. I was thinking of The Drifting Classroom, by Umezu, because he is totally awesome and it's been dubbed "horror" manga. The point is that I want to get hooked, right off the starting line.

Any suggestions? For those in the know, I'd really prefer if I can find manga with furigana.


Justin Call said...

I enjoyed reading Maison Ikkoku at first, it doesn't have furigana but it's not too difficult and it's full of "normal" Japanese so it's more useful than other manga. I also enjoy reading Dragon Ball and One Piece but that'll jack up your Japanese if you read it too much.

Al said...

Kochikame has furigana.

ThePenguin said...

I have never really got into manga, but Kochikame is a good one. The stories are pretty self-contained and self-explanatory so it's easier to go read the flow (e.g. understand what's meant from the context, rather than looking up some words, finding the meaning but not understanding because you haven't the faintest idea about what's going on in the narrative), and there's a bit of slapstick humour to boot. The setting is Tokyo's Shitamachi area, where the author hails from, so there's a fair bit of local detail as well.

Blue Shoe said...

I'm not into manga, either, but trying to make myself read some for practice. There was this one I can across that has been pretty palatable called レンジマン (Rangeman). It's weird, of course (it's Japanese, so that's given), but it seems to have a lot of Japanese you'd hear/see used in daily life and (so far) a minimal amount of crazy-ass don't need to know words.
I'm not terribly far in, but so far it's been about this teenager who received some kind of magic ring from a scientist who looks like Dr. Wily. The ring seems to give him the power to transform into a jacked, Power Ranger-like super-hero whenever he's, uh...turned on by a chick? Like I said, weird.

Anyway, good luck.

Unknown said...

Maison ikkoku or Kochikame is not bad. I've watched Crayon Shin-chan, and is really funny! (the kid is kind of a pervert :P)
My tips are:
+start with manga that has furigana
+don't start with any samurai manga because the language is old-fashioned and kind of difficult for startets (some almost imposible).
+one that may seem silly is, read a manga that is already translated (you may check at If you don't have any clue, you may check it there.
Hope it helps :D

Ramen Adventures said...

Thanks for all the suggestions. I'm off to Book-Off to do some 100 yen manga shopping.

Some other notes I didn't specify, but should have is that I can recognize about 1200 kanji, and will use my manga "studies" to spark conversations with friends and language exchange partners.

Anonymous said...

I translate Manga to English, so there's a ton I can recommend (all with furigana, of course! :3)

Stick to shounen if you want to start off easy- it's a lot more easier to read since the dialogue is pretty simple. Although, the story might not interest you that much, seeing as it's mainly aimed at younger boys.

Bleach/Naruto/One Piece- Personally, I don't like any of those, but they're incredibly popular and a lot of people do.
Bleach is about a boy who becomes a Shinigami, Naruto is about a boy who becomes a Ninja, and One Piece is about a boy who becomes a Pirate King. (Yeah, I'm starting to see a pattern here...)

Psyren- fairly interesting manga about a group called the W.I.S.E who basically destroy earth in the future with "psychic" powers and those who try to stop it. Pretty good.

Bakuman- two boys attempting to become a manga-ka. Also pretty good.

For a bit harder ones, I'd recommend;

Gintama- incredibly random and hilarious, based on a alien-infested Edo.

And harder still (seinen. No furigana!)
Mushishi- award winning manga on creatures called 'Mushi' who plagued humans and a man named Ginko who travels around to help people. Fairly intense and engaging.
Gantz- group of 'dead' people battle aliens in a twisted 'game'. Very violent.

There's really all kinds- you can browse, download and read samples at this website:

Anonymous said...

"Some other notes I didn't specify, but should have is that I can recognize about 1200 kanji, and will use my manga "studies" to spark conversations with friends and language exchange partners."

Manga's really good for learning casual conversation. ^^
You'd probably want to stick to realistic/slice-of-life one's then, so you don't end up learning how to discuss alchemy, ect! XD

Mashu said...

Feel free to ignore my suggestion as it will totally topple your New Year's Resolution, but if you find yourself bored of comics, newspapers are (in my opinion) a great starting point.

I essentially started my "serious" Japanese reading with simple manga (in the vein of Doraemon), which I became bored of quickly, and so as soon as I was able - in other words once I had enough kanji ground into my head (it's really not *that* many) I started reading newspapers. They're surprisingly easy to read early on as long as the kanji aren't too much of a barrier.

From there, I went to reading the original versions of Murakami Haruki novels, which I had already read English translations of before - that helped a lot. Now I'm studying economics out of a Japanese textbook. This is the order of reading progression that worked for me, and you may find it suits your learning style as well!