Monday, January 26, 2015


Alongside English books, I read novels in four other languages too. Maybe five, if you consider written Cantonese in the traditional script a separate and distinct language from Chinese. While I speak and write them on a day-to-day basis with the friends and for work, and check out news sites, it's nice to simply read for leisure. What's the point of acquiring fluency in another language to reading competency and not bury my nose in it? As fluent as I am in these languages, there're certain phrases and nuances I haven't yet picked up simply because I don't 'think' in that language. Reading fiction helps.

Naturally, I also choose 'easy' topics to read. Hurhurhur. Nothing complicated. Which means I tend to pick the same genres to read as in English. Plucked this off Instagram and transferred it here. Instagram tends to annoy me and I keep all of three photos on it at any one time. A book review is wasted there. I rather type it out at length. Japanese is my second language, but I haven't been using it as much. It certainly helped me tons devouring episodes of anime and series after series of manga. Hehehehehe.

I love the physical size of Japanese novels. They seem to adhere to those cute dimensions that fit snugly into the palm while standing in a train. Which means one book fits into all bags. Read and rather enjoyed Tsumugu Hashimoto's 'Sky-Blue Hitchhikers'. 橋本紡の「空色ヒッチハイカー」 Set into seven chapters for the road trip of seven days over seven towns, it concludes with the eighth chapter, an epilogue cutely titled 'エピローグ And what we'll be', and a final comment by fellow writer Takii Asayo '解說 瀧井朝世'

This is literally and metaphorically a road trip of self-discovery of a teenager on the brink of adulthood. 18year-old Akitsu Shoji headed out one summer in his brother's 1959 Cadillac and a fake license. He began the seven-day journey from Kawasaki in Kanagawa to Karatsu in Kyushu, picking up hitchhikers along the way. The seven towns and chapters also detailed the people he met. In Chapter One, the first day at Kawasaki, of course he met a girl (第一日目 川崎―小田原 タンクトップ・ガール), moving on to Odarawa, Okazaki, meeting three more girls from the sector Rittō to Himeji, and a man with a stutter on the fifth day in Himeji (第五日目 姫路―廿日市 吃音男), then Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima prefecture to Fukuoka, and finally to Karatsu in Kyushu (第七日目 福岡―唐津 ファンダンゴ). Entertaining and rather enjoyable. 

One of my favorite lines which kinda summarizes the book's adventures, ideals and thoughts, was said by an old man to Shoji. It translates to something like, 'There's no need to have a point to the journey. It's the right and privilege of youth, of self-discovery.' Indeed, I say.

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