28 July 2009


After taking a couple weeks off, I am back to reading the Murakami book my in-laws got me for my birthday. I may have mentioned that it is generally my practice to read the Japanese only after I have read the English translation, but since the English translation has not been done yet, I'm doing my best to work my way through the Japanese.

Murakami books are good for learners to read, I think, because not a lot happens... although I guess it can also be quite difficult given (as happened in Chapter 2, which I read last night) the dialogue goes on for ten pages on some novel or the nature of writing. At the end of the day, although I might not understand 100% of the nuance of it, I have not missed anything key from the plot. I'll have to wait until I read the English and re-read the Japanese to really get it.

It's nice to be reading again and learning new words. When I really start reading Japanese, my mind can make a kind of full shift into the the language and the culture where I am thinking more deeply in Japanese and can go an hour or so of not having an English thought. When I talk to Yoko, unfortunately my vocabulary is quite limited. Words that come up in the Murakami text don't come up in our conversation. Like 意志 which means will or volition. I wouldn't learn that just talking. I'm surprise at how well I can remember the Chinese characters. It's not something you forget once you've learned it, I guess. Quite often, I can deduce the meaning, but not the reading of it, which is fine for reading and understanding.

I should try to explain to Yoko what I'm reading every night. That would be helpful too, I guess.

Anyway, I am going to try to read one chapter a day, which isn't that much — only about 20 pages. Hopefully, I'll be done by the time we move on Sept. 20th.