I would definitely recommend this book to other people wanting to find on-level readings! The drawings in this book were really beautiful, and I loved the small details that the author included like the captions on the Polaroid pictures and how Hoshiko’s name was written in the stars! I hope to see more books like this!




This story is about a friendship between a girl called Koko and a boy called Hoshi who lives in the sky. They are both very lonely and when they meet, they quickly become best friends. Hoshi has very low self-esteem and thinks that he is not smart nor kind enough. He is scared to go back to his family. But Koko helps him to see that his family does care about him and he is not as bad as he thought. Finally, Hoshi goes back to the sky and Koko waits every night to wait for hearing him back.

I would definitely recommend this book to other students. The manga is very precisely and vividly down by our senpai. And there is a variety of sentence structures and word choices that are covered by what we learned so far as JPN 110 students. The plotline has up and down which also makes the reading enjoyable. I like how the ending of Koko waiting for Hoshi echos the scene in the beginning. This book is very imaginative and inspiring.





This book is really interesting that the girl in the story meets herself! I love this story. I also love the elaborated drawings of the book.

I really recommend this book to JPN 110 and 111 students to read this. There exists some new kanjis but I believe students can understand them according to the context. This book also helps to get familiar with some kanjis.


I really like the pictures the authors drew! Those drawings are very cute. 海がだいすき!This book reminds me of a lot of 楽しいこと, though I did not get the ending. Overall, I like it.

I will recommend this to Japanese first-year students. The book is easy to read and interesting. Additionally, we can learn some new kanji.

となりのトトロ(1)・ My Neighbor Totoro: Volume 1


For fans of Studio Ghibli, this is a great book to read (even though Totoro himself doesn’t actually appear in this volume).  It’s the first volume of the “My Neighbor Totoro” film comics, following the story from the beginning of the movie to Satsuki and Mei’s first night in their new house.  It’s a little hard to read, but if you know the film, you’ll be able to understand more than you realize through memory and context.  There’s a lot of kanji that are new for a first-year student, but furigana is always provided, and there are also a lot of kanji that we have already learned.  Being able to read this book is a good goal to aim for, even if it’s on the more difficult side right now.  Reading this book was difficult, but it was a fun challenge.

I recommend this book for fans of Totoro at any level, but as a first-year student it might be more of a goal to strive for than an easy read.  First-year second semester or second-year students might be able to get more out of it from the start.

チーズ スイートホーム

このほんのなまえはチーズ スイートホーム。このほんで、猫がいます。猫のなまえはチーです。小さくて、とてもとても可愛いです!私は、チーが大すき。このほんは、やさしくなくて、とても難しかったですが、おもしろかったです。このほんで、むずかしいたんごがたくさんあります。かんじもたくさんあります。ようへいやまだはチーのともだちです。ようへいくんはやさしです。ようへい君のお父さんとお母さんもやさしな人です。

This book is about a kitty who was taking a walk with her mother and siblings, and got lost. Youhei Yamada found this kitty and wanted to keep her, however he and his family lives in an apartment that doesn’t allow people to have pets. They kept the kitty secretly and the book described their life together. This book is really hard, and I could only actually understand a small part, the rest I had to guess through looking at the pictures. I recommend this book to everyone, because it’s really cute and it’s a joy to read.  🙂 However, it might be very hard for first year students to completely understand everything.

チーズスイートホーム vol. 2

チーズズイートホームというマンガのシリーズは小さいチーという子猫について物語です。一冊で、チーは色々な面白い冒険を経験します。この vol. 2 の本で、チーは新し家族の生活になれ続きます。大きくて黒い猫に会ったり、お父さんと一緒に遊んだり(お父さんは仕事をしてみているのに)、牛乳を飲んでみたりします。大きくて黒い猫は色々な短い物語に出ます。最初に、チーにとって、黒い猫は怖くて、嫌なものだけど、だんだん仲良くなります。

I would recommend this book to Japanese students of every level–it’s really simple and easy to read, but also really fun. Chii is adorable and hilarious and gets into lots of trouble. Chii also uses a kind of baby-talk that is honestly pretty adorable to read. There is some continuity between the stories within each volume, and across the series as a whole, but honestly you could probably pick up book 6 and have no trouble following what’s going on. The stories come across as short, connected vignettes rather than chapters in a long-running series.






I would recommend this book to third and fourth year students, and possibly ambitious second-year students as well. There’s a lot of vocabulary that we don’t learn in class, but there are also helpful foot/side-notes that explain some of the vocabulary and historical references. The art style in the book is pretty nice, and that makes it fun to read, as well as the fact that the stories are pretty interesting.





This is a very interesting book, but it is really incredibly hard to read. It’s full of court intrigues, 敬語, complex court etiquette, and there’s a good dose of international politics at the beginning. It’s all simplified for the manga, of course, but for language learners, it’s going to be really hard to follow. There’s so much vocabulary in here that we’ve never encountered before because for obvious reasons we’re not learning about 18th century France. Some things I was able to figure out based on historical knowledge of the time period–for example, I had no idea what 「天然痘」was, but from the context of how horrified everyone was that Louis XV had contracted it, I correctly guessed it was smallpox. But I had to look up most of the titles for the nobility because I just had no idea what they were–I could tell they were titles, but I couldn’t tell which ones were more highly ranked than the others from the kanji, which meant I wasn’t always understanding the court intrigue. Usually I was able to understand the gist of what was going on, but sometimes I honestly wasn’t even getting that. Overall, I probably understood 50% of this book.