This book is very fun because it’s all information about sushi. Different types of sushi, what fish they are made from, and where sushi originated from. It had many unfamiliar words and phrases. I did not notice that this book is actually a level 1 book so that makes sense. Although it is very informational I would recommend that level 0 students not read this as they would have to look up several words and phrases in order to understand. 

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.


このほんはおもしろいすが、ちょうどこわいですね。The story is about a girl who believed that she was still alive even though she already died in a car accident three days ago. Her soul took a taxi to go back to home.  The whole story centers around the conversation between the taxi driver and the girl’s mom. The taxi driver learned from the girl’s mom that the girl who took the taxi was not a real human. The tone of the story is warm, but the story itself can be scary to younger-age readers.

I recommend the book to students who have learned Japanese for at least one year. As a 日本語のいねんせい who have only taken Japanese for one semester, I had difficulties with vocabularies while reading the book. でも、I recommend students who are good at Kanji to try on this book, because there are many kanji in this book. Also, the pictures in the book are very helpful for readers to grab the gist of the story.



I love this book! This book is very interesting and contains many pictures. Traditional Japanese clothing has a long history. It is really beautiful. There are different kinds of traditional clothing, among which I like haori the best because it looks cool.

I would recommend this book to every Japanese student. This book is fun to read for there are many interesting and nice illustrations. Even though it might be challenging to students who just start to learn Japanese or students who do not know many kanji, this book is worth reading. Students can get to know Japanese culture.




An old man and old woman are poor. The old man goes into the market to try and sell his umbrellas, but no one buys any. When he is walking home he sees the じぞう (Jizo statues) have snow on them so he puts the umbrellas on them and goes home. In the morning the old man and woman discover food outside their home. The じぞう must have left it as thanks.

I think this is a really interesting folk story within a graded reader. It gives good insight into Japanese culture. However, it is a rather difficult read for a first year first semester student. I would recommend this book if you are in your first year of Japanese and looking for a challenge. It would also be a good read for someone starting their second year of Japanese.






This one is fairly simple and I recommend it for both 1st Years and 2nd Years. There are a few unfamiliar verbs and nouns, but you can either understand them from context or skip over them with no real detriment to understanding. Also, it just might be the cutest book in the 子どもとよむ日本の昔ばなし series.




Comprehension of these short funny stories was pretty tough going for me. If other 2nd Years want a challenge, then I recommend this; but it’s probably better suited to 3rd Years. That being said, I only selected three of them this time around (there are many many short stories in this collection), so if you read any of the others, let me know what you think!


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This book starts with a brief explanation of rakugo, before moving on to tell three short stories that might be found in a rakugo performance. I’d thought that I would only read one and put it down for the day, but ended up reading all three. Even without the performer telling them, they’re still entertaining. It’s not the easiest of reads, but I’d still recommend it to someone who was looking for a laugh.


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I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about cup noodles, karaoke machines, and the Walkman. They are all invented in Japan, and this book describes how they were invented. It is a very interesting book.

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.