Bilingual Books!


Turn the ページ

Books that not only include Japanese and English text, but also explain that text, can be a very useful addition to your library, especially when you’re looking to delve into reading for the first time. Today I want to talk to you about 3 such books that I use and enjoy myself. First up is…


Fiction just got real, son

Read Real Japanese Fiction is a collection of several by Japanese for Japanese short stories with explanations in English. Aimed at the intermediate learner, each page features the original vertical Japanese text with (some) furigana on the right side, and a breakdown on the left side. One interesting thing to note is that the book never provides you with a full translation of the original story. Instead, it explains what it considers to be the more difficult parts, sometimes with literal phrasing. A lot of the stories are serious and more on the PG+ side, although the first one reminds me a lot of Polar Bear Cafe. The book comes with an audio CD that I listen to during my commute.


All About Particles is technically a grammar textbook, but the way it’s presented makes it fit in quite well with the rest of the bunch from today’s post. Despite the title, it covers far more than just particles, but also things like sentence endings and other previously perplexing pieces of prose. It’s very much to the point, which is what makes this book so jam packed. You’ll see a brief but effective explanation of the grammar point in question, followed by several Japanese-English example sentences. That’s literally how the whole book works. No worksheets, no huge introductions, just tons of useful examples to enlighten your Japanese journey. There are also a few shared Anki decks based on this book.



Reading Japanese With A Smile is similar to Read Real Japanese Fiction, but with a few differences in content and presentation. The premise is the same: they show you a story, and then explain it. First though, this book does provide a full side by side translation of each story. After that however, it will show you parts of the story, this time with furigana, in little boxes, and then explain it in English right below on the same page. As the cover says, these stories tend to be a little more wacky and offbeat, so be prepared for anything!

Paper–it does still exist!

Taking time to wind down before sleep is something I’ve been making an effort to do lately. I’m a firm believer in the idea of rest helping your studies. The biggest factor in winding down for me is no screens. So no PC, iPad, phone, DS, or TV. This means having a special time where there’s a chance every day to explore things like the books mentioned in this post. Give it a try, you may find yourself more relaxed with better sleep! And a rested mind is always ready for more 日本語(にほんご)!

6 Responses to “Bilingual Books!”
  1. Delenir says:

    Mikotoneko is always the master at creating useful tags for my posts 🙂

  2. Daniru says:

    Now that I’ve set aside iKnow extensive reading has become my main go-to Japanese activity for studying (with some mono cards on the side in anki for good measure).

    Always nice to sneak in a reading session in bed before sleep as well. Still reading mostly my graded readers but might be time to get stuck into those SAO light novels I’ve been longing to read or my copy of Read Real Japanese Fiction.

  3. Delenir says:

    There is definitely some major tadoku on the horizon for me too 🙂

  4. BigTom says:

    As for bilingual materials you could also use:

    They have many short Japanese texts with furigana.
    And there’s always a full English transcript in case you want to check the exact meaning of some sentence.

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125

    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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