Manga Review: Chi’s Sweet Home

In honor of the acquisition of the cutest kitten in the world, Kotatsu, I thought I would review another appropriate manga!

For people like me who are studying Japanese, it is extremely hard to find manga to read in Japanese so that we can practice.  Especially manga that we can enjoy. Then I found Chi’s Sweet Home by Konami Kanata.  It is an adorable story about a lost kitten that is adopted by a new family.  The premise is slightly sad since a kitten gets separated from its mom, then wanders around by itself until finally he is exhausted and a little kid finds it.

The story follows Chi through litter box training, vet visits, and baths, using simple words and phrases through the little boy and Chi’s baby talk. Any kanji in the series has furigana (the smaller hiragana translations) next to each character to make it even easier to understand. I know that I usually read any manga as “watashi wa ‘big fat kanji big fat kanji’ desu” when they don’t use furigana, but I promise, I am getting better lately!

With the help of a dictionary every now and then, it is easy for most Japanese students to get through as long as they have a command of the hiragana and katakana and basic to mid-range grammatical knowledge, such as conjugations and sentence structure.

The story is very cute and it was gratifying to read and understand, even with the kitten’s baby talk (it uses “ra” instead of “da” and other cutesy terms). Even veteran Japanese manga readers (including the Psychotaku) can enjoy this series since it is very comical in an innocent and adorable way (especially if you love cats, but what Japanese culture over doesn’t?!).

I recommend this to anyone who wants to work on their Japanese away from the formality of class and the manga helps to recognize more common slang words and other everyday life customs.

For those that aren’t taking Japanese (and why aren’t you?!) the manga is also available in English from Vertical, Inc. Oh wow…just realized that I am almost like a Vertical, Inc. spokewoman at this point since I already reviewed Black Jack! Ah well, I promise the next one won’t be from the same publisher, ok?!

This series has also come out as an anime as well, each three minute episode represents one chapter from the manga. The episodes are straight from the manga and are equally as funny and adorable as the manga.

Enjoy!!

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Japanese 3 or Crazy Kanji Studying….Starting Tomorrow

I am SO nervous.  I start my third semester of Japanese tomorrow and I am so worried about all of the kanji I am going to have to learn.  If you don’t know what kanji is, it is all of those crazy Chinese characters that Japanese people use IN ADDITION TO their two alphabets of 42 characters (that’s right, 84 characters of sounds PLUS thousands of Chinese characters!)…I swear this is going to drive me crazy.  Supposedly, I am going to be able to read a newspaper by the end of this class.  It seems like such a tall order since I can barely get the meanings in easy manga (ie. Yotsuba and Chi’s Sweet Home) without asking the Psychotaku for help.  ARGH!!!

Well, I guess I can just try my best (ganbatte yo!).  I just hope that the first month isn’t too crazy since I have my Professional Geologist exam to study for this month as well.  WHY did I have to get accepted this year!!??  I mean, I am happy that I finally got accepted but why couldn’t it have been last year, when I was re-taking Japanese 1 (it had been three years since I had last taken it).  ARGH.  This is getting pretty scary.  I never thought I would get this far in Japanese.  I thought it would just be a fleeting hobby….but no.  I am going to Japan in March, DEFINITELY.

So I am saving up and I need as much knowledge of the language as humanly possible before I go.  I really don’t want to have the Psychotaku translating for me everywhere.  That would ruin my trip and make me feel like I wouldn’t be able to get by in one of my favorite cultures.  That would just be awful.  He is so lucky that I am from England and he only needs to understand accents when we go to visit my homeland. SO LUCKY!!!

Well, wish me luck in this crazy endeavor….full time work (including long days of field work) is not conducive for learning a language…I just need to get past October 2nd (my PG exam) and maybe I will have time to study all of the kanji that is sure to be thrown my way.  I already have my first two semesters of kanji flash cards ready, I just need to get a full command of most of them before tomorrow…think I can do it?!!!

Ganbatte ne!!!!