五体不満足 : 乙武洋匡

これから生まれてくる子供に対して、親が馳せる想いは様々だろうが、最低限の条件として、上のような言葉をよく耳にする。… 声を大にして言いたい。「障害者を持っていても、僕は毎日楽しいよ。」

This was a book I picked up to read in London and then put down for a number of months for various reasons. I have only recently decided to finish the book. It is the memoirs of a man who was born without any arms and legs.

I was initially inspired by this man who had faught hard to do the things he wanted to do without letting his disabilities get in the way. If he wanted to join the basketball club, he joined it. If he wanted to go to a certain school but had no suitable transportation, he'd walk to get there. He just hated it when it rained as then he would get a wet bum.

The book is very honest and heartwarming. He admits to not being perfect - not in terms of physical appearance, but in terms of personality. He is a sometimes arrogant man who tends to forget what problems his actions may cause others. He loves attention and brings joy and inspiration to people. But at he same time he apologises in the Afterword of the book for appearing to speak on behalf of all physically challenged people.

Personally, I found the beginning of the book, which details his early school life, to be very interesting. His family fight to get him into a 'normal' school, his teachers fight to ensure he is treated just like everyone else. The latter half of the book tends to drag a little. The Afterword is quite interesting as it talks about the impact the book had on his life and how it had the complete opposite affect than what he had originally planned.

It's an interesting book, but I don't think I'd like him if I were to ever meet him.
(Which I'm not likely to do... Haha)









ホームレス中学生 田村裕

Hiroshi was only 13 years old when he returned home from school to find his house had been repossessed. He waited outside the barricades with his sister and brother for his father to come home. However their father just told them to go their separate ways and left. Not wanting to be a burden to his brother and sister, Hiroshi set out to fend for himself. He set up home at a nearby park. Everything was fine for the first day. Then hunger kicked in.

Hiroshi considered suicide. If dying meant he could be with his mother again and escape from this feeling of constant hunger, then he wanted to die. He missed his mum. He wanted to be hugged and comforted by his mum. Dying would help his brother and sister too, whom he recently became reunited with. Dying would mean one less mouth for them to feed. 15 years of living was enough. He had experienced enough pain. But was dying what his mother would have wanted for his life? What good could he ever give to others? What could he do to make his mum in heaven proud of him?

A story of a homeless and very poor adolescent boy living in Osaka. Apparently it's 'based' on the life of famous Yoshimoto comedian Hiroshi Tamura. It's a simple book with simple language that is easy to read for the language learner. It also has lots of good vocabulary in it that isn't too formal/written language.










According to a spokesperson from Johnny & Associates, it has come to light that one part of the nations popular idol group SMAP, are considering quitting their current agency and going independent.

The news became evident after an NHK interview with the spokesperson for the Johnny & Associates lawyer. According to this interview, Johnny & Associates are currently holding talks with one part of the five member group who are considering going independent. According to he spokesperson, as the contract between the agency and SMAP hasn't expired yet, it is unsure whether or not they can actually become independent.

SMAP is Japans ultra popular male idol group. They have released a number of hit songs since releasing their first CD in 1991. They have also participated in NHK's major New Years Eve music show a total of 23 times. Their down-to-earth personalities also enabled the group to appear in a number of television programmes, as well as each of the members individually starring in televisions dramas and movies.

The spokesperson for the Johnny & Associates lawyer said that they would prefer to refrain from making any further comments regarding the news as a resolution has yet to be made.









手紙、東野 圭吾

A book recommended to me by a friend.
A book that I just couldn't put down.

In order to kill her cheating husband, your mother sets fire to the family home and plans to escape with her two sons. The fire does kill your father, but unfortunately your mother gets mixed up in the chaos and dies too. Your older brother quits high school and gets a hard labour job at a moving company in order to support you. You both move into a small apartment and try to make ends meet. Your brother can see the potential you have and is adamant that you should go to university and not miss out like him. He reassures you that he will find the money. You don't want to put pressure on your brother who is already struggling to keep the job he has due to severe back problems, so you try to secure yourself a job. Anything to ease the stress on your brother.

But your brother realises what you are doing and panics. He promised your parents at their grave that he would look after you. He cannot fail you. So your brother secretly thinks up a plan to ensure your path into university. If only it was legal. If only it had gone to plan. If only the old lady didn't come home. If only the screwdriver your brother was holding hadn't accidentally stabbed her in the neck. If only.

Your brother was caught red-handed and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

While you try and get your head around what your brother did, your landlord knocks on your door and gives you two weeks to get out. He doesn't want "your sort" in his property. You get a job but as soon as your boss finds out that your brother is in prison for murder he finds a way to sack you. You get another job but again and again you are sacked when the truth about your brother comes to light. You fall in love, you join a band, you have a daughter... but again and again it is your brothers crime which stops things from succeeding.

Your brother makes your every move a struggle.
You write him a letter telling him that you are disowning him.
You pretend he never existed.
But, isn't that just confirming the prejudices that society holds?


English title: The Letters, by Keigo Higashino.
An easy read for JLPT N2 beginner.
I haven't watched the movie yet, but the trailer looks somewhat removed from the novel - the main character was never part of a comedy duo.


世界を中心で、愛をさけぶ 【小説】片山恭一

It was voted high up in the "Japan Top 100 Novels", I'd already seen the movie and liked it, so I decided to read this short book. It's a smooth and easy read. However, maybe it's due to the fact I saw the movie first, or to the fact that the movie is very far removed from Katayama's original novel, I preferred the movie best. The movie has moments that pull on your heartstrings, albeit sometimes cheesy. The book lacks in moments of the two main characters before her death, rather it seems to dwell more on moments after her death for too long.

The story of the book is a simple one: a boy meets a girl at school, they fall in love and want to spend every moment of their lives together. They share views together, steal dead people's bones together (for a good cause, obviously), and walk home together from school every day (they take the extra extra long route, obviously). But the girl falls ill with leukaemia and ends up spending her days in hospital. The boy tries everything he can do to keep her spirits up, but the girl becomes more and more depressed as she learns of her fate. Bored at hospital and eager to go back to high school, she studies about Australian Aborigines. The boy promises to take her there when she gets better. The boy does keep his promise, and the girl does eventually get to go to Australia, even if it is after her funeral.

The synopsis of the movie is somewhat different. It concentrates on the grown up 33 year old man and his new girlfriend. The story is told through his new girlfriends discoveries and the man's memories. The person who was the boys grandfather in the book is now his uncle in the movie. The movie is shot beautifully and if you had to chose between the two, I'd recommend watching the movie rather than reading the book.

The book is an easy read for JLPT N2 and above.


5年3組リョウタ組 石田衣良

He is young, hasn't much experience, has dyed brown hair and wears a necklace to work. He might not seem like the most reliable teacher around, but 25 year old bicycle-riding Ryota Nakamichi does things his way. And they usually don't get him anywhere. But this year was different. He had a student who felt claustrophobic inside the classroom and kept running out during class. Then he had to try and encourage a fellow teacher, who was being bullied by coworkers, not to  throw his career away. Then there was the fire incident and the mass media on his doorstep. Somehow he turned it all around and became a star. The students trusted him, his fellow coworkers took a second look at him. His way of working - tackling problems from a child's point of view and encouraging the students to take pride and find a road of their own - was working much better than the old school system of forcing the students to memorise things. And on top of all that, he got a girlfriend.

It just had to be Ryota's year.


ちょっとした復習 「一」

◼︎ 一括して《いっかつ》
Lump together. Collectively.


◼︎ 一様に 《いちよう》
Uniformly. Alike.

◼︎ 一律 《いちりつ》
Evenly. Across the board.



◼︎ 一貫して 《いっかん》
Beginning to end consistently.
◼︎ 一気に 《いっき》
No stopping. In one gulp/stretch.
◼︎ 一挙に 《いっきょ》
Finish once and for all.
◼︎ 一斉に 《いっせい》
All together.

「一気に」⇆ 「一挙に」



◼︎ 一向に 《いっこう》
Not at all. Not in the least. (程度)
◼︎ 一切 《いっさい》
Completely. (量的)



◼︎ 一段と 《いちだん》
More than (something else). More than before.
◼︎ 一層 《いっそう》
More than before ONLY.



そして父になる (佐野 昌・是枝 裕和)


Imagine you have a son.
You work hard to give him everything you can.
You prepare him for his school life.
You teach him right from wrong.
You would do anything for him.
After all, he is your son.

But then, after six years of bringing him up you get a call to say there was a mistake at the hospital and he isn't your son at all. The hospital and the lawyers recommend that you give the boy back to his true parents. In return you will get your true son.

You question why you didn't realise.
You question what it is to be a father.

You are torn between a boy you know and love and a boy who is related to you but you don't know. You feel as though you are betraying the boy you brought up if you begin to love your real, "new" son. The boy you brought up, your "old" son doesn't understand why Daddy is sending him away to live with other people. Maybe it's because he failed his piano classes. Your new son finds you boring and just wants to go back to his old life. You find escape at work. You work even when you don't need to. Anything to avoid going home and facing reality.

What can you do to be a good father to both your new and old sons?
What should you choose? Love or blood?
Should you even be choosing at all?  

「そうだよな、パパじゃない… でもな、6年間は…。 6年間はパパだったんだ。出来損ないだったけど、パパだったんだよ。」


Good book and very smooth to read.
Intermediate-advanced level.