For generations, March 3 has been a
special day in Japan, when families pray for good health and happiness for
their daughters. It’s called Girl’s Day or Hinamatsuri (Doll Festival). The
dolls, handed down from mother to eldest daughter, represent the imperial court
and are thought to bring good luck.
As a child, born and raised in
California, Girl’s Day meant special time with my mom and little sister. Following
tradition, our mother would set up the ceramic dolls dressed in silk with
miniature accessories on a platform. We’d eat mochi (sweet rice cakes) and take
pictures with the doll display. Sometimes Mom would dress us in kimonos. When I
grew older, we expanded the tradition: I invited my girlfriends from elementary
school to celebrate with us. We ate cake and played games, much like a birthday
party. When I got married, Mom gave me her dolls.
I also have a ton of Japanese children’s books just sitting in my car, so if you want some hard copies, message me again and I can send them to you for the price of shipping or s/t.
EDIT: There’s also an app called “PIBO - Japanese picture books.“ All the stories are written in hiragana & katakana with illustration and it also reads for you so you can make sure your pronunciation is right! Thanks aonatsu!
I have just started to learn Japanese and I think I need more reading practice. Can I use a Japanese manga to practice reading?
Since you mentioned that you have just started learning Japanese, we would not recommend you to use manga for your reading practice. Why? Because most manga contain a lot of kanji without furigana (reading), lots of slang, and complicated grammar structure. So you might (will, actually…) end up confused and depressed. But a manga is a good practice if you have finished learning N3 material though!
What then is a good reading practice for beginner in Japanese?
Most people would say Japanese children books! And this is not wrong, since it is indeed easy to be read. But what children book do you need to buy? Despite the high price, most of the books are very slim, with very little kanjis, and you don’t even know the content until you bought it!
So here’s some specific books we recommend. We think that every beginner Japanese learner need to have atleast 1 of this book.
Can you guess what is this? Yes, it’s a Ghibli movie book!
But why, you asked? Here’s the reason: A. It’s thick and cost almost the same to 10-20 page japanese children book!
How thick ? Depending on the story, around 150 - 180+. And that’s not
it, it is also a full color book! Filled with best scenes from each
Common 10 - 20 page children books will cost about the same as ghibli
movie books due to the illustration cost. But Ghibli use the image from
their movies so they are able to press the price.
B. There is a big chance that if you want to learn Japanese, you also like a few Ghibli movies. Reading what you love will give you more motivation. And it also a good book as a collection! Have we mentioned that it is a hard cover? Look at this gorgeous character introduction and famous scene of Spirited away!
C. SIMPLE SENTENCE STRUCTURES (but not too simple for beginner) and KANJI + FURIGANA ! You absolutely need furigana to search the meaning of kanji in dictionary. And that’s not all! The font is big and clear. Have we mentioned that the book is quite large? About F4 size but a bit wider.
There is no reason for not having this book as your beginner’s Japanese reading practice. Be sure to buy the correct one though. They are also provided in English version, which are okay for collection but not okay for Japanese reading practice (lol)…