I picked up this little book because I wanted to get back into reading Japanese. I was mostly pulled towards this particular book because they are (supposed to be) short stories by Ōgai Mori and I quite appreciate reading actual literature.
Well, I was wrong. They are merely simplified versions of two of Mori’s short stories (Takasebune and Saigo no ikku), not the actual thing. I should’ve known.
That brings me to the next point. Level 4 of these Japanese Graded Readers is supposed to be high-N3-to-N2-level. However, it was far too easy for me (rusty, N2), not a challenge at all. (I admit I would’ve picked level 5 if my library had them, but they didn’t.) The sentences were extremely simplified, the vocabulary was of a very low level, and while I appreciate the furigana I don’t see why it has to be repeated especially for very simple characters?
Anyway, on to the stories. Takasebune is the shorter of the two stories and I actually quite liked it. To the point where I’ll probably try and read the original sometime. Saigo no ikku was a huge disappointment though. No idea what they were going for with that one (I suspect it’s just this particular simplified version that was rubbish, though). It kept going on and on
So, combining the quality of the stories and the usefulness of the actual book, I have to give this book two stars. It was a bit of a disappointment and if you are at approximately N2 level Japanese, I really recommend picking up some actual literature instead.
森鴎外短編集: 高瀬舟/最後の一句 by Ōgai Mori
Series: レベル別日本語多読ライブラリー #4.2
Published by ask publishing on 2007
Genre: Japanese literature
The verdict: ★★☆☆☆
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