Tadoku Again! What to Read?

Kafka! Again!

Tadoku is coming again!

I haven’t performed very well in the Tadoku competitions. I do read a lot of Japanese daily, because it’s my life, but I have trouble sticking to whatever novel it was that I picked for the contest. Also, I’m too lazy to record pages of games or random webpages that I read. So, I only record the books. Anyway, excuses over. I’m going to pick up where I left off in Kafka By the Shore 海辺のカフカ and join Tadoku again this time!

I think I need to learn to abide by this Tadoku philosophy from Professor Sakai of tadoku.org. (Saw this from Lingosteve’s blog, props!)

1) do not look words up in the dictionary
2) if you are stuck, move on, don’t ask questions
3) if you do not like what you are reading, get something else to read.

I have an OCD habit of writting down any unknown Japanese that I encounter, looking it up, and adding it to my Anki deck. This slows me down. I love it though… but I guess Tadoku is not the time for that. I’ll try to kick the OCD habit for one month and just read more (or die)!

Are you going to Tadoku? What are you going to read?

If you haven’t decided on anything yet here are some ideas…

Anything on Aozora Bunko.

Use Japanese Literature at Bedtime to get MP3s of famous Japanese stories available on Aozora Bunko, and read while listening. Awesome.

Get some of the readers from TheJapanShop.com. Full disclosure, I’m friends with TheJapanShop.com owner, but seriously, the stuff is legit. They are traditional Japanese stories, read by a native Japanese speaker, and you get the Kanji readings and English translation as well. The audio files are all separated so if you like you can listen to the straight-up no-help Japanese. Good stuff. For example, 注文の多い料理店 by Miyazawa Kenji.

Liana has also posted links to tons of great stuff. Check out her list of extensive reading material online.

Anyone have other ideas for stuff to read?? Do tell!

Related Posts:
How I use my Kindle
Podcast Recommendation – Audio for Ningen Shikkaku

Japanese on StackExchange

There is yet another place for you go to ask all your questions about the Japanese language without fear of being ridiculed for being too geek.


Some of you may recognize the format of the stack exchange site from another fairly popular site that called onJapanese.

Well, basically they are the same thing. The platform Stack Exchange decided to stop supporting all the communities that individuals started, like onJapanese, and created a voting system to start new communities. They got enough votes for a Japanese language community, so there you have it!

I took a quick look at some of the discussions on japanese.stackexchange.com they look to be pretty on target.

People are even breaking down things I have always wondering about… like why is the counter for rabbits 羽?

Hope this site is helpful for some people!

– Harvey

Edo period game 投扇興 tou sen kyou

Let’s talk about the Edo period game called 投扇興 (tou sen kyou)!

投扇興 (tou sen kyou) is a game that started in the Edo period (1603–1868) in which two people would compete by throwing an opened traditional Japanese fan at a target balanced on top of a rectangular wooden stand.

Here is a news clip where a the game is being enjoyed as part of some spring festival activities in Japan.

Here is some vocab to help you with the video.

扇 (ougi) The traditional fan is called an ougi. These days the word 扇子 (sensu) is more commonly used, but basically they are the same. Some say that 扇 is a little bigger and 扇子 is smaller, but this seems to be a popular misconception.

台 (dai) a stand

イチョウ型 (ichou-gata) shaped like a gingko leaf.

的 (mato) target

Here is a video where some pretty serious 投扇興 is going down.

The scoring system is a little bit complicated, as you can see from the numbers they are calling out in the video. I do not fully understand the scoring yet, however I learned what is perhaps a simplified version from a video game… in 龍が如く見参! for the PS3 you can play 投扇興, and you get more points if you cleanly knock the target off of the stand onto the floor, than for example, if your fan hits the stand, and the target just falls over but doesn’t drop to the ground.

Apparently depending on the documentation you reference the scoring system can be different. I’m not sure if there is one official system, but this website details one particular scoring scheme.

As you can see, it’s freaking detailed.

If you throw the fan, hit the target, yet the target is cliff hanging off the edge of the platform, you get 5 points.

5 points

HOWEVER! If you hit the target off of the platform, and the target lands right side up, AND the fan manages to land propped up on top of the target, with no portion touching the platform, then you get 50 points!!!

50 points!!!

But wait!

If you manage to throw the fan at the target, causing the target to lift up off of the platform and land upright on top of the fan, which itself is balanced on the platform, then you get 85 points!!!

85 points!!!

Some Japanese to help you react to this unlikely scenario.

They must have played this game for hundreds of years before all the scenarios detailed on that website actually happened… some of them seem to be utterly impossible!

Anyway, I won’t go into the scoring details any further here, because they’re mad and varied. Just throw the fan at the target and enjoy yourself…

Apparently there are still places in Kyoto where maiko and such will play this game in drinking establishments, but I have never seen it myself.

Here’s a great shot.

Anyway. Hope you get the gist of 投扇興! I was pretty happy to discover this! Always something new and fun to learn about Japan…

– Harvey

One tousenkyou scoring scenario.
Tousenkyou on Japanese Wikipedia

Hit the Target!