Thursday, April 7, 2011

Moyashimon ehon reviews

Ok, this post marks a couple of milestones. First, it's one of those that I'd put on Nihon-go Hunter back right after the earthquake in order to get all of my pending manga reviews online quickly. I'm posting it here now just to get it mixed in with all of the other Moyashimon posts. (At least, I'm pretty sure that I haven't run it on TSOJ yet, and I'm too lazy to check.) Second, by double-posting over the last few days, I've made up for the gap in the schedule caused by my taking that break recently. This presents me with a bit of a dilemma, though, because I still have a few "photo backlog" entries to upload, and about 12 days of pending blog entries to work with, yet double-posting kind of messes with my intention of just doing a continuous one-post-a-day. I think, though, that I'll go back to one post a day starting tomorrow, and will just upload the remaining "photo backlog" entries when all of the other major posts are done.

Edit: Looks like my counting was off. There's a third milestone I wanted to announce when it happened - this is the 1000th post. Yes, I have written 1000 individual entries. I wish I could say that it's an unbroken string of 1 entry per day for 1000 days, but that's obviously not true. Anyway, it's still a milestone.


Along with the regular "Moyashimon" manga, Masayuki Ishikawa has been releasing "Moyashimon" picture books (referred to as "e-hon" in Japanese). There have been 7 books so far. I first noticed them when I went to Kinokuniya and was wondering whether to pick up the first volume of the manga. I saw them several other times at different bookstores, but put off buying one because I didn't know if it would be worth the money. Later when I decided to try reviewing them for the blog, no one had them anymore. Fortunately, I was able to locate the latest two books at K-Books in Akihabara, which has a large selection of manga to start with. At 2000 yen total for the two books ($25 USD), they're a bit pricey for children's books. On the other hand, the Japanese used is fairly conversational and consists of a vocabulary that may still be challenging for Japanese learners. From this standpoint, the Moyashimon picture books are good study materials if you're still at the 1st or 2nd grade level.

All of the books are educational, and are aimed at teaching young children manners and other basics. The pictures are easy to look at and the text is large and easy to read. The two books I have are 36 pages each. In general, the left page has a short sentence, and the right has an illustration that usually includes the yeasts and occasionally some of the other Moyashimon characters in young-child forms. Some of the material may not be considered appropriate for young children in America, since there are occasional references to yeast being used to make sake, or adults drinking champagne on Christmas. Keep that in mind if you decide to get these books for yourself. Personally, I like the 2 books that I have, and I recommend them to beginning Japanese learners.

Volumes currently out:
てをあらおう (Wash your hands) (08/27/09, ¥980)
いただきます (Let's eat) (10/29/09, ¥980)
カレンダー (Calendar) (12/17/09, ¥980)
はをみがこう (Brush your teeth) (03/30/10, ¥980)
あいさつ (Greetings) (05/28/10, ¥980)
すうじで あそぼう (Play with numbers) (09/29/10, ¥980)
クリスマス (Christmas) (12/09/10, ¥1,200)

(All rights reserved by their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

"Christmas" is just a superficial look at the holiday, first identifying it as Jesus' birthday, then going on to mention Christmas trees, having fun with friends, eating turkey and getting presents from Santa Keizo. The last page is a pre-punched sheet with microbes that you can hang on your own tree.

"Play with numbers" is a counting book which teaches the readings for the romaji characters from 1 to 10. Each number is associated with a specific object (3 rice balls, 6 dots on a die, 8 legs on an octopus, 10 legs on a squid, and so on).

Summary: The "Moyashimon ehon" series are picture books aimed at young children, featuring the cast from the manga. It's an easy learning experience for people starting out reading Japanese, but may be a bit too pricey for what you get if it's an import from Still, I recommend them.

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