Saturday, February 28, 2004


For most of the past week I was in the San Francisco Bay area, and during that time I managed (thanks to my brother, who drove me) to visit the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya in San Francisco's Japantown. This store is quite a bit larger than the Asahiya in suburban Chicago, which is the only new Japanese bookstore I have semi-regular access to, and its manga section is several times larger. In particular, while the Chicago Asahiya has very little manga aimed at adults (by which I don't mean porn), the SF Kinokuniya has quite a bit, though it's still only a small proportion of all the manga they have. I wound up spending over $180 (before sales tax), which got me sixteen volumes. The next day I visited Moe's, a large used bookstore in Berkeley; they had some Japanese-language manga, though not a lot, and I picked up a few volumes there. So I'll have a lot to report on in the next few days or weeks.


I always feel a bit bad when I discover that someone's come to my blog pursuing a search which I know my blog won't help with. This happened a few days ago when someone was looking for Fruits Basket Kodansha bilingual manga: I'd talked about Fruits Basket, and about Kodansha bilingual manga, but not about the two together. Well, there is no Fruits Basket Kodansha bilingual manga, because Fruits Basket in Japan is published not by Kodansha, but by Hakusensha. But one of my SF purchases, vol. 13 of the Japanese Fruits Basket (yay!) has an ad for a bilingual edition of Fruits Basket vol. 1, which they call Eigoban (English-language edition) Furuutsu Basuketto. I didn't see the book, but the ad showed a sample page. As with the Kodansha bilinguals, this edition is intended for Japanese speakers who want to learn English, and has English text in the balloons and captions, with the original Japanese printed in the margins. There are a couple of other features which would be useful to Japanese speakers, but less so to English speakers trying to learn Japanese, or simply wanting to read Fruits Basket. I'm dubious about the quality of the translation, though I can hardly pretend to be an expert: the second half of the caption on top of page seven, "minna to tanoshiku itsumademo," is translated as "and may everyone get along with each other forever," though in this context I would think that "having fun with everybody" is a more likely translation of "minna to tanoshiku". (For comparison's sake, Tokyopop translates this phrase as "This is where the fun begins," though I wouldn't take that as authoritative either.) Also note that whereas in the original Japanese edition all the kanji have furigana (small kana at the side showing the pronunciation), these are stripped from the Japanese text in the bilingual edition.

The ad gives the price as 924 yen (over twice the price of the regular Japanese edition). I don't have the ISBN, but here's the publisher's website, if you want to try searching there.

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