Monday, November 02, 2009

Hello Japan! - October Link Round-up


(Sorry for the delay in getting this post up, I've had some technical problems this past weekend coupled with a lack of time.)

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read or watch something scary, spooky or suspenseful in October for the first Hello Japan! mini-challenge. There was a mixture of books, movies, anime and manga, ghost stories, mysteries, and murder.  So, without further ado, let's recap.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, one of the well-known writers of Japanese horror, Koji Suzuki, was well represented.
Mel U of The Reading Life read the book, Ring.

Gnoegnoe of Graasland watched the movie, Dark Water but also mentions the movie Ringu in her post as it is by the same director.

Teresa read Promenade of the Gods by Koji Suzuki, for which she wrote this mini-review:
When I first started this book, I thought it might be a nod to Murakami, as that is the last name of the main character and there's a husband who disappears at the start of the story. My son disagreed with me and I became less sure of my 'theory' as I read along, but it's still a decent mystery in any case. (It's not 'horror' as is his "Ring," which I've also read the trilogy of and think is better than this book of his.) I enjoyed the characterization of the main female character; and the send-up of the media and how it can be manipulated. Unfortunately, the text contains some sloppy translation and lazy editing.

Velvet of vvb32 reads also read Ring by Koji Suzuki, which she compares to the Japanese and American movie versions. But Velvet didn't stop there, she also read up on Japanese Female Ghosts, and watched two of the four ghost stories in the movie Kwaidan including Black Hair and the Woman in the Snow (Yuki Onna).

Natakiya of Bento Anarchy also read some of the Japanese ghost stories compiled by Lafcadio Hearn, and even made a Halloween bento with a cute tanuki.

Tineke Schaap of mylifeshesaid read Out by Natsuo Kirino. I had to chuckle at her comment about having a strong stomach, as it is quite graphic in places.

chasing bawa read Grotesque by Natsuo Kirino, which, like she says in her review, is a dark and disturbing story.

Kristen M. of We Be Reading read her first manga, The Cain Saga: Forgotten Juliet by Kaori Yuki, and in her post she also includes a great little introduction to manga.

su of su[shu] read Shadow Family by Miyuki Miyabe, calling it "the kind of story that you need to finish, and sit on for a few days before making any conclusion about it."

Bellezza of Dolce Bellezza read Oh! A Mystery of Mono No Aware by Todd Shimoda, a book I'm also eager to read.

Claire of Paperback Reader watched the movie, Battle Royale, about which she said "it is powerful in its subtleties and its cultural commentary on a Japan obsessed with youth, fashion and cuteness. Battle Royale should not be taken at face-value as an overblown violent film but as a fantastically exaggerated cultural comment."

Novroz at bokunosekai watched the anime, Natsume Yuujinchou about an orphan boy who can see and talk to ghosts.

And Terri B. of Tip of the Iceberg is still making her way through Tales of Moonlight and Rain by Akinari Ueda. I look forward to reading your thoughts on the stories, Terri.

I'd hoped to read The Summer of the Ubume by Natsuhiko Kyogoku, as it apparently delves into Japanese folklore and yokai, supernatural entities, but unfortunately October wasn't a great reading month for me so I wasn't able to get to it. Instead I read the first 3 volumes of the Vampire Knight manga series, on my shiny new iPhone. (Sorry, I couldn't resist, but it's my most favourite new toy in ages! ;)

So there you have some scary, spooky, suspenseful Japanese books and movies. I hope you all enjoyed the October task and perhaps got some ideas for future Japanese spooky reads.

But wait... there are a couple of prizes to hand out.  For her sheer enthusiasm I arbitrarily decided Velvet should have one of them.  So the Punk Kitty notepad and pen goes to Velvet.  And by random selection, the little stuffed Halloween Kitty goes to Natakiya! (Natakiya, please email me at tanabata2000 AT gmail DOT com with your mailing address).

Stay tuned for the November task which will be up tomorrow.  Again, I apologize for the delay.

The small print:  Book covers in this post are linked to Amazon and include my Associates ID.  Purchases made via these links earn me a small commission to help support In Spring it is the Dawn. For more information visit my About Page.


  1. Congrats to the winners! Thank you for hosting a fun mini-challenge, tanabata, and to those who contributed. I'm looking forward to finding out what the next one will be :).

  2. I feel super super guilty for missing the post date, but my eyes were giving me hell and I couldn't write a review for the life of me. I will definitely send you the link, when I am done this week. The manga was pretty awesome and I think you would interested. :)

  3. Congrats to Velvet and Natakiya on winning their prizes!

    Thanks for the cool wrap-up post tanabata and don't worry being late: it seems to me all participants have proven they can handle some suspense! ;)

    Looking forward to tomorrow's post though! :)

  4. This was a fun challenge! I can't wait for the next one. I hope it involves tempura. :)

  5. Great wrap up! I like the blurbs. Looking forward to the next challenge. Thanks a bunch!

  6. Just wanted to say what an impressive wrap up post! I'm looking forward to November's challenge.

  7. Thank you for mentioning my attempt! I'm still working on this one.

  8. Claire - And thank you for participating! :)

    Harry - It's ok. I've been struggling to blog lately too. There is never enough time in the day it seems. I'd love to hear about the manga you read (since I'm late to reply to the comments, have you since reviewed it?), and you can still add the link to the Mr. Linky for October. I'll leave it open (unless it starts getting spammed). In fact, there have been a couple of other late entries added to it as well.

    Gnoe - I seem to be perpetually behind lately so thank you for understanding. :)

    Kristen - And you got your wish! :)

    Velvet - You're very welcome! Thanks again for being such an enthusiastic participant!

    Sakura - Thanks, I'm glad you liked the wrap-up post. :)

    Terri - No problem. How's it going? Have you made any more progress?


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