If you're fascinated by supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore, then you'll love this graded reader by the Japan Foundation Kansai. It features simple descriptions of popular Yūrei and Yōkai tales and includes pictures of old woodblock prints to illustrate this eerie world of Japanese ghost stories.
[N4] Japanese Short Stories for Beginners
Short stories in Japanese seem to be very popular with language students, given the number of short story collections published for this target group. This collection features 20 original stories written for language students and all they could ask for to study them.
A man falls asleep on the train and wakes up in the mysterious town of Shin-Izumino, where everyone is much older than him. While he is still trying to figure out how to get back home, he runs into more and more situations that leave him thoroughly bewildered.
Mike Miller moves from the US to Japan to work for his company's Japanese branch. Although he does have prior knowledge of Japanese, there are many situation that leave him puzzled.
This book tells the real story of Tonky, an elephant at Ueno zoo. A keeper named Shinichi takes care of Tonky during the 1920s and 1930s, but when the war eventually breaks out, he has to make a difficult decision regarding the elephant…. The tragic fates of the animals at Ueno zoo during the Second… Continue reading [N4] 象（ぞう）のトンキー
At the end of March, a crime occurs in a public park full of blossoming cherry trees. A woman in a white dress is stabbed. The suspect: a man in black clothes... The Sakura Mystery is a story on Sakura Tadoku Lab by Harada Teruko and with illustrations by Koyama Junko. The story is divided… Continue reading [N4] 桜（さくら）ミステリー
You can get a taste of samurai manga with this story about a nameless rōnin who experiences a typical day full of fights, selfish heroism and hospitality. This short manga was written and illustrated by Yuki Sengoku for the Japan Foundation's anime-manga website. The language of this manga itself can be challenging, but with the… Continue reading [N4] サムライ漫画（まんが）
This non-fiction text by McPherson Tanaka Naemi is about bento - what types of bento there are, when the food culture around it emerged and how the discussions around it are also socially linked. This was very interesting to read! The reflections on social issues around bento were particularly interesting for me and I was… Continue reading [N4] お弁当（べんとう）って面白い
In this indigenous story from Brazil the moon goddess chooses the most beautiful girls on earth to make them into stars. This version for readers about N4 was rewritten in easy Japanese by an exchange student named Antonio for the NPO Tagengo Tadoku's free graded readers. The title of this story is the katakana transcription… Continue reading [N4] ヴィトリアレジア
Around the street Takeshita Doori in Harajuku there are several popular crêpe stands, that made the area famous for this tasty treat. This article on matcha.jp provides a closer look at 3 of these shops and describes the crêpes you can buy there. Unfortunately, I'm not one for that much whipped cream, but Harajuku crepes… Continue reading [N4] 原宿（はらじゅく）のクレープ店