In my previous post, I had mentioned a website called the Hukumusume Fairy Tale Collection. While I suppose this site is fairly well-known among students of Japanese, I would like to take a bit of time to talk about it, because it is an absolutely massive site with a ton of content, and it can be easy to get lost, because the navigation menus change depending on what part of the site you are on. I think a lot of people might not even know about all of the different things offered on the site.
Put simply, this is a site with a lot of classic children’s stories. They have stories with text-only, stories with audio, and even picture-book stories. There is also a section with many stories that have English translations. They also have multiple different sections which all contain different stories for every single day of the year. There are thousands of stories here. Now, this might not necessarily be an ideal resource for absolute beginners in Japanese, because a lot of the stories may use some somewhat old words and ideas that you aren’t familiar with. However, with the sheer amount of content offered, there are plenty of really basic and easy stories to find if you are willing to dig around for a bit.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about exactly how to navigate the site and all, but I did find a pretty good write-up on another site here: http://nihongo-e-na.com/eng/site/id522.html
I’ll also point out a few direct links to what I find to be the most useful pages on the site–the daily stories:
- 日本昔話 – Japanese Classical Stories
- 世界の昔話 – Classical Stories of the World
- 日本の民話 – Japanese Folklore
- イソップ童話 – Aesop’s Fables
- 江戸小話 – Short Stories of Edo
- 百物語 – Ghost Stories
Each of the categories above has a story for every day of the year! They are mostly Japanese-only though.
For those who’s Japanese is more at the beginner level, I would suggest starting with the stories that have an English translation available, though there are less than 50 of them at the time of this writing. You can find all the English-translated stories catalogued here: http://hukumusume.com/douwa/English/index.html
I also came across a page which lists stories according to (Japanese) grade level: http://www.hukumusume.com/douwa/0_6/0nen.html
For the past several weeks, I have been making it a point to read at least one story every day. I found it sort of annoying to navigate through a bunch of links every day, particularly if I was reading on my phone, so I wrote a simple script that will automatically take me to today’s story for the “日本昔話 – Japanese Classical Stories”. If that story doesn’t look interesting to me, the right hand sidebar beside the story will contain links to today’s story from all of the other categories as well, and it even has links to a lot of daily trivia that you can read (the first section of the sidebar is trivia, the second section is the stories).
Here is a link to my script which takes you directly to today’s story: http://www.nihongonobaka.com/Files/fairytale.php
If you want to use it, just bookmark that link. On my phone, I had to temporarily disable my internet connection in order to bookmark it, because it immediately redirects once you click the link.