The name of this blog is “We Speak Japanese and English” because, well, we do.

But if I were to change the name, I would like maybe “Eating and Walking at the Same Time.”  Because it’s really rude to eat while walking in Japan, but I love to do it anyway.

I also would like the blog name”The Great Book Hunt”  because I am ALWAYS HUNTING FOR BOOKS!!!!!!!!!  More, more, give me more!!!!!!  In English, of course.  I can get Japanese books easily at the library.

So an untapped resource for books might possibly be….Fukushima University’s library!  Let’s go there and check it out!


Hmmm…which way do I go.  Okay.  The library.



I would not exactly call Fukushima University’s campus charming, but it is nice enough.  Students don’t go there anyway for the campus.  It’s a competitive school, difficult to get into.


Here we are!  The library!  It was closed for renovation, but reopened in June of 2015.


Okay, here we go!  English books!  It’s really a hodgepodge.


Some very old picture books.  They are wonderful classics, and available for loan!


Don’t you hate it when people write in library books?  In Japan, you will frequently see this in English books.  Some numbskull with a pencil goes through and translates the difficult words.  The funny thing is that they usually do a couple pages and give up.


Lots of books for research, naturally.   The books with orange labels are English language books.  You sort of have to hunt for them.


There are also MANY MANY MANY readers.  Penguin readers, Oxford readers, and so on.  They are quite common in Japan for students.  They are retellings of famous works, like Huckleberry Finn, or tell in a simple way about important topics.


Downstairs.  Not the stacks area.  This is a study area.


Does this building look scary, or what?  In its defense, it has a sign saying it is no longer in use.


Off campus, but the view from behind the library.


As a Fukushima resident—but NOT associated in any way with the library–I am entitled to borrow five books for free.  Lucky!!!!!

I got four for my son, and one Japanese books of essays for myself.

I chose the YA novel “My Mum’s from Planet Pluto” because—-let’s be totally honest here——I am a bit of an odd mom.  Because I am foreign and loud and weird and embarrassing.   At least this is what my son thinks.  He loves me anyway.  ❤  HOWEVER, this book was not about a slightly eccentric mom!  It was about a mom who had spent time previously in a mental hospital, and who during the course of this book stops taking her lithium!  Okay!  Book Fail!  Yes, it happens.  I just stop reading and move on to the next book.  (Nothing wrong with the topic of a mom with mental problems–it just wasn’t something we wanted to read about.)

Also notice “The Smartest Giant in Town”  If you are American, like me, you are thinking, “Oh, this must be about a very intelligent giant!”  No!  This book is British.  “Smart” means smartly dressed.  Yes!  It really does!

(This is no surprise, though, to those of us in Japan, where the loanword “smart” スマートmeans, according to my dictionary, 1.) slim 2.) stylish.  So we cute slim Americans come to Japan and get called “Smart” and we reply, “Why, thank you, I did do very well on my SAT’s.”  )

Hey, wait nobody has called me “smart” in fifteen years.  }:-(

Moving on.  Anyway, in America, the title of “The Smartest Giant in Town” was changed to:  


Okay, there you have it.  If you have a university or college of any sort near you, it is worth checking out.  The worst they can do is say no.  And then kill you.