One of the biggest challenges to learning Japanese is finding high quality content to read and listen to. Because of that, I created a Kickstarter campaign back in 2020 to help create a Japanese book and audiobook.
The book can be found on Amazon, but the audiobook never found its way onto the internet where people could buy it and use it to improve listening comprehension.
Now I feel it is time to not only make it accessible to the public, but I am also making it free for everyone to download.
What Is The Story?
The name of the story is 火星の記憶 (kasei no kioku) which translates as The Memory of Mars. This is a short novella written by Raymond F. Jones, that has been translated into Japanese by 林清俊 (Kiyotoshi Hayashi).
It is a science fiction thriller that was written back in 1961 and follows the main protagonist Mel as he discovers that his recently deceased wife is actually not the woman he thought she was – she is actually an android!
Or is she?
As Mel tries to discover the truth he travels back to his home town, into the big city, and eventually to Mars to discover who his wife really was and unravel the mystery is behind the entire situation.
It is actually a pretty good story in my opinion, and this Japanese version can be used to learn new vocabulary as well as strengthen overall comprehension.
The audiobook was recorded by a native Japanese actor and can be downloaded by clicking on the two links below.
I had to break it down into two separate ZIP files due to the overall size of the recordings.
In the first part, you will find chapters 1-13 as well as the artwork associated with the audiobook. In the second link, you will get chapters 14-27 which completes the story.
Click each link below to download now:
If you are unfamiliar with ZIP files, then you will simply need to extract (or unzip) all of the audio files inside of the folder once you’ve downloaded them.
Once you have them onto your computer you can start listening to them right away, or you might even consider copying the files onto your phone or mp3 player so that you can listen to them while you are away from home.
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed listening while driving or going for a walk, so these might also be ideal opportunities for you to practice listening to Japanese.
Where To Find The Book
The single best technique that I have ever come across for learning Japanese is to “listen to what you read, and read what you listen to.” -Steve Kaufmann
I am giving away the audiobook for free as a gift to the Japanese language learning community.
If you are interested in acquiring the book as well so that you can practice reading what you hear, then you can find it by clicking on the below links:
One thing to note is that the title of the book on Amazon is actually called A Space Novella in Japanese: 日本語の中編小説 because I’ve actually included much more than just the story in Japanese.
I’ve created a bi-lingual book with the story in both Japanese and English so that readers could easily improve their Japanese reading and comprehension.
In addition to the story, I’ve also included an index with dictionary definitions of new words, grammar explanations, short exercises, tips on how to learn Japanese effectively, and furigana to help learn the pronunciation of new words.
My intention when creating it was to make a helpful tool people could use to learn Japanese, and if you decide to give it a go I hope you find value in using it.
Tips For Learning Efficiently
I mentioned earlier that reading and listening to the same content is an incredibly effective way to learn new words and phrases, and improve overall comprehension.
There are also some additional things you can do to help learn the material better.
1. Read the material first, then listen to it right afterwards.
When you read words in a book you have time to look up each new meaning and think about the overall sentence.
When you listen to someone speaking Japanese, you either understand them right away or you get caught up on the words you haven’t learned yet.
By taking the time to read each chapter first, you can build the foundation of understanding as well as familiarize yourself with the context of what’s going on before you dive right into the audio which is played at the full speed of native Japanese.
This primes your brain to “look out for” all of the words and sentences that you are about to hear, because you’ve just finished reading them.
2. Listen more times than you read.
After having read though a chapter (or the book) first, you can listen to it many, many times in order to train your ears on how these words and sentences actually sound.
Repetition is the mother of learning, and the only real way to get good at understanding spoken Japanese is to spend a lot of time listening to it.
Having the base of comprehension from reading as well as the consistency of practice from repeated listening is a great way to go from understanding very little, to understanding pretty much all of it.
3. Re-read after some time has passed.
Once you’ve read though to gain a basic understanding, and listened multiple times to help lock it in, it is a good idea to read though it again to discover any hidden meanings that you may have missed the first time.
I am always surprised at how much more I understand a book when I re-read it for the second or third time after several weeks or months have passed.
For whatever reason, the human mind needs time to digest and understand new words and phrases, and by re-visiting the story after you’ve had some time for the dust to settle, things become a lot clearer.
Enjoy The Audiobook
Now that I’ve put the audiobook up for you to download, and I’ve shared where you can get the book version, it is up to you to decide how much you want to use it to practice your Japanese.
I hope that you find it helpful, and if you’ve got anything to share or any of your own advice that others could benefit from then please let us know by leaving a comment below.
Further Resources for Learning Japanese: