The River Sanzu

There are many bridges to cross in life.

In this 20-episode series, a woman's ordinary life is turned upside down by an unexpected event. As she stands at a precipice between two worlds, she contemplates family, love, and roads not taken. A story of moderate difficulty that will warm your heart.

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Episode 1
A morning like any other finds our narrator taking her daughter to school.
Notes: Though there are a few potentially tricky vocabulary words related to cars and roadways, such as "four-wheel-drive," "median divider," and "fuel efficiency," the grammar in this episode should be straightforward for most.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 1796
Voice Only Unread 7484
Episode 2
The narrator reflects on how her life has changed over the past five years.
Notes: This episode contains great vocabulary, such as the word for "flashy/showy," and interesting grammar, such as a discussion of using a verb in the present to indicate the completed passage of time.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 818
Voice Only Unread 3223
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Episode 3
The narrator sends her daughter on her way.
Notes: This adorable episode contains mostly straightforward vocabulary and grammar and should feel very accessible.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 574
Voice Only Unread 1729
Pro
Episode 4
The narrator takes a moment to make things right with her husband.
Notes: This dialog-centric episode contains a realistic portrayal of a phone call, with lots of inversions, hesitation sounds, and so on.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 487
Voice Only Unread 1307
Pro
Episode 5
Yuuko shows off her creative side.
Notes: This episode is packed with enjoyable dialog, vocabulary, and even a children's song.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 473
Voice Only Unread 1149
Pro
Episode 6
An unexpected event changes everything.
Notes: This episode contains vocabulary such as "slow motion" and a pattern using -kiru that means "to do completely."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 457
Voice Only Unread 1068
Pro
Episode 7
The narrator begins to comprehend what has happened.
Notes: This episode contains excellent vocabulary and expressions, such as one that means "to go pale," as well as a discussion of a pattern for naming an emotional response to, or judgment of, a situation.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 448
Voice Only Unread 1021
Pro
Episode 8
The narrator searches for her daughter as onlookers call for help.
Notes: This episode contains great transportation vocabulary, such as "driver's seat," "windshield," and "ambulance."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 443
Voice Only Unread 990
Pro
Episode 9
As workers get the scene under control, the narrator attempts to communicate with the emergency personnel.
Notes: This episode contains mostly straightforward grammar and excellent vocabulary, such as words for "gawkers (curious onlookers)," "stretcher," and "to come forward."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 433
Voice Only Unread 968
Pro
Episode 10
Still piecing together what has happened, the narrator makes an unexpected discovery.
Notes: This episode features several good examples of verbs that indicate something is spontaneously perceptible, such as kikoeru, mieru, and koe ga suru.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 434
Voice Only Unread 960
Pro
Episode 11
A dizzying array of emotions come over the narrator after she and Yuuko descend to the river.
Notes: This episode is packed with important vocabulary and notes, such as a discussion of words that mean "nostalgic," "to miss (someone)," and a special use of the -kke suffix that indicates warm recollection.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 434
Voice Only Unread 931
Pro
Episode 12
The woman on the bridge delivers a stern message to the narrator and her child.
Notes: This episode contains such interesting and useful expressions as "for a chill to go down one's spine," and "to shake one's head side-to-side."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 420
Voice Only Unread 909
Pro
Episode 13
The situation changes abruptly after a familiar man appears.
Notes: This exciting episode contains useful notes, such as a refresher on how to use the expression ...ni chigai nai and an explanation of the use of nani wo with intransitive verbs in rhetorical questions.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 418
Voice Only Unread 877
Pro
Episode 14
Mayumi receives an important message on what she should do next.
Notes: This episode includes a paradigm-shifting sentence that illustrates a trick that Japanese authors can use because of the order of relative clauses in Japanese.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 406
Voice Only Unread 863
Pro
Episode 15
The narrator reflects on her recent interactions with Yuuko.
Notes: This episode contains mostly straightforward grammar but includes nice refreshers on douyara and contrastive wa.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 402
Voice Only Unread 853
Pro
Episode 16
The narrator's thoughts turn to her relationship with her husband.
Notes: This episode contains fun vocabulary, such as words for "a face that feigns ignorance" and a pattern for saying something is left in a particular state.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 399
Voice Only Unread 847
Pro
Episode 17
The narrator recalls an episode from earlier in her marriage.
Notes: This episode contains great vocabulary, such as an adverb that means that an action is performed with momentary extra oomph.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 390
Voice Only Unread 855
Pro
Episode 18
The narrator recalls some of the challenging but bond-building moments with her husband and child.
Notes: This episode contains great vocabulary, including words such as "to soothe/cuddle (a baby)" and "mother's milk," and an explanation of what it means to use -nagara with a verb that happens at a particular instant in time.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 387
Voice Only Unread 819
Pro
Episode 19
The narrator thinks back to her wedding day.
Notes: This episode contains a surprisingly useful word that means "to vent one's anger on an unrelated person."
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 381
Voice Only Unread 820
Pro
Episode 20
The narrator makes a painful decision.
Notes: This episode contains lots of great vocabulary, such as words for "envelop," "faint," and "the murmuring/babbling (of a river)," as well as a note on the meaning of the title.
Editions Status Total Readers
With Sound Effects Unread 388
Voice Only Unread 877