しろくまカフェ Vol 1: Absolute Beginner Book Club

True, I’ll keep on trying to get the physical mangas but if I don’t I’ll just read them online and then read the today’s special series.

I found and bought the first 4 volumes :smile: and I’m currently halfway through volume 1

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Hey y’all! I am in the process of writing an article about book recommendations for beginners, and I am thinking of introducing しろくまカフェ!

Would anyone be able to write up a short comment on the series, how you enjoyed the book(s)? If you can include what you thought of it as learning material for beginners (benefits as well as challenges), it’d be great too!

(P.S. If you are feeling shy to share here, email us at hello@tofugu.com :wink: )



I’ve made a deck of this and published it on Kitsun. The link for the deck is here (need to be signed up to see it).

Basically, I used the list made available on Google sheets, fixed some errors (typos, wrong meanings, etc.), removed the duplicates, and gave it a decent look.

It’s following the order that appears in the manga (by page). It’s tagged by chapters and pages (from the new edition).

Hope it helps someone/motivates more people to read shirokuma :slight_smile:


Is the first chapter only 6 pages long? I found it online a while ago but never really read it, i have a link to a website if anyone can’t afford to buy it rn! (though please always try buying the book if you can)

From what I remember there are two versions of this book, the older one is the one with this cover:


And the newer one, is the Bis version:


There are minor differences on each book, but this is listed at the beggining of each chapter’s thread, so you can read from either version!


Well… minor-ish. The bis version has five extra chapters. Also, some of the ones that are in both are in a different order.


Hello Manga readers!

Someone from this club has strayed from the main thread and discussion threads into the ANIME watching thread as of late.

Please be advised to not mess up the Vocabulary Sheet for the ANIME club as we work over episodes - not chapters.

We also don’t want spoiler shared from the manga reading club!

Please don’t post those or change the structure of the vocab sheet for the anime club. Thanks!


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Hello everyone! Does someone have a pre-made Anki deck for this manga? :face_with_peeking_eye:

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I don’t know about Anki, but @jprspereira has made a Kitsun deck for it from a Vocab list made by community here /o/ Kitsun.io I think you need an account to see it (there is a 2 week trial), but here is one card as an example


Thank you so much! It looks great (thank you @jprspereira :partying_face:). The site looks amazing as well, so will probably try it out.


I first became aware of this manga and anime through mentions elsewhere in the forum, which led me to start watching the anime.

The anime club thread is closed, so I’ll just mention here that the show is great, and the humor is terrific. I may have to look for the manga and try reading that as well.

I typically don’t enjoy anthropomorphic characters in anime (for example, I found Odd Taxi to be uninteresting), but this one is an exception.

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Hi, I just joined wanikani and was adviced to visit this book club community. Apparently, I bought the Today’s Special version of this manga which I just realized when I went through the vocab list in the document and didn’t find any matching vocab :frowning: . I’m not sure is there the vocab list for the version I bought?

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Welcome to Wanikani. Sorry to hear you ended up with a different edition to the one we read.

We read this in 2019 and just read the one volume. The vocab spreadsheet was created by the readers as we went along. As far as I’m aware none of the other volumes were read elsewhere on this site.

It’s not just the vocab spreadsheet, for each section people posted breakdowns of the text, and asked and answered questions which you would definitely find helpful if you are a first time reader.

If you go to this link: https://bookwalker.jp/de5f5c179b-3087-4947-86dd-60d7328e9a01/ and click on the picture of the cover you can read the first 9 or so chapters of the edition we read for free. If you’re happy reading digital you can buy the whole volume for about 3 dollars on that site.

You might also want to check out the Absolute Beginners Book Club home page to see the other books that have been read. If you’d like to read along with a live group there’s a new book starting next week.


it happens, don’t worry too much, just be careful when you are buying larger quantities or a whole set at a time. Easy to mistakenly by the wrong books as an example からかい上手の高木さん but then there’s a 元 version! which isn’t the same. :wink:

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I actually wanted to start reading this last year, but abruptly stopped studying Japanese. Would Shirokuma café be a good option after finish Genki 1?


Great to see you around!

There are a lot of puns, so if you have a good tolerance for ambiguity and won’t get too hung up on them, it might be fine. I was ok with that at that stage (although I still need to actually finish this, as I got distracted with other reading before I did!), but that is something that a lot of people thought was tough about this manga as an early manga, so something to keep in mind. If you do read it, then make good use of the vocab spreadsheet, the club threads, and there is also this frequency based analysis of vocab.

Another manga in the genre of “animals being silly and chilling out” but easier would be the recent 小さな森のオオカミちゃん. But enthusiasm and the archived club threads would be plenty to get you through this! Other options: join the next live club, or go through the list of previous ABBC picks and look up the easier ones on Natively to see what interests you most. (Also keep Satori in mind if you want a bit more prep before jumping into the ABBC level, that was a huge help to prepare me for making it through my first ABBC, and in fact I’m still a subscriber).

I personally made a couple of starts at going through previous clubs slower, but it was joining my first club live that got me all the way to the end of a manga. Just know that it gets easier a lot faster, and now in the most recent clubs the vocab sheets are often pre-made and there is frequency based information to make it easier to learn the highest frequency vocab. It’s really a lot smoother than it was even a year ago!


If you are interested by Shirokuma and are motivated to read it then it will make a great first manga for you. It moves along at a good pace and is very funny with great characters.

You will come across a lot of casual speech that doesn’t get covered in Genki 1, but that tends to be an issue in all manga when you are first coming from a textbook.

You will find the resources in these book club threads very helpful. Part way through the week 1 thread we decided to translate the book line by line together. I think that lasted for maybe around a third of the book. There’s a vocab sheet that will help you. Also there are quite a few puns and cultural references that you won’t know about that are discussed in the threads.

If you just want the absolute easiest first manga the there are other easier ones out there, but this is a great first manga still. I think it deserves a reread as a group at some point and to carry on and finish the other books.


That’s a great idea, I’d be up for joining that. I have all four, and I agree, from what I’ve read so far, they are fantastic. :thinking:


Wow, thank you @mitrac and @Micki! It is very much appreciated!

It’s mostly because I have the four volumes and it’d be such an accomplishment to be able to read them. I actually bought them in 2019 when the Shirokuma book club was almost finished, right when I got back from Japan (that’s when I wanted to seriously start learning Japanese, but sadly here I am :sweat_smile:)

I’ve seen Satori being mentioned on this forum but never got around to actually looking up what it was, so I’m very grateful for your Satori thread!

I hope to be (almost) done with Genki 1 in June so it’d be great to participate in the next book or manga that they’ll read.