しろくまカフェ: Week 1 Discussion (Chapters 1 and 2)

I’d say to ask anyone else about that. :joy: It took me like 5 years, but I took it really slowly.
I think 6 months sounds fair if you do it every day and have someone to work with on stuff you get stuck on.

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Lol I have found this forum to be great to ask if I am stuck on anything :slight_smile:


I agree with Kazzaeon. N4 should be enough to get you through without much difficulty.

Most N4-level readers will probably find themselves lacking in vocabulary, kanji, and cultural knowledge when it comes to the puns, but you can look those up, understand the pun, then forget them and move on. If they are common enough kanji and vocabulary, you will encounter them again, in further reading or in learning via a pre-made vocabulary deck (such as WaniKani incorporates).

I just encountered っけ, which the web site Bunpro lists as N3 (which is currently above my formal learning level). I’ve encountered it before and vaguely know it from that, but I was unfamiliar about an aspect of its use on page 61. A little bit of research filled in my lack of knowledge and experience with it. I don’t plan to add that knowledge to my daily reviews, as it will come up again when I reach formally learning N3 grammar. Or I may see it in another comic first.

If you’re not at N5 yet, and you’re trying to read through a comic (even a very simple one), expect to invest a lot of time into looking things up. I don’t think I’d ever discourage anyone from reading material at any level. However, if you only have one to two hours a day to work on it, you may become discouraged if all your time goes into trying to understand a few word balloons of dialogue.

Experience and find how you learn best, and what you can do to feel you are making progress. You can skip over anything you don’t understand, and push through reading all the dialogue for each chapter. Or, you can focus a few days on learning the material on a single page before moving on. The key is that you do what works best for you, so you can keep learning without giving up.

Last year, when I read through volume one of 「ご注文はうさぎですか?」, I looked up every word, did my best to learn every point of grammar, and familiarized myself with a lot of kanji. (Continued failure to recognize a lot of kanji is what pushed me to start using WaniKani.) It was a slow process, typically reading one four-panel strip each day. I also created a vocabulary deck of every first instance of a word (and unique conjugation of the word) in the whole book, which I still review daily many months after finishing the book.

For me, this worked very well. But I also had to make time for it. I probably put in anywhere from half an hour to three hours each day, for 200 four-panel strips. I took what I already knew and supplemented it with learning material, added in what I didn’t know (which isn’t always easy to look up), and came out much better for it.

Recently, I started reading 「 怪盗セイント・テール」、「三ツ星カラーズ」 and 「ハヤテのごとく!」 For each of these, I’m ignoring any words I don’t know and just keep pushing through. If I see a word appear multiple times, I’ll stop and look it up.

It’s too soon to comment on how this is working out for me. I haven’t seen any grammar that made me think “I need to look this up”, but I’m sure I’ve skipped over some I don’t know yet. I’m also not doing anything to retain the words that I do look up. I feel like this is more a reflection of my past progress (how much I can understand), so I should find ways to supplement it with actual learning (new progress).

A community-reading of a book, such as the book clubs here on WaniKani, provide a good mix of these two methods. You’re forced to push through completing a chapter even if you don’t understand everything within it, but you’re able to ask questions to help learn more grammar (etc) along the way.

(Apologies if I rambled a bit too much.)


I’ve been studying Japanese for nearly 10 years and I’ve yet to read any books or manga, mostly because of all the kanji :sweat_smile::sob: but better late than never! Thank you for organizing this!


Now that I have a little bit of time, and I am up-to-date with Chi, I’m re-reading the book from the begging and eventually catch up where I left it. So far I’ve been able to read the first 3-4 chapters pretty quickly and understanding much more than the first time :slight_smile:


PHEW! Finally got through all these comments. I want to thank everyone here who contributed you all get a hug!

I personally really enjoyed going through all the comments and seeing the thoughts and changes along the way, made me feel as if I were a part of this. On to Chapter 3 =]


Hey guys,
can somebody translate these two words for me?(ゴルゴル &ボルボ) i can`t figure them out yet :thinking:

It’s in the vocab spreadsheet (see the main post), be sure to use it, it’s very helpful! :slight_smile:


oh my god, ty i rushed over it and didn`t see the chapters below :sweat_smile: :sweat_smile: Ty!!

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Sorry if this is already mentioned somewhere, but:
Where can you get these books? Only on Amazon Japan?

There’s links to different versions on the opening post on this book’s home thread.

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For an explanation of the visual pun:


I’ve been having a really hard time trying to read anything. Even if I’m able to recognize the dictionary form of the words, I wasn’t able to understand the meaning of the sentence.

I’m happy to say that with the help of the dialogue by dialogue translations you all made, I was able to go through the two chapters :smiley:

Thanks a lot for all you’ve done!

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If there are any sentences you’d like a grammar breakdown for, just ask, and I or someone else will certainly oblige.

Learning the grammar is actually a small (though very important) step to being able to understand what you’re reading. Next comes repeated exposure, which builds up pattern recognition. That’s sort of like the SRS of reading, where you see the same grammar now and then, and get to where you know it when you see it. Then, after enough repetition, and seeing the same grammar used in enough variants of situation, you start to internalize it. That’s where you recognize it and understand it without thinking about it.

しろくまカフェ isn’t necessarily the best “early” manga to read, but if you are able to make it through to the end, and pick up grammar along the way, you’ll be in a good position to branch out into other simple material, and beyond =D

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Which manga would you recommend to start?

Since you’ve started しろくまカフェ, I do recommend completing it first, if possible. The only thing that should stand in the way of finishing anything you start is if you don’t enjoy it. Enjoying reading something is a good motivator, and is instrumental in learning. But aside from motivation, which is fleeting, you want to ensure you have a schedule to keep up reading. That’s where following an active book club is nice, because it helps provide a schedule/structure for dicipline.

As for which manga for grammar beginners, I’d personally recommend:

  • よつばと!: You’ll see this one recommended a lot. It gets a bit easier starting with volume three. However, I don’t necessarily recommend skipping the first two volumes unless you’ve already read them in your native language. Regardless of where you begin, you’ll encounter a lot of casual language that text books don’t prepare you for. That’s where having the book club comes in handy. (This one was actually a Beginner Book Club read, but that’s probably because the Absolute Beginner Book Club didn’t exist yet at the time.)

  • 三ツ星カラーズ: I like to describe the difficultly of this series as “よつばと! without the easiest or hardest chapters.” There’s no book club for this series, which I count as a negative compared with series that do have book clubs here.

  • レンタルおにいちゃん: I find this series does a nice job of starting slow with simple grammar, then ramps up the difficulty at a very slow pace throughout its four volumes.

  • Teasing-Master Takagi-san: I’ve only read the first three or four chapters, so I’m not yet been able to ascertain the overall difficulty of the first volume of this series. But we’re going to read it in the Absolute Beginner Book Club starting in about five weeks. I highly recommend considering it simply because you’d get to read it actively with the club.

  • それでも歩は寄せてくる: This one is nice because chapters are typically about six to eight pages long. There are a number of Shougi terms used, but these are easy to recognize as Shougi terms when looking them up in Jisho or another Japanese-to-English dictionary.

For learners of Japanese who are just starting to build up their grammar, any manga you read will be difficult to understand, no matter how easy the manga is. And it will take a lot of time to get through. This is why I say to do your best to finish what you start. Be sure to utilize the book club threads (when available) to their fullest, including asking any questions you have!




Think this might actually be short for それ也に, or literally “that is considerable”, with に meaning “to” in this case. So it becomes “that is considerable to (walk)”

I want to say a BIG THANK YOU for this thread. I just started wanikani and I’m super excited to join the book club. I know I am super late, but currently, this is the only manga that I own. Thanks again! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:


OMG, I think I finally get the カメハメハ / Hawaii mystery, years after reading this chapter!

I’m sure others got it, but I didn’t see anyone connect all the dots on the カメハメハ reference explicitly, so here is what it took for the penny to finally drop (for me). I’ve tagged a few people’s quotes who recently discussed this as you might be interested!

It’s on page 7. There was a recent question in the Read Every Day thread, this is what refreshed my memory of the page:

And then people were talking about the puns, and it ended with exactly the mystery I had been left with when I had read it - why the reference to the leader in Hawaii and what is funny about that?

And then with that in my head I chanced across a reference that just made it it all snap into place, and I finally got it, I think, lol.

Here’s how the word play goes to get the build up:

  • Polar Bear is wondering why panda isn’t taking sugar because he used to take a lot.
  • So panda says he became: 無糖派 ・むとうは a kind of made up word: “low sugar party”.
  • So polar bear doesn’t get this and asks if he means (same reading) 無党派・むとうは (independent voter).
  • Then polar bear plays on the とうは and mimes a martial artist and panda comes up with 武闘派・ぶとうは (perhaps reference to this film? another tidbit I haven’t seen mentioned)
  • Then comes another play on とうは
  • and then the big finale that was the mystery - カメハメハ. Here’s what I’m pretty sure is going on. Polar bear is just playing on the final は now, and this is a super popular Dragonball reference that every kid seems to know (here a kid is shouting it in よつばと):

And, drumroll, the link to Hawaii, I discovered on fandom. (Potential DragonBall spoiler):

Kamehameha origin story

Kamehameha (かめはめ波, lit. “Turtle Devastation Wave” or “Turtle Destruction Wave”) is the first energy attack that is shown in the Dragon Ball series.

After much contemplation, Akira Toriyama could not decide on a name for his “Kame” attack, so he asked his wife for ideas. His wife came up with the name and the stances used during the attack. She also told Akira that it would be easy to remember the name of the attack if he uses the name of the cultural Hawaiian king named Kamehameha. Akira agreed, and the Kamehameha was born.

So a Japanese person would certainly recognise the かめはめ波 cry (DragonBall), and the joke is that panda and bear are so sophisticated to think first of カメハメハ (Hawaiian leader), and the author put the “in Hawaii” text as a hint to the reader.