ちいさな森のオオカミちゃん ・ The Wolf of the Small Forest book club! 🌳 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

Sometimes I wouldn't mind less of the exception.


(Imagine three whole pages of this in every panel every few chapters.)

Speaking of pronunciation, for anyone who isn’t used to the general pronunciation of Japanese sounds (vowel sounds especially), I recommend watching Japanese shows each day until you have a feel for it.

It doesn’t have to be watching an hour show each day. It can be as little as watching a five-minute video on YouTube. Repeated exposure (even if it’s different Japanese material each time) will build up pattern recognition of the sounds, especially if you start noticing words you already know.

It won’t be enough to know the difference between the pronunciation of (あめ) and (あめ) when seen on paper. Still, I personally feel it’s vital to the reading experience to have a mental approximation of the pronunciation.

Back before I read this series, I had trouble remembering the title until I learned where the titular character’s name comes from:

(よつ)つ + () = よつば = four leaves (such as four-leaf clover)



(The と in 「よつばと!」 is “and”, meaning “Yotsuba and!” If I remember right, chapter titles in the series are always 「よつばと_____」)

The only way to cheat in a book club is if you get nothing out of it, in which case you would be cheating yourself.

The first time I tried to read a manga in Japanese, I didn’t make it past the first page or two.

I gave up and stopped trying.

I focused on non-Japanese things for a long time after that.

It wasn’t in a book club, but I definitely cheated myself by not continuing.

In my defense, I had no idea what I needed to do to be able to continue.

I had no one guiding me, pushing me in the right direction, and telling me what not to waste time on.

It’s probably no wonder why I like the WaniKani book clubs so much.

When reading in one’s native language, it’s easy to read without understanding everything because you can infer meanings from context.

When starting out in a foreign language, especially one as different from Western languages as Japanese is, this is a lot more difficult to do.

For anyone who wants to try (for any given reason, whether because they want to avoid being overwhelmed with new material, or are not good at looking up unknown things, or don’t have a lot of time for it), I feel 「ちいさな(もり)のオオカミちゃん」 will be a good manga for it.

Utilizing the book club threads should be enough to pick and choose what information to absorb from week to week. If you miss out on understanding grammar talked about one week, it’s also fine to ask about it when it comes up another week.

This also works on a larger scale.

After reading a whole first manga volume, many participants find that if they flip back to the beginning, it’s much easier to understand.

Even if it’s only 10% comprehension, if it was initially 1% comprehension, that’s a giant leap.

The most significant requirement to achieve this will be learning grammar along the way, which is always easier if you’ve been learning some in advance.

Examples of 林.

Here are some images from manga that characters refer to as (はやし):


Examples of 森.

Here are some images from manga that characters call (もり):



And if you look at those and wonder, "What is even the difference here?", I found a useful image online.



If there’s a mostly-populated vocabulary spreadsheet (which I hope to get together today), would that help, or would switching between the manga and a Google Sheets document not work out? (Factors include smartphone processing power, memory, and screen size. I know some smartphones allow for split-screen between two applications/windows.)

Would that ten minutes include both reading the material and the discussion?


Soooo, when you search for that, you find two opinions:

  • 森 is just bigger/more dense than 林.
  • 森 is natural, 林 is man-made.

It seems from the search that sometimes even Japanese people don’t know the difference and thinks that it’s (just) the first one, while the second one is actually the (main?) differentiator:

(From: [Reddit] Quick question: 林 vs. 森 vs. 森林, what’s the technical difference?)

What I’m taking away from that is:

  • It’s probably: 森 is natural, 林 is man-made.
  • People might use it incorrectly.

In work so I can’t send a long message just yet, but yeah, I think my best bet would be to use the little time I have to just do what I can, even if it just amounts to 1 or 2 pages per week. My jp level is just too low to try reading without any assitancw just yet.


Hello all, first time poster. I’ve been meaning to step up my Japanese learning. I’m not a total beginner, but it’s been many years since I last spoke or read any real Japanese. I’ve been using Wanikani for a short while now, just hit level 3. And I think it’s time to see whether I can get started on reading! The timing of this book club is perfect and it seems like it’s a cute story. I don’t think a physicial copy would reach me in time, so I’ll have to figure out what the best way for a digital copy would be for me. I saw that there’s plenty of guidance, so I’ll be sure to get that done in time. :slight_smile:


Vocabulary To Know Part 2

Here are more vocabulary that appear in this manga.

If you don’t know them, this is your chance to get to know them in advance. You don’t have to, though!


みんな is used to mean “everything” or “all”. It’s often used in the context of all people in a group, in which case English uses the word “everyone”.


Here, a rather sleepy student wakes up after class.

「あれ… みんな いない…?」

“Huh…? Everyone’s gone?” (Or, “Nobody’s here?”)

Belldandy greets the birds in the early morning.

みんな おはよう」

“Good morning, everyone.”

Sacchan and her friends go to her mother’s shop to ask a favor.

Sacchan: 「かーちゃーん」 “Mommmmy!”

Mother: 「あら さっちゃん。 …もう5()?」 “Is it already 5 o’clock?” (curfew time)

Sacchan: 「んーん」

Mother: 「おっ みんなも」 “Oh, everyone else too.”


The verb ()う means “to say”.

As Sacchan and her friends try to solve a riddle, Sacchan says something that sounds relevant to the solution.


Kotoha: 「()ってさっちゃん、(いま)なんて?」 “Wait, Sacchan, what did you just say?”

Sacchan: 「(わたし) (ちょう)かわいい」 “I’m super cute!”

Yui: 「()ってないでしょ」 “You didn’t say that, though.”

Asked who he really is, Pegasus begins to answer but stops himself.


Pegasus: 「……いいえ。(いま)は言えません」 “…no. Right now, I cannot say.”


As the speaker, the pronoun this can be used in English when referring to something near yourself.

In Japanese, this is これ.

Having forgotten his umbrella, Kakeru arrives at school drenched.

Naho: 「これ使(つか)っていいよ」 “You can use this.”

Ayumu tries to help Urushi do a forward stretch.

Urushi: 「これ… 限界(げんかい)…」 “This…is my limit…”

When the item referred to is near the listener, we use the pronoun that in English.

In Japanese, this is それ.

The odd goods shop owner presents Sacchan and her friends with a bomb they’ll need to disarm to save the neighborhood.

Sacchan: 「それはおもしろそうだ!」 “That seems interesting!”

Having forgotten her glasses, Mie can’t see well during basketball practice in gym class. She steps on a basketball and falls on her head.


Komura: Mie-san, are you all right!?

Mie: “I–I’m fine. My eyes just got blurry.”

Asuka: 「それはデフォだよ」 “That’s a default.”

(“Default” is a basketball term.)

What about when the item is neither near the speaker (“this”) nor near the listener (“that”)?

In English, we also say that, but we could also specify “that over there”.

Japanese uses the word あれ as a pronoun for an item not near the speaker or the listener.

Hayate and Hinagiku watch as a hungry-looking crow approaches a nest housing a baby bird in it. Hinagiku prepares to throw a rock at the crow, but something appears in the distance.


Hinagiku: 「あれ親鳥(おやどり)だわ!!」 “That’s the parent birds!”

Visiting the Zoo, Sacchan and her friends see a tiger eating a large bone. Fearing the tiger ate the man who sells at the odd goods shop, they find an employee to report it to.

Employee: 「安心(あんしん)して あれ(うし)(ほね)だから」 “No worries, because that is a cow’s bone.”


In English, the words “this” and “that” have dual usages.

One use is as a pronoun, where it replaces a noun:

This is a pen. That is a water balloon. Please don’t confuse them again.”

The other use is as an adjective:

This couch is comfortable. That rocking chair is also comfortable.”

In Japanese, the adjectival use is done with この, その, and あの.

Like with これ, この refers to something near the speaker.

Asagao hears the clang of a bell.

Asagao: 「**この(おと)**は(ばん)ごはんだよっ!!」 “This sound is for dinner!”

Note: The source of the sound is distant, but because the sound reached Asagao’s ears, from her perspective, the sound is close to her.

Following the pattern, just as それ refers to something near the listener, so does その.

Nishikata stops and pets a dog at a neighborhood house. Takagi watches from a distance.


Takagi: 「その(いぬ) さわれるんだね。」 “That dog can be pet, huh?”

Finally, like with れ, あの refers to something away from both the speaker and the listener.

Chi wants to start eating her cup of noodles, but her mother says they must wait after adding hot water.


Mother: 「あの(ほそ)(はり)が3(かい)まわったら3(ぶん)だよ。」 “When the thin hand goes around three times, it’ll be three minutes.”


Is this “みんな” the same I’ve seen used in blogs when they start with “Hi everyone” aka “みなさん、こんいちは。”?


It is! It means “Hey everyone”.


This is my first book club here, very excited. I was actually going to order a bunch of books this week so this is perfect timing, I found this one for super cheap! I’m also ordering Chii’s Sweet Home, Flying Witch, Shirokuma Cafe, Haikyuu, and Barakamon (not ordering all volumes, just a handful from each series). Any other beginner friendly manga you guys recommend? Also when does the next manga for the book club get decided?


Check out the previous picks in the book club, those are usually pretty good, and because they have been picked in the past, there are whole discussion threads and vocab sheets for them.

As for the next vote. Usually it’s done about 6 weeks prior to the last selected book club finishing. In this case, that would be the one that’s starting in a short bit. Though of course this isn’t set in stone. Sometimes it happens later, sometimes it happens earlier. The goal is that if someone wants to acquire a physical copy, they should be given enough time to do so.


This looks great! I’m feeling really encouraged this time around. I picked it up from Book Walker (along with Shirokuma Cafe)
Looking forward to reading this with all of you! :slight_smile:


I’ll post the call for more nominations on June 15th, let that run until June 24th. I’ll then post the selection poll on the same day and that will run until July 1st-2nd, when I’ll announce the results. That allows approximately 6-7 weeks for everyone to get physical copies if they want before the start of the next book, which would start 1 week after the end of this club.

I’ll make sure to pop in and let everyone know what’s happening at those times in the weekly threads for this pick to make sure folks don’t miss the announcements in the main ABBC thread.

Just as an extra note: nominations are welcome at any time. We just tend to get more nominations when we remind people the week before the selection poll is about to start that we are seeking nominations


As Gotbit99 says, it is indeed.

I never looked into why, but the spelling differs between みんな (with ん) and みなさん (without ん).



Not necessarily. Technically みんなさん is possible, but it’s way less formal. みな in itself is just the more formal version (one of the few cases where the shorter form is the formal form)


Good to know! It doesn’t appear in anything I’ve read, so I’m unfamiliar with this spelling.

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I’ve definitely seen it, but I don’t have your awesome library of magic setup sadly. Maybe I get to that one day (said gorbit, then never got to it)


First: Thanks to you and @Jintor to correct my “Yatsuba” and explaining the ‘と’ before the ‘!’! Especially the four clovers detail will be helpful. :fox_face:

Now you recommended watching shows and absorb pronunciation. That strikes a chord with me, for even in WaniKani examples, but also in the Genki audio, I noticed that syllables are spoken differently in different words, not just pitch-wise.

What shows would you recommend for that exercise, and how could I find some for my own tastes and interests?


If you’re okay with something like this, the Takagi-san anime is definitely a great one for relatively clear speaking and natural Japanese.


As a small note, it’s spelled こんにちは。(I only say that as someone who has made the same mistake :sweat_smile:)


Just smells to me like a missing double press for that ん


Shadowing is great practice not just for pronounciation, but for your own listening as well! I wouldn’t even be scared of accents etc that much (well don’t go too crazy, you don’t need to be all てめえええええ なんすか?) but it’s fun to be able to hear things like where native speakers place the emphasis on certain words, etc.

Great, I have a few books to throw into the pile, just need to find the time to write them up.