レンタルおにいちゃん Volume 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club) - Finished!

Hey, this list is fantastic! Thanks!

I like to reinforce common words through SRS so I appreciate you putting this together.


Thanks for all the great replies!

Looking at the word list for week 1, I’m lucky enough to already know most of it, so maybe it’s best for me to just encounter those new words as I read. Having visuals and context definitely helps retention for me, so maybe I’ll make the flashcards afterwards and try to remember the panel(s) I saw it in when I review. Knowing how common each word is is also super helpful in knowing what to focus on when filling any knowledge holes, so thank you for that, @ChristopherFritz!

Because man, remembering complex kanji I haven’t learned yet on WK is extremely difficult with raw flashcard grinding, lol.


That’s why I mostly stopped doing new lessons in iKnow after about 2,000 words, and started using WaniKani last year. I was getting all these words with complex kanji, brute-forcing my way through getting them right (“This sentence’s missing word had a kanji with 虫 on the side, right? Thank goodness this one’s multiple choice!”), but I wasn’t really learning anything anymore.

It’s also why I’m not too concerned with doing flashcards outside of WaniKani and iKnow reviews right now. I’m definitely interested in seeing where I’ll go with learning new words post WaniKani, but that’s a loooong way away for me.


holy shit it’s soooo hard. I’m doing Kamesame for words I encounter that aren’t in WK, and some that are, (plus the eng–>jpn for WK function), and my accuracy is at least 10% lower.


Being able to read and understand Sailormoon would be an absolute dream for me! I collected all 18 volumes many moons :laughing: ago as I am a massive fan of the series. You’ve given me hope that one day I will achieve this goal as well! :slight_smile:


I still remember the feeling, years upon years ago, of opening Sailor V to the first page, trying to make my way through, looking up some words, and being completely lost. (I lacked the necessary grammar.) Moved ahead a page, tried again, and still lost. (I also had been raised on the false belief that Japanese leaves out a lot of information from sentences with no way to figure it out, as if English never learns out information.)

Over a decade prior, when going through Sailormoon volumes, I was mostly looking at the artwork, picking out maybe two words per chapter that I recognized.

If I tried reading either of these three years ago, the result would have been the same. Sure, I would have recognized more words, thanks to having learned many from iKnow’s Core 2,000 decks, but I’d still be lost.

I still get lost a bit here and there when reading Sailormoon, and have to look things up. Once I read WaniKani level 60 + a few years, I’ll probably buy the colorized manga release (it looks better than I expected!) and re-read the series.

A few things that got me to this point:

  1. Participating in book clubs here.
  2. Targeted learning of grammar in context. (I may have to learn the same grammar point several times before I remember it, but that’s worked out best for me.)
  3. Reading a lot. (It’s the only way to build up pattern recognition.)

Why do I feel like a self-help guru on a late-night television infomercial? =P


This has been one of the hardest parts of my beginner studies so far: learning grammar outside context.

I have tried numerous book-like resources to catch up to grammar, but whenever I encounter them in the wild I have to go back and re-learn them again–almost like going back to step 0–which is not something that happens when I learn the grammar from context (i.e. reading a text alongside a grammar explanation).

For example, grammar that I have learned while watching the glorious Game Grammar Youtube channel’s videos seem to always stay fresh(er) in my mind.

Which leads to my question: do you know any reading resources that is accompanied by a thorough grammar explanation specifically on that context?

What I’m trying to do right now is breaking the sentences that I don’t know on something like ichi.moe and searching for the grammar point. However some (and I’m getting the feeling that is actually most of) grammar points depend a lot on the context as they may have several different meanings (e.g. the てーform, geez it looks so simple yet it can be so complicated).

Anyways, thanks a lot for your contribution on this community, I’ve been a WaniKani user for ~5 years I believe (this is the third time I’ve reset my account because I always give up :cry:), and I’m committed to going through this whole book with you guys (my first native reading mateiral), no matter how painful it is at first! :slight_smile:


I don’t know if this would be thorough with explanations enough for you, but maybe you could try Satori Reader (available for PC or as smartphone app). There is a free trial. Sakura’s and Suzuki Long Distance Relationship or Akiko’s American Foreign Exchange are nice places to start.

It was the most useful resource for me ever, specifically because it explained grammar on the spot, simultaneously with my reading. And of course it also has built-in dictionary.

Sample explanation (from Oku Nikko)


From the Satori Reader website tour:

Articles in Satori Reader are very thoroughly annotated. First, touch any word to instantly see a definition. This is not simply the dictionary definition for the word. It is the definition for the word as it is actually being used in this particular context.

That may actually be exactly what I was looking for, thanks for the tip!

I remember glossing over this website a while ago, but probably I did not pay enough attention to the details. Will definitely give it a try!

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One thing I started trying to do a while back was to put together pages where I have written out details on on a grammar point, with examples of its use in manga to see if that would help me learn it. But I’m lazy, so there was little progress.

And then this year I discovered there’s already a book that has done exactly this, and I already own that book, and I barely read back when I bought it: Japanese the Manga Way. May be worth looking into.

Keep hold of this commitment, no matter what! It’ll be a struggle, and at the end of October, you’ll come out of this with two feelings: 1) a sense of satisfaction that you completed a whole manga volume, and 2) a sense that you would still be unable to read another manga volume on your own (or without a lot of time and effort). And that will be normal, because it takes a lot of reading to get good at it.


Same :grimacing: I either (i) stop doing that after a couple entries, or (ii) end up with an unorganized mess where there is no way I could find myself when I need to refer back to it in the future. That’s why I was looking for a resource where that has already been done, so I can consult the same reference easily when I need it and I know I can trust it is the correct meaning/explanation.

I actually started reading this book a while back, but I took the beginning-to-end reading approach, and while it is indeed a fun and wonderful book, I did not retain that much information from it. But now that we are reading this manga together, I’ll try to use it as a reference resource again, let’s see how it goes. Thanks! :slight_smile:


Although I didn’t read more than a few chapters on my first try, I had the same experience of not remaining (anything) from it. I think that’s because I followed it up by…not reading anything in Japanese.

I expect it will be a whole other experience when you’re reading a manga, and you use JtMW as a reference resource.


Seriously, I’m lurking in this thread only for your beautiful “self-help guru on a late-night television” motivational speeches. I wish I had a teacher like this when I was starting with Japanese :smiley:

As for Japanese the Manga Way, it doesn’t seem like it has whole stories? Panels come from real manga, but they are detached from the bigger narrative?


That is correct.

Have you ever read newspaper comics, such as Garfield, where you get a three or four panel comic every day (double length on Sundays)? Some newspaper comics are “slice-of-life”, where every strip is disconnected from the rest (maybe with a theme running throughout the week). Others have clear long-running storylines, such as Sally Forth. But even then, a single day’s strip has to stand completely on its own.

Here's an example.

I think the comics used in Japanese the Manga Way were in a similar format in their original publication. (I could be wrong.) If that’s the case, then there are only two things you need to know to understand a single panel: context provided one or two panels prior, and (possibly) context of the running storyline.

In both cases, Japanese the Manga Way gives you enough context. Several chapters in, I feel I know quite a bit about the lady who’s growing a rare type of rice to use in her brewery, and I feel as if I’ve been there for the various struggles she’s encountered, such as bad weather threatening her crop. The author of the book does a great job of filling in this context as needed.


Is it just volume 1 of the book being read? or all volumes for this thread?

Even if it is too easy, what better way to start than with a manga? =D

It’s just the first volume, but if there’s enough interest, a spin-off club can be created to read the other three volumes.

I don’t know how many people who polled as interested in reading along will join in, but if even 6% of respondents reach the end of book one and want to keep going, that’d be more than enough people for a spin-off club.


Sounds like that might be 夏子の酒


Hi all! I’m really looking forward to starting to read this, or maybe I should say attempting. I’ve not been learning Japanese that long.

Spent most time so far getting a groundwork in vocab so I’m trying to shift more now to grammar. Don’t know if my lack of grammar knowledge at this stage will be my undoing but I’m hoping that by starting to read real things alongside my studies that it will start to cement it all in my mind. Let’s find out!

I’ve not seen Satori Reader before but it looks really smart. And it links your kanji knowledge in to WK as well which is a real bonus in getting the level right.


That’s the one! I have zero interest in reading the series, but I’m enjoying following the bits of pieces of context given with each scene shown for grammar examples in Japanese the Manga Way.

You stand to make a lot of progress if you can dedicate time every day to:

  • Read two pages.
  • Look up any vocabulary you don’t know.
  • Ask on the book club thread for help with anything you don’t understand.
  • Read each question and answers in the thread.

If you can’t dedicate time every day, you’ll want to aim for three to four pages on the days you can.

You may find some grammar is too difficult to grasp what’s being said, even with help. I know I did with some of the early manga I read. It’s okay to “cheat” by getting an English translation in the thread, so you can move on to reading the next page. You’ll see that grammar used again later, and over time (with more exposure) it will become easier to understand.

Reaching the end of the volume will be more important than understanding all the grammar, so long as you are learning some grammar along the way. It’s the same as how you don’t need to memorize every word you see. If they’re common, you’ll see them again in the near future. There is no limit of manga (and other native Japanese material) from which to continue improving your grammar understanding (and vocabulary recognition) over time.


Guys I’m really excited we are starting soon :smiley: