レンタルおにいちゃん - Week 5 Discussion (Absolute Beginners Book Club)

I can say with certainty, that this chapter would be a real moral breaking point, had this discussion thread not existed.

The difficulty spiked so much I thought I hit a brick wall. However, after reading through the discussion and going back to re-apply what I learned here in the thread, it became a lot more digestible. Thank you all for sticking with this journey :pray:


Thank you guys for the thorough explanation! I joined last week (my books arrived!) and caught up now.
I realized my grammar knowledge is sufficient to understand most of the content so far, just a few things like the already discussed sentences this week threw me for a loop (I learned about the ず ending now!) and vocabulary.
I started writing down every word I don’t know in a notebook. I already feel like it helps!

Your explanations on this weeks chapter were of great help, thank you! 本当にありがとう!


I’m glad to hear you’ve keeping up with it =D My earliest manga reading attempts were quick failures. I with I had these wonderful book clubs to help keep me on my feet back then.

My first book club was the Shirokuma Cafe club, which I believe was also an Absolute Beginner Book Club read. Even though I’d spend time the year prior learning some basic grammar, I still had a long way to go. Because of that, some of the more dialogue-heavy scenes felt like absolute nightmares:

Since I wanted to break down every line and understand every detail, these heavier pages (thankfully not too common in the first volume of Shirokuma Cafe) were a real drag on my motivation.

The number one thing that’s gotten me reading more (and thus encountering grammar I know more, so I get better at understanding it without thinking) has been to allow myself to move forward through a difficult section, so long as I understand what’s going on. (And book clubs makes it easy to ask for help on this!)

Even if you have difficulty along the way, every time you read a page with something you know (even if it’s a small thing, like recognizing the past-tense of a verb), you’re getting better and faster at recognizing it.

One nice thing about this method is that it keeps a word in your mind for a longer period of time. Simply looking up a work in a J-to-E dictionary to get the meaning, then moving on in reading, can result in completely forgetting it seconds later. (Or is that just me?) I don’t know how much of an improvement it will be to be putting extra time into focusing on a word and writing it down, but it certainly can’t hurt!


The problem I have doing that is I feel like I’m not going to learn the hard parts if I just skip over them every time. I feel like if I spend the time dissecting it now, I can understand quicker the next time, and even quicker the next time after that… I guess there is an argument where it’s like maybe if I get farther in studies I’ll understand it next time because I’ll have done a “real” lesson on it, but who knows when that might be.

Of course it does no good to burn yourself out and come to hate reading either, so everything in moderation I guess.

Not just you. :stuck_out_tongue:


This was me in 2018, spending about six to eight months going through volume 1 of ごちうさ. I looked up every bit of grammar I encountered that I didn’t yet know. For anyone who can do the same without burning out, I say go for it! (Highly recommended.)

One alternative is to not look up the hard stuff until you’ve learned the easy stuff. You’ll know the easy stuff when you see it because you’ll keep coming across it. (And the harder stuff won’t come up as often.) Eventually you get to the point where you read a few pages without needing to look anything up, and then suddenly you see a verb ending in ず, and you ask yourself, “What’s up with that?” And you’re off to look it up. (Or, like I was at the time last year, sitting on a bus with no Internet access, making a note to look it up later.)

Perhaps a better way to put my advice would be, “If you’re approaching burnout, allow yourself to ask what something means, and skip over the hard stuff for now.”


This is why I try to do it!
When I learned English and started to read stories I looked up every word in an online dictionary and did this for the same word several times, until I looked it so often I remembered what it means.
I try to build on this method by writing it down - and eventually want to read the book again with just the notebook.
I hope this will decrease the number of times I have to “see” the word until it sticks.

I’m glad it’s just the more complicated vocabulary up until now that I have to look up. I’m positively surprised that the vocab I learned from genki is getting me pretty far with this book, haha! I feel the difficulty is perfect for my proficiency level. It’s enough to get the general ghist of the story and with looking up some vocab I get a pretty good understanding of the story. SO FAR. This also motivates me to get off my butt to do my wk reviews and a few lessons to make reading easier in the future lol

Really enjoying this so far! The book was a great recommendation! :blush:


I slightly changed tack this week. Previously I was reading a couple of pages at a time and really trying to analyse every grammar point (early days for me and still a lot I don’t know) before progressing. This time I just tried to read through all the pages with just the vocab list handy (and I did need it a lot! - so much this week). I was pleasantly surprised with how much I was able to understand or at least pick out the general meaning. Gives me hope, haha.

Now going back over again in more detail.

Page 47

Is the function of と in と思います here the same as you were describing for the topic part of the sentence? So it’s like a quote of the teacher’s thought? Or something else?


I believe one of the factors at play here is that the more dialogue you read, the more it clarifies what you’ve already read.

Here's an example in English.

“I would like to buy ???.”
“What size do you wear?”
“I wear size 15W.”
“My, what big feet you have!”

Chances are by the end of the scene, you know what the customer wants to buy, even if you’re unfamiliar with the sizing used. (Although I suppose there’s still some ambiguity in what’s being bought.)

I’m using the same method (for another manga) of reading through once, then going back and breaking it down. Just the other day, there was one panel that once I finished my first pass, I actually immediately went back about four pages to re-read them. The reason is because suddenly I understood something I’d missed before, and it made those pages make so much more sense.

Yes, that’s it exactly. You can imagine the line like this:


You can imagine quotes around thoughts in English as well, but it’s not quite the same:

I thought I heard a strange noise, but it was just the whir of my computer’s fan.

I thought “I heard a strange noise”, but it was just the whir of my computer’s fan.

I don’t know enough about how Japanese construct sentences about what they think to comment with any certainty, but from what I’ve seen in manga I’ve read, the part before と思います always comes across sounded like quoted text. But this is a very limited source of material to determine anything off of.

Keep an eye out for a couple more uses of と思う later on in chapter two!


I’ve had a busy week at work so didn’t really dive into the reading until today. My usual preferred method is to have Bookwalker open with Notes opened on top of it (using an iPad). Then I type in each sentence - in Japanese - as I’m reading it. It makes me slow down and pay attention to each little bit instead of completely glossing over the hard parts.

Even with this method, I did find the monologue on Pages 56 and 57 an absolute test of my morale. I got the general gist of it but could not make out the finer points of what was actually being said. Thank you to everyone who has been so patient in explaining and dissecting these grammar points to bite sized pieces - the time and effort you put in is invaluable to anyone willing to learn! :slight_smile:

With that said, after what happened on page 58 I couldn’t help but read to the end of the chapter. What a cliffhanger!


Hi all! Just trying to catch up with everybody. That’s my debut in Absolute Beginners Book Club and in reading real stuff too :slight_smile:

I speed up and just started Week 5. Unfortunately looks like the most difficult pages up to date heh!

Will be grateful for any advice for such absolute beginner as me… I am using BookWalker and Volume 1 Vocabulary. Can not cut text from BK any recommendations for that?


If I am understanding what your last sentence means correctly, you’re asking for a way to search up text (presumably kanji vocab?) from the digital reader? Since they’re essentially images you will have to use an OCR app of some kind. Though I presume most of the vocab and grammar are already in their respective sheets…

Maybe if you rephrased your question it would be easier for us to help?

Hello, tkyk many thx for answering!!! Great to be in the live club with active members :-).Back to my stupid question - It was just my first open question from someone who just starts to read raw Japanese. I will work something out by myself in the future but for now, I am interested in the general approach. What you think is the best or recommended method of reading in our Book Club. I see a lot of original text from the book in our discussion forum so it looks like others have access to the text. So the first question is how they do this? Is it just because they have pdf or mobi file or they just retype manually? If so should I also retype the original text?

Currently, I am enjoying a lot the book. Didn’t expect it will move me so much emotionally. I speed up reading to catch up with the rest using provided vocabulary in google spreadsheet and in some cases where things go complicated supported myself with my phone (picture + OCR). Still not sure if I should just enjoy the reading or dig deeper and create some Anki cards for the vocabulary. What people are usually doing? Will be grateful for any info :slight_smile:

@olek, are you reading on a desktop computer or laptop, or are you reading on a tablet? What operating system is it? (Windows, OS X, Android).

You can install a program that will let you type in Japanese. Once we know what kind of system you are reading on, we can get you information on setting up Japanese input. This method is best because 1) you do not need to worry about OCR picking the wrong character, and 2) this comic has furigana, so you can read all the text even if there is kanji you don’t know.

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@ChristopherFritz Hi there! Oh I see so typing, typing typing … Great so this this is the answer. I see! I suspected it can be like this. I never typed Japanese before WaniKani.
In WaniKani it works like magic for me :-).

I am using mostly my private macbook and iPhone. Looks like I should install some japanese keyboard then … If you can give me some advice here I will be grateful!

Please check this page from Apple for your Macbook. This will probably be the best way to input Japanese text, to type up words and sentences from the manga:


@ChristopherFritz ありがとうございます

Works like magic with CAPSLOCK key switch from normal to Japanese keyboard :-).

WOOOHOOOO -> かなみちゃん or even 叶美ちゃん

Magick :slight_smile:


Pages 47-48

As people found these pages more challenging, I’ve written down my translation and shared below. Hope this might be helpful to look at.


Ok everyone, take your seats.

Thank you very much to all the parents (who have come) in the midst of their busy schedules.

Today we will be hearing (receiving) essay presentations.

I don’t think there are many such opportunities to see children hard at work at school.

Look carefully at those figures.

…and so I love everyone in my family.

And with this my presentation ends.

Thank you.

It was an essay by which we undertood well the kindess of Sasaki, who does his best to help his mother and father.

Let’s give Sasaki a round of applause.

Next! Miss Kanami Tachibana!


I was considering whether to do this, so I’m glad you’ve done so =D


Thx a lot for the translation! It is really helping me. Those pages was to complex for me. I got overall meaning only. Now I can go over again with satisfaction I am getting 100 percent.


I’ve really struggled with week 5, lots of stuff I don’t understand and feel like my head is being squished with new words! But thanks for the posts here it’s making more sense, can’t wait for next weeks!