三ツ星カラーズ Volume 1 (Absolute Beginner Book Club)

sadly no, haha.
But I think I can sort of make the connection between “want to see” and “looks like”, so I guess I’ll remember.


I think I’ll join in this time. I’ve never done one of these so I’m pretty excited. I’ll get myself a copy on bookwalker later.


I cannot remember who recommended to binge watch Core Dolly in preparation but this is a fantastic idea! The videos are engaging and contain a great amount of information very compactly. I am making my way through them as an introduction with the idea to revisit them when I hit the grammar topics in Genki.


It was our Dear Leader, ChristopherFritz who recommended the playlist, and I too am working my way through the vids :slightly_smiling_face:


Just got the book! Excited to start my very first book club in WaniKani :laughing::laughing:


one more week

Are you a first-time reader?

If so, there are a few things you’re going to want to know.

You'll be reading less than you think

Over the next three months, you will not be reading.

You will be deciphering.


What’s the difference?

Reading is what happens when you look at written characters, and you take in their meaning.

Deciphering is what happens when those written characters are incomprehensible, and you need to look up vocabulary words and grammar in an attempt to discern their meaning.

It’s important to know this going in. Otherwise, it’s easy to think you’re doing something wrong, and to give up.

In fact, it may even take reading multiple manga volumes (or other native materials) before you encounter even one line of text that you feel you actually read.

This is normal. This is what you must expect going in.

Keeping pace by tolerating ambiguity

Tolerance is when you begrudgingly accept something.

Ambiguity occurs when you have insufficient information.

Learning a new language is filled with uncertainty.

Over time, that uncertainty decreases, as you learn more of the language.

When you first start reading, you will encounter many things you do not know. Grammar constructs, vocabulary words, language concepts, and so on. There will be too many elements to properly learn all at once. And many of those elements will take repeated exposure to fully grasp.

You need to develop a tolerance for ambiguity. This is where you accept that some things are too foreign or too difficult to understand yet, knowing that you will come to grasp and understand them following future exposure.

It’s important to keep a moderate tolerance for ambiguity.

Having too low of a tolerance results in spending too much time trying to learn each item. Progression through material is slow, which can be demoralizing, and can lead to burning out on the material. Learning is more dense, but repeated exposure is needed to help solidify understanding, and a slow pace hinders this.

Having too high of a tolerance leads to insufficient learning. Progression through material is fast, but actual learning is handicapped, as too many unknowns are skipped over due to getting the basic gist of it.

The Absolute Beginner Book Club helps you maintain a moderate level of tolerance for ambiguity. Following the discussion threads, and asking questions along the way, you take in a lot of new information in a short period of time. Sticking with the club reading schedule maintains forward momentum in reading.

This manga we’re about to read has self-contained chapters. You don’t need to fully understand one chapter before moving on to the next.

This is important.

As long as you are learning grammar and vocabulary along the way, and as long as you get the gist of the story in each chapter, you must allow yourself to move on each week.

Disclaimer: You can read at whatever pace you feel works best for you. Most first-time readers do not know what will work best for them, and will not know if they’re doing things right or wrong.


Are you a teacher by profession? You’re really good at this!

My strategy going in will probably be on the higher end of the tolerating ambiguity scale during the “reading” phase. I’m fully expecting to spend a few minutes or less on each speech bubble and just move on if I can’t figure out the gist of what’s going on.

I do, however, expect to then come here to either:

a) Ask questions, if I’m even capable of formulating any, or
b) Simply read through everyone else’s questions and answers, and do my best to absorb information via the observations of others.

Do you think it’s ‘cheating’ or hindering my learning if I don’t spend too much time trying to decipher on my own? At this point, I’m not even sure how to decipher most things. Haha.

Thanks for all you do, I can really see this book club leaving a huge impact on my journey. I truly appreciate your hard work!


I’m actually really bad at teaching. (So, good thing I’m not a teacher!)

My secret is I’ve failed so many times in learning Japanese.

I started learning in 1996, and I “read” my first whole manga volume in 2018. That’s over two decades of discovering everything that doesn’t work!

First-time readers who keep going will make more progress in three months than I did in two decades.

If you were reading completely on your own, you might find this level of tolerating ambiguity is too high to make tangible progress.

However, you won’t be alone.

This is where the magic of the book club comes in.

So long as you follow the discussion threads, you’ll benefit similarly to if you did a deep dive into the grammar on your own.

I talk here and there about how the brain is a pattern recognition machine, and how over time you’ll come to get better at recognizing different vocabulary words and grammar because you’ll encounter them again and again.

You may find the same thing happens when it comes to asking questions.

Following the discussions, you’ll see various questions asked, by various readers. Some questions you’ll feel are written better. Some maybe not written quite as well.

And most importantly, you’ll see questions asking about many different kinds of things.

You end up building a sense for what you’d like to ask about, and how to ask it just by seeing others.

Of course, you may still feel unconfident in asking. You may hold out hope that someone else asks about the same thing.

In the end, it doesn’t hurt to simply say, “I’m having trouble with page ❍, panel ☓. I’m able to figure out xyz, but I’m lost on the rest.” Someone will respond and help out.


Great response as always, thank you!

I am not shy when it comes to asking questions, but I do try my best to not ask questions that have already been asked. So, once I’m more comfortable formulating my own questions, I’m sure I’ll be a contender for the most inquisitive award.




Much doubt indeed.


It’s pretty much all already been covered better than I could, but my relatively recent comment history is a journey from “I sure recognized a lot of those symbols” in my first ABBC chapter to better being able to hammer out details, to being on the cusp of feeling like I can actually properly read some low level material. All that to say, really, trust in the process; it works out given enough input. Even if it feels like this just can’t help; it’s probably helping more than you think. Ask anything you need. Really, some of the most useful comments I’ve ever gotten were in response to partly venting my frustration about feeling like I just can’t figure things out, or remember anything worthwhile out of what I read. Eventually I just looked back and realized, despite the enormous way to go, sometime I started understanding some of it. いつの間にか


Thank you for this post!

I am really tempted to join, but my grammar is not up to speed and I would like to have more common vocab under my belt. I think this would be too much of a slog for me at this point- and I have a goal of finishing my graded readers before trying manga (again.)


I’m pleased to announce that my printed copy of the book arrived a whole 6 days earlier than originally estimated by Amazon JP. Besides trying to quickly skim over some grammar topics before starting, I guess I’m as ready as I’ll ever be for the book club!


One more week!


Does anyone here use Anki flash cards for learning vocab? With regards to the spread sheet with vocab words, for each chapter it might be a good idea to make a deck for these. If I get around to doing this I will share with everyone but if not, it might be a good idea to try this on your own :grin:


Once upon a time, I tried starting a Kitun.io deck for this series. I quickly found I was too lazy for it. (The barely-started deck doesn’t exist anymore.)

But I do have some advise for anyone who makes Anki decks for material they’re reading.

Flash card advice for early learners of Japanese

1. Make vocabulary cards for common words that are a simple concept.

“How do I know if a word is common?”

Look it up on Jisho. If the word is common, it will be noted:


“How do I know if a word is a simple concept?”

If you can express it in an image, it’s simple enough.


Don’t bother learning uncommon words yet, unless they show up a lot in what you’re reading. Common words show up a lot more, so it’s best to learn them first. Once you know a lot of common words, you can start focusing on less common ones.

2. Include an image on the back of the card.

Simple vocabulary words should have an image on the back. This helps your brain build up matching the word and the imagery of the word.

3. Only include T1 sentences on cards.

Including a sentence on the front of your card can help clarify the meaning of the vocabulary word. This is useful for words that can’t simply be expressed in a image, such as concepts and certain emotions.

A T1 sentence (also known as i+1) is a sentence where you know all the grammar and vocabulary except for a single target to learn. This is important because if you have two or more unknown things in the sentence, it’s harder to be able to read, recognize, and understand the sentence.

When you’re first starting out on a learning a language, it will be very difficult to find T1 sentences. For this reason, I recommend sticking to vocabulary cards where you can place an image on the back.

Even if you understand all the grammar and words in a sentence except for the target word you want to learn, using manga as a sentence source can be difficult. Often times a sentence does not stand on its own, as it’s part of a larger context that you can’t capture on a single flash card.

In this case, try searching for the word on Tatoeba. This will provide simple sentences, and hopefully at least one will be a T1 sentence.


I recommend placing the vocabulary word on the front of the card, and the sentence below it also on the front. This way, if you have trouble recalling the word, you can review the sentence to give the word some context.

Disclaimer: I recommend not including an English translation for the sentence. Remember, the sentence should contain only one word you don’t know yet (the target word). You should be able to read and understand the sentence otherwise, so no translation will be needed.

4. Include audio on the back of the card.

Use the web site Forvo to search for audio readings of the word.

If you’ve watched/listened to a lot of Japanese video/audio, then you probably have a good idea of how words sound in general. But do you know the difference in pronunciation between あめ (rain) and あめ (candy)?

I personally use Migaku’s Anki tools to make adding images and audio to Anki cards easier. (Still waiting for them to add embedded Tatoeba support.)


This is great - I am definitely at the “I recognize some of those symbols” stage, so this is very encouraging!


Do you regularly lead Absolute Beginners Bookclubs?
Like others have said, I think you underestimate your teaching ability, and I think your skills are admirable.


If we’re being technical, this is my first time.

I did run the offshoot club for Rental Oniichan, a prior nomination of mine that we read in the ABBC.

My secret is that I nominate books for the book club, then I take the time to thoroughly answer questions as a means to improve my own understanding of Japanese. (But please don’t tell anyone about my selfish motives. It’ll be our little secret.)