京都寺町三条のホームズ(Holmes of Kyoto)

TL;DR: I guess this is best described as a recommendation, particularly, for folks who can’t travel, and are looking for a book series (or an anime). If others are interested, this could be a book club thread for Holmes of Kyoto.

I didn’t see much about Holmes of Kyoto on the forums, so I decided to start a thread. Sorry if I missed something.

In 2019, I knew exactly what I was going to do in December 2020. I was going to Japan with my fiancé. Kyoto was big on the list, since he’d never been there. Due to the pandemic, travel was not possible for us and we don’t know when that trip will happen now.

Trips motivate me greatly, so I’ve been trying to find other avenues get inspired to study Japanese, and as such, I’ve been watching anime. I usually tend to just rewatch things I enjoyed years ago, but I’ve been trying to watch some newer stuff as well.

By chance, I came across Holmes of Kyoto 京都寺町三条のホームズ on Crunchyroll. The anime is a fairly balanced (in my opinion) action-oriented “mystery” series revolving around a grad student Kiyotaka/“Holmes”, an antique authenticator in training, who is working in his family antique boutique, Kura. The anime features a teenage romance story in the background. The anime is mostly seen through the eyes of high school student Aoi, the new part timer at the antiques shop from another city, who Kiyotaka gives a job.

This would have been an average shoujo series, but what bumped the series up for me was was how it worked in the atmosphere of Kyoto - this made me love it- particularly, now. The series works in a lot of cultural references - it reminded me of past trips to Kyoto/made me feel like I was in Kyoto/talked in depth about certain Japanese art pieces (and some western ones too). While I still wouldn’t rate the anime a 10/10, I enjoyed the series enough to check to see if there was any other media - thinking that if there was a long manga I’d read it. There was.

The anime was based on a light novel series and the focus on Kyoto is because the author moved to Kyoto and fell in love with the city so much that they wanted to create a book series about it. I also learned that there is a manga version. Since the anime was based on the light novels, I decided I wanted to read those (I have not yet looked at the manga, but I intend to read it as well).

The first two light novel books are available in English (the 3rd comes out in a few weeks, I think there are 16 in Japanese with more coming out, but I haven’t gotten that far yet…), and if your Japanese isn’t quite ready for the original yet, I’d encourage you to read these in English if this sounds like something you’d enjoy. There’s nuggets of Japanese history, references to all kinds of places in greater Kyoto, and I’ve added some items to my “must see/do” list for my next trip. The book series seems even less romantic (at least so far) than the anime, so I would think even folks not interested in that would get some enjoyment out of it. The mysteries are all very light (so far), and so if you don’t like “dark” things it should still be okay.

I read 1&2 in English and my 2021 goal is to read at minimum books 3&4 in Japanese, and book 3 in English when it comes out (to check my understanding). All appear to be available on BookWalker, which I like a lot as it has a built in dictionary making looking up words a lot faster - particularly since I can easily google things that don’t come up in their dictionary. I’ve enjoyed the books even more than the anime, but this may just be a personal preference.

In full disclosure my Japanese level is too low for these, but the dictionary is helping me manage that. Books are much harder for me than shoujo manga, Pokémon games, and Terrace House which tends to be my preferred level. This has been true for past books too for me and I usually tend to stick to short stories or tweets/similar types of media as a result when I’m going for things without pictures. However, I’m invested in the environment in these and that is spurring a lot of my interest.

There’s some classical poetry referenced in the first part of book 3, but with google most of it can be found. I would guess to read comfortably n2 would been needed at minimum (maybe even n1?) I’m not either of these levels so I don’t know. I haven’t been tested formally, but in practice tests I’m n3.

I will say - even in English because of the referencing, if you aren’t very knowledgeable you’ll want to google some stuff (like I did) - you won’t need to, but some of the historical people or pieces of art (including temples/etc) are interesting to actually look at.

I’ve never started a book club before, but I’m happy to do that with this thread if others are interested in reading it. Alternatively, if you’re familiar with the series and know of others I will like, please let me know.

I’m on page 40 and I’ll try to post some updates as I read book 3.

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I added this to my watch list on Crunchyroll a while ago but I’ve yet to watch it. Based on what you’ve said I might have to watch it sooner than I’d planned, it sounds more interesting than some of the other anime I’ve added.

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The first three LN volumes were available for free on Amazon a few months ago and I am in a continual state of regret that I missed them. I’ve had my eye on this series for a while after enjoying the first few episodes of the anime, but it’s tough for me to start a series before getting a taste for free :sweat_smile:

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Oh… :pensive:. I know on BookWalker there’s a preview for a few pages at least. I am sure they’ll do a promo at some point again.

Personally, I used a coupon code that I got from watching a Redbard video which was sponsored by them (which is how I found out about the BookWalker app in general). That saved me some money. Saved extra on other volumes, since it combined with points through their point system which was on some sort of holiday sale.

I generally like owning physical books, but the ease of dictionary use in BookWalker is pretty nice. Not sure how that is in Kindle reader. Based on your Wanikani level though, that may not matter as much for you… :rofl:

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Unlike the other people commenting I hadn’t heard about this yet, but I’m intrigued now after reading your post! I’ll watch a few episodes and if I like it, I’m gonna get the first light novel in Japanese

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I’ve heard of this, and was quite intrigued by the premise, but for some reason, something about the first episode of the anime didn’t quite resonate with me. Maybe I’ll give it another shot sometime.

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These are appalling enough that I would even read the English to get started!
I am so sorry that your trip was ruined by コロナ.

If you would ever like to share favorite things there, it would be welcomed. I have an endless appetite for 京都. When we finally visited, it was like coming home.

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I decided to go back to the anime and actually finish it this time. Now that it’s over I’m very much interested in reading further…does anyone (@hallus in particular?) know how much of the novels are covered by the anime? I would guess something like the first three volumes.

Edit: oh, seems like the anime episodes correspond pretty much perfectly with the chapter titles, so I was able to check the table of contents. The anime covers the first four books it seem.

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Yup. What’s interesting is the books seem to have persons’ perspectives outside of Aoi though. I’m in Part 2-ish of Book 3 now. Around 1/3 of the way through :). I’m enjoying reading it. There’s a few Kanji that I have learned, but I struggle to keep up with all the characters :pensive:. I’m thinking about making a cheat sheet for when I read for their names…

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