大海原と大海原 ・Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea (Absolute Beginners Book Club Starting in September)

This looks great. Pretty sure I came across it in the past somewhere as a recommendation for learners, so I was already interested. Definitely joining, my second time after Ayumu, thanks for running this :slight_smile:

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My original plan was to wait until I finish Minna no Nihongo 1 before I start trying to read manga, but this story looks fun and there doesn’t seem to be much text, so I’m thinking of trying to follow along and see how it goes! It would be my first time trying a book club here.

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Excited to check this out! I have been casually learning Japanese for about three months now and think I’m ready to check out some native material. I have been playing a bit of Ocarina of Time 3D in Japanese so the fantasy-related vocab I learned from that should hopefully be helpful with this!

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Glad to have you! That sounds fun, how’s learning from Ocarina of Time going for you?

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I like it a lot, there’s a lot I don’t understand but generally the unusual vocab is repeated a lot (like “fairy”, “magical powers”, “shield”) so it’s quite handy. And I’ve also played the game numerous times before in English so I’m broadly aware of what the characters are saying!

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Eek, my first book club! Had a peek and couldn’t understand anything so really nervous :sweat_smile: Posting so I actually commit!

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I’m getting a little nervous-- my studies have fallen off a bit lately, I was hoping to be done with Genki 1 by the time we started and that has absolutely not happened. I’m gonna participate nonetheless, but not sure I’ll enjoy the material as much as I’d hoped, as I’ll be bouncing back and forth between the book and the resources.

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The good news is, that’s how it starts out for everyone! You’re seeing exactly what you should be.

Stick with this club for the whole volume, and you’ll be surprised at how much progress you make in grammar, as well as picking up vocabulary words along the way. By the end, you’ll even be able to look at those first pages again and they’ll be a lot more comfortable (even if they’re still difficult for a while).

You may find you learn more grammar in less time reading through the forthcoming discussion threads than you have in Genki thus far.

This is fairly normal for reading your first native material, even if you’d finished both Genki books. You might have to put in some extra timing learning up front, but the discussion threads will be your friend. You can ask questions on specific text in the manga, and get grammar information that’s targeted specifically to that. Personally, I find this makes grammar easier to grasp, but it might still take encountering and learning/re-learning the same grammar a few times for it to become familiar. That’s normal.

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When do the vocabulary sheets generally get posted? Additionally, is the expectation that you create some sort of Anki deck prior to starting reading or is it moreso just a reference.

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Hello :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I will be making the google sheets for vocabulary at the beginning of September. Just to clarify these sheets get filled in by book club members as we read (though some stuff may be added before we get to a chapter if some people are reading ahead), so they would not be filled out in time for you to make an anki deck prior to reading. The way you use the vocab sheets is entirely up to you though. Some people will make decks as they read/ as vocab is added, and others will just glance at them to see if a word they don’t know is on it. I hope this helps!

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Welcome to the club! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Welcome to the club :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: and I agree I think the low text density should make it approachable to people who are just getting in to native materials. If you encounter any tricky grammar you can post it in our weekly discussion threads for help!

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There’s certainly no expectation that you need to make a deck before reading - maybe while reading it can help to put a couple of words or sentences into an Anki deck, but in general you’ll be fine looking up the meanings of words as you go

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@toadkarter @27Jenny27 Welcome to the club! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: Also @onryu & @27Jenny27 I completely agree with @ChristopherFritz ! Please do not be worried or feel discouraged if you aren’t at the Japanese level you imagined you would be when starting this book! Transitioning to reading native materials is difficult for all learners, but very rewarding and we will all be here to help you out!

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The funny thing is that what got me to commit to this was that I spent the past couple weeks trying to read some articles in a (print) magazine I just got, and I rely so heavily on dictionary and grammar lookups and machine translation, I spent many hours digitally transcribing the text in order to read it. It’s a very painstaking process at my current level, because the magazine isn’t meant for children so there is no furigana (the IME pad and I have become very well-acquainted).

Compared to trying to read this, 大海原と大海原 looks like an utter breeze!

I’m actually very well-acquainted with reading/experiencing native materials, but I usually encounter native Japanese in such huge volumes, I go for a more extensive than an intensive approach to trying to understand it. For things that are far above my level, I often start with machine translation, then attempt to parse what is actually going on in the sentence (especially if the machine translation seems off), looking up key vocab and grammar points that I don’t understand.

With 大海原と大海原, the benefit of there being much less text and the text itself being at an easier level is that I should hopefully be able to attempt to read a lot of it from the ground up (looking up individual vocab words and grammar points as needed) instead of jumping to machine translation first and then working backward. That’s my goal, at least! That part will get easier and easier as I get further along in my textbook and WK.

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Yes, I would have to say the book is much easier to read than the magazine :joy: I agree that it will lend itself a lot more to a ground up approach and I hope book club helps with your goal!

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Regarding Anki, I think may be better specifically not to make a deck (for Japanese beginners).

Expand for my reasoning.

For reading, there are two kinds of cards you may want to make:

  1. Vocabulary cards
  2. Sentence cards

(I recommend always including a sentence, even on vocabulary cards, but as long as it’s something simple, like “cat” or “water” or “yellow”, it’s not as important.)

Sentence cards should be “1T” (or “i+1”) meaning that you know everything the sentence except for one target unknown word.

The problem for first-time readers (I’m speaking about learners generally) is that they don’t know enough vocabulary words and grammar to find very many 1T sentences. Every sentence has two or more unknowns in it.

For this reason, I recommend focusing on learning new grammar, and improving your recognition and understanding of grammar you already know. Along the way, you’ll likely start learning common words just because of their repetition in the reading material.

Once you have a good grasp on grammar, that’s when I recommend starting to venture into learning vocabulary words with the aide of flash cards.

If you do want to learn vocabulary words, I recommend finding a prebuilt deck of high frequency words (perhaps a top 1,000 most frequent words). And of course continue with WaniKani, because completing even level 6 will get you to recognize more than half of the total kanji appearances in most of what you’ll be reading at early levels.

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Thanks for the breakdown. I have found that I retain certain words better in WaniKani when I fully read the example sentences and see how they’re used in context. It’s a slow and steady process, but I’m seeing small improvements each week. Additionally looking back each week and keeping a diary on what I felt I improved on or learned, even if it’s something small.

I’ll keep your post in mind as I can even see at level 5 that some of the example sentences are becoming easier to comprehend. https://sakubi.neocities.org/ has been a great grammar resource for me. I own Genki I and II and just could not bring myself to keep opening them every night.

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This will be my first book club! It looks really cute, I’ll try to secure a printed copy so I can make notes and stuff. Fingers crossed!

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Hello, so I’ve been in the lookout for the book and everywhere is sold out. I am a complete noob when it comes to digital so I have no idea what to do.

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