小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories (Beginner Book Club)

Thanks @NicoleRauch . Cross-posting from the 多読 thread.

I will join for Week 3 with 眠い町. I had a look at the text and I like it :slight_smile: .

EDIT:
But I have to admit, there are some tricky bits in the text and it might take a while to get used to 小川先生’s writing style :sweat_smile:

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Unfortunately, I was out of my Japanese study routine in the last couple of months, so I fell behind with the book clubs too. I just took my review and lesson piles under control, so I’m joining this book club now with the 3rd chapter, and planning to catch up this week!

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Looks like I started a little late and am kind of slow with reading, because I overanalyze the text, but I will try to push tomorrow and on Friday to hopefully get through the story :slight_smile: .

I added some vocab items to the spreadsheet and extra notes for existing items. Hope they help!

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Here is week 4!
This week’s reading is a very nice story in my opinion, but it’s a bit heavy on the side of polite speech (keigo) - don’t get too worked up on it, it’s not as hard as it may seem. I will try to write down some explanations tomorrow or so - in case y’all haven’t already covered everything through Q&A by then!

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Finally(!) I’ve caught up to the group :smiley: I was ill in bed the first 10 days of the book club so I’ve been reading the three first chapters since then to catch up. Just wanted to drop a line and give a massive thanks to everyone who organises this and to all posts (@NicoleRauch your breakdowns and grammar explanations are excellent), they have helped a lot! Also first time reading without furigana and having the Word-document available is a tremendous help in looking up unknown kanji (thank you @AmomentOfMusic).

I still have some uncertainties of some parts of the text. If/when I get time hopefully I’ll write some questions from the previous weeks. And oh, the book is great! Really good pick :blush:

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Welcome to week 5!
This week brings another story of 8 pages, so it’s about the same amount as last week. And there is still hope that we won’t experience the same amount of polite speech again :wink:

Last week we had 27 avid readers which is amazing! Please keep it up and post your questions in the thread :slight_smile:

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Hell yeah! Grammar and Tobira can wait :smiley: :smiley:


To understand the split here a little better, Week 6 would be us reading the entirety of 金の輪 + half of the next story, correct? I think I will give the Golden Wheel a try now, because I might not have time next week :slight_smile: .

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Whoops, totally forgot to get back to you, sorry!!

I think it will be more like the entirety of 金の輪 plus one third of the next story, but yes, that’s the plan. I will read that second story this afternoon in order to find a good spot where we can take a break.


On an unrelated note, somebody asked in one of the threads what time these stories are from. I could not find the original question any more :sweat_smile: but here’s the answer in the hope that the person will see it here:
If you click on the Aozora links in the OP and scroll all the way to the bottom, you will see some editorial remarks on the story. The interesting bit is 初出 (first appearance). It will list the name of the book the story first appeared in (I think :grin:) plus the year and month it appeared. For example, for the story from week 5 this is:

image

So the story will soon be 100 years old :exploding_head:
I think you can be extra proud for managing to read such old texts :+1:


Speaking of which, if you asked a question at some point but did not get an answer and are still wondering, please feel free to ask again in the respective week’s thread - we don’t intend to ignore you, but at least I definitely cannot keep track of the sheer mass of questions and answers that are floating around…

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No problemo! :slight_smile:

I in the end still didn’t manage to finish reading the Golden Wheel and populating the sheet even though I planned to, whoops!

We’ll take a break wherever you think is best :smiley:

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Hello and welcome to week 6!

This week, we will tackle a very short story (even shorter than the shortest ones we started with), and because we should have some Ogawa Mimei skillz under our belts by now, I thought we could start another (longer) story this week as well! I checked that story and I think I found a nice breakpoint. Please check out the OP or the week’s thread where I added the exact line at which we will stop this week.

Also please make sure to clearly indicate in the discussions which story your question or comment refers to!

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Hello all,

there has been a little bit of discussion in the Week 6 thread which could lead to some adjustments in our schedule, and I would like to find out what is best for everyone.

The issue is that this week we are reading a full story and a small bit of another story, which makes for a bit of a weird experience. Of course, we cannot fix this issue for this week any more, but in the schedule we have three weeks (wek 9 - 11) where we plan to read two stories like this:

week 9: start of first story
week 10: end of first story + start of second story
week 11: end of second story

Those two stories are 14 and 15 pages, respectively, therefore I did not want to read them in a single week. But this week showed us that spreading a story over multiple weeks’ threads is a bit awkward, and touching upon two stories in one week (and thus discussing two stories in one thread) is also awkward.

Before I present some ideas on how to mitigate this, here is some background information:

  1. There are a lot of Ogawa Mimei story compilations, and I’ve selected one of them (the ebook that is available on Bookwalker). The physical books are different compilations, therefore some stories are missing in them (but luckily they can be found on Aozora).
  2. We are not reading the stories according to the ordering in any of the books. Instead, I ordered the stories such that the number of pages per week would be low at first and increase over time.
  3. Because of 2. I think that reordering the current schedule should not matter at all (it’s random anyway and not following the editor’s arrangement).
  4. We are not reading all of the stories in the ebook because the schedule would have become too long (and thus the people who didn’t read with us or dropped out would have to wait too long until the next book starts).
  5. I decided to not include 5 stories from the ebook into this book club. One of those stories is not available anywhere else (not even on Aozora :thinking:) for reasons unbeknownst to me, so I’d like to exclude it altogether because it is so inaccessible. Still, there are 4 stories left. (Their lenghts are 7, 8, 8, and 12 pages). Those stories are not available in either of the physical books, only in the ebook and on Aozora. (That’s why I excluded them in the first place.)
  6. There are two more ebook compilations available as it’s a three-volume series. (I’m speculating that those three volumes cover all Ogawa Mimei stories, but I haven’t checked yet.) I was thinking if a bunch of people are interested, we could form a spin-off book club where we finish the first volume and then maybe even tackle the two other volumes until we run out of steam :blush: (Of course we should only decide this near the end of the current club. I’m just including this information so that you are aware of this possibility.)

There were some discussions in the week 6 thread, e.g. to set up one thread per story and use it over two weeks, but this leads to other negative side-effects (confusion and stuff) so we didn’t find a good solution. That’s why I am setting up a poll in the hope that it will clear up things.

Which book are you reading?

  • The Bookwalker ebook
  • One of the physical books
  • No book, just Aozora

0 voters

What is your opinion regarding the current schedule?

In the current schedule, we will spread two of the stories over two weeks each, and we will have one week where we read the end of one story and the start of another one.

  • I am fine with the current schedule.
  • I do not like to spread a story over two weeks.
  • I do not like to read two story parts in one week.

0 voters

What is your preferred way of modifying the current schedule?

(Note that some of the options will shorten our schedule by 1 or 2 weeks while none of the options will make the schedule longer.)
Please tick as many boxes as you agree with.

  • I do not want to modify the current schedule
  • I would like to split one of the stories and read it over two weeks (that would be 7 or 8 pages per week). The other long story should be dropped.
  • I would like to move the two stories to the end of the schedule and read them in one week each (that would be 14 and 15 pages per week)
  • I would like to move the shorter story to the end of the schedule and read it in one week (that would be 14 pages per week). The longer story should be dropped.
  • I would like to replace the two long stories (in weeks 9-11) with the three shorter ones from the ebook (that would be 7, 8, and 8 pages per week) although these stories don’t appear in the physical books.
  • I have a different idea (please explain below)

0 voters

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Thank you, @NicoleRauch, for setting up this poll and for taking the time to provide so many well thought out options. I voted for my strongest preference only, but I just wanted to say that I’d be perfectly fine with any of these schedules, including the current one.

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Big thanks for running the club and organizing the poll, Nicole :slight_smile: .

I also promise I will try to make my posts not contain spoilers if it can be avoided and be more thoughtful about my grammar suggestions.

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This week, we will finish our currently ongoing story. Also, this week will mark our book club’s half time - great job so far, everybody! On top of that, we have reached our cruising speed, so there should not be too many surprises going forward (she said :upside_down_face:)

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Hello all,

not much has happened to the “How to proceed with the schedule”-poll over the weekend, and anyway the overwhelming majority voted for moving the stories to the end of the schedule and reading them in one week each, so I’ve closed the polls and adjusted the schedule accordingly.

@Marusiaside I noticed that you’d prefer to have one of the large stories split up over two weeks - you (and anybody else who would prefer to tackle those longer stories at a somewhat slower pace) are invited to just read the second-to-last story over the course of the last two weeks, and drop the last story altogether. This way we can even have two alternative schedules in one :exploding_head: :sunglasses:

This also means that we will finish one week earlier than originally planned :upside_down_face:

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I decided to post here, instead of in the respective thread, because we might see it in future stories as well.

In 月夜と眼鏡 there was a sentence where the word ようす (likely 様子 in kanji) was used and we couldn’t discern whether it meant “appearance” or “circumstances”. I saw it in other stories later and recently in books as well. I have the impression that’s a minor grammar point, kind of like 感じ - everyone uses it, but it’s not featured in grammar guidelines.

From context, to my understanding 文 + ようす means something along the lines of “giving the appearance of”. Might be worth keeping an eye :wink: .

Here is a sentence from 赤いカブトムシ by Edogawa Ranpo (kanji added for clarity):
男は、別に怒るようすもなく、大笑いをして、それから、ふっとマジメな顔になりました。
The man, not appearing to be especially angry, exploded in laughter and then, suddenly made a serious face.

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Yes, I’ve seen it described as being one of those hard to translate words and I’ve always been surprised that it doesn’t have it’s own section in my grammar dictionaries. I think it often becomes part of the verb when you translate to English as in your example (so for example appears, seems like, sounds like, etc) and “a sign of …” is also a good translation sometimes. Or it just becomes an expression (like what’s happening, what it’s like, how it is going). Some of my Japanese dictionaries (the 大辞林, for example) list six possible meanings, so there seems to be quite a bit of nuance.

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I’ll probably skip this week’s story because it’s not included in my 2013 book. But I’m almost done reading the stories not included in the book club (13 in total) and will probably post very short summaries/impressions for anyone interested.

I’ve mostly listened to the audio versions on YouTube while reading along (and sometimes without reading). It’s very relaxing doing that while taking a bath or before going to sleep. I don’t really listen to audio books usually, but these 20 minute-ish fairy tales are perfect for my attention span.

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Oh I thought it was? (My secret informant told me it’s on page 38…) Am I wrong here? Or do you have a different 2013 book? :dizzy_face:
(Next week’s story is not supposed to be in your book though…)

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I’m curious, out of all the stories you’ve read, what percentage would you say isn’t sad? Among the 7 we’ve read so far we’ve had 2 sad ones and 2 probably sad ones if you read between the lines, by my count.

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