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

I’m still baffled how that happened in a single text right?

In the book I’m reading now I don’t think I’ve seen a single one, but now that I think about it, it could’ve been as you said in the story thread that 大きなかに was written before the orthography reform in Japan and they simply messed it up a lil bit.


Week 8 is here, and we’re back to our one-story-a-week schedule :tada:


As promised here are my short summaries/impressions of the other stories from the 2013 book:

A guy visits a barber and insists on having an excessive amount of hair oil applied and consequently melts in the sun on his way back. (Yes, the guy melts, only leaving behind a stone)

A girl gets her beloved doll stolen by a young beggar girl. Although this makes her very sad, she decides not to be resentful and not tell the police about it.

A bittersweet story about the short, but vigorous life of a small weed compared to the long and slow life of a tree.

A baby boy hates his mother’s apron because it means she has to work and can’t tend to him. After turning into a young men, he discovers a stone he used to have as a kid. I didn’t quite get the connection between between past and present, though, but I only listened to the audio version and was mildly distracted.

The men each find keys in different places, then use it do open a golden chest. As it turns out, there’s a message from a princess in the chest promising the ones who open it wealth, land and even marriage. Unfortunately the princess is long gone, so there’s nothing to get for the men.

A mother of two mountain doves tells her sons that towns are dangerous, but the two of them get curious as they grow up. Eventually a town dove reassures them that humans won’t hunt them there. They then visit the town, but return after a while and talk about a red sky and everything burning down. At first I thought this was a reference to war, but since the story is from 1926, it’s probably about one of the big fires that happened in the Japanese cities.

A straightfordward, but nice story about a village where two rich people bought the first clocks. Everyone started using these two clocks as an orientation for all their meetings etc., but it led to small conflicts when it turned out the clocks didn’t display the exact same time. Instead of letting them repair, the rich people decided to throw them away and go back to the village’s old lifestyle without clocks – a lifestyle that’s way more relaxed.

A mother seal is searching for her children and asks the wind for help. The wind can’t find the children either, but decides to bring a present from a faraway country to cheer up the seal.

A woman is kidnapped and taken to a faraway desert country where she has to assist in saffron wine making. Out of desparation she kills herself and her blood mixes with the wine, making it irresistably delicious. When traveling men the come to the city and drink the wine, they find themselves addicted. They spend all the money they earn in the bars and eventually stay there forever, never returning to their families.

A railway is hurt by a train and complains to the moon. The moon decides to look for the train to scold him, but soon realizes that the train can’t be blamed either.

糸のない胡弓 (3)
Parents bully their non-blood related son by sending him off to earn money with a kokyū (Japanese string instrument) without strings. The boy still manages to move bystanders to tears with his music and attracts the attention of a professional musician who then adopts the boy.

小さい針の音 (10)
A young countryside teacher receives a pocket watch as a farewell gift from is students before moving to the captial. There he manages to land a good job. At first he treasures the watch above all, but eventually sells it to buy a new, more fashionable one. More than a decade passes and he is now holds a high position and owns a very expensive platinum watch. But one day he finds out that one of his employees now owns the watch he had sold – and that it is way more accurate than his own expensive watch. He thinks back to his days as a teacher and questions whether his current job truly really contributes to society.

二度と通らない旅人 (11)
During a rainstorm in a cold night, a traveler knocks on the door of a family in a remote mountain village and begs them to let him stay for the night. Out of fear they refuse. They have a very sick daughter and despite the family’s cold treatment, the traveler leaves medicine for her that eventually saves her life. Years later the daughter is married with children of her own. The family still regrets their cold behavior and vows to be more hospitable to any future travelers in need. However, no travelers ever knock on their door again.


Maybe the stone was actually hair-oil guy.

Turns out the real treasure was the friends we made along the way.

Or the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923?

Well. That feels kinda backwards to what one would typically expect from a fable…


Beginner book club voting now

In absence of radish I (the much less handsome person named after a vegetable) am here to inform you guys that the beginner book club is now voting on what to read next. If you are interested have a look!


This week we’ll read about a chocolate angel! Will this also be a sad story? :thinking: Jump right in and find out:


Week 10 already! We’re almost there :slight_smile:


We’re getting closer to the end! Here’s this week’s story:


Team 小川 let’s go! :smiley:

We’re almost there.


Also I only just realized that the links to the vocab sheets in the weekly threads were messed up from week 9… Sorry about that! I’ve (hopefully) fixed them now.


Hello 小川 readers :slight_smile:

First of all I’m really happy to see that we are still such a strong group after so many weeks of more or less weird stories :sweat_smile: Thank you!

Then, I promised to ask you about the rest of the book (as some of you know, I took the stories from the Bookwalker ebook but I did not add all of them because that would have made the bookclub too long).

My question today is, would you like to finish the remaining stories? If you do, you’ll be entitled to mark this excellent Bookmeter entry as read: 『小川未明童話集 1巻 (Kindle)』|感想・レビュー - 読書メーター which will grant you happiness and longevity a nice increase in your statistics :laughing:
But I’m aware that some of you have had enough of these stories, so I totally don’t blame you if you are not keen to achieve this.

Here are the stories from the book that we have not read yet:

Chapter Page Count
8. 角笛吹く子 7
11. 酔っぱらい星 8
12. 木に上った子供 8
17. 白い馬 4
18. 蠟人形 12

(Story #17 does not seem to be on Aozora but I would share screenshots in its thread.)

What do you think?

  • Thank you, I’ve had enough of sad and pointless stories
  • I would like to read one story per week (5 weeks total)
  • I would like to read 2-2-1 stories per week (3 weeks total)
  • I would like to read the stories in my own time (just set up the threads)
  • I have another idea (please comment below)

0 voters

(If we decide to continue with a schedule, I will add another poll on whether we should take a break or continue straight away.)


Well done on the wording of the ‘no’ option! I feel so bad now :sweat_smile:
But I already have a hard time keeping up with all the book clubs I want to participate in so I have to bow out.


Well, there are 18 stories in the version of the ebook I have so I’m gonna have to keep going :eyes:


I’m a little undecided. On the one hand, I’d be fine with stopping any time. We’ve read a good variety of stories, some of which I liked a lot, some of which I could take or leave, as was to be expected. I feel like it’s easy to get tired of them if you read them all at once, but on the other hand, if I pause now, it’s very unlikely that I’ll resume reading them at any point in the future. So I guess I could dedicate three more weeks, but probably not longer. And if we go with the “I’ll read at my own time” option, my own time might turn out to be “all at once” or, just as likely, “never at all”.


Hahaha, that’s my thinking exactly! “If I don’t read them now, I will probably never* touch them again.”

(* or maybe not in the forseeable future, at least)

So I’m leaning towards “let’s get over and done with them” - hence the 3-week option…

しょうがないね :joy_cat:

Oh, I tried to phrase it so that it’s easy to select (morally speaking) :roll_eyes: Sorry…

Totally relatable - same here :laughing:

oh man I just hope JLPT is over soon…


Indeed a worthy goal. :+1:
Not that there’s anything wrong in not continuing on, I just really like finishing things, personally. :smiley:
I was already planning to read a few more so I could feel like I ‘earned’ the right to mark (and consider) it done.


I will probably read the remaining stories Some Day ™. I would love to, but more than anything I would love to start reading something slightly more modern.

Already kind of wondering how much has Japanese changed from the 1950s until now.


I’ve enjoyed the stories quit a bit but I’m completely fine with all options. Because of that I didn’t want to alter the result by my voting so I voted for all just to show participation. Thanks for organising this! :slight_smile:


I plan to read 地球星人 🌏 Book Club ・ Starting Nov 27th!, so I will read the remaining Ogawa stories when there is any free time left.


Thanks to everybody who voted and responded! I‘m very happy to see that some of you are interested in finishing the remaining stories.

My plan is as follows: I will set up the threads for all remaining stories right after we finished the last book club story, and I will read the stories in a 2-2-1 schedule across 3 weeks. Of course everybody is free to post in any of the threads whenever they like (even before the schedule gets there). This way I think we‘ve covered all the options :slight_smile: