Nothing special–It was just a book I found at the bookstore in a genre that I enjoy. I read the first couple of chapters together with my homestay mother when I was in Japan in college, and she patiently explained things to me. I intended to finish it when I got home, but found it too difficult without the help–this was before online dictionaries, mind you. I picked it up a few times in the intervening years-- basically every time I thought “I should brush up my Japanese.”
Tad late but I done did it! Just wrapped up my first book in Japanese. Barring some stumbles, it’s been a really fun ride. It was a great way to sharpen my understanding of the language. I definitely feel much more confident with Japanese (with plenty of room for improvement haha), and it’s been supremely gratifying to see this book all the way through. Great end for this part of Kiki’s journey and a cute way to cap off her first year as a professional witch.
While I struggled to be more active than I would have liked, the book club was an invaluable resource for learning and motivation. Hope to do this again with the next Kiki book, at some point!
Just finished! I’m surprised I finished almost on time given at one point I think I was 3-4 chapters behind. The break definitely helped, the fact that I was on a massive road trip around Australia definitely didn’t!
I’d call this the first novel I’ve read - I’ve read a couple of books with the ABBC but they were either factual or a short children’s book, so this was a big jump forward.
Now to work on my grammar a bit more…I’m also going to read the biographies book with the ABBC now, but interested in コンビニ人間 too.
I’m still on hiatus, but had decided to just start reading the last chapter to be “on time” and try to be less picky about actually comprehending every word and sentence structure. I was surprised at how quickly I made it through 5 pages and sort of understood somewhat. My Kanji and vocab knowledge lags a lot of you all quite a bit, I think… But I am still poking my way through the Kiki’s anki deck (thanks, again, Sharpevil)… Although I am not even reviewing it one day every week lately… I’ve fallen off a LOT from my mid summer stride. So to see that you are able to review Vocabulary a chapter ahead and just “read” @jhol613 , write… It’s a (distant) goal to be so great. Ganbarimashou! I can’t wait to see the Ghibli in Japanese. I requested the DVD for Christmas, I think (also Harry Potter 1 in Japanese)
Just finished the book, a bit later than I hoped, but sometimes it is what it is
Congratz to everyone else, who already finished it and good luck to those, who are still reading! Also thanks to everyone, who asked and answered questions, filled the vocab sheets, made threads, etc.!
I really enjoyed this book and in hindsight, I should’ve probably bought it sooner and read it with the book club, since I could’ve read it a bit more thoroughly, but it worked out pretty well in the end!
I’m gonna join コンビニ人間 and I’ll see, how well I can keep up, but when I read the preview, it seemed pretty promising.
I just finished 地球星人 in English. It was outstanding! I’m glad I went in completely blind (but I see why for some people this might not be a good idea). It’s a great extension of so many of the same themes from コンビニ人間. I could almost picture Furukura as a version of Natsuki that successfully (or at least partially successfully) managed to get brainwashed. I’m looking forward to rereading コンビニ人間 with the perspective of having read 地球星人. Knowing the depth of the bitterness that Murata presents in 地球星人 may reframe some of the ideas presented (much more palatably) in コンビニ人間. I’m also a huge fan of magical realism, which added to my enjoyment.
Thank you for the great recommendation! Hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to read it in Japanese in the not-to-distant future.
I’m not sure if the protagonist of Konbini Ningen really got brainwashed, even partially, or more like found safe environment which enabled her to function in a fulfilling way. And thanks to that coziness, she was more willing to try and blend in into the crowd as an adult, because she wasn’t so hurting all the time. And well, in the end she did reject keeping a man as a pet for the sake of appearances and decided to just go and find herself another konbini to work in. I once read that Konbini Ningen is a romance story of a love between a woman and a shop and I love that comparison.
Furukura is living as an outcast too, she just managed to somehow set up her life without snapping.
Hey! I’m a bit late because I got caught up with JLPT stuff. But I’m just stoked that I’ve finished about the book. Honestly I got emotional during the end of the book thinking about my parents, and home and okay I’m going to stop before I get worked up again lol.
But I just picked a copy of Haikyuu and I’m going to join that book club. Very stoked that I took the leap into reading more, totally transformative. Love reading, and it’s just a great way to study. Thanks to everybody who helped and it was great to read along for these few months.
Now that the thread has died, i can finally proclaim that i finished the book today!
At first i was looking up everything but after chapter 2 i just glanced over the words i didn´t know and continued on. I don´t know which approach was better in the end but without looking anything up i understood around ~60% of what i read, i think. With this i finished Kiki in about a week.
Having read a few pages from both Harry Potter and コンビニ人間 as well as some of the other beginner club books (read: manga) Kiki feels more of an intermediate choice to me if i´m being honest.
(Also compared to ace attorney which is surprisingly often found on more “advanced” lists for some reason)
Anyway, i´m glad i stuck with it! My enjoyment was heavily determined by each chapter as some of them were actually rather easy to parse and others gave me real trouble. Overall though, it was an enjoyable read. My favorite chapter was either the one with the poem or the new years eve.
Going forth i will probably watch the movie today as a reward and my next target will be 時間をかける少女!
Congratulations on finishing!! I was planning to watch the movie as my reward, also… But that totally got swallowed up by reading Harry Potter and advancing in WaniKani levels!! Now I’m starting Teasing Master Takagisan club…I got spoiled by digital Harry Potter, where I can zoom through, touching words to see meaning, but never taking notes. Now with a bunko Teasing… I’m back to looking things up or just not knowing… The Tadoku method is to not stop and look things up… You just DID IT! Impressive to understand so much without!!
Hey thanks! I have Harry Potter (jp) on my shelf as well, looking forward to reading it some time this year.
You mentioned you can look up words just by touching, are you using a Kindle? Would have definitely been very helpful when reading Kiki
I agree!! I copied out ALL of Kiki handwritten onto paper in order to write my notes… That was VERY time-consuming! (But I learned A LOT).
I’m doing sentence analysis “Read Out Loud” sessions streaming pdf slides of my translation notes and the audiobook for Harry Potter on this discord (Friday night at 9pm CST right now) https://discord.gg/zFCYQzx and on the Learn Japanese Pod discord (Saturday at 2pm right now) https://discord.gg/9NaYCBapzy (in a few hours!) … My translations aren’t perfect (I’m a student!!), but we help each other! It’s a combination of “ear training” and grammar/vocab study. You might enjoy joining us Oian. I’ve got Harry Potter in the Kindle, and loaded a Japanese English dictionary, but it mostly goes to the web to look and gets a lot of garbage.
I’m starting コンビニ人間 soon, I think I bought that ebook on KOBO, but haven’t figured it out, yet. And, unfortunately, their “read out loud” book club here just finished!!
Yes, that touch lookup was on the Kindle. I haven’t fully figured out how to get that to work, because I bought a Japanese-English dictionary for it to use… But the references are all from wiki and bing?! Anyways, it saves me time…
HELLO EVERYONE. I finished this after 1 year of struggle. I picked this up at a level between N5 - N4 without understanding how difficult it could be and dropped it 3 times. On my 4th try I finally could know enough grammar to make sense of this. よっかた。。。。
Does anyone have recommendations for something slightly easier than Kiki? I think I’d be able to get through another book at the level of Kiki but I’d like to be able to cover my next book a bit faster. Is コンビニ人間 easier or harder than Kiki? Cheers!!
I stand by my opinion コンビニ人間 is easier, but there isn’t a consensus on this. For example, on learnnatively.com Kiki got 26 in hardness and Konbini got 29.
There is a かがみの孤城 book club starting soon and while I only read through 7% of the first volume, it seemed very approachable, easier than both Kiki and Konbini.
It’s got 28 on Natively, through But since it’s before book club run, there also aren’t too many ratings for that one.
Congratulations on finishing! That’s a huge accomplishment in and of itself.
I agree with Aislin on this one. The language is more straightforward and the kanji makes it easier to parse. I know many others share this opinion so I’m a bit surprised in the Natively disparity, but my opinion might be skewed because I was a much better reader by the time I got to コンビニ. However, I wouldn’t say コンビニ is much easier.
I’m also of the opinion that most manga is significantly easier than most books, if for no other reason than more story is told with fewer words, and the pictures make it harder to go completely off the rails with comprehension. Natively seems to reflect this opinion in its rankings. I don’t know whether you’ve read much manga, but it might be an enjoyable way to build more reading skill while having the satisfaction of getting through more content.
Also 鏡の孤城 is supposedly pretty simple language-wise (I haven’t started it yet so I can’t confirm), but it is several times longer than Kiki and the bookclub is approaching it at a fast-intermediate pace. It’s definitely worth looking into if you find it intriguing but it might take a while to get through.
While I see your point that the language might be easier to understand, the contents is not imho Kiki is a children’s book, therefore almost everything is about concrete things (now she flies on her broom, now she encounters X who does Y) while Konbini is aimed at adults and therefore every now and then it switches to the “meta-level” (for lack of better words - 縄文時代 anybody?). Sometimes I even find it difficult to discover whether something is describing the real world or is on the meta-level, or is about thoughts and feelings, let alone understanding the thing as such Therefore, for me Kiki was way easier to read than Konbini after all.
I would like to add that books mainly consist of descriptions while manga mainly consist of dialogue. Descriptions are usually written in standard (textbook-style) Japanese while dialogue is spoken language which may be full of colloquialisms, abbreviations, omissions, contractions, dialect and stuff. I’m not saying that books cannot contain dialogue like that, but the ratio is very different.
(Also I find it often much more difficult to figure out who says what to whom, in reference to what. But that may be my personal issue, I’m aware of that.)
So I’d say that the difficulty of manga can be on a whole different level than the difficulty of books.
You’re completely right in that everything kind of poses its own challenges. It definitely comes down to the reader in a lot of circumstances. Natively’s nice because it can at least offer people some guidance where there will never really be true consensus.
This was definitely my biggest challenge when I started reading books. For the first few chapters of Kiki it felt like an impossible task, although it got a lot better with some experience. Even now though I sometimes realize that whatever I’m reading starts making absolutely no sense, and when I go back a page or two for a comprehension check I realize it was due to mis-ascribing some dialogue to the wrong character.
I think the thing about コンビニ人間 is just that the style is just different - Kiki’s is generally written in desu/masu form, and once you figure out how similes and onomatapia work in Japanese, its fairly smooth sailing . Also, when I read Kiki’s the amount of kanji used just about equated with the KanjiI already knew. This meant that I was as bothered by the long strings of kana vocab, because I didn’t already knew the corresponding kanji.
I found the first chapter of コンビニ人間 to be really tough coming from Kiki’s and didn’t think I’d finish the book. The challenge for me was compound sentences, plus things like passive form which I wasn’t really familiar with. But then something magical happened: after about Week 3, the style of writing just “clicked”. So my advice is just to push through! Because it was read by two clubs, the discussion threads are especially helpful, with breakdowns of most tough portions.