My comment: I’m afraid that the customers were more an excuse to go back when she was mainly thinking about とんぼさん
I just plowed through the remaining half of the chapter and finished the book, yay!!
I was trying to judge how I felt the difficulty was for me throughout the book, but because we’ve been reading it over such a long span of time it’s not really feasible. I definitely had more troubles at the beginning, that’s fur sure. Right now it feels like it didn’t get any easier after like half of the book, as if it capped out at a certain level, which I guess would be my ability. However, while I think that’s true, I can’t even really remember what happened in the middle of the book anymore or how much more effort it took me to read, thus I assume this feeling is just true for the most recent weeks which are still somewhat present in my memory. I definitely did go faster through the pages in the last fourth or third of the book compared to the middle.
The biggest issues I had were with the longer sentences and all the descriptions of things and actions and what was modifying them, because I had to look them up a lot. Seeing them once a week or every other week is definitely not enough to memorize them.
The book makes me want to read more novels to get more exposure to the types of sentences and the words that don’t really show up in manga. I should finally start Convenience Store Woman like I’m planning to for 2 weeks now.
Oh, of course the lack of kanji can also be a major headache.
I really enjoyed the book, though. One or two chapters somewhere around the middle or so (the beach one for example) weren’t that great, but it definitely got better again.
I watched the Ghibli movie (with JP subs) after I finished the book to round off the experience. The last time I watched it was so many years ago, it almost felt like I had never watched it before. Kiki losing the ability to talk with Jiji was kinda sad. I didn’t know that anymore
Oops, the post is way longer than I thought it would be. I hope it’s comprehensibe… my English always lacks when I write bigger posts. <.<
Hey, I’m not done yet but I started on the final chapter yesterday and will finish this week I would really like to think!
Finally did it! It feels incredible to have finished my first book in Japanese! My reading has improved tremendously throughout the process. At the start I was struggling just to keep up, but by the end I was sometimes able to read pages at a time without too much effort and even juggle a few more book clubs on top of this. That’s not to say there weren’t challenging sections even at the end, though. The beginning of last week’s reading actually had me stumped for a bit, as did the first conversation with the musicians in the previous chapter.
For this book, I pre-learned all of the vocabulary keeping a few chapters ahead of the reading. This made the process of actually reading smoother and more enjoyable, and it drastically increased my vocabulary. I don’t think I’ll use this method for the next book I read, though, because I’d like to re-shift my SRS focus back to WaniKani and BunPro so I can finally be done with them in a timely manner. My vocabulary has also improved enough that the frequency with which I have to look up words is no longer such an impediment to actually enjoying the book.
I watched the Studio Ghibli film to celebrate, and it’s beautiful. It probably has one of the best (if not the best) scores of any Studio Ghibli movie, which is saying a lot because Joe Hisaishi’s music is always outstanding. It was certainly a lot different from the book, and perhaps better in some ways. The movie seemed to have a more melancholy feeling to it, which I think gave it more depth as a coming of age story. Part of that might just be my lack of understanding of some of the nuance in the reading.
I enjoyed the book quite a bit, and it will probably always hold some nostalgic value being the first book I’ve ever finished in a language other than English. Congratulations to everybody who has made it this far! It is definitely an achievement. The fact that only 20 or so people are here out of the few hundred who initially embarked speaks to that. And thanks to everyone who has been active on the forums (I certainly wish I had been more so). It was always fun to read people’s impressions, and some of the questions asked definitely helped me out. Seeing others continuing along with me always helped me keep going as well. ご苦労様！
I just picked up コンビニ人間 as my next book as well! The intermediate book club went through it last year and I was planning on following along with their old schedule/discussions. I’ve actually come across a few people now who are planning on starting soon/just started. Maybe another repeat club could be in order?
Edit: I just created an interest poll here!
I’m in if we do.
I’ve already promised a few weeks earlier that I’m also in with コンビニ人間. I still would prefer another Murata’s book, but I also can’t not participate in anything related to Sayaka Murata, because after 3 books of hers, the lady is on a fast track to become my favorite author ever.
My only concern is that I would be too emotional about this
Congratulations to everyone who finished Kiki in the repeat book club, from one of the few who made it all the way through the original book club!
I can guarantee that you will look back in a couple of years and think “wow, I can’t believe it used to take me a whole week to read 10 pages, and I’d have died without the vocab spreadsheet”.
Onwards and upwards!!
Phew. Everyone’s plowing ahead and finishing early. I was planning on leisurely pacing myself to finish on Friday, but perhaps I’ll pick up the pace.
Been a very relaxing vacation so far, and I’m really looking forward to treating myself to watching the Ghibli adaptation once I finish the book.
@Radish8 It seems like there might be a good amount of interest in a コンビニ人間 repeat club. You seem to be the go-to bookclub person. Would you have any interest in joining and/or organizing such a club? Thank you so much for the work you’ve put in! The book clubs are probably the best thing about the WK community.
Of Murata’s books, I’ve only read コンビニ人間 (in English) so far and it was fantastic. What would you recommend I read next?
コンビニ人間 is a really interesting story, and also a good transition from beginner to intermediate books because (for the most part) it’s not that difficult.
So, I’ve read:
- コンビニ人間 in Polish
- 地球星人 in English (Earthlings)
- 殺人出産 in Japanese
コンビニ人間 was lovely because it was very relatable for me, but I also think the story was a little too cautious and safe.
地球星人 is very similar to コンビニ人間 in many aspects, but there is more anger and bitterness toward the world and society and I felt even more emotionally close to this story. Not to the exact events from the life of the protagonist, but to the general vibe. That being said, the reviews are very polarized. Some people think 地球星人 is being too dramatic and just attempts empty shocking without any value. There are also trigger warnings about this one, but it’s hard to list them without spoilering, well, the whole story, ending included.
殺人出産 is a collection of short stories which are built on the premise of a “what if”. I’ve picked this one because I was intrigued by the title. All the what-ifs are concentrated on playing with social rules and values and basically Murata is creating here different worlds with different set of norms.
It was really nice and I think one of the reasons I love Murata so much is because she questions social norms so effortlessly, but these stories could benefit from a little more plot. It’s more world-building, less story-telling.
As my next books, I wanted to try:
- しろいろの街の、その骨の体温の - mainly because it seems popular and I wanted to try another “mainstream” option (all I’ve heard is that it’s about harsh puberty, but I didn’t read too much because I didn’t want to spoil myself)
- 丸の内魔法少女ミラクリーナ - another short stories collection, and once again, because I was fascinated by the title
For now, I plan on reading all of her books, so I try to avoid spoilers, because I’m gonna pick up everything anyway. I also tried not to spoil anything while giving you my opinions. But if you want some more specific details, please do tell!
Thank you for the recommendations! I’ll probably end up reading all of them (at least in English) in the near future but I think I’ll check out 地球星人 next.
Finally caught up again! Now on the second half of the chapter.
Ok, I know a lot of people already finished, but hey.
I’m the same place as you! You just don’t hear as much from those of us who have nothing to brag about, yet.
There are dozens of us. DOZENS
Planning to use a good amount of tomorrow to just hunker down and read. This last stretch of the book has honestly flown by tho, tbf, so I’m fairly optimistic I’ll get it done in time.
Ahhhh… Brag time is here!
This is the second Japanese novel I’ve ever finished, and the first I read in less than 20 years. It definitely got way easier as it went along. I got used to 角野栄子’s writing style, and just felt less confused by sentences by the end. It’s also a great way to justify the ridiculous amount of time I spent on Wani Kani reviews:
First two full pages:
Last two full pages:
(Okay, that’s cheating a little, because the end pages have more dialog, but I definitely knew a lot more vocabulary by the end of the book.)
Book clubs are a glorious thing. It’s been so nice to share this book with y’all-- I love reading your questions, answers, thoughts and feelings. Thanks for putting up with my denseness.
And I, too, have finished. Yes, I will admit, I cried a little again. I am not a hard man, and stories of leaving/returning home still get me, half a year later.
Going through this book with the book club has been an amazing experience, and I’m glad to have underwent it with all of you. Though, it was getting tougher and tougher to keep up with the anki deck and to find the time/energy for daily rereadings by the end. I might wait a bit before diving into another intermediate book. In the mean time, though, I’ve got a shelf full of manga I haven’t read. And maybe I’ll peek into the sequel to this book on my own time.
This isn’t something I would have thought I could do half a year before we started. Hell, this wasn’t something I expected to see through at the start of the club. Congrats to everyone else who made it to the end. And がんばって to everyone still working their way through.
I’ve got to agree. It definitely looked to me like she was making excuses. Not just Tonbo, but she seemed to have fallen in love with the town and the people in it. Having to work was just the most socially acceptable reason to return so quickly.
But still, what a sad ending. I guess I should have seen it coming when they foreshadowed it in chapter 2 when (Extremely real and not fake spoiler ahead) Kiki learned a spell that lets you return to Koriko from your visit home a few days early at the cost of the caster’s own life.
Eh, but it still counts for me as not being able to take a break from your work environment.
Anyway, congratulations to all people who have just finished Welcome to the finishing line!
Out of the curiosity, what was the first one?