I’m so excited to find this thread! I love reading groups. <3 I’m working through the first of the Spiderwick Chronicles in Japanese right now. I’ve been reading stuff like にゃんにゃん探偵団 and よつばと！before this, and regular Japanese books look so intimidating with their small font and lack of pictures, so it’s a nice little step up in both grade level and in challenging myself to a book with less pictures and more text.
That sounds like an interesting experience! How are you finding it? Are there lots of katakana words?
On a personal note, finally finished my first light novel yesterday~ Kino, that is. My keeping at it was thanks in large part to the book club, I’m sure. thanks guys~
Next project is finally finishing toki wo kakeru shoujo~
I really haven’t noticed any more katakana than there is in other books, bar for proper names and some creatures (Brownies, for example, is in katakana). It’s a pretty easy read in general–I wanna say it’s somewhere around mid fourth grade level if we’re talking U.S. grades, and I’d say it’s probably about the same in Japanese since I can read through 三年生 level books with the bare minimum of help from a dictionary but need to look up words a few times each page with Spiderwick. I’m enjoying it though! Read the series as a kid, but I remember like none of it so it’s good to revisit. Thinking I might do the same with Cirque du Freak as well since my library has all of those.
And nice job on your first light novel! That’s a big accomplishment
That sounds like a cool library. Do libraries in the US typically have a broad Japanese selection? (unless I inferred wrongly)
I loved those books! if they’re of a similar difficulty as what you describe, those might be a nice, easy- ish read. Though vocab is probably my biggest weakness right now… I am interested in how they differentiated vampires and vampyres in the Japanese. 吸血鬼 Only covers one of those. Maybe same Kanji, different furigana?
I actually live in Japan right now, but I’m originally from the US. Just spending a few years over here teaching through the JET Program. Although my library back in my college town did have a pretty good selection in Japanese (lived near Detroit, and had a lot of Japanese expats working at the car companies there so there was demand for them), most U.S. libraries definitely don’t have that much haha.
I think Cirque du Freak might be a little bit higher of a level from looking over the first few pages/the size of the text, but only slightly so. And trust me, I’m suuuper weak in vocab too haha. Like, I’m pretty sure I only know 40% of the vocab in Kino no Tabi according to my floflo.moe account, so depending on how easy/difficult you found that book, you might have a way easier time than me with these books.
I finally read 紅霞後宮物語. It was really good! Much better than I expected.
Internal fights for influence and political power isn’t something I usually pick for my readings, so I didn’t think I would like it so much, but I was wrong; it was quite exciting. Also, it’s nice to have a main character who’s a woman who kicks ass.
Fair warning: the setting is inspired by medieval China. So you get people with Chinese looking names, except they are read as Japanese on’yomi (which makes no sense from an historical point of view). They are also using a lot of stiff or outdated grammar, to show you it’s in the past. So, I guess it might be a bit painful at first if you aren’t familiar with those.
It’s been on my TBR list since I started making TBR lists for Japanese books, lol. I want to finish Moribito first but I’m excited to read this too!!
…What are the odds that my newest level kanji, 軒, the house counter, would just happen to show up in the chapter I last read? Have I ever needed that counter before that exact moment? Or the appearance of the vocabulary 仰天 during class today?
Sometimes I am very unnerved by the speed at which my most recent lessons get utilized.
Koichi knows when you’ve been reviewing, he knows when you’ve been late, he knows if you’ve done SRS on time, fear the crabbigator for goodness sake…
It was recommended to me about one year ago, and it was sitting on my shelf for maybe 6 months. Against all hope, I was waiting to see if it would be picked by the intermediate book club… But I don’t see that happening.
In any case, I will definitely keep reading the series, which is going to be a first since I discovered light novels. I will keep going through my own list of things to read first though.
The book that I’m reading’s backdrop is about making a dictionary, and it goes into great detail about the entire process. My interest in it waxes and wanes but overall it’s a pretty good book and pretty interesting to read as a Japanese-learner.
One thing that got to me was that one of the characters had to explain what 和語 was to another character and it kind of blew my mind because I would have thought any Japanese person would know that. But then again if you said Past Perfect or Auxiliary Verb to me I’d also probably be like, uh what? It’s crazy how learning a language is also kind of like learning linguistics in a way.
Here's the whole exchange for the curious, no spoilers.
Also a bonus Shiritori Winning Strategy
And done! And I somehow read both books in the span of exactly one week. That’s probably a personal best in terms of speed. (So, @seanblue, 600 pages is what I would read in practice on a week where I’m not busy)
The book I just read was ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖 1. I knew nothing about it, except for the description on its floflo page. It said something around the line of “a story about someone who reads more books than you.” Which made me go tableflipchallengeaccepted.
Turns out said character does read more books than me, by a landslide. The story was somewhat unexpected, going mostly for a Sherlock Holmes-lite style of mystery solving. I thought it would just be a slice of life, but that was a pleasant surprise actually.
The story feels pretty good as a stand-alone, so I’m not sure why it became a series (or if it was even intended to be a series), but anyway I bought the second volume at the same time as the first, so I’ll probably read it at some point.
That sounds like kindof a nice read actually!
I saw that one on Floflo some time ago and thought it sounded interesting but probably too difficult at that moment. How would you say the difficulty is compared to something like…キノ for example? (I don’t have that many references yet )
I wonder if something like Hyouka would be good for book club. Mystery would certainly be different from stuff we’ve done recently / are doing next.
Today I had a reading attack
(I returned home from Japan , and so I had a lot of time at hand…)
First I started to read 神の子供達 and I was too lazy to look up words, so I just kept reading… I had looked up and learned a bunch of words and kanji at the start of the first chapter, and that was apparently enough for me to finish the first chapter with an understanding of probably 80% or more, so I could follow the story well. That was 25 pages in one go!
I’m really happy about reading this book. Most of the vocabulary is N3 which is a good preparation for me, and the grammar also seems to be at that level. Fun fact: The author often uses a grammar point that I had just learned yesterday in language school (~ のは、~ です), and I had to smile a little each time I realized this.
Unfortunately, chapter 2 did not go as smoothly because it is a completely new scene, so new words and kanji, and I was still too lazy to look them up. After a few pages I realized this and stopped (will reread with looking up more stuff, in the hope that it helps in the same way as for chapter 1).
Instead, I switched to 少女終末旅行 and finished off the series (I only had 2 volumes left anyways because I had done one chapter each evening over the past few weeks).
After that, I started to catch up on Zenitendou (still stuck on week 2 ) but I did not get very far yet - that was about enough for one day…
It was! I wouldn’t say it’s the book of the year or anything, but I enjoyed it.
It’s really hard to say. on the one hand it has no gun description, on the other hand it uses crazy kanjis like 瞠る. Sure, it gives furigana the first time around, but when you bump into it again 50 pages later, you’re on your own. Actually, for that reason, reading fast may be a plus…
In general, I’d say it’s slightly harder than Kino, but since the setting is much closer to everyday life, it’s easier to piece things together? (I’m not helping at all, am I)
Mysteries would certainly be fun, as we get to discuss our respective theories. The main problem is getting people to care about the genre I don’t have the image that it’s popular among the readers we have. (Maybe we could have an underhanded poll about “what’s your favorite genre?” )
Actually, that gives me hope since at level 21 most kanji are still crazy for me so that’s not my biggest issue. A more everyday setting would probably prevent those moments of… “did I misunderstand everything or did something really weird just happen?” that I had all the time with キノ (usually something really weird had happened ).
Well, maybe when we are done with the next round of the intermediate book club.
I’d actually be into this. I don’t know about others but this seems much closer to what I’d actually choose to read on my own. Mistery is a big part of what I read in the languages I actually know well .
You have unlocked the greatest secret
I’d be kind of interested in this poll, even if we don’t use it for anything. I’m kind of just curious.
I actually don’t usually read mystery stuff in English. For now, the hardcore sci-fi and fantasy stuff I would normally read still feels out of reach in Japanese, so I’m looking for other interesting things to read. (Though I am hoping that Haruhi will let me bridge the gap and move to more sci-fi and fantasy soon.)
I mean, I’m partly getting through 放浪息子 more quickly because I’m not looking up as much. (But it’s also partly because I’m getting used to the writing style and the speaking style for each of the characters.) I was actually annoyed that the last two chapters were a lot harder, so I had to slow down a bit to avoid missing seemingly important details.