[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

I read the second book of 忘れえぬ魔女の物語 and while I feel like it was a bit(just a very tiny bit, nothing major or anything) weaker than the first one, I still quite enjoyed reading it. I mean, I kind of read 80% of it in one day and I wouldn’t exactly do that for a book I didn’t like.

I think the main issue is really just that it kind of had to do double-duty in both being its own story and setting up the rest of the series (because if I recall correctly the first book was written as a standalone for a competition which it won) since the first book couldn’t do that. And it also had to reintroduce the stuff Ayaka ended up forgetting from the first book, I’m assuming because of how a sequel wasn’t originally planned.

Compared to the first book it was a bit more supernatural in focus from earlier on in the story, though still with some fun everyday life scenes at the start and end of the book. And the second book made me like Fukayasu a lot more due to the chapter focusing on her. Characters acting weird during that chapter did bother me a bit at first, but then I realised that she may have been affecting people to act in line what she wanted even before she herself realised she could do that.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to the upcoming third book and I’ll probably also check out the manga adaption mentioned in the afterword (supposedly happening because of the competition the first book won).

For something less plot related, I’m going to admit I thought 一所懸命 was a typo before I looked it up :laughing:

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I ordered those two books from kinokuniya but I think they forgot about me.
Oh well. I’m too busy playing Persona to read them anyway.

but there’s no yuri in persona

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If theres as many unique words as there is in vol 1, then 80% of the book in a day is pretty impressive. The author seems to like using a lot of vocab, but maybe that had to do with it originally being a standalone book.

I am like halfway done with the first book but have been spending my time doing…other stuff >_>

I need to finish it. Honestly I’m enjoying it too.

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In anticipation of 14, I read the last two volumes of Umezu’s 漂流教室.
It’s a story about a school full of children suddenly teleporting to a strange world, and things going significantly worse and worse for them from there.

漂流教室 Thoughts

I think Umezu’s art is an acquired taste – which is maybe why he’s not mega popular in translation (yet?) like Junji Ito who he inspired. His characters’ stiff posing and very distinctive yelling faces aren’t initially very appealing. But I was really won over by this series!

Things really do go bad for this unfortunate school, in a variety of bizarre and unusual ways, and there’s a surprising level of suspense and horror in watching them struggle to survive in such an unusual situation – like a rougher, weirder Lost in a way. I think a lot of what makes it work is the sci-fi horror isn’t treated with any irony. On the face of it, the situations are often ludicrous or even zany, but the protagonists are children, and so they accept all of them at face-value as situations they need to deal with, and can only guess at how. So it feels like a strangely authentic account of kids flailing around trying to deal with life’s curveballs, it’s just those curveballs are like, giant bug monsters and mutant future people. So you get the enjoyment of both silly pulp spectacle and genuine suspense and horror. There’s an especially memorable part in the last volume that may make it difficult for me to look at Marilyn Monroe the same way again…

I thought the ending was fitting – the right mix of hope and despair to stay true to the series I think. But I read the series over a long period of time and in two languages, so there’s some threads I don’t fully remember… I’d be curious to read the beginning again someday knowing where it goes.

Language-wise, it’s generally emotionally very straightforward, like 90% just reacting with alarm to the situations, so this is one where I think reading it in English if you have that available (the Viz hardcover editions are very nice) is completely fine.

There’s a movie adaptation of this, directed by the ハウス guy, I think with some amount of English-language involvement (?). I badly need to track that down… I have absolutely no idea how you would film this story, particularly because of all the um, graphic deaths of children involved. I imagine the tone is significantly lighter!


Also on a whim one evening I played two short steam games in Japanese みんなで空気読み 1 and 2.
These are kind of like if the Voight-Kampff Test were a Warioware game. 100 short vignettes each, for a combined length of about 45 minutes to an hour per game where you’re meant to “read the room” and exercise your etiquette, empathy, and cultural expectations to do what you think is best, in often silly scenarios.

みんなで空気読み Thoughts

It’s pretty fun! The language barrier adds significant challenge. For several situations, I struggled to read quickly enough to tell exactly what was going on, or I just plain did not recognize a crucial culturual reference. I imagine even in translation a lot doesn’t get across! The second game has jokes about the reveal of Reiwa as the new era name for example. I’d be curious to see how (or even if) the English version handles things like that. But – that all said, even without the language barrier that confused experimentation seems like the experience they’re going for. And there’s a kind of magic feeling when despite all that (and the often confusing controls), you actually do “read the room” and instinctively handle a situation.

One drawback for language-learning is the lack of feedback. It’s not the kind of game where it’ll tell you “right!” or “wrong!” - it just quietly observes and moves on to the next scene, with a vague summary every 5 questions (I got “なんとはなしに。。。読めてるっぽい” a lot). Which is good for comic effect! Less good for study.

I imagine the longevity comes out of playing it with someone else around and chatting about the various scenarios, which is why it seems like a good streaming game (yep, that’s where I heard about it…).

Not that metrics really matter, but I arbitrarily decided to mark this as 1 game together in the chart at the top of the thread - it doesn’t feel substantial enough to mark them both individually, but playing through them and watching streamers play them ought to count for something at least!


Finally, here’s some stuff I thought was interesting in this* week’s wrestling magazine.
(*not really, shipping takes time)

週刊プロレス Talk

(customary @fallynleaf tag)

El Desperado had a big interview about suddenly being a double champion after Hiromu was injured again. Despy’s one of my favorites in New Japan, so I should really catch up a bit since he’s having such a streak right now! The magazine gave the match where his mask came off (deservedly) best match of last year if I recall correctly too. Anyway - he comes across like a very humble craftsman here, not the usual heel(? Is Suzuki-gun still heels at this point?) wrestler bravado. He talked about tag team wrestling as the 醍醐味 of wrestling (always a good vocab word) and I forget the exact metaphor but described himself as part of the buffet of options a NJPW viewer may have.
So it doesn’t sound like we should expect this as a big breakaway singles wrestling moment for him.

Tana’s column is about advice for people graduating amid コロナ禍 as it’s 年度末 at the time. His advice is pretty bad lol. Basically saying that because their school life now is so terrible, they must be fated for good things in the future since luck is zero-sum, and also that, on the bright side, in many years they can gather over drinks and say “boy that pandemic was sure rough huh”

This issue builds to Yokohama Dream Cinderella, and it transcribes the press conference where Natsupoi tore all those pictures of Tam Nakano, suddenly making the feud a “昼ドラ顔負けの愛憎劇.” I have a hard time buying Natsupoi as that melodramatic of a heel, but I really enjoyed that match! I think Tam’s really great at selling matches as being taxing both physically and emotionally.

Mayu’s column is about haircuts - apparently the reason her hair is long now is her hairdresser left and she’s too shy to get another one. And she mentions if she’s last eliminated at Yokohama and forced to join Oedotai and become a heel it could be a good time to get a haircut (but reiterates she does want to win).

The column about wrestling history talks about a show on 1980.3.31 as being(I think roughly) the most lop-sided invasion/cross-promotion battle angle in history, as New Japan stars destroyed 国際プロレス ones and the promotion folded shortly thereafter.
国際プロレス is most memorable for me as the promotion I bought multiple books about before belatedly realizing I had foolishly misunderstood its name, thinking I was buying books about, well, international pro-wrestling literally… Embarrassing! But tidbits I’ve seen since and names like 阿修羅・原 or アニマル浜口 do make me curious to learn more about it, so maybe it all worked out…

There’s a big feature at the back of the magazine about Antonio Inoki’s medical condition, wishing him well, and directing fans to his youtube page for updates.
If there’s any pro-wrestling figure anyone should know just for the sake of being a more literate reader and getting cultural references in other Japanese material, it’s probably Antonio Inoki. He founded the largest pro-wrestling company in Japan (NJPW), fought Muhammad Ali, was elected to the National Diet, negotiated for the release of hostages, brought tabasco sauce to Japan, and has a truly remarkable chin.
I heard Genichiro Tenryu had medical trouble recently too, and he’s actually a columnist of this magazine, but I didn’t spot mention of that… maybe it hadn’t happened yet!

The last column is about Giulia and the aftermath of the hair vs. hair match and main-eventing still and stuff. It seems that match had a lot of criticism leading up to it as an anachronism, which doesn’t really make sense to me since I thought it made perfect sense for those two wrestlers (and I mean, Triplemania had a way more old-school hair vs hair match just a few months ago), and obviously it was there for Giulia to look cool with short hair - which she does, so I feel like this was born out.
Anyway, I feel kind of bad for Utami Hayashishita that Giulia and DDM keep upstaging her, but at the same time Giulia right now reminds me of Shinsuke Nakamura at his peak that got me into wrestling, so I really can’t complain.

Picture gallery:
The gnarliest death match photo yet, with the silliest tagline
WARNING: BLOOD

get in the ring shinji

Is that really Keiji Mutoh???

Apparently Kairi is going to have a “talking battle” With Masahiro Chono?? I would watch that…

P.S. - 蝶野 is far and away the #1 “sounds badass but the kanji are incredibly sweet and relaxing” name out there.

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Thank you for this! I always look forward to reading these posts!! And yeah, Despy’s had a pretty good past couple months! I highly recommend watching his match with Ibushi if you haven’t seen it yet. And I’m so glad that 週刊プロレス has good taste in matches. Also, I had to look the word up, but Despy is absolutely correct about tag team wrestling being the 醍醐味 of wrestling.

I cracked up at Mayu saying that if she’s forced to join Oedo Tai and become a heel it could be a good time to get a haircut. Absolutely incredible haha

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I finished reading 世界から猫が消えたなら! I liked it okay!

世界から猫が消えたなら thoughts

At it’s best I think the book manages a really nice bittersweet blend of humor and grief that reminds me of something like the Don Hertzfeldt animation, “It’s Such a Beautiful Day.” I started reading it completely blind and so the concept came very much out of left field and drew me in wonderfully. I especially appreciate that as silly as the concept can be on the face of it, the relationships at the core of the novel between the protagonist and the people he’s known in his life, feel realistically complicated and messy. Like he’s not quite on great terms with any of them, but he’s not really on awful terms either, which leaves for a lot of room to reflect as we get to know each of them. When the last phone call he decides to make is to an ex-girlfriend and first love, I was worried it was going to be a super straightforward “she’s the person I always loved, now I realize that” kind of thing, and I’m glad it’s much more interesting than that.

That said, I never quite fell for the book.

One thing that bugs me a lot about it is that it seems really not interested at all in exploring the mechanical consequences of the 消えたなら premise.

The things chosen to disappear are 100% just there to spark emotions and remembrances in the protagonist, and there’s barely any scenes about those things actually consequentially being gone, leaving the ambiguous impression that it could all be delirium. That’s all fine – obviously the emotions are the focus of the story and have more legs than “oh no all our phones are gone” for hundreds of pages, and it’s all going to me metaphorical on some level. But at the same time… the concept is fun! I want to have more fun with it! This is a weird comparison – but in Bojack Horseman there’s a running gag where something removes the D from the big HOLLYWOOD sign and then for the rest of the show everyone without fail refers to the city as “Hollywoo.” I found myself wanting more stuff like that, where small unexpected details and jokes reinforce the cumulative loss in addition to the big ponderings.

Also – it’s strange to me just on a character level that the character isn’t more interested in that kind of stuff. Like to me, if someone said “hey you get to live one more day if all cats and the concept of cats disappeared from the world,” I feel like it would be a very easy “no thank you” but not just because of the one cat I know, you know? I’m not gonna take away everybody’s pets forever in exchange for a day, to say nothing of the animals themselves (who I do think would remember a deceased owner). Similarly, the consequences about phones disappearing was related to the distraction of smart phones vs. the convenience of more easily meeting up with friends. When like… in the bigger picture surely just for starters emergency services across the world should factor into that calculus? And man, I can’t even imagine the consequences about the clock thing! Do sundials count?? We were worried about Y2K, it’s gonna take a lot more than a simple patch to deal with the concept of measuring time disappearing!

Oh yeah, and we didn’t even get a follow-up on like, how all his friends and family are out of a job now maybe? Everyone worked in a now-obsolete field… But then I suppose that just reinforces that this all of is meant as an extremely personal journey, to the point that those external details don’t matter. And to be clear, I don’t mean any of this in a “boo, plot holes, doesn’t make sense!” kind of way – I’m perfectly fine with glossing over details in favor of the story and emotions, and clearly Kawamura focused in on the story and emotions he wanted to convey. I was just a bit disappointed the wild premise didn’t build on that wildness over time (other than the cat suddenly talking, anyway) is all.

To be fair though, I think I read this at an awkward level of literacy. It didn’t feel quite light enough to be
completely effortless for me, but also didn’t feel substantial enough to be difficult, if that makes sense. Technically it’s only the second novel in the language I’ve read, but I’ve read plenty of other non-novels by now! So it’s an odd position where I feel like I shouldn’t have trouble with anything but am still hungry for that sense of accomplishment of reading something really weighty. I think if I could read with English speed and ease I’d have knocked this out in one continuous emotional stream and gotten more out of it probably.


The next prose thing I’m going to read is the first volume of mysteries from a cool Kogoro Akechi boxset I got a while back! The Edogawa Ranpo stories I read in January are still a highlight of the year for me so I’m excited to read something else he wrote!

I did also actually watch the 1987 大林宣彦-directed movie adaptation of 漂流教室 while the manga was fresh in my mind and uh… boy, well, it sure is something.

thoughts about the movie version of 漂流教室

This director has a very distinctive style, and while I like that style a lot, let’s just say that the line between an Obayashi masterpiece and a kitschy pile of trash is, even at the best of times, very fine.

This is not the best of times.

Tonally the manga is completely out the window. Obayashi’s airy 80s cheese and intentionally (?) bad blue screens fully replace Umezu’s unrelenting screaming portraits of determination and fear.

Plot-wise the manga’s sort of there, but we have the classic movie adaptation problem of all the story beats only barely making any sense anymore because we don’t have enough time to show everything. So a lot of children do still die, it’s just off-screen for no particular reason. The murderous staff-member Sekiya is still a threat but a jarring and out-of-place one. The protagonist being elected leader is in there, but he doesn’t have time to show why or do anything successful. Etc. There are no future humans, artificial brains, runaway animatronics, mummies, people with half of their face stuck in another dimension, impromptu appendix surgery, nor cannibalism. Oh, and most egregious to me – they just kind of all immediately intuit it’s a time slip! Like that’s just a normal thing that happens and everyone knows! With no mystery to what’s going on the whole thing feels so much flatter.

I think if I were a contemporary audience member and a prior fan of the manga expecting an adaptation… I would hate this. BUT since I’m a random person watching it decades later who likes the director already and just wants something weird, there’s certainly still some potential enjoyment to be had despite all that!

The larger problem is the biggest change made: the choice to change the location to an international school and thereby have most of the dialogue be in English. This makes the movie pretty much wall-to-wall “English-speaking non-actors performing English lines directed by non-native English-speakers for non-native English-speaking audiences” style acting. It’s… rough!!! Even if this wasn’t based on a book I talked about here, this could be fodder for the thread just because the (hand-written!) Japanese subtitles are very useful even though the version I watched had English ones for the Japanese dialogue.

Those kinds of performances can be endearing in their own way (I am fully 100% over the moon for Resident Evil 1 because of this), and the antagonist kid is charismatic and memorable in a “that is definitely not a professional actor” sort of way, but combined with the plot and adaptation issues… it’s just kind of a mess all around.

If you want a more coherent and successful take on similar themes from the same director, try ねらわれた学園, it’s actually in print as a JP blu-ray with subtitles, which is how I saw it. And while its position on that fine line I mentioned is still very much in the eye of the beholder, I think it’s better than this one.

I would almost maybe still recommend this though? Maybe even moreso if you haven’t read the manga. To be clear: it’s not… good. But it is very strange! So maybe there’s something to be said for that.

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Finished 私の推しは悪役令嬢! It ended up getting better, with ups and downs throughout but no more of the really bad downs I got from the beginning. I wouldn’t say I liked it more than all right, on average, but I feel like there could be potential for later books to grab me more, if I am ever in the mood to gamble on book #2.

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世界から猫が消えたなら

Also for me, all those seemingly incoherences and missing details really worked as signs that the main character is just having some form of dementia due to his tumor. I did appreciate that it’s never made clear in the end, though.

Other than that, I have finished Land over the weekend.
It was okay, I guess. I like the art style (and especially the lack of fan service and yet managing to have one of the gods being a bare chested woman; well, in hindsight I guess that can only fly because of the lack of fan service) and the characters have potential, but the author never really do anything with them. The plot is kinda meh, since there’s, in practice, no bad guy and no real tension. The reason for the main mastermind to do anything is boredom. The thing that got me the most interest was the conflict between アン and her father and in the end it was kinda pointless. After building up over volumes how strong she is, he just beats her in 2 and a half page. She then contract tetanus (?!). After getting cured, she basically inherits the world because the current ruler dies and the heiress marries her (=アン’s) father before withdrawing from the public scene. What.

I spent the rest of the weekend thinking about what to read next. I don’t really feel like reading anything at the moment. I should still finish 天冥の標 (only 2.5 days before I have to return it) but I’m feeling meh about it at the moment (only 10 pages in, though :upside_down_face:). I tried to read some ゆるキャン△ and 本好き but similarly I just put the books down after a few pages.
Hm. Hopefully, I’ll get back in the mood in the near future. Like, what else am I supposed to do in my free time.

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世界から猫が消えたなら

I completely agree with you. I was also thinking about these a lot that if all these disappear, then there are lot more consequences that are not even considered at all by the protagonist. Not to mention that he didn’t care at all that his friends & family all lose their jobs / hobbies.

Naphthalene’s idea does make sense though.

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Time to get into anime!

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I just scrolled through the anime page on netflix, and absolutely nothing caught my attention :woman_shrugging:

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Yuru Camp is on Crunchyroll. :stuck_out_tongue:

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You might enjoy Bofuri.

Yay! I got to click all the boxes :durtle_love:

May I suggest Chinese web novels? :eyes: My favorite is TGCF :caught_durtling: There’s an anime adaptation too (in Chinese) if you want to check it out :grin:

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And Crunchyroll isn’t in Japan :stuck_out_tongue:

んー I remember checking the light novel but the main character is showing a lot of skin for someone with max AC (i.e., I’m a bit afraid it will have fan service). I do like stats, though, so I may read the LN eventually.

Naphthalene: I’m thinking about doing something other than reading.
Redglare: how about reading?
:joy:
More seriously, I’d rather focus on Japanese. If not, I lose the justification that I’m somewhat improving (or at least maintaining) my skills.

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That’s weird, because there was like no fanservice in the anime. When I watched it, I remember thinking “this would probably be really stupid as a light novel, but it’s really awesome as an anime”.

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Well, that’s great news, then! I’ll have a look.

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ah, well, oops :see_no_evil: Though, I did mention the anime adaptation! :joy:

I can understand and relate to that, I just want to remind you that it is okay to do something purely for fun once in a while and then get back to Japanese later! :3 You’re at a much higher level than me in terms of overall comprehension and ability with Japanese, so maybe it isn’t a Japanese type of burn-out after all as I originally thought, but just a reading related burn-out kind of thing, as you said, you don’t want to read anything at the moment. Then yeah, doing something else for a break sounds like a good idea.

How about video games? Or audiobooks/podcasts? Or watching a Japanese person play video games on youtube, a “let’s play” of sorts, if you don’t want to play the games yourself. Just a few suggestions if you run out of stuff to do :slight_smile:

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Right. At this point, I don’t feel that much difference between reading things in French, English, or Japanese (either in terms of difficulty or in terms of lack of motivation). I think I am paying the price of going through the challenge of reading 100 books (in Japanese) in a year. Going through the 5~10 last books definitely felt like a chore despite being actually content I do enjoy usually (and did indeed enjoy) but the fact that the goal was in sight really kept me going. Now that I’m done, I’m really feeling like I’m crashing down.

Anyway, let’s play is also a thing I like to watch, indeed, so why not.

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Manga Time Kirara MAX sale on Bookwalker and points back on Amazon. See my other post:

https://community.wanikani.com/t/general-manga-thread/36339/216?u=seanblue

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