[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

OOOOH HECK new oreshura volume came out yesterday and that cover is ominous. Could it finally be coming to a close?! Right when im in the middle of trying to clean up my unread books, this happens?! I just finished tomato tenshi 3 so I guess I can read this one real quick…

EDIT: I bought it and there’s a bad word ;w;

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I finished something I’ve been reading in the background that’s wrestling-related but isn’t a magazine - a pro-wrestling dictionary called, as you might expect, プロレス語辞典.

It’s a dictionary format, but it’s got an easy-going presentation with a lot of illustrations by Taiki Enomoto and DDT wrestler and president Sanshiro Takagi is listed as 監修. It was one of the first few books I bought, I think, a few years ago. I was barely reading still, and hungry to read more about wrestling from Japanese sources, so it seemed like it would be a perfect fit.

Unfortunately, in practice it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for and I wouldn’t really recommend it, except maybe to wrestling fans diehard enough to look past the drawbacks (so, @fallynleaf , maybe).

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In my head when I heard “pro wrestling dictionary,” as a language learner I think I was expecting like - a genuinely jargon-focused dictionary. Like, “what’s the Japanese word for kayfabe? Do the terms ‘work’ and ‘shoot’ carry over?” stuff like that. In English there’s a lot of weird and sometimes over-used wrestling lingo that takes a lot of explanation originally, so I thought maybe this would be focused on that for Japanese.

In practice, there’s a little of that, but it’s kinda written in that same not-quite-kayfabe-but-not-really-talking-bluntly-about-it-either register I’m used to from shupro, so when say, it introduces the term マッチメイク, I’m still left wondering a bit if that directly correlates with “booking” or if it’s literally just setting matches.

Moreso than those are entries about particular moves, or say, a particular wrestler’s nickname, or catchphrase, or just a completely incidental thing to wrestling that has an entry so the author can talk about a wrestling anecdote it was involved in. So while some entries are definitely useful from a learner’s perspective - 花道, レガース, 逆エビ固め, ロメロスペシャル, etc., others are just sort of mildly interesting at best, like Led Zeppelin has an entry because Bruiser Brody used Immigrant Song as his entry music and I didn’t actually know Makabe got that from Brody too. Theoretically the entries like “this is X’s nickname” would help you understand commentary, but in practice I think it’s a lot easier to get a wrestler’s deal from watching them and hearing a little about them than it is from hearing what their nickname is with no other context.

The comparison I thought about a lot - is reading through it feels very much like watching a show with someone who’s been a fan for a lot longer, and he’s leaning over and whispering explanatory things to you throughout the show. Like, sometimes it’s interesting, other times you just don’t know what to do with the information, probably it’s more gratifying for him to provide it than the benefit it actually gives you, you know what I mean? I get that they want to tell me about comedians who once had a famous wrestling-related bit, but I don’t have the context to appreciate why it’s interesting.
So I think it would actually serve better as like, a sort of memory book for fans who are already of this guy’s age and are in the know, to enjoy and potentially share all the trivia.

Part of the problem too though, is that wrestling changes fast. This came out in 2016, which isn’t all that long ago in the grand scheme of things - but that’s right before I would have started watching Japanese wrestling, and so all of the information involved feels juuuuuust a little bit crusty and dated. Promotions mentioned as current now defunct, massive context changes haven’t happened yet, etc.

As an example entry, here’s the one on ヨシヒコ:


The line about “it might look like stage hands move Yoshihiko during matches, but this is an illusion” is really funny! But I suspect the confusion:humor ratio would be a bit off-balance if you hadn’t seen them in a match before…

And as an extreme example of how the briefness of the entries can leave out important context, this one about Chris Benoit leaves out, um, a pretty important detail about the circumstances at the end of his life:

I guess what I mean is that it’s just not enough space in the format to give a full picture of what’s being talked about, and not enough entries to feel like a truly comprehensive dictionary, so it felt unsatisfying sometimes, and I skimmed through it at off-hours.

That said, the presentation is very endearing! And I enjoyed inserts on special topics like (mostly out of print) novels involving pro-wrestling, and all the illustrations are fun. So I don’t dislike it, I’m just a bit disappointed based on the expectations I had coming in.

Honestly – the biggest revelation I had from the book was that Dump Matsumoto was called that because in Japanese ダンプ can mean a dumptruck. I always just assumed that she was such a heel she eschewed even remotely flattering names, but knowing it can mean a huge truck makes the logic for why a wrestler would want to be called that a lot clearer (though the heelishness and other connotations are obviously also a factor).

Somewhat generously since I skimmed it and there’s lots of illustrations, I counted that as prose in the lists for the thread, which means I’ve hit my listed goal of 12 for the year! Pretty gratifying considering that unless you count graded readers, my number in that category for years prior would have been 1 after a whole lot of 0s…

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Is it just me, or as series go on does the author tend to use fancier words in a lot of cases? I feel like overall reading gets easier because I get used to the writing, but it feels like authors start wanting to spice up the language after a few volumes for whatever reason. I mean, im hella down for it, but I can’t be the only one that thinks this, right?!

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The only series I’ve read enough of to comment on is 本好きの下剋上, and for that I noticed a big spike in words I didn’t know in volume 8 and that was it. And that volume involved a slight change of setting, so not all that surprising. So overall I want to say no, that didn’t happen with 本好きの下剋上. Maybe if I read a lot more series I’ll notice the same thing.

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Its worth noting that I don’t have any actual proof so maybe its all in my head.

At the same time though, maybe it isn’t. Vsauce music

The words I’m referring about, to be fair though, would be ones that really just show up once so I have probably just gotten more sensitive to it overtime and am pretty biased when it comes to like oreshura, for example. For tonari tenshi and watanare, though, I noticed the same perceived spike. Imouto sae, I guess not tho. Kanouwa I know had it because the author literally just decided to start using random kanji for words he wouldnt use kanji for before like 漸く,忽ち, and all that in the 4th volume.

So yeah, I guess not all series would have had it in my experience.

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I’m not sure I’ve even seen this word in kana before, let alone in kanji. :sweat_smile:

If anybody is interested in reading 乳と卵, now is the time! The Advanced Book Club will start reading it on Saturday, over the course of 4 weeks. Bonus treat: Afterwards you can tick off a box in the Akutagawa Prize Reading Challenge :joy:

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I’m looking forward to this a ridiculous amount.

wrong thread

16.9.
Been a while since a did an update on the day ~ definitely won’t be reading anymore today though.
Today I finally finished week 4 of 人間失格, that only took like an actual week (from when I finished the part for week 3). I did start in on week 5 as well though! I also read a bit more of リゼロ. There’s quite a bit of action, but the parts are also so long. … Maybe that’s also why 人間失格 is taking me so long?

And! This is not a book, but that’s why it’s especially exciting for me: I finished decade 1 of 逆転検事2. It has been so long since I regularly played a game, so even this semi regular thing is making me super happy. :slight_smile:

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I think this was supposed to go into the daily thread maybe

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I browsed a little bit on bookwalker and I saw hundreds of books and manga I want to buy. It’s really hard to decide which one to actually buy.

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I just finished 薬屋のひとりごと 7 and it was nice to get back to that series.
As usual, one overarching mystery with a bit of smaller stuff as we go along.
Sadly, this time around I guessed the solution from the start, which made reading a bit frustrating. The main character getting a new hint and thinking “hmmm this sounds relevant but why” and I am just screaming internally.

There was almost no 壬氏 in this volume, but when he was, he was still abusive. And yet 猫猫 seems to like him (overall) anyway? What the heck. I’m still not quite sure about what to think of their relationship. ESPECIALLY now that I have seen the cover of volume 8… :rage:

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Indeed. :man_facepalming: that ought to teach me to stay away from the forums late in the evening.

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I still want to do a huge primer on all the ongoing series running in ハルタ magazine once I’ve caught up with or at least gotten to know all of them, but it seems like that’s gonna take way longer than it would in my head, so in the meantime here’s some I’ve read the 1st volume of recently:

(pretty much following a book club nomination format but I’m nominating them not for a club but for your consideration)

夜の名前を呼んで


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 1
Official translation? No
Japanese summary: 夜を呼ぶ病を持つ少女と、心優しき医者が織りなすヒーリング・ストーリー。
My English summary: A little girl with a magical affliction interacts with her caretaker and a wondrous but foreboding magical world.
Thoughts: An intriguing start! I really like the magical elements like cooking with fictional reagents, they evoke a real fantasy world very well. Has a similar vibe to Witch Hat Atelier (albeit not quite as sumptuously illustrated), so I think anyone who enjoys that series should consider giving this a shot.
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ふろラン

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Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 1
Official translation? No
Japanese summary: 汗と吐息が少女の美を際立たせる。快汗(かいかん)湯めぐり疾走録!
My English summary: Young women run together to onsen where they bathe together.
Thoughts: Straightforward premise. Pretty gay. Fun!
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先生、今月どうですか


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 1
Official translation? No
Japanese summary: 高校生と冴えない小説家の、“月に一度”の恋。
My English summary: High school student has precognitive flashes when she touches someone, and she gets an image of a future marriage with an oblivious older novelist… Also she’s sort of a landlord.
Thoughts: The precognition angle is I feel like, strangely not treated as much of a factor in this one (I did not intuit it at all when I was reading the weekly magazine). Not sure where exactly it’s going, but I am curious to find out, and the art is impressive!
Age gap sort-of-romances under unusual circumstances is not my favorite subcategory in ハルタ though…
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クプルムの花嫁


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 1
Official translation? No
Japanese summary: 寡黙な職人×金髪ギャルのイチャラブ婚約生活、始まります!
My English summary: The daily life of a taciturn coppersmith and a bubbly gal as a young engaged couple in Niigata.
Thoughts: Fun! I really like the regional flavor, and the central characters really do feel familiar, like the friends you might have who have been together for a long time and have slightly mismatched personalities but fit each other.
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ふしぎの国のバード


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 8
Official translation? I don’t think so, but apparently there’s some kind of bilingual edition?
Japanese summary: イギリス人の目から見る、懐かしくも驚きに満ちた日本文化
My English summary: Based on a real person and her travelogue, an account of a famous English adventurer’s travels through a Japan in flux just after the Meiji Restoration.
Thoughts: Super fun! The fictionalized Ms. Bird’s determination and enthusiasm for discovering new things and learning about another’s culture is infectious and inspirational, and the book is full of interesting historical sights both in the form of large landmarks and small moments.
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紙一重りんちゃん


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 1
Official translation? No
Japanese summary: すこし天才、だいたいお馬鹿。紙一重な小学生・りんちゃんの毎日
My English summary: 4-panel manga about a girl who looks at things just a little bit strangely.
Thoughts: Not quite outright zany like Azumanga Daioh or Nichijou, this yonkoma is more just… unusual. So you never know quite what’s going to come up next. It’s pretty pleasant! And it’s nice change of pace to have one or two yonkoma sprinkled into a manga magazine.

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峠鬼


Bookwalker
Volumes so far: 4
Official translation? I don’t think so
Japanese summary: 少女は運命を乗り越え、神々と対峙する——。古代倭国ファンタジー、開幕!
My English summary: Travels through ancient Japan, with gods aplenty.
Thoughts: This was the one I understood least trying to read it in the middle in magazine format, and starting it from the top I see why! Given the subject matter, it is positively LOADED with archaisms, religious terminology, and extremely respectful language.
While I’m not 100% taken with the art style yet, I love the world on display so far, and that complexity of language and subject matter makes for some really cool phrases, like:

遠く昔のそのまた昔…
此岸彼岸しがんひがん あわいは淡く
夜道をゆけば黄泉路よみじれる
黄昏くれ にあっては人かすだま
定かならざる頃の話

And just the whole atmosphere is really intriguing, with lots of vocab to mine. Plus there’s even some time travel!
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Probably best to do it in batches like that anyway!

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I’ve completed my 2021 goal of reading 12 books! I initially thought it was a stretch, but as my reading speed increased it turned out to be very achieavable. I’m still not that fast but I also have a decent amount of free time to read daily.

冷たい密室と博士たち

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Mystery novel, second volume of the poorly named “S&M series” that we’re reading with the book club. I enjoyed it, it has a lot of similarities with volume 1 but I thought it was a bit better. Easy to read.

人間失格

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A classic of Japanese litterature, I read it with the advanced book club. I found the writing style interesting, but I don’t think it’s my type of book. The story feels a bit pointless and the main character is quite whiny. He(/the author) did have a hard life, but he’s also very self-centered and doesn’t seem to realize that life is not always easy for “normal” people either.

海賊と呼ばれた男(上)

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Wikipedia describes it as a “best selling Japanese historical novel […] loosely based on the story of Sazō Idemitsu, the founder of Idemitsu Kosan, a Japanese oil company.” It won the bookseller’s award in 2013.

The first book (of 2) is divided into two parts: the first part starts at the end of WW2 (when Japan is under american control, there isn’t a drop of oil left in the country, and the main character’s oil company has lost most of its assets), and covers the 2 subsequent years. The second part goes back in time to the main character’s birth in 1885 and follows him until the end of WW2. Book 2 (which I haven’t read yet) picks the story back up in 1947 and ends in 1974. So you get to live through a good chunk of recent Japanese history which I found really interesting.

HOWEVER, you should be aware that this is Japanese history from the somewhat biased point of view of a right-wing nationalist. Wikipedia does say that “The book has patriotic themes that would more commonly be associated with the Japanese right wing, but has been popular with the mass market.” I wasn’t sure what that was about at first, but now I know.

Although the main character doesn’t necessarily approve of everything going on in Japan, like the rise of militarism at the expense of democracy, he’s also shown as being a fervent patriot. He’ll do anything for his country, and values long working hours and self sacrifice. Which is all fine I guess, but the narrator, who really should be neutral IMO, is subtly biased. One of the clearest examples is the omission of the Nanjing massacre, which is not surprising since the author is a Nanjing massacre denier.

Towards the end, he tries to justify Japan’s imperialism: 鐵造(main character)が生まれた明治十八年から日本はずっと富国強兵で突き進んできた。欧米の列強がアジア諸国を植民地化していく中で、日本が生き残る道はそれしかなかった。もしも日清戦争日露戦争で負けていれば、日本は他のアジア諸国同様、ロシアや英米に植民地化されていたに違いない。Basically, he’s saying Japan had no choice, othewise they would’ve been conquered by Russia or the UK/US. I don’t know enough about history to be able to say that it’s completely wrong, but I don’t think it justifies Japan’s later expansionism.

Language difficulty: grammar wise it’s pretty simple (there’s a bit of 方言 but it’s pretty intelligible). However, be prepared to encounter a lot of place/people/company/school names, and quite a lot of long strings of kanji like 国務院総務長官. There’s also some technical vocab around oil, the army, railways, etc. but not that much. There are a lot of characters but most of them don’t stick around very long.

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Ok I have finished the buk

Actually, according to the atogaki there is one more book left in the series, but honestly I was fully expecting it to end with this one. It seemed like it was heading towards an end, but ey, more oreshura.

This series seriously is the definition of unexpected. Like, it fits nicely into this cliche category so you kinda think you know whats gonna happen, but it truly goes where no harem has gone before. 前人未踏 is the yojijukugo of the day.

Overall I don’t even know what I think of the series anymore. Its more just one big 何 than anything, honestly, but I still enjoy reading it so I shall continue lol.

For those who don’t care about spoilers and just wanna know what I mean: Usually, in harems the main character picks one girls and all the other girls kinda disappear from the story. In Oreshura, however, he picks all of the girls and they are on board with that, but they are all leaving anyways. Also one girl wants him to pledge abstinence for life despite having 4 girlfriends and tried to cut his dick off.

With that being said, I finally got what I waited 6 years for. What I began learning japanese for
https://i.gyazo.com/dfe0e9e31e9951af65f5d68e28b7990d.png

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So is 魔法少女育成計画 next then? :slight_smile:

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I took a look at the pages you gave me and unfortunately there weren’t actually any words I hadn’t learned already, so I kinda took that as a bad sign and have it in the 4fun pile.

With that being said, it does actually seem pretty interesting to me, so its at the top of the 4fun pile with youjitsu. I thought PMMM Rebellion was like the best movie ever to exist and am a fan of the darker mahou shoujou stuff, so its definitely a theme that interests me. Im not sure how much its like rebellion per se, but yknow.

With this outta the way, its back to the tsundoku cleanup, though.

tonari tenshi 4 and 5. imouto sae 9-14. And then some books I’ve finished partially (like 100+ pages of) but never read till the end because I have the attention span of a jar of mayonaise like re zero and bakemonogatari. Then I gotta finish up shin sekai yori since that was my koohi book but I kinda stopped using koohi haha.

The only problem is…a certain presence that looms in the distance…Roughly one month in the distance…

I’ll be moving to japan in a couple weeks and will be pretty busy, so if I don’t clean up my tsundoku before that book is released then I’ll get derailed again because I gotta read it ASAP. The first volume ended hella juicily.

Ah, gotcha. I have no idea how representative the pages I provided were. I just skimmed real quick to make sure (hopefully) that there weren’t any major spoilers.

I love Madoka Magica and Rebellion as well. I don’t think this series is as good as Madoka Magica, but it’s the only other dark mahou shoujo series that I do like. I’ve watched a handful of darker mahou shoujo anime, and none were good except for Madoka Magica and 魔法少女育成計画 (and the book for this was definitely better than the anime).

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this once you do get around to it for fun. I still have to get around to book three myself (books two and three form an arc), but that probably won’t be for another 2-3 months.

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See, the thing is I’m a MASSIVE fan of rebellion but honestly I thought madoka magica the series was kinda eh. There are a lot of differences obviously, but one thing I liked that rebellion had that the original series didn’t was Basically the presence of a main magical girl who is “evil”. Like sayaka kinda was in the original series, but I didn’t feel like it got much attention. Just the way homura became some evil embodiment of her love and suffering was so heckin :100:. Not sure if ikusei keikaku has a character like that, but if there is one I’m realllllly looking forward to it. Actually seen rebellion like 30+ times and now that I’m talking about it I wanna watch it again so I’ll probably do that this weekend.

But yeah, my time to read for the past few months has been extremely limited, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to read a lot more and clear my queue up. Theres a lot of books I wanna get around to and even some VNs I wanna read.

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Guess you’ll just have to read and find out then. :stuck_out_tongue:

All I’ll say is that one main difference between Madoka Magica and 魔法少女育成計画 is that the latter has a large cast, and therefore a large number of different backgrounds, personalities, motivations, and goals.

I’ve seen the series (which is my favorite anime) five times now, but I’ve only seen Rebellion twice. I’ve been meaning to rewatch it, but I’ve set a rule that I’ll only rewatch anime I’ve already seen if I can watch it raw or with Japanese subs. No English subs for rewatches. So the (admittedly probably small) effort it would take to get a copy with Japanese subs (my preference over raw for now) has stopped me from doing this so far. The series was conveniently on Netflix JP (before they blocked my VPN), but the movie wasn’t available unfortunately. I’ll get around to it eventually, but it hasn’t been a priority.

Side note: You should check out the anime Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha. It’s not nearly as dark as Madoka Magica or 魔法少女育成計画, but it’s at least somewhat grey at times and magical girl versus magical girl battles are pretty common in the series. I particularly like the second season (Lyrical Nanoha A’s).