[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

I’ve definitely had this happen. :sweat_smile: If it’s a kana-only sentence, I lament the lack of kanji. If I encounter a whole bunch of kanji in a row, my brain wants to nope out right away.

Never yet encountered that many kanji in a row though. O:


I finished reading もう一つの「バルセ」 宮崎駿と『天空の城ラピュタ』の時代 (Another Balse) about the production of The Castle in the Sky at the newly established Studio Ghibli, written by former production assistant Hirokatsu Kihara. This was the second full non-fiction book I’ve read in Japanese so far.

After reading half of it, I felt like the book went into so much detail about certain scenes that I decided to rewatch Laputa after 11 years, and I really loved it. Rewatching it after having learned so much about Miyazaki and Ghibli in the past years was eye-opening. In many ways, the movie is like the culmination of Miyazaki’s ideals – personal, aesthetic and romantic ideals.

The book itself was mostly easy to read (as long as you are familiar with basic roles and terms of anime production) and the personal nature and Kihara’s honest and humorous writing style made it fun to read.

He wrote about many scenes that didn’t make it into the final version, about concepts that got changed, amusing and fascinating conversations with Miyazaki and other anecdotes of the production process. It has definitely increased my appreciation of the movie and the work of everyone involved even more!

I’ll definitely read the follow-up book about the production of Totoro – already bought it, in fact.


But I’ve also other Ghibli books lined up: エンピツ戦記 - 誰も知らなかったスタジオジブリ by Ghibli animator / animation checker Hitomi Tateno who worked on most of the Ghibli movies, and the ジブリの教科書19:かぐや姫の物語. I’ve translated about 20 pages of the latter one a couple of months ago and the language is definitely a bit more on the sophisticated side, but I think the high density of text on every page is actually what makes me feel I’m only progressing slowly. Despite the small bunkobon format, lot of characters are crammed into every page.

If started reading both of them and am not sure yet which one I’ll read first.


I’ve read the second one now, and the main thing I noticed is that it felt a lot easier(aside from a few really long sentences and a string of 25 Kanji) than the first one. I don’t know if it’s actually easier or if it just felt that way since I already had read the first book and gotten used to the style though.

As for the actual story, it felt a bit more like a complement to the manga and a bit less like its own thing compared to the first book - it spoils stuff up to the end of volume 7 of the manga (and beyond, technically). It’s mostly the first part of the book that definitely feels like it’s aimed at people who already read the manga, since it’s basically (I don’t know how much of a spoiler this really is, but I’m tagging it just to make sure) some of the events from the manga from Sayaka’s perspective.

The rest of the book felt a bit more similar to the first one though, and is about Sayaka and Touko’s
first year
, aside from a third pretty short part at the end.

On another note, I find it somewhat amusing that the first chapter of a book about Sayaka is called “Love and Koito”.

Overall, I liked it, even if it felt a bit weirdly structured.

(Actual larger story spoilers and my thoughts about them below this point)

The main thing I got from the first part is that Yuu really made more of an impression on Sayaka than I would have thought from the manga. If I recall correctly, Sayaka even pretty much lists her as “one of the people she’ll never forget” at the start of the book a list which otherwise consists entirely of people she fell in love with

The second part was mostly just everyday stuff, so there’s not really that much to comment on, but it had some fun scenes and it was cool to see a bit more about how Sayaka thinks about stuff

The third part is just clearly setting things up for the sequel


Laputa is my partner’s favourite Ghibli film :blush: sounds like a very interesting read - might try it as my first non-fiction book when I’m ready!


I finished the last volume of 少女終末旅行 today. This marks my first finished manga series (even if it’s a short one), so that is a good feeling.

But, do I have a lot of feels right now.

a lot of words, not much content

I actually ended up buying all 6 volumes as a set when the book club started volume 1. At the end of volume 1 I wasn’t really feeling this manga, so I probably wouldn’t have continued the series if I hadn’t already bought it.

I ended up really loving it, so boy am I ever glad I did. The art style is weird, I didn’t really have any opinion about the characters at first, but they really grew on me.

In the end I felt the art style is perfect for this story. The mangaka really created an atmosphere fitting to the setting.

Anyway, I just have a lot of feels I want to share and not a lot of people to share them with. xD Since the series thread is going chapterly, it feels ‘wrong’ to put there, so.

I ended up not talking about my feelings at all, but I’m feeling a bit lighter anyway. :slight_smile:


I just finished reading 万能鑑定士Qの事件簿1.
The main reason I picked that book is that the series it belongs too is fairly long, making it fairly obvious on my local library’s shelves.

It wasn’t bad. This is another Sherlock Holmes-lite, like the previous book I read. I have to say I liked the previous one better, though.
One of my main grip with the book comes from the structure. The book randomly jumps from the “present” to flashbacks explaining how the Sherlock Holmes-like character got their deduction skills to the future.
Now, the flashbacks are taking a whooping 50% of the book and the flashforwards aren’t bringing anything and the story takes a random turn in the middle anyway.
I did like the SH-like character. The Watson-like character was especially useless, though.
Overall, I’d give it a 6/10. I’ll probably read the second volume at least, since it’s free. I don’t know if I’ll go further than that, though.

On that topic, considering I am already planning to read/reading 3 more books with various book clubs, I’m now going to have 14 books read this year if I don’t read anything else this year. That’s already past my goal of reading 12 books this year, so time for stretch goals. We are near half the year, so going for twice that might be possible. A more reasonable goal might be 18, though.
Or I could clear my 700+ reviews on floflo and start using that again.


I decided to go with ジブリの教科書19:かぐや姫の物語 (Ghibli Textbook #19: The Tale of Princess Kaguya) and finished the first third.

Now let me talk about why this book is more challenging to read than Kihara’s もう一つの「バルセ」: So far, every article in the book had a rather literary style and the writers are pretty eloquent. Suzuki and Takahata, for example, sound very scholarly at times, use many 四字熟語 and idioms and at the same time their thoughts are not always easy to comprehend, even if there is no language barrier. But this also makes it very compelling. I think I understand mostly everything without major problems, but the densely packed pages and comparatively large amount of unknown vocabulary mean that it takes me an average of 5-6 minutes per page, a lot more than on other books I read so far.

I can give you an example of a long sentence that took me a couple of rereading to completely grasp. In fact, I reread a lot of passages in this book.


This sentence is probably even harder to understand without context, but I think you can see why it took me many rereadings even while knowing the context.

But reading this book actually makes me feel more confident. It shows me I have come a long way since the last time I attempted to read Takahata’s writings a bit more than a year ago, and though it still takes time, I think I’m now in a position to handle his style without getting burned out every two pages.

The book is also quite excellent in describing the 8-year long production of this unique movie and all the thoughts and feelings that went into adapting the oldest recorded Japanese story into an animated movie. It’s is super fascinating and makes me want to rewatch the movie.

I also ordered a bunch of the other ジブリの教科書.


I haven’t decided yet what manga series to read after 放浪息子 (I don’t quite do 多読, but this is the closest I get). I’d like to read やがて君になる, but I’d rather wait for it to definitively be finished (hopefully later this year). Then my next option is 聲の形, which seems like a good choice since it’s nice and short. But I also kind of want to nominate that for beginner book club since I think it’ll match them well. Maybe I should just read the first volume to confirm that it would be a good fit, and just get a deeper understanding of it later if they pick it.

I don’t really have any other manga series I really want to read right now though…


How about ご近所物語? :innocent:

Honestly, I really don’t like the exaggerated shoujo art style, which that seemed to be based on the previews you posted.

Suggestions are definitely welcome though. I’m hoping to find something else for my wishlist. I’m open to many genres, but generally I’d like:

  • Not classic shounen stuff like Dragon Ball
  • Little to no fan service
  • Finished series
  • Ideally less than 10-15 volumes
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That’s too bad. The series was fitting all your other criteria :confused:
I read the first volumes of Blue Giant and Orange recently thanks to the on-board reader of ANA airplanes. Both were pretty good. (Obviously, I don’t know about anything beyond the first volume of each; I should probably check it out)

K-On? If you’re okay with 4-koma.
Actually I feel odd recommending the manga because the anime is so good.

I read the manga in English and it was pretty good. I may reread it in Japanese at some point, but I’m in no rush.

I’m okay with 4-koma, but I’m reluctant to read something about music since I wouldn’t get to enjoy the music. Maybe I could read the college spin off / sequel since there’s no anime adaptation of that. :thinking:

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Thank you for starting this post. I’m excited to have found it and feel motivated to participate. I am setting a lofty goal that will be a challenge to meet: 5 newspaper articles a day for an entire year. Not NHK easy; the actual newspaper.

Here is a to a year of fruitful reading!


Just barely!

I really liked 新世界より overall. It had consistency in its own world. Usually when I thought something didn’t make sense, it really didn’t and that was addressed at some moment, leaving me with a feeling of satisfaction that I wasn’t actually overthinking and reminding me of the importance of details. The story itself was pretty good too, I think, with plenty of twists along the way and a lot of room for guesswork before you get to the actual answer. I’m not sure about saying any more than that because, you know, spoilers.

It was frustratingly hard sometimes, but not grammar-wise, I think. It was mostly difficult vocabulary or difficult kanji without furigana, either because f… fudge you, that’s why, or because they already gave you furigana for that word 500 pages ago, and you obviously remember it perfectly.

All in all, as a fantasy and sci-fi novel, I think it did it’s job really well.

This may be a meaningless number, but I’m proud of myself for having been able to finish this book within 2 years of starting to learn Japanese. It’s not like I was planning on doing that from the start, though :sweat_smile:


Was this the whole book or just the first part?

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The whole book, I know everything already :eyes:


This is still high on my list to read. But, uhh, maybe not for another year or two. :sweat_smile:


And you should! That’s amazing!


I finished the ジブリの教科書19:かぐや姫の物語 (Ghibli Textbook #19: The Tale of Princess Kaguya) (184 pages). Despite my initial expression that it was challenging to read, I made steady progress everyday and it only took me 8 days overall. With the exception of a passage about death and afterlife that contained a bunch of Buddhist terminology and concepts I was unfamiliar with, I encountered no major roadblocks.

The book itself is maybe a bit on the pricey side (1380 yen) for a small bunkobon, especially considering the early ジブリの教科書 were a lot cheaper and had more content, but for me it was absolutely worth the money.

Every chapter had someone else talking about the movie, the original fairy tale, the production or about Takahata and I found all of them super interesting. It was compelling to read in detail about the artistic techniques that were used to make the movie look like a 絵巻 (Japanese picture scroll) come to life, and touching how the people involved in the production remembered Takahata.

The book had chapters from Toshio Suzuki (Ghibli producer), Isao Takahata (director), the two artistic leads Osamu Tanabe (animation design/storyboard) Kazuo Oga (backgrounds), Yoshiaki Nishimura (producer), Joe Hisaishi (composer) as well as actors, authors and long-time fans and friends of Takahata. The book closes with an interview with Michaël Dudok de Wit (director of The Red Turtle and many award-winning short films), reminiscing about how he first met Takahata, how much he respects him and what he would talk about if they could meet again.

I now feel like I understand the movie and all the thoughts that went into it a lot better and have the deepest respect for all the time, work and love all involved parties poured into it, creating one of the most stunning and most Japanese animated movies ever that will, as Nobuko Miyamoto said, hopefully be remembered even in 100 years.