[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Apparently, very hard = 12 hours in my book. (Edit: I see @seanblue noticed already on Bookmeter :sweat_smile: )
Anyway, I’m almost done with volume 5 and it’s interesting to see the tone shift in the story. Volume 1-3 focused mostly on horror/supernatural events with some very light romance (as in, basically nothing; saying any more is spoiler I guess?).
From volume 4 on, (not really a spoiler, I think, but just in case) things flip around, with 鳥子 being much more err aggressive with her approach and the main character being kinda unsure of her own feeling. At the same time, both of them got a lot more experience/skills versus the supernatural, and handle it in a “can’t you see we’re busy?” kind of way. So, this part feels more romance oriented with horror undertones so far.

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Haikyuu ending thoughts

I’m glad that you mostly liked the ending! All of your good things are so so good to me as well. I loved the ending, but I recognize see your cons as well! Normally I don’t want to know, but in this case I wish I’d known earlier that we weren’t going to see years 2 and 3. I liked how in-depth we did year 1, and then I loved the stuff after the time skip, and if I’d known there was no in-between it would’ve all been good. I also couldn’t distinguish many of the non-main characters after the time skip, but I liked it anyway. :sweat_smile: Maybe when I read it again someday, I’ll do better remembering, lol.

Putting those two things aside, it felt like the ending was particularly tailored to me, so that was lucky. It wrapped everything up so nicely even as I wanted to keep reading. Sometimes when I watch volleyball these days I have the abstract urge to watch something and when I pin it down, it’s actually that I want to watch (read) more games in Haikyuu. :joy:

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I’ve been reading 君の名は for a couple of days and it’s really difficult, but using both KanjiTomo and the about 300 kanji I know it sort of works. The thing is, it’s extremely straining mentally. Reading anything more than 2 pages is difficult. And hadn’t it been for the fact that I’ve seen the movie before I’d not have understood the context of most of what’s happening.

What I’m wondering is, if anyone here were in or has been in the same situation, what would you do? I’m torn between trying to find something easier and just going slowly and steadily until I one day manage to finish it. Any thoughts?

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Well, I had the same issue when I tried to join the book club for 君の名は and ultimately decided to give up and try something easier :grimacing: I had to look up so many words I just straight up didn’t enjoy it anymore.

Personally I prefer reading material that isn’t too far above my level unless I’m extremely interested in that difficult thing, which ultimately just wasn’t the case for Your Name.
As long as easier material exists that I also like (picking something you’re actually interested in is the most important, IMO) I don’t really see the point in torturing myself :laughing:

I’m now reading a different light novel that’s a companion thingy to a manga I know (約束のネバーランド) and it’s way easier, and quite a bit more fun to read because of it. So I’m happy with my choice - I might come back to 君の名は later.

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Yeah, that’s the thing. I don’t know what exists that is easier and is not a graded reader. I know for sure graded readers aren’t interesting to me, because I’ve tried them. But finding something different that’s at the right level seems difficult for books currently.

Manga seems to be fine, but books are definitely a different story.

Have you checked out some of the previous Beginner Book Club picks? There’s been this post recently about Zenitendo, The Mysterious Sweet Shop being an ideal first book. Since the book club has read it before, there’s a collection of weekly threads with grammar questions and answers already, and also a filled out vocab list to make looking up words easier.

There’s also a post by Radish8 that compares previous book club picks here:
Comparison of Book Club Picks. They also recommend starting with Zenitendo if you’re looking to tackle books.
It might be worth a shot!

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Thanks for this!

Sadly the kindle version of Zenitendo doesn’t seem to be available currently (or maybe it’s just regionally blocked, I don’t know) so I’ll give The girl who leapt through time a try instead.

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Hello!
I really want to read more! I vastly prefer paper over digital, but shipping and customs makes it pretty expensive to collect books. I’m wondering if anyone is in the same boat who would be interested in exchanging books. Shipping to someone in the US would be much less expensive than ordering books from Japan.

Warning! Most of my books are heavily annotated with definitions and/or ふりがな, which could be an advantage or a distraction:

I currently have

君の名は (only the first half is annotated)
魔女の宅急便 (kiki’s delivery service)
銭天堂
とかげ(barely any annotation)
博士の愛した数式
And another one whose name I forget, but it’s set in an imaginary desert land with genies and sorcerors.

Please let me know if you are interested!

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I’d recommend finishing it if you are interested in the story. The first book I read took me many years, but it gets crazy easier with each book, and it’s very satisfying to have that baseline.

Definitely don’t try to read more than 2 pages each day if that’s your brain limit! I recommend taking notes that hang around. For example, you could write a summary of each days’ reading. That way you won’t lose the thread of the story. I’m a big fan of paper because I take notes right on the page: definitions mostly. Its slower, but it makes re-reading much easier.

Also, I assume you are also doing Wani Kani, which will also steadily make reading easier. At level 44, I find that I don’t HAVE to look up words anymore-- I can usually figure out what’s going on without it, but I still like to take notes. Usually.
(I actually quit the君の名は book club for the opposite reason: I got hooked and ended up reading the whole thing really fast without looking up words. I didn’t understand everything, but I understood the story perfectly fine).

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Yeah, I’m still at level 11 so the amount of kanji I have under my belt is substantially lower than you’d have at level 44. But I get what you mean.

I just read 2 pages of the girl that leapt through time and while it’s easier it still takes a lot of effort. Currently I feel like sticking with your name might be the better choice. Especially since I’m infinitely more attached to the story of it since I already watched the anime. I might just watch the movie for the girl that leapt through time and read the book whenever I happen to finish your name.

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My experience:

  • Reading is extremely straining mentally, I’m not sure if you can avoid this phase. I still feel exhausted when reading something more difficult or when I’m trying to read too much.
    (I would compare it to juggling several balls at once while on a rope hanging above the chasm while standing only at one leg. And sometimes wind is blowing.)
  • 2 pages a day is actually quite good result at the beginning, if you are able to do it regularly.
  • My bridge to reading real books was Satori Reader, which contains both human-prepared built-in dictionary (as in, you get a definition exactly for context) and grammar dismantlings. And then full translation of each sentence, if you still need it. I think it’s a little more interesting than your usual Graded Reader, but of course this depends on the person… There is a free trial, so you don’t have to pay anything to try it.
  • Reading things you are passionate about really helps.
  • Reading digitally with an ability to easily check words really helps. I’m using physical Kindle now with JMdict Dictionary (paid separately, but it’s 99 yen); but I read Zenitendou on Bookwalker and even that was more comfortable than reading something without an option to copy things.
  • If I can’t copy (manga, games) I use Google Translate and I’m either drawing or doing photos of kanji. I prefer drawing in GT than searching by radicals, it’s also the only thing that (usually) guesses correctly what I’m drawing.
  • I still read very slowly and my only advantage is being able to put in a lot of time into reading. I also can’t be hungry, tired or distressed, I need a stable mental state.

  • Also, yes, Japanese Amazon requires Japanese address and sometimes a purchase with VPN, but it’s weird you were able to purchase Girl, but not Zenitendou. I would think both would be region-locked for you :thinking:
  • Btw, while I did put Japanese address into Amazon, the building numbers don’t exist in reality (I didn’t want to use some real people’s address) and I don’t use it for billing. In Order Summary, under Payment Information, I have my real info, it’s totally possible to set it up like this. I also only used VPN for my first purchase. It’s working properly in my case for a year now, but of course a change in Amazon policy may happen any time and it’s something you do on your own risk.
    I think Bookwalker is less convenient, but at least it doesn’t have a problem with you being abroad.
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Ah yeah, I see. I used to love reading in both my native language and English as a kid but it has worn off a lot in recent years and only time I actually sat down and read an entire book has been for school. But now getting further into my Japanese learning journey reading is finally starting to feel meaningful again. The spark I had when reading as a kid is sort of on its way back and it’s wonderful. But, also a bit annoying because unless it’s a manga it will, at least for now, take me months to finish even a single book. Which it never did as I was learning English since I could read every letter and look up stuff fairly easily.

I too have noticed that digital tools are great in terms of reading in Japanese, especially since it’s such a hassle looking up kanji without having the readings available right in front of you.

The reason I was able to get a hold of the girl who lept through time is because it’s just a more popular story and it was easier to get ahold of by other means. I have a kindle account that works with the Japanese amazon because I put a makeshift Japanese address in there, but I don’t have a good device to actually read on other than my desktop PC. As well as the fact that the majority of my budget for this hobby goes into WaniKani every month. In the future I will most likely only buy physical books though, because it’s my preferred way of reading anyways.

I think this has pretty much already been said, but mental strain is normal for quite awhile.
That said, I wanted to say, do what works for you. Something less straining with more story content per page would be manga. But, I’m a big advocate of reaching way above your level as long as you’re enjoying it, +1 be damned.
I’ve talked on here before about how some of my first experiences with native Japanese were agony, but a kind of pleasant agony? And the gains were real.
So if you would describe 君の名は as pleasant agony, keep at it.
If it’s just agony, find something else.

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Love that wording. Pleasant agony. You might have hit the nail on the head, or however the saying goes.

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Yeah. I think it took about a year of reading manga for the mental strain there to go away. And maybe another two years for the mental strain from reading books to go away (mostly). Thankfully, it’s all a spectrum, so it continually gets better if you keep reading. At first it’s draining to read two pages. Then it’s only draining to read 10 pages. And so on until it’s not a big deal to read a whole book in a day (cough @Naphthalene cough).

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I’m still saying that current Naphthalene’s light-novels-reading-speed is my ultimate goal :wink:

(Even if their response was:)


I see! So the dictionary I mentioned won’t even work with this setting, unfortunately.

I’m also not an English native, and starting to read in English was waaaay easier than starting with Japanese (sigh)

I also like the wording “pleasant agony” :smile:

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I was in a similar situation with Legend of Galactic Heroes for a long time - I would read just a page or two over a whole commute and found it hard to keep momentum with it.
I’d mainly just second what others have said - that the mental strain is real and unavoidable but definitely gets better over time.

For me I ended up putting it on the backburner for several months and when I came back at the end of last year it was significantly more fun to read larger chunks at a time. I didn’t really replace it during that time with easier things though, just things I was more enthusiastic about - I think the games Yakuza 7 and 428: Shibuya Scramble were the single biggest contributors in whittling down that “agony” over that time. Because I was into the Yakuza series to the point that just getting to play the new game was inherently exciting, and it’s a bit easier to be excited to sit down and play a game you don’t understand so well than reading a book in the same situation.
So if you’ve got something you can source that’s more exciting to you, maybe give that a try! I think interest goes farther than level in some ways. Otherwise yeah, it’s just about managing the strain in the meantime and trusting it’ll improve if you keep at it!

Another minor tip that works for me is I like to use the same dictionary with all sources (takoboto on my phone, which I like for word lists and a very forgiving search algorithm) so getting used to looking stuff up for digital books, or print books, or games, etc. helps for all the others just as well and I don’t have to ever regret that I can’t access a certain dictionary or look-up method with one medium compared to another.

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Now that you mention it, playing “text heavy” video games did work as a transition between manga and novels for me too. (By text heavy, I mean JRPG and the like, not visual novels).
In particular, the Nintendo DS (LL?) was pretty good, since simply closing it was putting it on sleep mode (so battery was not used that much) giving me the opportunity to stop at anytime and start whenever. (Carrying the DS itself was a bit annoying though, despite its “portable” status) So the strain was still there, but it was more manageable.
After half stumbling through 幻想水滸伝ティアクライス, I was ready for my first novel (still took 6 months and had furigana on everything).

Technically, it takes me 6~8h to read a volume of light novel. Fitting that into my daily schedule is a big deal™, but it’s definitely easier (and more enjoyable) than when I started reading books.

:flushed:
Well it’s just a matter of time :slight_smile:

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Done with volume 6 as well. Different style this time. While all volumes so far are read as series of independent events/encounters, for the first time there’s just one. Since the status quo is preserved, it really feels like an OAV to previous books’ anime series.
Anyway, that gave us some more time with other characters (I just love 汀さん, but is getting really interesting too). Also, poor 小桜 getting traumatized again.

Well, now I will indeed refrain from reading ahead, since there’s no ahead. See? It just works.

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What do you plan to read next?

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