[2022] 多読/extensive reading challenge

Read the first volume of よふかしのうた today and I am IN. It’s the first time I read a manga and felt 100% confident in what I was reading and not just guessing based on the situation or tone of the scene. I’ve finally reached that milestone. I have volumes 2-4 in my bag for tomorrow since I got a lot of free time.

Impressions:
I really like the way night time is portrayed and I also like that the story isn’t completely main character focused in that their problems are completely outside of there control when actually they kind of are. I like when stories push real life lessons beyond the simple “This is a neat idea” but instead has something to say. It’s got an anime adaptation coming next month. I am not too sold on the animation style but the black and white manga format lends itself well to the setting.

Thanks for coming to my TedTalk.

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There’s a coinback campaign on bookwalker :eyes: 40% on books and light novels published before May 12th. Campaign ends 2022-06-13T14:59:00Z


I know I’ll be picking up more volumes of 薬屋のひとりごと :herb:

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I finished something I’ve been reading for a while: まんが百人一首大事典 (I know it has manga in the title but I’m not counting it that way so there)
It’s an edition of the 百人一首 (a famous collection of 100 poems), with explanations and little mangas to help you get what the poet is getting across in the poems’ classical language. I thought it was an interesting experience particularly learning about the format of the poems (their 5-7-5-7-7 structure feels a bit like an image + a twist in the same way haikus excel at portraying a single image) and a little bit about Heian era society and the like. As happens with poems, some landed much more with me than others, but it was pretty fun to read one or two here and there over a long period of time.
One poem that stuck out to me is this one (#24):

このたびは幣もとりあへず手向山紅葉の錦神のまにまに

It’s apparently about roughly a trip where they forgot to bring ritual confetti they were supposed to offer to the gods along the way, so they spin it and hope the gods will make due with the colorful fall colors of the mountain they’re traveling through instead.
I like the combination of fall scenery + learning about a historical practice + the pleasant relatable humanity involved in the “oh well… this’ll have to do!”-ness of it.

I imagine if you know what you’re looking for it would be easy to read and get explainers for all these poems freely from the internet - but hey, I knew absolutely nothing about them so it was a nice little introduction (although I admit the repetitive rhythm of poem → manga → explainer → reread poem → repeat with next poem got a little bit wearisome by the end).
I was a little bit disappointed that the card games involving the poem are so intensely memorization based, it sounds like. It’s a pity they’re played mainly by kids and not like, the yakuza, or else I mighta learned a little how to play for a 龍が如く minigame somewhere along the way like with hanafuda! Let’s see how they’d localize that one already!!

manga report

  • 修羅雪姫 (3)
    So… the volumes of the original Lady Snowblood series on Bookwalker are “壱 Vol.1” and “弐 Vol.1” which I was hoping meant “壱” and “弐” but no, I’ve since seen an English language cover for what inexplicably was published in English as volumes 1-2 and 2-2 along, presumably, with these, which are 1-1 and 2-1.
    So anyway, I’m just calling this one 3. This whole situation is silly.
    I read this volume, despite its non-contiguous chapters, on the hunch that maybe they were related to the second movie, which I wanted to watch, since reading the first volume helped a lot with listening comprehension in the first movie.
    It starts not even at the start of a story arc, but in the last chapter of an arc (and a particularly gross one at that) and my enthusiasm was immediately drained and I skimmed the rest a lot moreso than I did with the first volume. It seems largely similar - Lady Snowblood does some more nude stabbing people. And I will say though – despite my lowered enthusiasm, I do still really like the time period setting, which crams as much Meiji era stuff in here as possible, presenting a very seedy vision of Asakusa overlooked by 凌雲閣 and filled with 紙芝居 tale-tellers and the like, while a central part of one arc is somebody asking Lady Snowblood to clear out some mobsters so he can use that parcel of land to build a panorama. Lots of elements like that I’m familiar with from Ranpo stories (was really hoping for a scene set in the panorama or some direct Panorama Island references, but alas). Ones generally from a bit later, I would think, come to think of it? I wonder if that’s just late meiji being much the same as early taisho or if time passed in that stupid unavailable volume 1-2…
    The second movie turned out to be a completely original script, incidentally.
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Super weird coincidence, I saw (part of) that poem on the back of a bus today, and I thought I should check what the heck まにまに was, then forgot. Turns out it’s basically the same as ままに
(Pic from the web because I didn’t think of taking one)

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There’s a series in Harta called 猫のまにまに so it always makes me think of letting a spoiled cat get to have their own way! The ままに connection makes a lot of sense.

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Finished OREGAIRU vol. 1. I had a loss of motivation at some point which I tried to cure by listening to the audiobook at the same time. That was kind of interesting and worked for a while, until I felt a bit bored not reading “myself” and realizing I could read faster than the narrator. Switched to “manual” and managed to finish it.

Overall quite meh, I need to stop expecting too much based on the popularity. I didn’t really vibe with any of the characters. Maybe I really just really need to start avoiding high school dramas.

I’m still puzzled that sometimes Yukinoshita was just saying stuff I had no idea about. I guess some of the “philosophical” rambling wasn’t that easy either.

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Have you seen the anime as well? It was absolutely one of my favorite.

Both Yukinon and Hachiman tend to be very sarcasm-heavy with lots of in-talks and between-the-lines. I haven’t read the novels, but that was very noticeable in the anime.

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Username Yearly goal (done/total) Daily page (page/time) goal Current manga Current page
masiv1001 All 3 chapters よつばと! vol 2, chapter 14
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I’m reading through it now, its below where I’m at but its nice to read something without any stress. Its a great first series if you’re learning Japanese. Volume 3 kind of picks up in difficulty but it’s nothing you wouldn’t be able to manage.

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I tried to watch a few episodes a few years ago. I was watching it without subtitles, and it was then still too hard for me to really understand enough. That’s probably a big reason why I dropped it. I think could see myself enjoying it in Anime form more, I tend to expect a bit more substance from books. On the other hand, I’m not a big slice-of-lify fan.

Yeah, I could tell they were being quippy and sarcastic, but sometimes the slang or references just went over my head :sweat_smile:.

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Nice! Yeah, I read through the English version a few months ago, so maybe I’ll be able to pick up on more reading through the JP version. Context is cool lmao

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Geez, this post was hard to find. Had to resort to looking for posts around the right date. How did I make 2022 reading goals and not mention the year 2022 even once? :sweat_smile:

I just realized that I hit the mid point of my extremely modest goal for this year. Which was to read one volume (book or manga) each month, aka 12 things.

Then I spent the first quarter of this year not reading anything at all, so maybe that modest goal was a good idea. :joy:

But now I’m reading basically every day and have now hit 6 volumes of stuff finished. 4 manga and two 5-booklet graded readers (I’m counting those as books for lack of better term). So from being behind, I am now ahead on my goal. And as long as I continue as I have, I will smash my yearly goal.

I could raise my goal, but I’ll do that after I complete it, just to stay on the safe side of jinxing. #knockonwood

As to my English reading goal of one novel a week… lets not mention it for now… >_>

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Remember, Sailormoon was originally released as 16 volumes, then became 12 volumes, then became 10 volumes. If you’re reading the latest release, you can multiply the number of volumes by 1.6 and use that number toward your goal :wink:

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I finished JR上野駅公園口 by 柳 美里 today! I don’t really know where to put the review because I somehow thought the whole time that this book won an Akutagawa award… turns out only the English translation won a major award. So I’m just gonna put it in this thread.

As a small disclaimer, I don’t think I would recommend this book to anyone still actively „learning“ the language. Of course I don’t want to discourage anyone from reading it! It’s just that I think it would be difficult to fully appreciate the book.

Difficulties include but are not limited to:

  • Lots of 東北弁
  • Random conversations that our main character is eavesdropping on that have absolutely no context provided
  • Historical events and the history of the park being explained in great detail, which means lots of unknown names, place names, historical terminology
  • Lengthy passages about Buddhist traditions (a Buddhist funeral explained in great detail, including explanations of how certain schools of Buddhism differ, the history of the Buddhist priests in this certain village, etc., all in 東北弁)
  • Uncertainty of place and time (for large parts of the book, it wasn’t clear (at least to me) whether the MC was actually there and alive, or whether he was looking onto a scene from the afterlife without being present (?))

Still, I really liked it! I learned a lot about the lives of homeless people, about the 60’s when 出稼ぎ was still commonplace, about the importance of the 天皇 in people’s lives (the 解説 talks a lot about this).

There were some really moving situations as well. The way the author described the grief of the MC when his son died at 21 was unbelievably gripping.
Some quotes I really liked (some of MC’s thoughts after his son’s sudden death):

自分は、浩一の死を告げられてから努力をしている。
これまでも働く努力はしてきたけれど、今している努力は、生きる努力だ。
死にたいというよりも、努力することに、疲れた。

浩一が死ぬ前は、いつも瞼の中で目を覚まし、自分がどこで何をしていて、今はいつなのかということを納得して目を開けたものだが、浩一が死んでからは、浩一が死んだ、という事実に叩き起こされる。

The more difficult parts with the Buddhist and historical terminology were present primarily in the first half, after that it was more easy-going. There was also some heavy foreshadowing, hinting at the ending (in a scene in the middle of the book, MC enters the train station, walks to the tracks… At that point I already thought „okay this book is gonna end with him jumping in front of a train“). But having read the ending, I’m not quite sure whether he actually went through with it? At first it sounds like it, but I don’t think he actually does. I’d be interested in other interpretations of the ending as well :slight_smile:

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grafik

After 島はぼくらと and 香君 I was deliberately looking for something shorter to read and remembered 霧の向こうの不思議な街 from a past book club. This children’s book from the 70s was apparently an inspiration for Spirited Away. I haven’t been able to conform this, but it makes sense.

I personally liked the premise: a girl gets lost and discovers a village hidden in the mist where common sense kinda doesn’t apply and everything is possible. There she meets a bunch of very different people (and non-people) and has to work in order to stay. The old womon that owns the place is a lot like Yubaba in Spirited Away.

But to be honest there wasn’t much character development. The girl was pretty outgoing from the beginning and she never really struggled. She’s certainly no Mary Sue, but her outspoken personality was pretty much able to solve all problems pretty quickly. I also found it a bit hard to believe that she developed such a strong emotional bond to the others living in the house in just a few days when the interactions were rather limited.

Overall it was… okay, I guess? Not too exciting and a bit simplistic, but then again I’m not the target audience. Speaking of which, I find these books aimed at younger children that only use few kanji a bit hard to read, especially words you usually only see in kanji are suddenly written in hiragana.

I’ve also read 世界から猫が消えたなら which, as expected, I didn’t like much. But hey, I also didn’t hate it, so that’s something, I guess?

It’s one of these very saccharine books that tries very hard to make you cry – as you might’ve guessed from the premise. A young man learns that he’s about to die from cancer in his late 20th and gets the chance to extend his life by a day each – at the cost of having one thing precious to him disappear from the world.

It’s written in an extremely digestible first-person style with occasional humorous/sarcastic remarks and all the supernatural elements exist entirely to build up the drama. Over the course of the book the guy meets his ex-girlfriend, recounts the life of his cat, his late mother and the complicated relationship with his father.

It’s short (226 pages) and so easy to read that you can breeze through it in a session or three. And the reason I didn’t dislike it more is probably because the book mostly sticks to mundane drama instead of more sensationalist (darker) topics like suicide, abuse etc.

After finishing the book I noticed that the author, Genki Kawamura, has worked on some really good and well-written movies and was like – how? But then I realized he usually works as a producer, not a screenwriter. Makes sense.

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I’ll save the suspense and let you know the movie adaptation of this book is pretty bad, or at least I didn’t care for it all. I don’t even care that much that it didn’t follow the book that well, it was just… Disjointed and awkward. Desperate attempts to yank heartstrings that didn’t even land for me, notorious movie cryer. Not sure how much input Kawamura had in it though.

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Started reading the Red Data Girl (RDG レッドデータガール) series, a six part contemporary fantasy / coming-of-age story by Noriko Ogiwara.

Ogiwara is one of Japan’s leading fantasy writers (see 空色勾玉), some of her works are also available in English.

I chose Red Data Girl because Nahoko Uehashi’s already got me covered for medieval fantasy stories. Maybe some people remember the largely overlooked 2013 anime series. I did watch it back in the day, but don’t remember much except that it didn’t really tell a full story.

The books are about a shy girl called Izumiko Suzuhara who lives at her grandfather’s shrine in the mountains and is painfully aware that she is somehow different from her middle school friends. She desperately wants to fit in and her anxieties are portayed very vividly. Ogiwara’s introspective writing style reminds me a lot of かがみの孤城.

So far there haven’t been many fantasy elements yet – just the fact that computers tend to act up or break down when Izumiko uses them. I’m still at the 25 % mark, but I’m positive I’ll like the series. Will probably read it slowly, though, with breaks between them to read something else.

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That’s the perfect way to put it. I am very weak to those, so it worked for me, though :sweat_smile:.

What was interesting to me was that he said that he tried to write a book that is impossible to adapt as a movie. Then someone told me it became a movie anyway.

That also makes me wonder.
(Anyway, I’m not planning to watch the movie)

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After seeking advice I read a lot today in search of something thatd stick. I read One Punch Man volume 2 and the first chunk of 銭天堂. Tomorrow I plan to read Volume 3 and continue 銭天堂.

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I finished reading June’s Harta!

ハルタ 95号

This one has an installment for just about all of the currently running series, as the ones with alternating schedules line up before the off-month in July. So it was a nice reward to me for getting caught up with all of them recently!

There was an important Dungeon Meshi chapter! :open_mouth:

Other than new installments from all my existing favorites, one recently begun series that impressed me more with this chapter is 八百万黒猫速報 by 浅井海奈, since it showed off more of the Meiji period supernatural flavor of the world, and also a cute cat.
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I’m still extremely happy to get a new installment of いやはや熱海くん by 田沼朝 every issue. I’m a really big fan of Tanuma’s style, and their previous 読切s meant this series rocketed pretty much directly into my favorites pile.
Trying to think how to describe what I like about it… I guess like, it’s got a casual and realistic vibe to its (Kansaiben heavy) dialogue and scenes that feels like… more naturalistic and direct than most slice of life? To me maybe anyway.
In this chapter there’s a new character introduced, which is fun.
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クラスのアイドルは今日も推せない by 荒木美咲 surprisingly (to me - maybe I missed the notice last month) ends this issue. It’s a fun, pleasant series so I’ll be a bit sad to see it go but it’s also a high concept (popular girl wants everyone to notice the less popular girl she likes) and perhaps that just ran its course and they decided not to develop it further.
I think it’s the second series to begin and end entirely within the time I’ve been reading. The other one I don’t think ever got a tankoban but this one at least has one scheduled for some time in Fall! That’s good – it’s nice to think they’ll at least have a bit of a life outside the magazine.
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I didn’t see any mention of Terang in the previews - so maybe that was a two-time thing and there really won’t be any magazine in July… already looking forward a little to August, I confess.

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