I randomly read the first volume of 空ろの箱と零のマリア and also randomly felt like posting about stuff I’ve read just because I haven’t done that for a while, so…
…overall, it was a decent book While some parts were a bit boring, overall it was enjoyable to keep me reading, especially after I had gotten past the first… 30? or so percent of it and more interesting things started happening.
Mentioning one random thing about the book, I’m not really sure why the author felt the need to write some parts entirely in bold text though, that was definitely a bit distracting at first before I got used to it. I’m guessing it was to not confuse the reader, but I have read plenty of books that did similar things without using bold text, and it doesn’t really feel like the presence or absence of bold text affects how easy stuff is to follow. If anything the bold text just threw me off and made it a tiny bit slower to read.
Random spoiler comments: It also felt a bit like the author just was being a bit too blatant about hiding information from the reader sometimes, with all the “x” did “xx” stuff, where the narrator even clearly already knows the information. However, while some of the"twists" just felt like something the author tried to force, it also feels like some of them made sense and were cool surprises, so I went with my usual strategy of not thinking too hard about it and enjoying the book
It was also a much faster read than a volume of SAO or Re:zero, so that was cool
I haven’t really looked into this much since I have a huge backlog of games already but I figured I’d mention that there are sites like freegame-mugen.jp that host free indie games (legally as far as I can tell but please let me know if that’s not the case). The quality of course varies but it could be a good resource if you don’t mind low budget games.
This also gives me a chance to write a bit about a VN I played some of a year ago, 死月妖花～四月八日～.
It’s a horror VN that I found while browsing gaming news/youtube that does some interesting things with the interface and the way it divides the story up into shorter scenes. It shows exactly how long the text of each scene is and how much you’ve read so far which is great for feeling like you’re making constant progress and for setting clear goals, more like reading a book where you know what page you’re on and how many pages are left in the book/chapter than a story that sometimes feels neverending (like parts of some VNs).
It is quite long but the story is divided into a few sections that I think focus on different characters/time periods/locations and unlock as you progress. I played the first and maybe longest one of these, 呪殺編, which makes up roughly 25% of the game and took me 30+ hours including reading the additional references.
At the time I played, the characters were just different colored silhouettes without artwork most of the time which I actually kind of liked. It does look like there have been a number of updates since then so that may not still be the case.
Overall I didn’t think it’s the most interesting story but it still managed to keep me around for the first section and I’ll probably go back to it at some point. It was impressive for a free game and I think the structure is great for learners so I figured I’d mention it in case it, or the website it’s on, helps anyone find reading material.
Finished キノの旅 II today, now I have no good reason to not catch up with Night Market . Also attained my original goal of 5 books officially for this year.
I started enjoying it more and more as I read. The stories are stand-alone and quite ambiguous about the time-line, so the story starts to slowly unfold more. There even were some connections between the stories, which I found nice. Might read the third volume at some point.
The books are quite easy, but I found they are quite at the right level where I still learn a lot of new words by adding them to my SRS. I have a hard time skipping unknown words, so this way I don’t end up with hundreds of words if I read a lot ^^.
I finally read the second half of 乙女ゲーム[…] volume 5. It felt a lot better than the first half. It’s still a lot of side stories, but at least most of them brought new elements and/or were relevant to the current plot (and were nice refreshers of what happened). The very last 20~30 pages (hard to say on ebook) were from the point of view of random characters we don’t hear about often in the main story (the head maid, Tom the gardener, Mother, the head of the merchants from the local town (!), some unnamed classmate of カタリナ, …). The story from the mother, retelling how she met カタリナ’s father could have been a bit more elaborated… It was basically “we met, it was love at first sight for me, but (I mistakenly thought) he only decided to marry me to help out my father, I was wrong, we are happy, the end”
I could really have done without the manga part (a few pages here and there). They are non canon, thus bring nothing to the story, and do not even match the personality of the real characters that well. (メアリsaying she wants to cook for her lover? Say what?)
Still, not that bad, but I feel I could have just skipped it entirely and have lost nothing of value. Back to the main story, hopefully!
A new week of book clubs starts, and I am determined to catch up this week. I was all grim about it when making my study log task chart but when I looked at the final product it wasn’t so bad. In the last two days I caught up on セーラームーン and 獣の奏者, and I had already read ゆるキャン△ and フルーツバスケット, so now I have all the new readings for those plus three weeks each for 夜市 and 魔女の宅急便, plus the new volume of アオハライド (but for that one I have two months to read).
I have still been good and not started the next otome villainess etc book (diligently doesn’t look at the post above mine), and I actually managed to reach a part of ハイキュー where I don’t mind pausing, plus the other manga that sucked me in, 約束のネバーランド, … well, the current arc I’m in started giving me nightmares, whoops, so I am slowing down on that. (But not stopping? I guess? If I can just get through this arc… I don’t know.) All this to say, I am set up to have book club catching up success this week and I am going to make it happen.
Just finished reading とんがり帽子アトリエ Vol 7 and holy cow did that end on an intense note. The art is amazing as usual and I love seeing how much the characters grow or, in some cases, become much more complicated. But that ending. When the heck does volume 8 come out??
I also finally finished 涼宮ハルヒの憂鬱. I originally started it with the Intermediate Reading Club and fell behind and just stopped. I don’t think Haruhi is my thing anymore, though I still love going back and watching certain scenes from the anime again (That band scene was kick butt). I still feel extremely satisfied that I could finish the book.
Next novel will probably be コンビニ人間 and I’ve started reading セーラームーン vol 3.
New toys, courtesy of an afternoon shop at Kinokuniya Sydney (and yummy sukiyaki for dinner). I picked up a new set of graded readers to help with my N3/N2 skills, another volume of Barakamon for my collection (I’m still reading Volume 1), and the next book selection for the Intermediate book club. That last one will test my limits for sure. I managed to get through the first few sentences in the shop, but it will be my first novel in Japanese, so I’ll do my best.
I’ve been reading a lot of books with the bookclubs that were well above my level, and I think I’ve made amazing progress through that (and in any case just being able to read those books is great). However, there is always so much vocab I don’t know that I end up learning only a tiny fraction of it. That is not very efficient and right know I feel like vocab is my bottleneck so I’m trying something new (for science).
I’ve picked an easy book (The first volume of ポレポレ日記), which I could probably read without a dictionary without missing much, and everyday I’m reading until I find 10 unknown vocabulary (skipping some words that I don’t think are that useful atm), which I then add to SRS (I’m using Floflo for this).
We’ll see if this works or if it turns out to be too slow/too much, but for now it seems fine, and I always find it much easier to remember a word that I have seen working in context. I’ve chosen only 10 words because I don’t want to get overwhelmed with SRS now that I’ve found a good pace with WaniKani and in the long term it’s still a lot.
It this works well I’d like to keep doing this with increasingly more difficult (aka with more varied vocab) books in parallel with the bookclubs so I can one day finally read away from a computer/dictionary like the pros do Or at least be less reluctant to read media that has no quick way to check words like videogames/physical books.
I did that with FloFlo as well! (With a different book, but anyway). It has helped me a lot getting over the vocabulary bottleneck. One word of caution, though: sometimes, I got too much into the story and couldn’t stop and ended up adding like 100+ word at a time. Don’t do that.
In hindsight, I should have just kept reading without adding words for the day, then start adding word again on the next day until cap, then read without adding, etc
Haha, I’m worried this might happen with 乙女ゲーム at the moment. I exported the list from FloFlo with frequency 1 and put it to Anki (about a thousand words, though many will probably get suspended), and doing it concurrently while reading. Makes for quite a good experience.
Although I’ve been tweaking my learning intervals a lot and come to a pretty nice setup, that works for me. The default ones in Anki are quite bad. I only want to do SRS once a day, so my intervals are 1 day, 3 days, with a graduating interval of 7 days (so 20 1440 4320). This avoids “ease hell”, as in failed cards getting really low ease. Also putting the “New Interval” to something like 50% is essential, otherwise failed cards start from zero, which is absurd.
I feel like FloFlo and WK system heavily overtests us (with vocab), especially since learning words gets progressively easier as your “fluency” improves. I’m also considering the “Retirement” add-on for Anki, which basically adds the burn system to it.
This way going through a thousand words in a relatively short time won’t create a immeasurable pile of reviews, while letting me read comfortably. Have you guys tweaked your Anki settings somehow?
It’s funny, I used to hate Anki because of how unintuitive and difficult to understand it was (and it still is). But when I took the time to understand what all the settings do, I’ve come to appreciate the customisability. Even the manual is quite obscure and I had to scour many a reddit thread to really understand some of the concepts.
Kitsun can also tweak the SRS timings if I remember correctly? I guess that would be the most important setting to look at. It’s kind of weird and fascinating studies show better retention with LESS repetitions.
That sounds painful.
Since this is a kid’s book I probaby won’t have that issue quite yet (or will I? Being able to read Japanese fast is actually a little addictive), but I see how that could be a problem in the future.
I guess if that happens I can stick to higher frequency words or something.
I’ve seen so much talk about this one, the premise sounds fun and the other day I noticed that according to Floflo I know over 40% of its vocab already (which I’ve determined from experience is the minimum required so that I don’t pull my hair out with all the lookups), so I am quite tempted so check it out later this year.