I also saw this baffling piece of news recently in this really interesting documentary on women in sports, unfortunately only in French (although youtube automatic subtitles + automatic translation kinda works).
I mean, it’s an essay book, not fiction. She was literally listing the rules about the bottom part, including the fact that the side cannot be more than 7cm (the one she got was 4cm).
That being said, the book is from 2008, so hopefully things have changed indeed.
There’s also the possibility that she is just wrong or just listing the rules from the Japanese federation, but she does say “international rules”. I kinda assumed that the content would be fact checked (except maybe for the “the person helping me said the origin of XYZ is [blah]”, but I didn’t take those at face value anyway)
“The uploader hasn’t made the video available in your country”
Edit: Google told me the rule for beach volley was removed in 2012, so it was true at the time of writing. Mystery solved.
It’s probably best that it is updated every year. It’s great to have the same page and content with tweaks rather than having to make a new webpage every year.
November Tadoku round is over. I tried not to push too hard on this one, because I did that last time round and it was exhausting. Still, I read 1086 pages in 14 days, which is an average of over 75 pages a day, and got 13th place on the leaderboard. Read three complete books (狐笛のかなた, ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖III ~扉子と虚ろな夢~, スパイ失業) as well as the weekly chapters in various book club books.
I just finished 薬屋のひとりごと 12 and I really enjoyed it. It introduces a bunch of new characters but is “self contained”. It acts as a nice transition from the arc that finished in the previous volume and whatever comes next.
(spoiler if you haven’t read volume 5 or 6; the one that deserves a trigger warning) Also, there was finally some discussion between 猫猫 and 壬氏 about what happened in volume 5? 6? I forgot. I’m not super convinced by the way the author solved the situation, but fine.
(Spoiler for, like, volume 2; that’s a 10+ volumes running gag) Speaking of which, it’s kinda hilarious that at this point literally everyone knows who her father is and that her and 壬氏 have something going on. Her denying both isn’t working anymore. It is pretty fun to see how people handle it too. “I’ve been ordered by definitely-not-your-father to be your bodyguard for the day”
I wonder if I’ll have to wait another year until next volume… There’s barely any new content on なろう
I finished… that issue of Harta from ages ago!
I read ~one chapter a day. It was pretty fun - I never knew what I was going to get next. Kind of like an advent calendar actually.
Some thoughts on specific chapters that stood out -
山を渡る -三多摩大岳部録 - It’s really charming how there’s a manga for every imaginable interest or hobby (in this case, mountain climbing). I enjoyed this one (though maybe I just like grocery shopping).
ダンジョン飯 - Seems like a cool chapter, except the reveal at the end didn’t have much impact since I don’t know who or what anyone is.
ハルタビギンズ - A series of 8-page specials. Some freaky stuff in here, geeze
対岸のメル -幽冥探偵調査ファイル- Nice little detective story with some weirdly bold kids
ヴラド・ドラクラ - Double-page spread of… Dracula knitting. Nice.
ふしぎの国のバード - A trek into the jungle to find… a new tree species! Based on this guy. Makes me want to track down some sort of pulpy adventure novel.
涙子さまの言う通り - A murder mystery. I think I was missing some context for this one, but it seemed cool.
That one where they teach the dude how to cook and learn that the spice of life is friendship - You know, I’d probably be happiest if this magazine were a 50/50 mix of mysteries and cooking manga.
ホテル・メッツァペウラへようこそ - The hotel one - pretty cozy
Honestly, I don’t know if any of these on their own were as good as just reading a normal book, but very few of them were bad either, and the variety goes a long way. I’m probably not going to read every issue but I could see myself doing this a couple times a year or something.
I also recently finished 陰陽師 by 夢枕 獏. It’s a collection of fantasy short stories about Abe no Seimei, a historical sorcerer-ish dude from the Heian period. Each story is a spooky little mystery where Seimei and his warrior/musician/everyman buddy Hiromasa solve some sort of yokai problem. Lots of creepy setups, light philosophizing, and men grunting at each other while staring contentedly at a garden. It’s not perfect (Seimei is a bit too good at his job, and the character development is a slow burn) but I enjoyed the book quite a bit and recommend it to anyone who thinks it sounds interesting.
Thanks for posting your Harta impressions! I enjoyed reading them and am glad you enjoyed reading the stories on the whole!
I totally agree variety goes a long way with a manga magazine like that! There’s something fun about not having any idea what the next chapter is going to be (even if it does involve a lot of wondering what context you’re missing a lot of the time…)
(the gist of the 涙子さまの言う通り context by the way is surprise surprise the ominous and portentous fortune-telling girl has been being ominous and portentous and getting people killed. That’s one I’m especially curious to see how it will read in collected form since I think it’s cool but it’s published irregularly making it a little hard to follow even reading every issue…)
It does sound interesting!
Thanks, added to my to-buy list! If you like historically-set yokai themed mysteries, I recommend the 巷説百物語 series by 京極夏彦. They’re not the easiest read in the world, but I think they’re great.
I actually wrote a brief review of this for a different online community back in 2013 when I first read it. I’d forgotten how difficult a read I thought it was at the time – maybe I should go back and reread a bit of it to see what I think with another nine years’ reading practice under my belt…
Wow, this was a difficult read. I must have been working through it on and off for a year. It was even harder than 姑獲鳥の夏 because as well as the author’s kanji-heavy and complex prose style it has a lot of Edo-period vocabulary and dialect-heavy dialogue.
Unlike 姑獲鳥の夏, this is a set of short stories featuring varying subsets of the same cast of characters. (There are seven stories in this volume and at least four further books in the series after this.) A 百物語 is a traditional collection of Japanese ghost stories, and this is Kyougaku’s take on that idea. The general shape of each story is similar: a strange situation related to or in a similar theme to a classic Edo-period yokai legend, which is then resolved with the bad guys getting their come-uppance. The stories aren’t intended to be solve-the-puzzle type mysteries, so much as atmosphere and entertainment. The stories are much more straightforward than 姑獲鳥の夏 in narrative style and complexity, which makes sense given the combination of the short story format and the way these are basically a take on ghost stories.
I did like the book (or I would have given up on trying to read it…) but I definitely wanted to read something much easier once I’d finished it
I continued reading this series and finished it today, and it gets quite weird (in my opinion not in a good way) later on. It was kind of interesting until volume 4, but eventually I feel like it just all comes across as kind of… immature? I don’t know if that’s the best word it, but basically it tries to cover deep or serious topics, but then it just does it in a way that’s very surface level and doesn’t really make sense at all if you actually think about it, and focuses a lot more on shocking the reader than anything else, while the actions of everyone involved doesn’t feel even remotely believable and more like they exist solely for the purpose of making it possible to shock the reader.
Like, basically everyone just inevitably turns evil or mentally breaks in some way no matter if it’s believable or not and in one case it basically undoes a development from the previous volume, literally everyone except the protagonist and random side characters have a super dark and depressing past that they deal with in some really weird way instead of even considering trying to see a psychologist or anything, which is made all the weirder by how a character actually does go to therapy in the epilogue of the last volume. Thinking back on it I think the “literally” might not even be an exaggeration on my part. The protagonist also both mentally breaks and then basically turns evil. Also, he gets a supernatural overpowered (in the context) ability which is hidden in his right hand and that felt really really hard to take even remotely seriously. I’ve read other things where something like that would have made more sense but here I just feel like it doesn’t match the tone of everything before that at all.
So overall my favourite characters are the ones that barely do anything because they don’t have that stuff happening to them and actually seem kind of like people.
There’s also a lot in the series that also just makes it feel like the author must have a super weird worldview or at least like this particular series is written based on one (it’s not like I can say what the author is actually like just from reading a book, so that’s just what it felt like to me). For instance the premise of volume 5 basically seems to imply basically all people, even those living very normal lives, will have committed some kind of “sin” heavy enough to make them suffer extremely much if forced to confront the guilt of it by the supernatural means involved.
And probably worst of all of everything I didn’t like: the protagonist kills a dog in the last volume and it’s just casually brushed over like it was nothing (I get that the idea probably was to show how deranged he was but the thing that makes it feel odd is that this happens way before he even comes close to considering killing people and that barely any weight is given to it despite being the first time he kills, as well that he literally just did it to distract someone, unlike all the later ones which I guess you could theoretically justify as at least serving some kind of purpose. Also, unlike the others it’s not clear if this one was in a fake world or not because it has a couple of things that doesn’t like up unless it’s in the real world or the author forgot things. I feel like that really cheapens parts of the ending because everything ends up feeling way less deserved and remembering that really takes away from what’s otherwise not a too bad ending. I have some similar issues with other characters and the ending, but not to the same extent.
Another thing that’s a bit less questionable but which isn’t super well done either is that a lot of characters are described as smart, but every “smart” character seems to act super stuck up and pretentious without actually coming across as very smart. In a slightly similar vein there’s at least a couple of myths that are brought up as facts in the narration, which makes it seem like the author didn’t fact-check them, and at least one of these is said by a character that given their description by the author really should know better.
There’s also some stuff that is pretty cliche and some comedy that feels kind of outdated (just in that it feels very overdone if you read the series now even if it may not have been at the time), though not a large amount of it. The most striking outdated-feeling thing is probably that the protagonist kills everyone in his school and then town (technically not the real world version of them, but still), which aside from the whole sequence about it feeling really unnecessarily edgy also doesn’t feel like something that would have happened in a more recent book, and also wasn’t very fun to read.
One thing that isn’t outdated but still felt really out of place is that a lot of girls fall for the protagonist and get weirdly stuck on him for no obvious reason.
Overall the series has some decent moments, especially in the earlier parts, but it seems to get some super high ratings on English websites and to be honest I really don’t get why. But I guess the answer is probably that I’m not even close to being the target audience for the series so I’ll just go read something else instead now that I’ve finished it.
I guess I should also say that volumes 3 and 4 were actually genuinely kind of good though (aside from how one of the flashbacks in those volumes involve a certain thing happening to a middle school aged female character done to her by some random older men that feels extremely unnecessary and really doesn’t do anything for the story because those exact specifics of the event don’t really matter to the story much so it could easily have been something else.
If anyone wants to know why I liked them, volumes 3 and 4 were basically four rounds of werewolf games and that was kind of fun to read.
So overall I enjoyed volumes 1 and 3-4 to some extent, but I found volume 2 kind of boring, and then there was a lot about how the characters are written and the execution of the concepts involved in volumes 5-7 that made basically all of them not at all feel like actual people and I just really didn’t enjoy a lot of those volumes (though some small parts of volume 5 and the epilogue of volume 7 were decent). I could mention a lot more things I didn’t like and a few more I liked, and give more examples of the things I’ve mentioned, but I think people already get the gist of what I thought about the series overall.
(Though obviously all of this is just my opinion so if anyone else thinks the series sounds interesting, feel free to go ahead and read it)
Thanks for the detailed breakdown!
I read the first volume a few years back and really didn’t like it. Same as you, this made me wonder why it’s so popular on English websites, but I really have no idea.
By the way, do you still use Natively? Not sure I’ve seen many ratings/reviews from you on there lately, so I wanted to ask.
I read this a long ass time ago and don’t remember much, but I do remember it getting pretty crazy during the end. I remember especially liking the end just because of the what the fuck factor it brought to the table. I do remember feeling like a lot of stuff was a bit hard to get on board with. One that I still remember several years later was Maria’s sister (Aya I think was her name). like she actually just ended up being a perfectly normal person all along right, and the fact that she was able to do all that amazing stuff/make predictions was either coincidence like her death or just because she was amazing? Like didn’t she date her elementary school teacher too or something lmao. And the one with all the power who created the boxes or O himself was actually maria because she wanted it to be true? That felt a little anticlimactic to me. Her sister felt like the mysterious figure all along and then it was just like yep literally nothing there.
No, I like the idea of it but eventually it felt like too much to try to update both natively and bookmeter every time I read something so I’ve mostly just been sticking to putting things on bookmeter for quite a while now.
In order to meet my 50 volumes of manga goal by the end of the year, I’ve started trying to read 2 volumes of manga a week. Since that doesn’t fit super well, generally I’ve tried to change to reading 2-3 chapters a day. I’ve been on a 3 day pace with volumes recently and last night I was able to fit in over 100 pages in less than 2 hours (usually I don’t track how long I read, but I happened to catch my start time). I rarely read that much in Japanese and almost never in one sitting, so I feel pretty proud of myself and the way I’ve been able to set my goal back on track, so I wanted to share
I started reading Flesh&Blood today and chapter 3 is definitely giving me the same kind of vibes. I feel like F&B is more manageable, though, since everything is more novelized without direct quotes from original texts.
Hey, welcome aboard!
I see! Good to know what I can expect from the Musume books.
F&B is pretty manageable wrt the text, but sometimes so many historical characters are thrown at the reader that it can be a challenge to stay on top of who is who and their connections. Especially Vol. 5 was very dense in that respect, and so I decided to make a chart of everybody to be able to keep up
We also added lots of links to wikipedia articles to the volumes’ threads, so please feel free to use them and add to them if you see fit (I guess especially for the first three or so volumes we did not capture everything).
Other than that, I’m looking forward to your comments!
Chapter 3 definitely starts with an info dump, and volume 1 in general kinda goes back and forth on it. The later volumes do tone it down though, if you get that far; the exception being when we change to some entirely new locale (like the royal court, for instance).
My main comment so far was that I was shipping 海斗 and 和哉 super hard and then went “oh” when the time travel happened.
I wonder if that’s the same with 村上海賊の娘? That being said, at the end of book 1, she was on her way to meet new people, so, probably not. Considering I have an infinity of books to read ahead of that, I’ll probably never find out.
I don’t know if that would count as spoiler, so I’m just going to hide it, but the latest 芥川賞 winner really hit the spot for me. I just finished おいしいごはんが食べられますように, and it was like watching a car crash in slow motion. The last couple of lines almost made me scream. 12 out of 10.
It’s also very short and easy to read, which goes a bit against my expectations for a winner of that prize, but that was a nice surprise.
Also wanted to share a little achievement. I just finished reading vol 6 of Chainsaw Man and it took me only one evening surprisingly. I blazed through it .
Already planning to buy the remaining volumes, but will put it on next month’s expenses.
I learned the hard way that many of them are quite tough to read but there are a few exceptions, e.g. コンビニ人間.
Thanks for the recommendation, by the way! I’ve extended the poll in The Akutagawa Prize Reading Challenge so you can go tick the box if you like