Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea

Thanks for sharing these ideas @Pikkiri! I didn’t find ebook versions of any of these unfortunately but we have read books that exist in hardcopy only in the past (Yotsuba being the most famous one!).

I think this one is worth adding to the nomination list. I could put this together in the nomination format. Here is the listings of the contents page, with a translation from Deepl:

Summary

日本地図/都道府県って,なに?/北海道 野生のどうぶつに出会える/青森県 にぎやかな,ねぶたまつり/岩手県 ぎざぎざの,リアス海岸/宮城県 おいしいお米にひとめぼれ/秋田県 なまはげは,こわい?/山形県 大すき,さくらんぼ/福島県 五色ぬまのひみつ/茨城県 なっとうで,元気/栃木県 日光のおさるさん/群馬県 こんにゃくで,おなかすっきり/埼玉県 人気のおやつ,草加せんべい/千葉県 日本の空のげんかん/東京都 東京タワーと,東京スカイツリー/神奈川県 みなと町,横浜/新潟県 てんねんきねんぶつの,とき/富山県 「しんきろう」って,なに?/石川県 にぎやかな,朝市/福井県 冬のごちそう,えちぜんがに/山梨県 なしではなく,ぶどう/長野県 夏でもすずしい気こう/岐阜県 がっしょうづくりの家/静岡県 八十八夜の茶つみ/愛知県 金のしゃちほこと,三えいけつ/三重県 しんじゅのひみつ/滋賀県 信楽のたぬき/京都府 千年のみやこ/大阪府 おわらいと,たこやき/兵庫県 サイダーのたん生/奈良県 大仏さまと,しか/和歌山県 うめ~,うめ/鳥取県 さきゅうって,なに?/島根県 宍道湖のしじみ/岡山県 ももたろうと,きびだんご/広島県 安芸の宮島/山口県 秋吉台と,秋芳洞/徳島県 あわおどりって,なに?/香川県 おいしい,さぬきうどん/愛媛県 みかん王国/高知県 かつおの一本づり/福岡県 学問のかみさま/佐賀県 有明海ののりと,むつごろう/長崎県 カステラのひみつ/熊本県 「い草」って,なに?/大分県 おんせんが,いっぱい!/宮崎県 南国のマンゴー/鹿児島県 おやつにも,さつまいも/沖縄県 うつくしい海と,シーサー

Map of Japan / What are prefectures? Hokkaido: Where you can meet wild animals / Aomori: The lively Nebuta Festival / Iwate: The jagged rias coast / Miyagi: Delicious rice and Hitomebore / Akita: Are Namahage scary? Yamagata: Cherries, a favorite / Fukushima: The secret of Goshiki-numa / Ibaraki: Natto, a healthy food / Tochigi: Monkeys in Nikko / Gunma: Konjac, a refreshing snack / Saitama: Soka senbei, a popular snack / Chiba: Japan’s sky landmarks / Tokyo: Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree / Kanagawa: Minato-machi, Yokohama Niigata Prefecture: The time of the natural age / Toyama Prefecture: What is a Shinkiro? A lively morning market / Ishikawa / Fukui Prefecture Echizen crab, a winter treat / Yamanashi Prefecture Grapes, not pears / Nagano Prefecture Cool summer air / Gifu Prefecture Gashouzukuri no ie / Shizuoka Prefecture Eighty-eight nights of tea gathering / Aichi Prefecture Golden shachihoko and three heroes / Mie Prefecture Shinju no hihitsu / Shiga Prefecture Shigaraki tanuki / Kyoto Prefecture A thousand years of Owarai and Takoyaki (octopus dumplings) / Hyogo / Nara / The Great Buddha and the Deer / Wakayama / Ume, Ume / Tottori / What is Sakyu? Shimane: Shijimi clams from Lake Shinji / Okayama: Momotaro and kibidango / Hiroshima: Aki-no-Miyajima / Yamaguchi: Akiyoshidai and Akiyoshido Cave / Tokushima: What’s awaodori? Kagawa Prefecture: Delicious Sanuki Udon / Ehime Prefecture: The Kingdom of Mandarin Oranges / Kochi Prefecture: Katsuo no Ippon Zuri / Fukuoka Prefecture: Study Goddess / Saga Prefecture: Ariake Sea Nori and Mutugoro / Nagasaki Prefecture: Secrets of Castella / Kumamoto Prefecture: What is Igusa? Oita Prefecture: A lot of onsen! Miyazaki Prefecture: Tropical mangoes / Kagoshima Prefecture: Sweet potatoes for snacks / Okinawa Prefecture: The beautiful sea and Shisa (sea squirts)

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Here is a picture of the inside of the book that was shared on Amazon. Do you own the book? Would you be able to share pictures of one or two more pages?

1 Like

Summary:
Hanato Kobato is on a mission: she has a wish she wants granted. To do this, she has to mend the wounded hearts of the people she meets on her journey and fill up a magical bottle with the suffering she has relieved. The only catch is, she can’t fall in love with any of the people she helps. It seems like that’s the least of her problems, though; Kobato has no clue how to mend hearts . . . especially since each person’s heart is different. So what’s Kobato to do? Well, she has Ioryogi-san, a cute blue dog with a seriously bad attitude, to help (read: nag and critique) her . . . Yikes! Looks like the road to getting her one wish is going to be a long and hard one. Will Kobato get her wish in the end? And just what is it that Kobato wants? - From Amazon
A very cute slice of life with a few magical elements. There are 10 chapters within the first volume.

Pros:
All kanji within text bubbles have furigana next to them, about the same size as the current book in club.

In the first volume, the chapters do not need to be read in order to make sense.

Kobato is a very easy character to understand throughout the book.

There is a chapter that focuses on Japanese Christmas and another on Japanese New Year’s, I found it a very interesting read.

The entire manga is only 6 volumes long if individuals would like to continue to read it.

Cons:
The character Ioryogi-san has some long speech bubbles.

The story starts to pick up at the end of Volume 1.

Kanji without Furigana appear on some signs and remarks outside of speech bubbles.

There is a misunderstanding at one point where Spoiler

a character misunderstands Kobato for a woman of the night and Kobato has no understanding what they mean. Two characters save her quickly from the situation and nothing actually occurs besides a hand grab and the creep getting punched. A character briefly explains later what the person’s intentions where and Kobato is rightfully horrified. Everything is kept very PG.

Link to buy physical or Digital: https://www.amazon.co.jp/-/en/CLAMP-ebook/dp/B0093G5XX6/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=こばと&qid=1620507448&s=books&sr=1-2

A few sample pages


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

2 Likes

Pro for Kobato: Short series for those who’d want to read the whole thing in an offshoot club (six volumes).

Con for Kobato: Occasionally one character giving a long backstory info dump to another character who already knows it, for the sake of informing the reader. (I don’t think it happened until the latter half of the series, though, so volume one should be safe. It’s been forever since I read this series in English to remember for certain.)

It’s been long enough that I’m wondering if I even still have it, or if I culled it to make room for other things…

Yes, please!

1 Like

I would like to nominate Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea! Here is a link to bookwalker to look at sample pages 大海原と大海原. Pros would be that based on the sample pages it seems to have lower text density per page and there’s furigana. Also, the series is just two books which would make it very easy to have an offshoot club for.

Description
An Ocean in Peril!

The young witch Wadanohara has returned from a journey across the sea, only to find that her peaceful ocean home has come under attack from the nefarious Tosatsu Empire. Alongside her faithful familiars – Memoca, Dolphi, and Fukami – Wadanohara promises to do all she can to prevent a terrible war. But when a mysterious figure from her past demands that she leave, can the pure-hearted Wadanohara muster the courage and magic she needs to save the Sea Kingdom once and for all?

Pictures




Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

5 Likes

Yeah, I’ve read that in English. It feels extremely truncated, like they had more plans but got cancelled.

Oh that’s kind of a bummer :upside_down_face: I know it’s based off an RPG. I wonder if the game has more to it?

I did some quick research and it seems like the actual game gets pretty dark where its rated probably older teen, so they cut out some of the arcs and content so it could be marketed to a younger audience.

2 Likes


There’s other books in this series too. I think most of the are 2 pages/story vs 1 for this one.

1 Like

都道府県のおはなし 低学年 (おはなしドリル) - Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Lower grade reader)

Thanks to @Pikkiri for recommending this book!

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Summary

This book takes you on a tour of Japan, visiting each prefecture and telling a short story from that area. The book is set out with one page per prefecture. There are 47 stories in total. The top part of the page contains the story, and the bottom part some reading comprehension questions. This book is aimed at children in Grades 1 and 2 of primary school.

Availability

CD Japan : Amazon Japan - Price: ¥715 (¥650 without Japanese tax)

As far as I can see there is no ebook.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Text size looks relatively large

  • Furigana on the kanji

  • Broken up into short sections - one page per chapter

  • Get to learn about Japan

Cons

  • Some words usually written in kanji are written in hiragana (common feature of these lower grade readers)

  • No ebook

Table of Contents

Summary

Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

Map of Japan: What are prefectures?

Hokkaido: Where you can meet wild animals

Aomori: The lively Nebuta Festival

Iwate: The jagged rias coast

Miyagi: Delicious rice and Hitomebore

Akita: Are Namahage scary?

Yamagata: Cherries, a favorite

Fukushima: The secret of Goshiki-numa

Ibaraki: Natto, a healthy food

Tochigi: Monkeys in Nikko

Gunma: Konjac, a refreshing snack

Saitama: Soka senbei, a popular snack

Chiba: Japan’s sky landmarks

Tokyo: Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree

Kanagawa: Minato-machi

Yokohama Niigata Prefecture: The time of the natural age

Toyama Prefecture: What is a Shinkiro?

A lively morning market Ishikawa

Fukui Prefecture Echizen crab, a winter treat

Yamanashi Prefecture Grapes, not pears

Nagano Prefecture: Cool summer air

Gifu Prefecture: Gashouzukuri no ie

Shizuoka Prefecture: Eighty-eight nights of tea gathering

Aichi Prefecture: Golden shachihoko and three heroes

Mie Prefecture: Shinju no hihitsu

Shiga Prefecture: Shigaraki tanuki

Kyoto Prefecture: A thousand years of Owarai and Takoyaki (octopus dumplings)

Hyogo prefecture: Tansei cider

Nara Prefecture: The Great Buddha and the Deer

Wakayama Prefecture: Ume, Ume!

Tottori Prefecture: What is Sakyu?

Shimane: Shijimi clams from Lake Shinji

Okayama: Momotaro and kibidango

Hiroshima: Aki-no-Miyajima

Yamaguchi: Akiyoshidai and Akiyoshido Cave

Tokushima: What’s awaodori?

Kagawa Prefecture: Delicious Sanuki Udon

Ehime Prefecture: The Kingdom of Mandarin Oranges

Kochi Prefecture: Katsuo no Ippon Zuri

Fukuoka Prefecture: Study Goddess

Saga Prefecture: Ariake Sea Nori and Mutugoro

Nagasaki Prefecture: Secrets of Castella

Kumamoto Prefecture: What is Igusa?

Oita Prefecture: A lot of onsen!

Miyazaki Prefecture: Tropical mangoes

Kagoshima Prefecture: Sweet potatoes for snacks

Okinawa Prefecture: The beautiful sea and Shisa (sea squirts)

Pictures

Three Random Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all

  • Minimal effort

  • Just right

  • Challenging

  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help

  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

5 Likes

ミラーさん (Mr Miller)

Thanks to @emucat for recommending this book!

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 17.46.24

Summary

The novelization of “Minna no Nihongo” - a popular Japanese textbook.

This is a novel featuring Mike Miller, which can be read after completing the beginner level of this textbook.

The story follows the conversations, example sentences, exercises and questions in Minna no Nihongo for Beginners I, so it will be more enjoyable for those who have studied the Minna no Nihongo series thoroughly (or, presumably, similar level of another textbook).

The stories are written within the vocabulary and grammar of Minna no Nihongo for Beginners I and II, making them ideal for students who have already completed the beginner level. You will feel a sense of achievement in having read a whole novel in Japanese.

Amazon says it consists of 18 short independent stories, but Emucat who has read the book says it reads as a novel split into chapters.

Availability

Physical: CD Japan : Amazon JP

Ebook: Book Walker : Kindle

Price: 1100 Yen (1000 Yen without Japanese Tax)

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Written for learners - so the grammar and vocab are confined to a more basic level

  • Easily available on ebook including amazon.com and amazon.co.uk (i.e. can read on your normal kindle)

Cons

  • Not native material

  • Content may be more dry, could read a bit like a textbook

Pictures

Table of Contents

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 17.47.40
Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 17.47.47

Opening Pages

This was all I could get from Book Walker but should be enough to get the idea.


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all

  • Minimal effort

  • Just right

  • Challenging

  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help

  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

4 Likes

I’ve added all the nominations so far into the list in the opening post. I’ve also created a more detailed nomination post for the two books that had been suggested.

@JCT - Thanks for your nomination of Kobato! In the nomination post could you give a bit more information please? What is the basic plot of the story, what makes you think it would be a good read, and what do you think are the pros and cons of this manga for the Absolute Beginner Book Club. Could you also add the difficulty poll for people to rate the difficulty please?

@bearytoast - Thanks for your nomination of Wadonohara and the Great Blue Sea! Could you add some example pages to your nomination post please? People will have a few books to consider when voting so it’s helpful to have this within the nomination post itself. Would you also be able to add the difficulty poll please?

## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this book?

[poll type=regular public=true]
* No effort at all
* Minimal effort
* Just right
* Challenging
* Impossible, even with everyone’s help
* I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)
[/poll]

6 Likes

Thank you for adding my nomination. I really appreciate it! I think I added everything you asked for, but if there is anything else I need to do please let me know. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

2 Likes

Made the edits and thank you for the nomination! Please let me know if you would like any additional information added. Thank you for making the Difficulty Poll very easy to add, still figuring out how all the features work.

1 Like

Thanks @Micki !! I didn’t have the time to do it myself :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi all I’ll put up a poll this week. There’s not many difficulty rating for some of the newer nominations if people have time to look at them in the next couple of days.

There is an argument for how useful the ratings are in this book club, we can perhaps have that discussion after the next poll!

1 Like

Hiiiii! Is it fine if I propose another reading for the ABBC? Dunno if it’s too late :blush:

Yes, there’s a nomination template in the opening post you can use.

1 Like

Soredemo Ayumu wa Yosetekuru :chess_pawn:

Summary

Ayumu is in love with his senpai Yaotome, but he’s sworn not to confess his feelings until he can beat her at the board game shogi… The problem is, his love is obvious to Yaotome, and she can’t stop trying to trick him into breaking his vow!

Availability

Amazon JP
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

Since I’m enjoying a lot Teasing Master Takagi-san and I want to read more of something like it, this manga is one of those I have selected and put in my TBR in the last few months. The story’s pretty simple and the graphic quite good, but I think grammar and vocabulary may be a bit more difficult than Takagi’s!

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • If you liked Teasing Master Takagi-san, you’ll like this one too!
  • Simple dialogues.
  • Personally, I love the drawing style too.
  • Chapters are stand-alone.

Cons

  • If you don’t like this kind of genre, this may not be the best pick!
  • Dialogues are pretty easy, but grammar - and some vocabulary - may be tricky for N5/N4.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

5 Likes