Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading When Will Ayumu Make His Move

It appears to be free on Kobo (Rakuten) as well. If you have an English Kobo account, you can click on the flag icon at the top-right of the web site to switch to the Japanese store, and search/buy Japanese eBooks there.

I’m glad I didn’t buy this one before it was free. Thanks, Viridithon!

Here’s the Kobo link:


Edit: There appear to be two other books by the author marked as free. May be worth grabbing just in case.



ふくふくふにゃ~ん NEW


I have no idea what they’ll be about, but 1) it’s the same author as Chi’s Sweet Home (which I haven’t read/seen yet) and, 2) hey, it’s cats.


What level is recommended for someone to be able to read books from the absolute begginner book club?

Depends on the book, really. For Shirokuma, there’s lots of unknown kanji and vocab since they make a ton of puns and word play using less common words, but the grammar is pretty easy. I feel like N5/Genki 1 and a bit of familiarity with casual speech is enough to make things relatively smooth in that corner. It has furigana so you shouldn’t need to know kanji at all as long as you know the words, but of course kanji makes everything easier.

Chi’s Sweet Home uses a lot more kana and the conversations are more of the everyday sort so there was a lot more familiar vocabulary for me. You just have to get used to the baby talk from Chi, like using ら instead of だ, よんら instead of よんだ. Grammar is about the same as Shirokuma, if not a little easier. It also has furigana so if you don’t know a kanji or word, it’s easy to look up.

Basically, if you’re familiar with basic grammar and can read kana, you can jump right in. You’ll just have to look up less the higher level you are.


Hey, have a rec: ふしぎねこのきゅーちゃん. It’s a 4koma manga about a cat and/or its owner. Most of it is written in simple-grammar Japanese and mostly written hiragana. It’s currently got ~350 pages, and can be read for free here:

It’s honestly one of the cutest comics I’ve seen around!


I have a question, this whole thread was now about choosing the book right? So have you already started reading the book or not? I can‘t find a link where the book is actually being discussed or is that a different thread?

The link to the book being discussed is actually the very first thing in the very first post :slight_smile:

That post in turn has the links to the individually weekly discussions that exist right now:

Right now, we’re reading しろくまカフェ (Shirokuma Cafe). Once that’s finished (still a while away now), we’ll be reading チーズスイートホーム (Chi’s Sweet Home.)


First two pages put me flat on my back, but I’m going to try and keep track of each word I come across I don’t know. This is the first book I’ve bought in Japanese, so its pretty exciting going through each panel!


That’s fairly common =D

I did this with the first Japanese manga I was serious about reading all the way through, and it helped me a lot. Not only looking up words, but also any grammar I didn’t know. I learned a lot by the end of the volume.

Prior to that, any attempts I made with other Japanese manga I ended up making little to no progress. It’s easy to become discouraged or burn out. The important thing for me was to put myself on a schedule. Every day, I had to make a certain set amount of progress, no many how long it took. (It helps that my schedule allowed this.)

I tried to become as familiar with the grammar and meaning of all the dialogue I encountered each day, but I also allowed myself to skip over anything that was taking too long without making progress. Of course you can always ask questions on the chapter-appropriate threads here, which is a lot nicer than skipping over confusing lines.

Specific to しろくまカフェ, don’t worry too much about learning all the words in the puns (beyond finding out what they mean). They’ll often be uncommon (or rare, obscure) words that you won’t need to know for the entire rest of the book. There’s no harm in learning them, but I’d prioritize all words other than the puns first.


I just encountered the first set of puns on page 3. I had no idea Kamehameha was the name of the conqueror/king of Hawaii. How educational!

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When will Chi’s Sweet Home start approximately? I’m wondering when I should buy the book to participate in the discussion.

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しろくまカフェ bis is 27 chapters long, and we’re currently averaging two chapters a week, just starting chapters 17 and 18 this week. I don’t know the length of each chapter from there, so we may see one or three chapters in a week, but it looks like about four to five weeks left. I’d say, target having the book in hand by the start of June just to be safe.

I don’t know how much time passes between finishing one book and starting another. Someone with more experience may be able to provide a better estimate, but this should be at least a decent rough estimate (I hope!)


There’s one problematic chapter that has 15 pages, Ch24, that I might just do separately from 23rd, but I will make a poll on it /o/

But probably around 5-6 weeks left, and maybe one more week if people want to have a little break?


I think it’s pretty fair to do that one seperately :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to Chi too, because I feel like it will be more my level, but I don’t really feel a break is necessary :3 at least atm!

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So, the Chii’s book club will start in 5-7 weeks from now on, depending on the break after the Shirokuma one, and I was wondering if anyone wants to make a home thread and maybe do weekly threads and all that /o/

So if no one wants to, I can make the home thread, make the polls on the break, the pace and all that \o/


Sounds like a plan, since you did so well with しろくま :grin: So if you wanna do it and if you don’t mind… :man_shrugging:


Thank you /o/ I don’t mind, I love doing this sooo \o\

@emucat would you mind if I create the thread for Chii? I want to do it one month before so that people would get the chance to buy the book if they didn’t still and also give time for the polls to decide on the schedule :yellow_heart:


I had a look into them and they are so damn cute. It’s about an old lady and her somewhat fat and grumpy cat. It reminds me of my own grandmother and her old cat and it is really easy to read (so far), even for me as an absolute beginner. So thanks again for the recommendation, @ChristopherFritz :relaxed:


No problem at all!

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Okaay, than I will make a thread when I find some time:3

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By the way, how long is Chi Sweet home? Because we might need to start thinking about the next book