Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now reading: Cells at Work!

Well I bought this book because it looks like such a cute read and I’m feeling like a romance.
So it’s got my vote thumbs up

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My bad, fixed it

It’s totally worth it :+1:

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I think of adding a deadline for nominations until Monday and then making a poll to decide the next book :thinking:
Sorry for not being for book clubs, I’m having trouble with reading recently :sweat:


Monday sound good to me!

You’re doing a fantastic job dear :blush: :yellow_heart: you got this!


Thank youuu:3
I also changed the name and moved Shirokuma to finished ones (on master list too) \o/
Super happy to start reading soon! :blush:


Learn Japanese with Stories Volume 1


Perfect for beginning and upper beginning students of Japanese. This affordable Japanese reader contains four complete stories of a clever and mischievous young man, Hikoichi.

  • All Japanese have furigana (printed version) and romaji for those starting out.
  • Four full traditional Japanese stories about Hikoichi.
  • Every sentence is broken down word-for-word and with explanation of the grammar.
  • The full story in Japanese only (without the running gloss) is also provided so you can practice reading without interruption.
  • Finally, we have included a simple and mostly literal English translation for you to check your understanding (Don’t cheat! Work through the Japanese first!).
  • Download the FREE MP3s to listen while you study. Includes both normal speed and slow speed readings.

The first story has the lord of the castle testing Hikoichi in a Solomon-esque question–which young lord is the true young lord?

The second story shows choosing the first and most favorable isn’t always best. In the end, only Hikoichi can enjoy the cherry blossoms.

The third story is about a mysterious, but living umbrella. Some things are just too good to be true.

We wrap things up with Hikoichi’s encounter with a Tengu–a mythical creature whose straw raincoat renders its wearer invisible.


amazon.com - eBook & physical version available

Personal Opinion

I could’ve sworn I had seen this book as a nomination, but I can’t seem to find it! I think it seems like a good book for absolute beginners. I like how it breaks things down more than other graded readers I’ve used–say, the Ask graded readers–but this could also be a downside. As far as I can tell, it’s mostly written in polite Japanese, which could be a pro or a con depending on your point of view.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Has furigana!
  • Has downloadable audio tracks!
  • Has vocabulary breakdowns and a full translation, so there will be no lingering questions about what something actually means.


  • Unavoidable romaji; thankfully, it’s not used in place of furigana.
  • The included glossary might actually make things a bit too easy!
  • The “fairytale language” used might not be the most useful or everyone’s cup of tea.
  • Not everyone is into folk tales!
  • May not be the best book for a book club, as there are already full explanations of the reading
  • Already in the Graded Reader book club


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional 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


I have this book and plan to read it, but I do kinda wonder what the benefit of reading it with a book club would be since the discussions seems mostly focused on figuring out what stuff means and with this book you don’t need that because it is all explained. I haven’t participated in that many book club books yet though to be fair. So maybe I’m missing something? Are there discussions about the actual stories happening in other clubs?

(Also wanted to point out that this book is “included” in the graded readers plus parallel text “book club”, although it isn’t a book club like the others, since we don’t read the same story together, but kinda discuss them and talk about them when we’ve read stuff and talk about graded readers (and parallel texts) in general.)


That’s fair! I’ll add that to the cons. I figured it was worth a nomination, since there aren’t a whole bunch of new nominations.

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Nah, not a real con. We haven’t talked about this one in particular so far =)
I personally love this book though, and even though it comes with a translation it could be a good read for the group and a help for those who like to take them apart an analyze every little word and grammar =)

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Reminding to bring in any nominations if you want to, and then we will make the poll sometime tomorrow \o/ Have you already decided your vote? :eyes:



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Yes! …but do we get only one vote? Then no :rofl:

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IIRC previously we’ve allowed up to 3 votes?

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I’d say more votes are better. Then we can more easily see what was actually liked or not. If no votes we can discontinue items. But if we get too few votes too many items have little to no votes so we can’t base it on that.

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I think the amount of votes depends on the amount of books proposed? :thinking: If I counted correctly, we have 11 now, sooo :thinking:

runs to look at other book clubs’ polls :eyes:


Okay, interesting thing, about which I totally forgot…

We didn’t have difficulty polls on the nominations, right? :joy:


Maybe I should nominate a super hard book since there’s no difficulty polls. :stuck_out_tongue:


I think that may have been the reason why Shirokuma passed before :thinking: But yeah, I have no idea how it got removed from the template?? :joy:

I guess we won’t have it this time too, I guess, but omg:DD


I assumed @emucat removed it because he didn’t like them for some reason. :man_shrugging:


We still have polls for old nominations, so that’s good :thinking: I guess I’ll tag people then, @Wiggle, @jaearess, @kitsunensei and @poiisons could you please add this poll from the template to your nomanations? :thinking:

I added it back, I think that’s quite an important thing to have:

## 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)

Also I think we’ll just start a bit later with this :eyes:

Edit: I changed the name of the book club for now, I honestly have no idea how to do things better, so if anyone has any suggestions or something, feel free to edit stuff or post here! \o/