Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Miss Shikimori is not just cute! // Next: Granny Girl Hinata chan!

Well, when it was created it was Beginner in comparison with the existing Book Club :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: but that’s why this club exists!

Edit: @emucat, would it be worth adding the Cat Detective book as a previous pick as well? I know it’s kind of retconning history, but it might make it easier for people to find in future if they’re looking to read it at a later date.


Pretty much what @Radish8 said.
Also, the “beginner” in the title was (originally at least) about not having experience reading native media, not about the actual level of the reader.
That being said, those two things being correlated, I think it naturally shifted toward the more immediate meaning of beginner, but still, N4 is considered beginner… so, true, that would be the higher end of the spectrum, but I still think it’s not a misnomer :slight_smile:

It’s also good to have this group, to make the transition toward reading native content even smoother :+1:


Excellent idea!

1 Like

What Cat Detective book?

1 Like

This guy!

It’s the book marcusp ran a group for before the なぜ?どうして? book.

1 Like

Guess I’ll write this up as an actual nomination…


(Lucky Princess Fairly Tale Collection)
Focusing specifically on the まいにちの昔話 section, though really we could do anything.


It’s a website intended for Japanese kids featuring literally thousands of Japanese fairy tales, foreign fairy tales, Aesop’s fables, folk tales, Edo-period comic stories and ghost stories.


Website: 福娘童話集 -世界と日本の童話・昔話集-

Personal Opinion

It’ll teach us a whole lot about Japanese culture. Plus, it’s intended for Japanese kids who are still learning Japanese.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Quite literally years worth of material available. Honestly, we could even just break it up, do a couple between other books, or spin off a new group from the start, or something.
  • Each story is quite short (about 50 lines for fairy tales, 30 for short stories and 15 for Aesop’s fables)
  • Almost every story is accompanied by an audio version. Sometimes pictures.
  • 100% free


  • Has website only, no physical book for those who like to have a physical book
  • Language is very literary style, using some forms you’ll literally only ever see in fairy tales.
  • No furigana, but easy to copy-and-paste words to a dictionary
  • I keep wanting to write “Fairy Tail” every. single. time.

Example Stories

Japanese fairy tale: ツルの恩返し (The Grateful Crane)
Foreign fairy tale: コアラの尻尾が短い理由 (Why the Koala has a short tail - Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime story)
Japanese folktale: トラとキツネ (The Tiger and the Fox)
Aesop’s fable: キツネとブドウのふさ (The Fox and the Grapes)
Edo short story: うどん (Udon)
Ghost story: 白ヘビのたたり (Curse of the White Snake)

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


The example stories you posted have a lot of kanji without furigana :confused: that would be my worry!

Aye, I did say that (though I just noticed I listed it among the pros instead of the cons, whoops). It’s easy to copy-and-paste into a dictionary, though. Plus, I’m about 90% sure there are browser plugins that can add furigana on the run.

1 Like

If it’s fully online you can easily use Yomichan to look up readings and meanings on the fly.

They all come with audio, I like that. So in case you don’t know the kanji and/or can’t figure out the reading, it’s possible to listen to the audio to be able to search up the vocab/kanji (besides easily copying & pasting it into an online dictionary).

I know this is all about reading but I like the addition of being able to listen to the stories which is another useful way to practice Japanese (especially if you don’t copy & paste the unkown kanji into a dictionary right away). And it can be used for shadowing kind of?

I actually like this a lot, thanks for the nomination @Belthazar! And it’s for free so no one would have to order anything and spend money.


It’s been a couple of crazy days, but tomorrow I’ll try to get all the nominations and do a a poll. So if anyone can start creating formal nominations it would be much appreciated


Yes, that’s what I was going to say. Without help this would be fairly difficult for me. But with (for ex.) Rikaichamp instant word lookup, it’s almost too easy. The grammar seems very simple. Totally bookmarked for listening/shadowing practice, though.

1 Like

I’m so glad you did! What a great website! Bookmarked and ready to return often! Thank you @Belthazar!


I would really love to join this bookclub. I’ve never been in a bookclub before and I do hope we call decide a book to read (either in e-format or physical book, preferably physical book cause I’m also a collector and it’ll be really nice not to stare at my phone always to read). Yes, I’m still an absole beginner as you can see in my level but I’m also doing extra studies outside Wanikani :3


We could use these fairy tales for between avtually books or so. They are short and we should be able to do one story in a week or even less days.


Let’s see what we have. I’m going to go over all formal nominations and add them to the original post. Let me know if I miss any.

Also, if you proposed something, but without a formal nomination, let’s see if we can make one between all of us.

EDIT: Done, only 3 books!

WANTED - Short stories from the creator of One Piece

Come on!

What about another naze doushite book? There are at least two more second year books and if people think it’s appropriate for the ABJBC, then maybe a third year book?

second year:
なぜ?どうして? 科学のお話2年生
なぜ?どうして? もっと 科学のお話 2年生
なぜ?どうして? みぢかなぎもん二年生

third year:
なぜ? どうして? もっと 科学のお話 3年生
なぜ?どうして? 身近なぎもん3年生
なぜ?どうして? 科学のお話3年生

1 Like

Yes. I think I’ll add “naze” 2nd grader and “naze” 3rd grader to the the poll, and then we can decide later.

The same for the 10 minute stories…

That’s 7 options so far. And the reader graders are also there


Right, we need to add the gratef readers, too :slight_smile: most of them have interesting storys and are possibly more on our actual level. We could try one of those online only readers from the app

How do I know which book club to join (between this one and the regular beginner book club)? I’m sitting between N5 and N4 currently, but my vocab isn’t super great. That said, I’m not opposed to having to look up vocab that I don’t know… Thanks in advance for any help! :smiley: