Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now Reading: Tamamo no Koi!

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

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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!



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.


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


  • Text size looks relatively large

  • Furigana on the kanji

  • Broken up into short sections - one page per chapter

  • Get to learn about Japan


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

  • No ebook

Table of Contents


Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate 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)


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


ミラーさん (Mr Miller)

Thanks to @emucat for recommending this book!

Screen Shot 2021-05-16 at 17.46.24


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.


Physical: CD Japan : Amazon JP

Ebook: Book Walker : Kindle

Price: 1100 Yen (1000 Yen without Japanese Tax)

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • 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)


  • Not native material

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


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


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)


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:


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.

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

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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!

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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.

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Soredemo Ayumu wa Yosetekuru :chess_pawn:


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!


Amazon JP

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


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

  • Chapters are stand-alone.

If I remember correctly, all chapters in volume one are stand-alone. If it were picked, then if someone fell behind during the club, they could simply skip ahead to the current chapter being read (much like with Teasing-Master Takagi-san).


Good point! I’ve added to the pro part :blush:

Hi. I’m a bit late to the party but I wanted to thank the organisers of the absolute beginners book club as well as those who help others learn (e.g. by explaining things, creating cool Google docs, etc.). What a lovely idea this is! I just ordered my copy of Teasing Master Takagi-san from Amazon.jp. It should arrive in a couple of weeks. Really looking forward to having my first experience reading native content!


Vote For The Next Book!

It’s time to decide which book the Absolute Beginner Book Club will read next!

If you are interested in reading along, please look at the nominated books and cast your votes. Each link below will take you to the nomination page for that book, which gives an overview of the book, and shows some sample pages.

We would be planning to start reading this book around the 10th July. If the first choice is a shorter book/manga then we will read the book in second place immediately after.

Guidance on book difficulty:

The number next to the books is a guidance on book difficulty, as rated by forum users. A score of 3 means the difficulty was judged to be “just right”. A higher score means it has been judged more challenging. The maximum score is 5.

This is only a very rough judgement of difficulty. Do look at the sample pages for yourself in the original nomination posts.

The Choices


Book Title Description
日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 Japanese Fairy Tales - Set of 18
福娘童話集 Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection (Website)
こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏 Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer
日本の昔ばなし Japanese Folk Takes Collection (Issun-boshi & other stories)
もしかしたら名探偵 Detective Milky Sugiyama
ミラーさん Mr Miller
都道府県のおはなし 低学年 Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Lower grade reader)


Manga Title Description
あたしンち My Family/Atashin’chi
Wanted Short stories from the creator of One Piece
こばと Kobato
大海原と大海原 Wadonohara and the Great Blue Sea
それでも歩は寄せてくる When will Ayumu Make his Move?

Vote Now! Which book would you like the Absolute Beginner Book Club to read next?

You can vote for up to three choices. I will keep the poll open for a few days.

  • Japanese Fairy Tales Set of 18 [2.8]

  • Lucky Princess Fairy Tales Website [3.3]

  • Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story [2.9]

  • Japanese Folk Tales Collection (Issun-boshi & other stories) [2.6]

  • Detective Milky Sugiyama [2.3]

  • Mr Miller [2.5]

  • Stories of the Japanese Prefectures [3.0]

  • My Family/Atashin’chi [3.1]

  • Wanted [3.4]

  • Kobato [3.4]

  • Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea [2.8]

  • When Will Ayumu Make His Move [2.5]

0 voters


Wadanohara made a move but Ayumu is fighting back! Let’s give this another 24 hours and then I’ll close the poll tomorrow (UK) evening.


By the way, それでも歩は寄せてくる is effectively 109 pages long (in case that matters if it comes in first).


And with that the poll is closed! Thanks everyone for voting. We will read When Will Ayumu Make His Move, followed by Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea.

Any volunteers to run each book? @anon45600167 do you want to run Ayumu? @bearytoast do you want to run Wadanohara?


I would be happy to run the Wadanohara book club!


Yes, sure, I’ll gladly do it ^ ^ It’ll be my first time running a book club here, but from other clubs experience, after one week of break from the current read, we should start the next right?

So it will be around July 10th. I’ll break down the manga asap (o^^o)