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

Votes are drying up. Let’s give this poll another 12 hours or so and then I’ll close it. Thanks to everyone who has voted!

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Thanks to everyone who voted! Our last few picks have been manga, but this time the top 3 in the poll were all books, with Stories of the Japanese Prefectures coming out as the winner. Will get a home thread up soon!


I‘ve updated the thread title and shortened the book title a bit because it’s so long :sweat_smile: I hope it’s ok this way? (if not, please provide me with an alternative wording and I’ll put that up).


Hmm. Suddenly occurred to me to wonder how I’m actually gonna get a hold of it. It’s on the website for my local Kinokuniya, but it’s not presently in stock, and currently you can’t place orders for books not in stock…

都道府県のおはなし? It’s only nine characters long. Shorter than the word “Prefectures”. :slightly_smiling_face:


Potentially worth checking out the second hand shop (if you’re still in Sydney?). They have a random selection so possible they could have it. I probably won’t read along for this as I just started a BBC book.


(Oh and I’m also stuck in the UK with covid.)


Thread is up for the next book. It doesn’t start til May 14th but it’s physical version only so plenty of time to get hold of a copy.

Also, I’ve removed Mr Miller from the nominations as it only got one vote from 53 voters in the last poll. It can always be nominated again in the future if people are keen to read it together. :+1:


(If you’re talking Sydney) You can still place orders for books from the Japanese desk in store, it’s only online orders they’re not taking. You might even be able to try via phone, but I’ve only done it in person.


I just came across this video and thought it might be interesting for you guys as well
I’m not saying he’s 100% right on everything he says or anyone has to do exactly what he says but I found it to be very interesting :slight_smile:


Definitely interesting, and I agree with his point that reading more is better than doing more flashcards. :grin: For me, reading a chapter three times before I can continue the story sounds totally agonizing, but I might give his method a shot with the prefectures book, since each page can be read on its own …

I think he’s describing the tadoku / extended reading method, but with repetitions.

He suggests that at the beginning you might be reading a story up to 10/20/30/40 times in order to try learn the first few hundred “core words”. That sounds painful.

That seems like it’d be much more effort than using flash cards.

Even his normal 3-5 reads sounds tedious.


I have to agree with that. Flashcards are super helpful at the beginning, but the more complex the words you’re learning become, the faster those returns diminish … That’s the point where I think it’s worth switching over to “extended reading”. And I’m all for repetition, but more like, rereading a book or series later, chapter by chapter wouldn’t work well for me.

I guess as always it comes back to “do what works (for you)” though …

By the way, just joking around here, but that stew does not look delicious :joy: It kind of does look how I imagine brain stew might look though so … … :sweat_smile:
(No offense meant, Mr. Olly Richards.)


The first three volumes of our current manga Happiness have been made free again on Bookwalker and some other digital sites (ebook Japan wasn’t free when I looked but the others were). Thanks for the heads up @curiousjp!


For those who were interested in 可愛いだけじゃない式守さん, Volumes 1 and 2 are both currently free on Bookwalker now (through the 14th of April), as well as on Amazon. (This is the second volume link, since I already linked the first volume in the nomination post).


Hey there, good morning/ evening girls n guys.
I just found out this group. How do I join? What is it for? And which is a minimum WK level in terms of kanji/ vocab knowledge to be comfortable with the earliest reading material?



The Book Clubs are to help people make the jump from lessons and flashcards to reading actual native content. They help walk you through understanding what’s going on, and sometimes, just talk about the story contents itself.

To join, click the “Now reading:” link at the top of the opening post. That’ll take you to the current book’s dedicated thread. There you’ll find info on the book, a link for where to purchase the book, and also a google doc that includes info on the words and grammar that appear in it, organized by page so you can read along.

The OP recommends JLPT N5 (which iirc the kanji for is almost all covered by WK level 10). WK doesn’t cover grammar, though.

I think it would be more accurate to embrace not being comfortable when starting out. At 3000 kanji, N5 grammar, and part of N4, going from controlled lessons to native content still feels awkward for me. There’s going to be lots of stumbling along the way, no matter when you take the leap. With the book clubs, at least you have a list of words and grammar that you can refer to. The threads provide some additional help, as you can see what confused other people, the answers, and ask your own questions if you’re still not sure.


:star_struck: ありがとうございます it looks amazing, can’t wait to try something, even tho at this level I’m not even absolute beginner :smiling_face_with_tear:

What grammar level are you atm? I surely didn’t expect to hear this!

Thank you tons for the answer.
I’m receiving way more support and help than I ever thought since I joined wanikani community. I really appreciate that, I live in a 6000 people town in the south of Italy with no native japanese people so I don’t really have any chance to get a tutor/teacher/language partner or else


You could have a look at italki.com. There are lots of tutors available who will give you a one on one lesson and the prices are very reasonable. There are tutors based across the world so you can find someone whose lessons fit with your time zone.

PS - if you act in the next 5 days you can still get the current book (and volumes 2&3) free on Book Walker and some of these other sites.


I’ve learned the grammar required for N5, and bit of N4, and had already started practicing reading before joining the Absolute Beginner Book Club. What makes it hard to start is that every piece of literature is unique. You could learn 2000 new words from reading one average book, but a lot of them may not appear in the next book you read. So on the next book, it feels like you’re starting from roughly the same spot as the first.

Getting into reading native content early helps, and provides a lot of extra content that might be missing in flashcards and lessons. It will also be overwhelming, but I think that’s natural when starting out. It’s ok to not understand everything on your first, second, or even third read through. Keep checking your dictionaries or vocab lists and rejoice when you learn something new~

When I joined this club, I realized that they already had all of the tools I needed to start. I didn’t need to know everything I had learned “in preparation” for when I’d start reading, because the resource itself already told me what everything meant. In the end, the “pre studying” hasn’t helped much, but pushing forward with reading, even when I don’t understand most of it, has helped a lot. Each reread, I learn something new, and understand the sentence structure a little better.

For clarification, I’m still firmly in the beginner category myself, this is just personal experience. I wish I had started reading much earlier.


I have italki but never used it. I probably will use it in the future when I’ll have the very least bit of japanese knowledge but for now buying a lesson with a japanese teacher would be 1h of staring each otherr in the eyes :joy: my level is close to zero, but improving quickly.
Hellotalk is revealing to be very useful tho


I totally get what you mean. It was the same with my first english book, I read tons of english material every day since when I was 11, but the first english book I went thru (‘sapiens’ from harari - philosophy/history/politics and lots of words you don’t see on instagram or google searches lol) took me quite a while to end. I was constantly looking for new words, but I found out that just keep doing this was enough, after many years of experience I could easily be reading about quantum physics understating everything that doesn’t require specific academic knowledge. But honestly I’m not sure that this is the same of what happens when a westerner tries to learn an eastern language with such huge differences.

I’ll happily take your suggestion