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

Also a quick note to use the updated poll template in the OP, please! Better to catch that early before everyone votes. :wink:

Otherwise, looks like a solid pick!

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Yes good point, will add more in a bit

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Will do! I was using it but it broke something so I recreated it but I think I just messed something up

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I appreciate it! If I need to fix something in there, I will. Let me know if I’ve missed something!

Fixed the poll! I think i just copied over the par/inline marks and that messed it up or something. Works now!

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…this is why we should set reminders when juggling multiple projects and a move between countries, kids. Things will get overlooked!

I apologize that I’m a few days getting the call for nominations out, but we do still have some open slots! With 17 nominations currently in the running, that leaves us with 3 spots to fill! If you have something that you think would be good to read as part of this club, please post your nominations now! Given that my forgetfulness has resulted in a pretty short call for nomination period, I’ll push posting the selection poll out an extra day to June 25th and let that run to July 2nd (one full week). Please have all of your nominations by 2023-06-25T15:00:00Z if you want them to make it into this round of voting!

I am really sorry about getting this call up so last minute!

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Nomination post :slight_smile:

雪女

Summary

Copying this review from LearnNatively:
Nice little horror-y folktale, only a few pages long. It reminds me of a few other Japanese folktales I’ve read involving mysterious magical women.

Being an Aozora book, some of the usual difficulty caveats apply (e.g. some older kanji usage). Being a folktale set in the countryside, it also has some rustic vocabulary that may be unfamiliar if, like me, you mostly read more contemporary works. However, the grammar is not very complicated, and the longer sentences are broken up with punctuation.

Availability

Free:
Amazon JP
Aozora (Free - Public Domain)
Or not free:
Bookwalker
Physical: print the free version

Personal Opinion

I want to read this book because I have never yet read a book in Japanese, only manga.
I went on Natively to try and find a short story and found this one as the most popular one that wasn’t yet read on WK (unless I missed it), level 25.
Reading a whole book and pages of text sounds very scary. But this book is only fifteen pages, so I think we can do it :smiley: And there is even an audio video of someone reading it!

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • A book and not a manga
  • Free
  • Audio video

Cons

  • A book and not a manga

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

There you go, the whole book:

Additional Pages

See above, the whole book is in the nomination post :laughing:

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know
  • I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me
0 voters
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Aozora’s reader view and Google Search for read-aloud, can be found here – 図書カード:雪女

Reader view

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Thanks! Added it to the nomination post :slight_smile:

I gave it a shot and think it could work. Reading it in the browser on my PC makes it very easy to look up kanji, and the reader view is adding that little extra touch. Also horror and one of my favorite folk tales, so tons of reasons to give it a go! :smiley:

I suppose pacing is key here, not reading too many lines per week. Being an absolute beginner, seeing a page completely covered in Japanese startled me at first. But once I realized that I’m actually looking at the story here, and later spotted that “in Browsers” link from the aozora overview, I felt up to the task. :joy:

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Here’s a link directly to the vertical reader … If one is like me and can’t stand reading on a screen it would be easy peasy to print out five pages and have the whole story, plus extra room on the page for making notes. I’m excited about the video you linked, that looks great, and I would love to give this story a try at an absolute-beginner-friendly pace! (I think between the audio recording and the ability to copy-paste any words you can’t read, that pretty much makes up for the complete lack of furigana.)

eta: also many people have fancy browser extensions that can just provide the furigana for them …

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I didn’t even think about printing, great idea :slight_smile: thanks for the link too, added to the nomination post!

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ガールズ&パンツァー リトルアーミー / Girls Und Panzer: Little Army

Summary

This is the story of Miho Nishizumi in her elementary school days, taking place six years prior to the events in Girls und Panzer. Having been raised in a prestigious household that adheres strictly to the values of tankery, life isn’t easy for young Miho. With an older sister who has already risen to great heights, Miho has some very large shoes to fill. Together with a group of new friends, and a blossoming interest in tankery, Miho will set out on a road that may very well change her future.

Availability

Physical: Amazon
Ebook: Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

Honestly, now I’ve started reading manga I went looking for the manga associated with my favourite anime franchises and spotted that Little Army has full furigana and at least from my read through of the first half of chapter 1, not overly difficult language. There is some domain knowledge, but they don’t seem to expect the JP audience to know them either as they go out of their way to explain it (e.g.:
image
)

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • A recognizable franchise, with a story that’s new if you’ve watched it and decoupled if you haven’t.
  • Near-full furigana (it does drop it with some effect fonts, like the image caption on page 3, text on diagrams, or a character talking without a bubble to indicate excited babbling)

Cons

  • Some pages can be relatively text-dense, there’s not as many “free” pages as in the last two manga. Pages 2/3 are actually near the top end in terms of density (esp kanji density), but that’s not to say there’s not plenty of other pages that are 80% of the way there.
  • Tank/vehicle specific language, though it seems a lot of it is explained
  • Based on the description, volume 2 might go into more spoiler backstory stuff if you haven’t watched the anime.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages

A standard-ish page and one of the somewhat frequent large spreads

Page with some tank/vehicle lingo being explained:

Two typical pages in a row:

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Substantial effort
  • So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know
  • I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me
0 voters
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That would be my one concern, @Akashelia. What is the intended reading pace? How many weeks do you think you want to spread it out, are there reasonable stopping points, etc… At only 15 pages, I imagine it would be a really short read.

I’m not necessarily opposed to it, to be clear, but the format doesn’t seem to quite match the usual club format, and it may be better suited as a one-shot club. Just curious what the actual gameplan would be, essentially. Especially if it gets selected, I’ll need to know if it would be a considered a short run and require a second victor so that we aren’t just immediately holding another selection poll. :sweat_smile:

That said, that discussion really can wait for now. No sense planning it out until the polls are done and we know what’s happening for sure. It was just a slightly different format than what I’ve seen before, so it made me start thinking! :joy:

With those two nominations, we now only have ONE nomination slot left!

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Sure I can answer that now, I already gave it a bit of thought :slight_smile:
So the total character count is around 3000 (3300 but I didn’t remove the punctuation).

To compare, here are some other numbers:

  • Ruri Dragon: 12k
  • ちいさな森のオオカミちゃん : 7k
  • Yotsubato! vol 1: 13k

Though it’s not completely fair to compare the character count to one of a manga, because in a manga the sentences are usually way shorter and there are a lot of breaks with just drawings (except for Ruri :laughing: ).
Here we are talking text only.

So some other numbers I went to look at, was how long the episodes on Satori Reader are. I looked at a few of Akiko’s foreign exchange, one of the most popular story and the one I’m reading now, and an episode is around 300-350 character long.

So that’s what I was thinking we could go for. Around 300 characters a week, for about 10 weeks. Of course if the book gets picked I will look closely for where to break (in between two sentences obviously) and also probably having a ramping up period.

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Seeing “level 25” makes me a bit sceptical that this is a good fit for the ABBC - that’s pretty firmely in BBC territory.

(Sadly, the BBC doesn’t seem to be too fond of books. My nomination of lovely short stories collection is gathering dust at 16-17%…)

edit: I think a short story that might be closer to the ABBC range could be 手ぶくろを買いに | L20.

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seeing foxes on cover I’m in.

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Yet to vote / look at the text itself but I agree with @TobiasW. Anything above level 20 on Natively feels out of my comfort zone at this point and would immediately make me hesitant.

That said, while I’ve only been part of this club since the start of ルリ, it might be good to get a bit of variety and try a short story or two since the focus has been on manga lately.

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While I might usually agree, I think this is sort of a different situation, and could be a good experiment. Because the content is short, the pace would likely be something like 1-2 pages a week. That gives plenty of time to slowly work through each sentence, and having the company of others of various levels helping would make it accessible, I think. It may be a little drier than the usual ABBC book club, but on the other hand, working through a classic story for adults could provide a lot of motivation for some.

It’s definitely different, but I think it could be a really great experience! General interest level will become clear in the voting, I guess, but I would definitely encourage folks to give it a shot!

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A userscript that automatically shows the natively level on the amazon store would be nice, because it’s increasingly difficult to find something that wasn’t yet covered, is in the appropriate range (or isn’t yet rated) and is actually interesting looking.

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