Currently Reading: ちいさな森のオオカミちゃん ・ The Wolf of the Small Forest
Welcome to our Japanese book club for absolute beginners! In this club, we choose a Japanese book and read it together. We then discuss what we’ve read, whether that’s meaningful discussion on the content, questions about vocabulary and grammar that confuse us, or just motivating each other to keep moving.
What Does Absolute Beginner Mean?
This bookclub is aimed at readers who are tackling native Japanese material for the first time. A grammar knowledge around the level of JLPT N5 / end of Genki 1 is probably about right. Kanji knowledge is not essential as the books chosen will generally have furigana.
The bookclub isn’t really aimed at readers who are “absolute beginners” in Japanese. At that level your time is probably best spent learning basic grammar and vocabulary before tackling native material. However, reading native material can be a fun way to motivate learning, and readers of all levels are welcome to join the fun and ask questions!
Should I Join?
The goal of this Absolute Beginners’ Book Club is to help you practise reading so that in the future you can take the jump to the Beginner Book Club, where more advanced books are being discussed.
With that in mind, anyone is welcome to join in and read along. You don’t need to do anything to become a member, just grab a copy of the upcoming book and join in the discussion when it starts!
Set this thread to “watching” to keep up to date with discussions about upcoming books.
Instructions for setting thread to watching
If you set this thread to watching, you’ll get notifications when there are new posts. You can always turn this off again if you no longer want to receive them.
To do this, scroll down to the last post in this thread. You can use the slider on the side as it’s quite long! Under the last post look for the grey box in the picture below, click on it and select “watching”. You’re all done!
Additionally, you can always read previously selected books and get help from the past discussions; feel free to ask new questions too!
|Book||Kitty Detectives Club||にゃんにゃん探偵団 ***||L16|
|Book||Wonders of the World - 2nd grade reader||なぜ？どうして？せかいはふしぎ 2年生||L17|
|Manga||Chi’s Sweet Home||チーズスイートホーム***||L14|
|Manga||I’m in Love with You Forever||結婚しても愛してる||L22|
|Book||10 Minute Stories - 2nd grade reader||10分で読める物語 二年生 (unfinished)||L18|
|Book||Stories of Science - 2nd grade reader||なぜ？どうして？科学のお話２年生||L17|
|Manga||Big Brother Rental||レンタルおにいちゃん ***||L18|
|Book||10 Minute Biographies - 2nd grade reader||１０分で読める伝記２年生||L18|
|Manga||Teasing Master Takagi-san||からかい上手の高木さん ***||L18|
|Manga||When Will Ayumu Make His Move||それでも歩は寄せてくる ***||L20|
|Manga||Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea||大海原と大海原 ***||L22|
|Manga||Mitsuboshi Colours||三ツ星カラーズ ***||L19|
|Book||Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Lower grade reader)||都道府県のおはなし 低学年 (おはなしドリル||L22(?)|
|Manga||Hunter × Hunter||ハンター × ハンター||L29|
|Manga||Cells at Work!||はたらく細胞||L28|
*** Continuing as an offshoot bookclub
- わんにゃん Book Club
- チーズスイートホーム Reading Club
- レンタルおにいちゃん Reading Club
- からかい上手の高木さん Book Club
- それでも歩は寄せてくる Book Club
- Wadanohara and the Great Blue Sea Volume 2 thread
- 三ツ星カラーズ Reading Club
- ハピネス Reading Club
Natively grades book difficulty from user feedback, a higher number indicates increased difficulty - Grading system on Natively website | Wanikani forums Natively thread
Any book suggestions are welcome, so feel free to nominate something you’d like to read using the template below! The books suggested must be appropriate for absolute beginners though; please read the guidelines before making a nomination.
Guidelines for Proposing Books
Nominate something you are ready to read
- This is a big cooperative group, but there’s always a minority keeping things active. If your pick wins, there will be some expectation that you contribute throughout.
- If you can’t read your own sample pages (at least mostly) you may not be able to judge the difficulty effectively, and won’t be able to help others much.
Books nominated must not be longer than 100 pages (of text)
- Our reading pace means this is the longest we could tackle within a reasonable time-frame.
- A book of short stories can be longer: we will only pick select stories.
Do not nominate anything clearly NSFW
- This can be hard to judge without reading the book, but if you’d associate the work with fanservice or gore, even if just by reputation, please don’t suggest it for this group.
Furigana does not imply something is easy
Copy this template into a new post when proposing a book/manga.
For page samples, you can either take photos of your own copy (try to make the three additional pages ‘representative’ if possible), grab photos from the internet, or use previews from e.g. Amazon, BookWalker, EBookJapan. Make sure the text is legible!
# Insert Title Here
Insert summary from Amazon/Wikipedia/MyAnimeList/wherever here.
Insert link to book on amazon.co.jp here.
Insert link(s) to ebook here, or mention if an ebook is not available.
## Personal Opinion
Insert why you think this book would be good to read, personally and for the book club here.
### Pros and Cons for the Book Club
* Insert pros here.
* Insert cons here.
[details=“First Three Pages of Chapter One”]
Insert images here (can be photos from you or the internet, or from ebook previews).
Insert a few more images here - try to make them representative.
## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this book?
[poll type=regular public=true]
* No effort at all
* Minimal effort
* Moderate effort
* Substantial effort
* So much effort my head might explode
* I don’t know
* I am an experienced reader, so this is not much effort for me
List of Proposed Books
|福娘童話集||Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection|
|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 Tales Collection Vol 1 (Issun-boshi and other stories)|
|もしかしたら名探偵||Detective Milky Sugiyama|
|１０分で読めるこわい話1年生||10 minute reader - Scary stories (1st grade reader)|
|Wanted||Short stories from the creator of One Piece|
|あしょんでよッ ~うちの犬ログ||Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log|
|可愛いだけじゃない式守さん||Miss Shikimori is not just cute|
|藤本タツキ短編集 17-21||Fujimoto Tatsuki Short Story Collection 17-21|
|ふだつきのキョーコちゃん||Fudatsuki no Kyoko-chan|
|ギャルと恐竜||Gal & Dino|
おじさまと猫 - An Old Man and a Cat - Bookclub launched separately - Link to Bookclub
Dragon Ball SD - Bookclub launched as a spin off club - Link to Bookclub
ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (GeGeGe no Kitarō) - Nomination moved to beginner book club
ミラーさん - Mr Miller - Removed as low interest on poll 7
日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 | Japanese Fairy Tales (set of 18) - Removed as low interest on poll 8
Where to Purchase Books
This section explains where to buy Japanese books in general. Please see each book’s thread for where to buy those specific books.
Purchasing Japanese Books
- Amazon JP (Kindle-compatible)
- EBook Japan (doesn’t show tax until checkout; not Kindle-compatible)
- Book Walker (accepts paypal)
- Honto (mobile reader app is region-locked – on Android get an APK, on iOS use JP App Store; not Kindle-compatible)
If purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP gives you trouble, check out sirvorn’s wonderful guide on purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP.
If you can’t find an online store that will ship to you, you can use a forwarding service like Tenso or White Rabbit Express to forward the package to you for a fee.
If you live in the right place, you may also be able to find the book at a local Japanese book store. For example, Kinokuniya.
"Next Book" Polls
Links go to the original nomination post:
Book Poll 9 - Winner: ルリドラゴン and ちいさな森のオオカミちゃん
Book Poll 8 - Winner: ハンター×ハンター and 働く細胞
Book Poll 7 - Winner: Stories of the Japanese Prefectures
Book Poll 6 - Winner: 三ツ星カラーズ and ハピネス
Book Poll 5 - Winner: それでも歩は寄せてくる and 大海原と大海原
Book Poll 4 - Winner: Teasing Master Takagi-san
Book Poll 3 - Winner: 10分で読める伝記
Book Poll 2 - Winner: 結婚しても恋してる
Book Poll 1 - Winner: しろくまカフェ and チーズスイートホーム