Absolute Beginners Book Club // Now reading: The Wolf of the Small Forest

As the date of the next book is inching closer (2 weeks is a scary short amount of time), I was starting to think about the ways of making HxH easier to read.
I’ll quickly collect all of the ideas I’ve mentioned earlier and had since, and I would love to hear some ideas or reservations about them.

  • Grammar sheet - this could take several formats, from the simple “vocab sheet, but with grammar points”, to the opposite end of the spectrum of individual sentences with the grammar points appearing in that sentence listed out. I think this has one of the best effort to helpfullness ratio out of the ideas, so would love to have one, just not sure what form it should ideally take.
  • Sentence explanations - this would be more of a community thing. It already somewhat exists, it just isn’t stated explicitly. This would be when people post a sentence and ask for a breakdown from someone, if they are stuck. This is of course helpful, because even with a translation tool, like deepl, you might not understand, how the sentence is put together. This ties heavily into the grammar sheet, and it would of course be nice to have the breakdowns be collected into one place for easier viewing.
  • “official translation” - this idea is about making the translations easier to look through, and more importantly, more accurate. It would be similar to how the vocab sheet works, if you know, how to translate a sentence, go over to the translation sheet and put it in. If someone thinks it’s incorrect, they can mention it and it can be discussed. It could even have separate literal and natural translations

These are my ideas for now, but I’m open for more. I’m willing to testdrive some ideas to see how viable/helpful they are, I have the capacity to put in a few minutes more per week.


saw this the other day, told myself I would come back and read it when I had more time, promptly forgot

My thoughts:

  • Grammar Sheet - I like this idea, for sure. I think “vocab sheet but for grammar points” format would be the best. I’m a fan of, “give everyone the tools to find the answer, but don’t hand it to them unless you absolutely have to, to work backwards from” methodology, personally. It’s what has tended to work best for my brain. But of course, everyone learns differently, so maybe somebody will disagree with me. (And I’ve been known to give an answer and work backwards from it while explaining many times, myself; I just feel that if we have an established sheet of some sort, it would be better to just list points rather than listing by sentence).
  • Sentence explanations - I see no harm in collecting explanations that are already posted in one place to make it easier to locate, for sure. I believe @ChristopherFritz attempted something similar with Mitsuboshi Colors. It could become a bit cumbersome to try and collect them all in one place, but if somebody has the time, it’s certainly convenient for readers.
  • Official Translation - This is one that I would shy away from, personally, with the “give the tools to find the answer, but not the answer itself unless you have to” methodology. (Again, others might disagree, I’m just giving my thoughts). I’d also think that after a certain point, you might be entering a grey area regarding providing a translation for a work. Discussing bits and pieces here and there is one thing, but compiling a full translation might be a little iffy.

That, and there’s an actual official translation which you can buy from your local bookshop or online retailer.


Or some people like myself, accidentally purchased because they weren’t paying attention!


I believe a Grammar Sheet would be very useful for beginners like me who have not even finished Genki 1. When I am trying to read something written for Japanese native speakers I often cannot easily identify the grammatical structures used and this limits my comprehension. I just thought that the grammar sheet could be a spreadsheet with links to an website with the explanation. I like https://jlptsensei.com because it has concise explanations and several examples. So, if in certain page, we come across りんごを食べたい。the spreadsheet entry could be たい or 食べたい and the explanation linked to https://jlptsensei.com/learn-japanese-grammar/たい-tai-meaning/.


Speaking of (lol)
Threw together a v1 for it, the link is editable and all, so please do fix errors, if you find any.
Any thoughts about it?


The only changes I made were minor formatting ones to bring it in line with the newest version of the vocabulary sheets that we have up in the Tips Thread.

If you would like, we could also add the new auto-formatting thing to this sheet where things can be added if unsure, and someone types unsure into the notes column to highlight the entry requiring extra attention, but I feel like, while that works fine enough for vocabulary, for grammar points, we would be better served by having a proper discussion within the thread.

It might also be worth mentioning specific reference sites to use (Bunpro, JLPTSensei, Maggie-sensei, etc.) to keep things a bit neater and being sure we are linking to reputable sites, not just some random 山田太郎 who might not be giving a proper explanation. :joy:

But otherwise, I think that looks good



I’m not involved, so take this comment from a random lurker with a grain of salt please :joy_cat: But I took a quick look at the sheet and I was a bit surprised that it said “Grammar (Kanji)” and “Grammar (Kana)” because more often than not, grammar points are written in a certain way and there is no real choice whether to write them in kanji or not. (Example: While you can either write 見る or みる, the grammar point てみる is never written with kanji afaik.)
So I was wondering whether it might not actually be misleading to have these two columns?


I wondered the same, initially, but there are also a number of grammar points which can be written as either. (Though admittedly, many of the ones that come to mind are the kind which ride the line between being grammar points and vocabulary.)

という could show up as と言う and still mean the same, for example.





ておく/て置く (while only once, I recall seeing it somewhere)

And so on. All of those can show up in either kanji or kana, when being used as grammar as well (even if kana might be more common for most of them). Though the てみる example I haven’t yet seen written any other way, I feel like it’s a case of not reading older/more difficult texts. I wouldn’t be surprised if it could be written as て見る and be valid, if very uncommon. (Though a reverse context search doesn’t pull up any results that relate to the grammar point usage, either, so. :person_shrugging:)

Regardless, the existence of grammar points that can be written either way is why I didn’t mention changing it even if it caught me a bit by surprise initially; I figure if it seems like some which are not interchangeable get added as if they are, it will just require some pruning as we go along.


Generally you are right that kind of “anything goes” if you dive into older texts or texts geared towards adults or when the author wants to be fancy, and so on. Still I was thinking that this is the ABBC so wouldn’t it be rather more helpful to just list the grammar points as they appear in the text, and link to relevant explanations? Those explanations will then usually show the other usage as well if appropriate. But like I said, I’m not invested, just a thought ^^

For your concrete examples (of which many border on being just vocab, like you said), one struck me, though:

This one actually changes it’s meaning, are you aware of that? Here is what Bunpro says about it:


Yeah, I was aware that there is supposed to be a difference, but also that, (as Bunpro also mentions), you’ll still see it both ways fairly often because it’s a mistake natives make somewhat regularly. It feels to me like regardless vs irregardless in that sense. Only one is technically correct, but you may as well learn the other because you’re gonna see it. :sweat_smile:

I could change that example out for ところで/所で to be less ambiguous though. :wink:

Either way, I’m also not strongly leaning one way or the other; just playing devil’s advocate for why including it isn’t necessarily a negative thing.

Whether it gets changed to a single column or not, I agree that if proper reference links are posted, you’ll see both versions, anyhow, and also that keeping it from being confusing should be prioritized.

(I also assume the idea behind having a kanji section had more to do with the grammar points that have kanji still having “furigana” provided in the kana section for those who might not be able to read the kanji, and not necessarily to imply that all grammar points have kanji that should be learned. Similar to the vocab sheet, you would only put the kanji in if that’s how it showed up in the text).


I could imagine this being the case on Twitter or something, but in books I don’t think I saw that erroneous usage yet.

But yeah, anyways, I’m not fighting for anything here, it just crossed my mind so I thought I’d mention it :slight_smile:

Oh, I see - I thought you were aiming to fill both columns for all points, thus potentially leading to wrong or very unusual results.
(If this were my sheet, I would probably call these columns “Grammar point” and “Reading help”/“Furigana” or something to make it clearer.)


I mean, it’s not my sheet, so maybe that was the intent, but I would be surprised to hear that; that’s not how we use the vocabulary sheets, right? It’s encouraged to put words in as they appear in the text (but in plain form, of course). Why would that suddenly change for the grammar sheet? :grin:

Yeah, that could clear up any potential misunderstanding!


Yeah maybe my misinterpretation was because I don’t use vocabulary sheets… :pensive:


Just like with the vocab sheet, the idea is that you put in the version that appears in the text, but if it has a kanji in it, there still needs to be a way to show how that is read


We did try a grammar sheet in Big Brother Rental using Bunpro links. This is what it looked like:


level 12 user here. Been wanting to join the ABBC for a bit and am excited to finally give it a shot.


Ran through the first page of HxH to test drive the grammar sheet, couple of things where immediately obvious

I don’t know a good way to show grammar points that aren’t of the form “〜 X”. Case in point, adjectival clauses. Should it be like “Clause + Noun” or “Sentence + Noun”? What would be a beginner friendly way of explaining it so that if someone never ever met this pattern before, they can go “ah, that’s it”? Besides, I don’t have a good article about adjectival clauses, I don’t think (and I’m not sure if bunpro has it as a grammar point), so any link is welcome.

Bunpro won’t be the end all be all of the ref links. Some links are split on bunpro in a way that imo shouldn’t be included on the grammar sheet, like past tense is split into u and ru verbs.


“Clause + noun”

Meaning: a clause which behaves as an adjective for the noun it precedes.

Japanese With Anime has a decent article.

At least, that’s how I would put it in.