Good evening, good evening
After many failed attempts, I am happy to announce that I have officially read my first book in Japanese from beginning to end! Perhaps it is encouraging for some of you, so I thought I´d write a post about it.
Straight to business: the book is titled 「知識ゼロからはじめる起業の本」(badly translated: A book about starting a business from zero knowledge).
I began slowly in the beginning of June with a goal of finishing it within 24th of August. After reading about 60%, I had a 1 month break from end of June to end of July due to being a busy salaryman. Luckily, I forced myself back on track
While reading, I looked up all the words I did not know, then I wrote down the reading and meaning on the page itself. To make sure I did not write the same word twice, the words were registered in a spreadsheet where I noted if the word/kanji is being taught in WK or not. If I encountered the same word twice or more, I just wrote a page number reference to the first place I discovered it（大変だけど・・・）
Some stats about this journey:
- My JP knowledge for reference:
Kanji-wise around WK level 40-45. Never took JLPT, but think I would pass N3, possibly N2 as well if I cared to study grammar. Living & working in Japan (3 years+). Use Japanese on a daily basis.
- Book title: 知識ゼロからはじめる起業の本
- Author: 中野裕哲（NAKANO Hiroaki mr）
- Genre: Business
- Pages: 175 pages divided on 67 lessons with a good deal of explanatory diagrams（図解）
- Unknown words: 324 (average of 1.85 new words per page)
- Unknown words NOT in WK: 266
- Unknown Kanji: about 32 (some I might have briefly seen somewhere before)
- Unknown Kanji NOT in WK: 24
Previously I tried to read several history books, but they all ended up with 15-25 new words per page. It was a pain and extremely demotivating. I found this book to be in the perfect sweet spot with 約2 new words per page.
For those interested, you can see the list of non-WK kanji and the words they were in below.
- 掴む（つかむ）- to understand; comprehend
- 庇護（ひご）- patronage; protection
- 捉える（とらえる）- to catch/capture 2) to grasp (e.g. meaning); to perceive
- 嗜好（しこう）- taste; liking; preference
- 玉石混淆（ぎょくせきこんこう）- mixture of the good & bad
- 捻出（ねんしゅつ）- working out a solution
- 謄本（とうほん）- certified copy; transcript
- 躊躇（ちゅうちょ）- hesitation; indecision
- 跨ぐ（またぐ）- to straddle
- 天秤（てんびん）- (balance) scales
- 緻密（ちみつ）- fine; delicate; accurate; elaborate
- 躓く（つまずく）- to stumble; to trip 2) to fail
- 足枷（あしかせ）- shackles
- お浚い（おさらい）- review; rehearsal
- 俯瞰（ふかん）- overlooking; looking down at; bird´s eye view
- 真摯（しんし）- sincere; earnest; serious
- 付き纏う（つきまとう）- to follow around; to shadow; to tag along
- 払拭（ふっしょく）- wiping out; sweeping away; dispelling
- 鵜呑みにする（うのみにする）- to swallow (e.g. a story); to accept without questioning
- 逐一（ちくいち）- one by one; in detail
- 綴じる（とじる）- to bind; to file
The end of the book, the あとがき (afterword/postcript), said some encouraging words about starting a business. I figured these words would apply to Japanese learning as well, thus I thought it would be nice sharing it with you guys (excuse my terrible translations skills…):
There is no age or gender, fast or slow in starting a business (or learning Japanese). Do or do not, that’s all there is. What is essential is 「to be interested」, 「to take action」, just those 2 things. If you want to start a business (or learn Japanese), it does not matter if you take half a step at a time, or one step at a time, go ahead and keep preparing (read: DO YOUR REVIEWS )!
On a serious note. WK is an amazing tool. Keep up the hard work and you will find yourself reading your favourite Japanese book eventually. The feeling of achievement is beyond this world!