Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now reading: 海辺のカフカ・Next: 狼と香辛料

That being said, there are less than 8 weeks until the next book. As we usually vote 6 weeks prior, that only leaves 1.5 week to anyone who would like to make a nomination. Maybe a regular could edit the thread title as well?


Wow, I get the chance to edit title and move a thread between categories both in one day. That’s not something that occurs regularly.


I didn’t see anything about it in the home post, so wanted to double-check: how do we feel about translated books? I.e., books not originally written in Japanese.


I’m thinking if I should update the description and difficulty for my nomination of 86. I heard it being described as one of the most difficult LN’s written, and jpdb seems to agree somewhat with a difficulty rating of 10/10. Also touts over 8k unique words and 2k unique kanji in just the first volume. If it’s anything like All you Need is Kill, it’s probably not that light (at least for me)…

I guess the pace is adjustable if it gets chosen. Maybe this will pique some people’s interest :stuck_out_tongue:.


Personally I would never vote for nor read a book that was translated into Japanese, but I don’t think that stops you from nominating one. I do think you should mention this fact in the nomination post though, so people know.


How do other people feel about this? I, for the record, don’t mind either way, but I can definitely understand not wanting to “muddy the waters”, so to speak, when we’re all just trying to learn anyway.


Well, I wouldn’t mind voting for it if the original was written in a language I don’t understand, like Mandarin or Polish. Otherwise I would go for the original, indeed.
There’s no rule against nominations, anyway, @eefara


Agreed. I would certainly consider reading a translated book if it were translated from a language I don’t know into Japanese and there’s no English (my first language) translation available. Even then I would still consider it a “con” for voting.


I don’t have any issues at all with this (in fact I’m currently reading two books that are translations into Japanese), but from the reactions of the others it might be the case that your nomination won’t be that popular after all, so maybe save the effort and/or rather suggest something in Japanese instead?


That’s what I’m kind of leaning towards as well. As Napthalene said, I could definitely suggest it, but I don’t want to put forward a book that the group’s not really feeling the first place; there’s plenty to read out there.


I would also be open to reading a translation if it was from a language I don’t speak. I’ve been vaguely thinking of reading The Three-Body Problem (三体) translated from Chinese to Japanese, probably because I heard about it in a Japanese podcast.

But anyway, what’s the book you wanted to nominate? I’m curious now.


魔道祖師, so also Chinese in origin.There is an official English translation (as “Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”) being published nowadays, though, so that might also count as point against it.

Dang, I like the Japanese covers they have for these. I have the first book in English but haven’t read it myself.



Author : 恩田 陸 (おんだ りく)
Page count: 420 pages



北陸・K市の名士・青澤家を襲った大量毒殺事件。乾杯の音頭の直後、皆がもがき苦しみ始めた。家族・親族、相伴に与った業者、遊びに来ていた近所の住人・子どもたちも合わせて、17名が死亡した。現場には、 ユージニア という意味不明の言葉が出てくる詩のような一通の手紙が残されていた。




The novel starts in the 1960s when 17 people die of cyanide poisoning at a party given by the owners of a prominent clinic in a town on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The only surviving links to what might have happened are a cryptic verse that could be the killer’s and the physician’s bewitching blind daughter Hisako, the only person spared injury. The youth who emerges as the prime suspect commits suicide that October effectively sealing his guilt while consigning his motives to mystery.
Years later, the author of a book about the murders and a police detective try to find out the truth about this crime. But the truth is only what we see from our perspective…

Length :
Category :



Personal Opinion

Somebody recommended a criminal story by Onda Riku that would turn into a bit of a fantasy story, but they did not give the title. From what they described, it might have been this book (or not), so I’m curious to learn more about it.

Onda Riku is also the author of 夜のピクニック - not sure if this is a pro or a con? :sweat_smile:

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • A criminal story!
  • The recommendation sounded interesting to me, so I’m interested to find out more
  • The book won the 59th 日本推理作家協会賞 (Mystery Writers of Japan Award) in 2006.
  • There is an English translation available (it’s called The Aosawa Murders).
  • There is also a brand-new German translation available (called Die Aosawa-Morde).


  • Yet another criminal story…

Also, please see @wiersm“s comment on the book below.


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters


… Was “Eugenia” taken? :stuck_out_tongue:

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No idea to be honest :joy_cat:
Such a nice name but they didn’t seem to like it…


Ooh, I read it in English, so if this gets picked, I might be tempted to join to see if I can understand it in Japanese too.


Oh! No spoilers please but was it good?

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It’s extra weird to think of a white サルスベリ flower when you know the kanji for that tree is 百日紅 :rofl:

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Yes, I thought it was a pretty good crime novel. It has some nice twists and turns that make you go back and forth on what might have really gone down. I think it would be a good pick for the book club because you can have a lot of fun speculating about what really happened and there are also plenty of things (sometimes shocking) that happen that are worth discussing.

A peculiarity of the book is that every chapter is told from the perspective of a different character. This can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it. The constant drip feed of information from different perspectives is interesting but it also means that the narrative style changes every chapter so that might make it a harder read because you never really settle into one writing style.

I also seem to remember that the book was a bit confusing at certain points. I’m not sure if that is also the case in the original or if that was simply a flawed translation.


Wow, thanks very much for the insights! I added a link to it to my nomination post.