Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now reading: 海辺のカフカ

I honestly don’t mind, it’s a preference, but either way isn’t a problem (I wish there was an option like that in the poll :sweat_smile:)
But yeah, any date is fine really, but thanks for checking, appreciate it :blush:

I made the poll multi-select so I thought just ticking all the options would do to express “either way is fine”, but maybe a more explicit option might be preferable? Anyways, thanks for your flexibility!

This means it’s decided: We will start reading 雪国 on October 31st!

(EDIT: I will add the dates to its home thread as soon as Discourse stops acting up…)


First three volumes of くま クマ 熊 ベアー are 90% off on BookWalker until 2020/11/30


On BookLive, volumes 4-10 are 50% off as well.

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The current book will be finished in a bit less than two months, and so I figured it might be about time to think about the next poll.

We currently have 16 proposals (12 fast and 4 hard ones), which is a very good number, but nonetheless I would like to ask whether anybody would like to propose another book? (We will only accept 20 proposals in total, though, as this is the maximum number that the poll can hold.)

Having said all that, I actually would like to propose a book :nerd_face:


Author : 太宰治 (だざいおさむ)



(Source: BookWalker)


No Longer Human is told in the form of notebooks left by one Ōba Yōzō (大庭葉蔵), a troubled man incapable of revealing his true self to others, and who, instead, maintains a facade of hollow jocularity. The work is made up of three chapters, or “memoranda”, which chronicle the life of Ōba from his early childhood to his late twenties. The story is bookended with two other, shorter, chapters from the point of view of a neutral observer, who sees three photos of Ōba and eventually tracks down one of the characters mentioned in the notebooks who knew him personally.

The novel, narrated in first person, contains several elements which portray an autobiographical basis, such as suicide, a recurring theme in the author’s life. Many believe the book to have been his will, as Dazai took his own life shortly after the last part of the book (which had appeared in serial form) was published.

Length : 131 pages (BookWalker standardized page count) / 192 pages (Amazon paperback bunko)
Category : Hard


(There are also other editions on BookWalker and probably also physical. I’d like to choose this one as reference.)

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


  • It is considered Dazai’s masterpiece
  • It ranks as the second-best selling novel ever in Japan
  • Many translations are available for reference
  • Good price (~300 Yen both digital and physical, free on Aozora)


  • Deals with suicide, so might not be for everyone


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


I really want to read 人間失格 but I’m not sure if I can. I will need look up these pages when I have time. Reading that book was in my plan but not on the short therm ha ha


I love the fact that 荒い is highlighted in your screenshot :stuck_out_tongue:
Other than that, books by 太宰 play an important role in the ビブリア series, so I’ve been thinking about reading some of them for a while. I keep seeing 人間失格 at my local bookstore, thinking “maybe I should buy it”. Then, everytime, I see the price and remember that it’s free on aozora… and end up doing nothing about it.


I was interested in it, although I heard the book is pretty heavy and depressing. Keep in mind the author killed himself soon after finishing this book… I’m not sure I want to read it in the current world situation :wink:


Yeah, I don’t know, I think I read the first page or so already, and marked it for some reason, and did not bother to remove the highlight when I took the screenshot. :woman_shrugging: Happy to hear that you enjoyed it though :wink:

Is it so expensive? I’d expect it to be really cheap at BookOff though… (it’s only ~300 yen at Amazon and BookWalker). But yeah, nothing can beat a free copy anyways!

I take it that you will be voting for it, then? :wink:

Speaking of which, when should we set up the new poll? If we add a one-week break to the end of 雪国, the new book would start on Jan 23rd, so it should maybe be decided by early December? Dec 12th would be 6 weeks before the start date, but given the double stress (and shipping delay factor) of Covid AND holiday season, I guess it might be beneficial to add another week or so?


Technically, he attempted suicide so many times that it seems almost random that he succeeded after 人間失格. At first, he thought that 晩年 will be his last book and his will (1936; 人間失格 is 1948).
And he was in the process of writing グッド・バイ (I know how this title sounds in this context, but it’s actually a comedy). So it’s not even like he finished everything before his death.
Interesting fact is that his health was already rapidly deteriorating when he finally succeeded with his suicide, so he probably wasn’t gonna live much longer in either case.


It’s something like 500 something +tax, so around 600? I guess it depends on the version.

About the next poll, 6 weeks before is what I usually aim for as well.

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I must confess, that was the ultimate reminder for me to submit it :rofl:


What’s the manga panel from?

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That’s from Shimeji Simulation (it appears to her in a dream in this huge shape)


Ha ha I want to read it. I already bought the books but I have too many book clubs right now so not for the moment. Sorry

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Would you like to run the poll? Otherwise I could set it up (given you seem to be quite busy), I’ve got the time to do it. I was thinking of starting it on Saturday so that it covers the weekend as well as the week (covering the weekend might be beneficial for people with a crazy busy schedule in these crazy times…). When voting is expected to dry up in the middle of the week or so, we will be 6 weeks and a bit ahead of the next book club start.

(By the way, how do you calculate difficulties? Assign numbers 1-5 to the levels and calculate the average? Or do you use different numbers or a different method?)


I don’t mind at all if you can take care of the poll! It would help a lot indeed.

Is exactly how I do it. I have made a script to automate the process a bit, but it’s messy to use… I think you are better off making your own script :thinking:
(Otherwise I think the link to the code is buried somewhere in the intermediate book club thread)

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Sorry but I can’t follow you here… Of course the average does not need to match one of the scores (why would it anyway?), it rather conveys information on the overall distribution of opinions, and that’s what I’d like to capture. An example: The median of [1, 1, 1] is the same as the median of [1, 1, 5], namely 1, so it totally swallows the information that there was one person who thought the book is super-hard. Using the average calculation you get 1 vs. 2.33 which reflects this distribution of votes much better in my opinion.

Why do you think the average doesn’t make sense?

Not necessarily; the median of [1, 2] would still be 1.5, no?


You should use the average of the mode and the median.

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