Beginner Japanese Book Club // Currently Reading: Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun

Well, I would prefer a book instead of a manga anyway, but I cannot suggest any, since I have not read any books yet :sweat_smile:

What about the books in the old proposal list? Are these no good?

The old proposal list was getting kind of bloated and unwieldy, so it was proposed to start a refreshed list. There’s nothing to stop people re-nominating books from the old list! That would just indicate that people are still interested in reading those books.

Also, as seanblue just said to me, you don’t have to have read the book in order to nominate it, so long as we can judge the difficulty through pictures.

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I’m back home now, so I should have the first one up on Saturday, then another on Sunday if I finish Aria c1 quickly enough.

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If I can make a suggestion, books from the 青い鳥文庫 edition are actually “fairly easy” to read.
(I haven’t read beyond the preview of kiki, but 獣の奏者 kemono no sousha was easier to read than that…)

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You kind of mentioned it in passing, but worth also pointing out that the aoi tori website lets you preview quite a few pages from most (all?) books on the website, so it would be easy for people to gauge how they find the difficulty. Plus you can search the books by school level.

http://aoitori.kodansha.co.jp/

(click the yellow ためし読み button beneath the cover picture to preview)

I’m gonna try to look through for something that looks suitable / interesting in the next couple of weeks. I have a book from this series and it’s really nicely printed with great illustrations, if nothing else!

名探偵コナン

Summary

Shinichi Kudou, a great mystery expert at only seventeen, is already well known for having solved several challenging cases. One day, when Shinichi sees two suspicious men and decides to follow them, he inadvertently becomes witness to a disturbing illegal activity. When the men catch Shinichi, they dose him with an experimental drug formulated by their criminal organization and abandon him to die. However, to his own astonishment, Shinichi is still alive and soon wakes up, but now, he has the body of a seven-year-old, perfectly preserving his original intelligence. He hides his real identity from everyone, including his childhood friend Ran Mouri and her father, private detective Kogorou Mouri, and takes on the alias of Conan Edogawa (inspired by the mystery writers Arthur Conan Doyle and Ranpo Edogawa).
(from MyAnimeList)

Availability

Physical book
ebook (pictures here - look inside feature)

Personal opinion

I’ve read this book already. The difficulty is about the same as Aria.
I think it was written for kids, so it’s a bit naive at times, but it didn’t felt like it was dumbed down. Enjoyed it a lot. Will be reading further (our Japanese library has 55 volumes).

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Detective story: lots of reasoning and explanation
  • While they investigate the case they repeat the circumstances and look at them from different points of view (might be good for retention)
  • Good pictures, clear text (no hand-written lines), full furigana

Cons

  • It’s a bit naive
  • People may have already read it / seen an anime adaptaion since it’s a very popular series

Pictures: ebook page --> なか見!検索

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

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The dialogue is, at least up to the missing page 12, pretty straightforward, but the density of text on each page is very high.

It’s easy to read (though my recent vocab exposure has been 名探偵ピカチュウ and レイトン教授vs逆転裁判, which surely provides an advantage), but probably not something I could work through quickly unless it thins out later.

Apparently 迷探偵 is a word. :joy: It’s a pun in 名探偵 since it has the same reading but opposite meaning.

Dragonball (The Complete Edition) 1 / ドラゴンボール 完全版 1

Summary

Dragon Ball was initially inspired by the classical Chinese novel Journey to the West. The series follows the adventures of the protagonist, Son Goku, from his childhood through adulthood as he trains in martial arts and explores the world in search of the seven orbs known as the Dragon Balls, which summon a wish-granting dragon when gathered. Along his journey, Goku makes several friends and battles a wide variety of villains, many of whom also seek the Dragon Balls.

Availability

amazon.jp
ebook(might need to buy the first three volumes to match the complete collection)

Personal Opinion

I think this would be a fun story to read. It’s not just fighting-- it’s more of an adventure story of this boy with a tail, Son Goku, and his friend Bulma. I also think the art is pretty cute. The 完全版 has the first three volumes of the original manga in it (like Aria and Aqua).

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Furigana
  • Fun, Adventure Story
  • The 完全版 edition is bigger than the normal manga and has some of the pages in color

Cons

  • Lots of sound effects and some specialized vocabulary

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

View On Imgur



Additional Pages

View on Imgur





Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

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Does anyone want me to write up recommendations for 青い花, 放浪息子, or がっこうぐらし? I really want to read those three, but they don’t have furigana and might be too hard for the group. But if anyone else is also interested I’ll do that.

Is 青い花 the really sad one? :disappointed_relieved:

I absolutely loved the anime of がっこうぐらし, but I don’t know whether the manga would be as compelling given that I’ve seen the anime…

Pro tip to anybody looking into that anime… don’t. Just watch it. Don’t spoil it for yourself.

No, you’re thinking of あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない.
青い花 is a yuri manga about a high school girl who reconnects with an old friend.

This. If I do write it up, I would put a generic description and write in bold: Don’t look it up. It will completely ruin the end of the first chapter (or first episode if watching the anime).

From my understanding, the anime is structured differently from the manga. So it would likely still feel somewhat fresh.

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I personally don’t know anything about those three, so I say you should write them up. I know I would struggle with the kanji, but for higher levels here, it would probably be really good practice. And if you write them up, at the very least, it’ll be listed in the proposed books, which kind of acts like a recommended beginner book list. :smiley:

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In that case I’d definitely be interested in that one if it doesn’t turn out to be too hard, and tentatively interested in 青い花 as well. I don’t know the other one…

If anything I’ll just propose 放浪息子. I’m not quite as interesting in reading 青い花 compared to the other two, and I don’t see how I can propose がっこうぐらし without people inevitably looking it up and ruining it for themselves (and likely ruining it for others when they talk about it in this thread).

All the other books/manga in my plan-to-read list are probably too advanced for the group (and me) right now.

EDIT: Oh no, now I have to write up all three for @Radish8!

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Haha, I have plenty to read, don’t worry about it :joy: I actually always worry about recommending がっこうぐらし for the exact same reason. I warned a friend explicitly not to look it up and they did anyway, grrr.

It’s almost like you have to invite them over to your place and watch the first episode with them!


放浪息子 is by the same author as 青い花, and she tends to write about groups that are underrepresented in literature. So like 青い花 being about a lesbian girl, 放浪息子 is primarily about a transgender boy. The anime adaption was very compelling and I found the characters to be deep and well written.

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I’ve got the series (in both Japanese and English), but haven’t started reading it yet. I know the basic premise, but didn’t imagine there would be much in the way of spoilers surrounding it, so I might need to kick it up in the non-bookclub reading-list order.

I was going to say I’m interested in making it a candidate, if it’s not too difficult, but having read your comments there, maybe it’s for the best that we don’t.

I’m also interested in the two other series you mentioned, but I passed on adding them to my collection for reasons I don’t recall right now.

Now that is not a bad idea.

Oh, well, contingent on difficulty I’d definitely be interested in that one then, and it sounds like the one you’re most interested in recommending.

I read that one in English. It’s… all over the shop. So hard to keep track of what was going on, and that was without having to wrangle with language.