Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: シャドーハウス

Thanks to @NyappyTiramisu for running the “The Way of the Househusband” club! :clap::clap:

This week the club will take a break reading, but next week we will start with Death Note!

As mentioned in my post outlining January we will hold a vote from 31st January. If you have any ideas about nominations please feel free to post them now. It is always good to have at least a couple days for people to look at the previews to gauge difficulty!

It would be great if one of the regulars could change the title to :pray:
[Looking for Nominations!] Beginner Japanese Book Club // Starting Soon: Death Note

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Hi every one, I’ll join the club. I love Death Note, good occasion to join. I remember having tried years ago to read the first chapters but what intimidated by the first page, osselets and so on. Time to get back at it

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I’m confused. This is a book club for beginners in Japanese and you want to read Death Note?

Am I that bad at Japanese? I took the N3, but there’s no way I’d try to tackle Death Note. Seems way beyond my level and I’d say I’m starting out the beginning of intermediate level of Japanese (still need to keep brushing up on my elementary Japanese).

What gives? How are beginners reading jr. high/high school level manga?

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The poll about how much effort it would take was majority 3 - moderate effort. Of course people can join any level book club that they want, so there may be members who are above beginner level and are here because they want to enjoy some easier material.

How long ago did you take the N3? Did you pass? I just skimmed the preview pages but nothing jumps out at me as super complex to the point of headache. However complicated later volumes get, usually the book clubs only read the 1st volume and then have offshoot clubs if people are interested.

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Not ‘beginners to Japanese’ per se, but beginners to reading Japanese. Also, there is a book club for absolute beginners. That’s the club I would recommend to people who have never read anything intended for a native Japanese audience.

Keep in mind we typically compile a vocab list together and help each other out with questions. That does make it a lot more doable to read a lot of these things.

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月刊少女野崎くん 1巻

Summary

Chiyo Sakura is a cheerful high school girl who has fallen head over heels for the oblivious Umetarou Nozaki. Much to Chiyo’s confusion, when she confesses to Nozaki, he hands her an unfamiliar autograph. As it turns out, the stoic teenage boy is actually a respected shoujo mangaka, publishing under the pen name Sakiko Yumeno! A series of misunderstandings leads to Chiyo becoming one of Nozaki’s manga assistants.

Throughout the hilarious events that ensue, she befriends many of her quirky schoolmates, including her seemingly shameless fellow assistant, Mikoto Mikoshiba, and the “Prince of the School,” Yuu Kashima. Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun follows Chiyo as she strives to help Nozaki with his manga and hopes that he will eventually notice her feelings.

Availability

physical: Amazon JP and CD Japan.
digital: Kobo and BookWalker.

Personal Opinion

I watched the anime adaptation (on netflix) and thought it was very fun and funny. I really liked the main characters and I also liked that a lot of the time it focuses (in a humorous way) on the process of creating manga or stories in general.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Furigana
  • More text-heavy than average manga (so more learnings)
  • Anime adaptation
  • 4-koma

Cons

  • More text-heavy than average manga (so takes more time)
  • A little bit of specialized language around manga creation and publishing
  • There is this one page at the end of chapter 1 that explains the manga publishing process (I think). It is very intimidating and has no furigana. But I do think it’s okay to skip that page.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • 1 - No effort at all
  • 2 - Minimal effort
  • 3 - Moderate effort
  • 4 - Substantial effort
  • 5 - So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know

0 voters

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Ooh, I just read the first one in English! I think it’s also noteworthy that it’s almost entirely in yonkoma format, so each page is almost like a self-contained little story, making it easy to put down and pick up again (they’re not really self-contained, but reading it felt like reading a bunch of very short, loosely connected stories)

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Ha, I am about 40 pages into that manga as we speak! I am enjoying the yonkoma format. Every page you make it through, you get rewarded for with a joke :grin: One thing that I am finding a bit challenging is that the context required to get the joke is sometimes implicit, so you have to fill in some blanks to get the joke sometimes. I am reading it while also watching the anime and that helps, cause those jokes are usually fleshed out a bit more in the anime.

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Yeah that 2nd season of the anime follows the manga really well…

yes I know this is an old post I’m sorry

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@nellyneko @Phryne Thanks! I added yonkoma as a pro :blush:

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Well, ish. Past book clubs have also discovered that yonkoma makes for a much more solid read than standard free-form manga. It’s not difficult, per se, but it can be time-consuming, and it can be weirdly tiring.

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New here also, but I think that being in a ‘club’ helps facing the challenge. Since it was already done there is already a vocab list in the dedicated topic (Join Us! デスノート ・ Death Note (Beginner Book Club)).
As I said I tried years ago and the first pages were intimating because of death world related vocab, you immediately have to check a dictionary, but with the resources and joint effort of everyone I hope it should be fine.
Also as stated it is ‘beginner’ in reading native japanese so in fact preping for N3 (my case, still not so far from N4) or having it seems to be right. ‘Beginner’ of an intermediate stage of learning and practicing we might say!

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I see. Well, sign me up. I’m willing to give it a try. Just ran to the bookstore and ordered a copy of the first volume.

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Happy reading! I’ve got no space and I’m bad at making myself read digitally, so I’m sitting this one out.

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Here’s something I wrote for first-time readers in the current ABBC. I think it also applies when one goes from one stage of reading to another (such as ABBC to BBC, or manga or novel, or reading to listening):

Even if you find you struggle to follow along, so long as you ask questions on things you’re not certain about, and read the weekly discussion threads (even if it’s about grammar you feel you already know, as you may discover aspects you didn’t), you will over time have the following results:

  • You’ll learn more grammar, including grammar that’s designated as JLPT N1 (because it does come up in most any material written for native speakers, just less commonly than N5–N2).
  • You’ll learn more vocabulary, even though most of it you’ll probably forget if you’re not specifically studying them or adding them to an SRS.
  • You’ll get faster at reading, as your brain, a pattern-recognition machine, sees the same grammar over and over, and in some cases the same words again.

Keep in mind, I’ve written this not knowing your background with Japanese, and the kind of material you are able to read comfortably.

19 Likes

夜カフェ(1) / Book

Summary

Kurosawa Hanabi wants to restart a new life in middle school. However, she failed all her middle school entrance exams and so she’s once again stuck at another local public school. And so her life continues the same way as before: With the same relationships, not attending any clubs and fighting with her parents. Argh, this every day life sucks! So she runs away from home and helps her aunt run a small café. There she gets to know a strange boy… And thus a story begins about friendship and love and a girl who tries to find a place where she belongs.

(Summary is a very rough summary/kind of translation of the amazon jp summary… I’m sorry, I botched this Q_Q It really didn’t sound that bad to me, but kinda cute. If someone else provides a summary I can edit it in)

From the amazon comments and description to me it sounds like the story of a middle schooler who tries to find her place and explore what is special in her sometimes not so special every day life.

Availability

physical:
Amazon JP
CDJapan

digital:
Kindle/Amazon JP
Kobo
BookWalker

Personal Opinion

I was looking for easy to get started books and stumbled upon this. It seems to be one of the more popular series of Aotori Bunko (->publisher aiming at late elementary to middle schoolers) (newest volume (11) is currently listed as their #2 on Amazon), the reviews seem fairly good and most adults seem to describe it as a heart warming story as well. And language wise it’s listed as one of the easiest books at learnnatively. I personally also like that there are more books in the series, should I get hooked (more reading material!). It seems to be based in the normal world, so I don’t expect any wild vocabulary that we sometimes find in other books (e.g. in books with a magic setting).
I read another book from the publisher before and they generally use kanji but add furigana. I find that this is easier to parse than a lot of non-kanji books (no hiragana-hell!).
I’m currently considering getting this even if no one else wants it :sheep:

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • It’s a book! Lots of reading!
  • Kanji generally used but with Furigana (beginner-friendly)
  • Book seems self-contained but part of a series (good offshoot club candidate?)
  • The book is already added at koohi.cafe (former floflo) if anybody uses that for vocab learning
  • Normal world / no fantasy setting (=> less specialized vocabulary)

Cons

  • It’s a book! (too much text might be intimidating for some compared to manga)
  • It’s school based, so not a super adult story

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

(sample from BookWalker, it might be easier to read in their actual reader)



Additional Pages

There are a few cute illustrations as well


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • 1 - No effort at all
  • 2 - Minimal effort
  • 3 - Moderate effort
  • 4 - Substantial effort
  • 5 - So much effort my head might explode :exploding_head:
  • I don’t know

0 voters

13 Likes

Like, horse bones?

I’ve gotten a bit of a head start, and found that I can understand enough of the grammar to have a sense of what’s happening. Lots of unknown vocab, but that’s what the chart is for. I MIGHT have just passed N4 (not holding my breath lol), and the grammar isn’t impenetrable. I’m also not going for 100% comprehension.

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minor typo? high school entrance exams. Perhaps also, “she’s once again stuck at another local public school?”

I think she’s 中1 now, so middle school? Or junior high or whatever you want to call it (there is no such thing where I live, so I thought middle school is fine?). I’ll fix the other thing, thank you <3

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My bad! I thought there were only high school entrance exams, but apparently there are middle school ones too. That seems like ridiculous stress to give elementary school students… I also thought middle school was compulsory for children. A lot of the later volumes show the main character in a school uniform, so I guess she’s still going or not dropped out completely?

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