Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: ロジカとラッカセイ

Guy’s defintiely chanting a mantra or something here. :stuck_out_tongue:


舞妓さんちのまかないさん (Maiko-san no chi no makanai-san; AKA Kiyo in Kyoto)

Natively: Level 24 (Thanks @Shadowlauch)


This is a geisha district in the middle of Kyoto. Maiko comes home after working late at night, and lives in a shared-house called a yakata. Kiyo, a 16-year-old girl who prepares daily meals for the maiko at a certain house as a makanai-san. There is an unexpected reason why she became a makanai-san.

A warm human pattern is drawn through the backstage of the gorgeous entertainment district and the meal of an ordinary day. (translated from

Kiyo Nozuki and Sumire Herai are childhood friends who share a common desire to become maikos—apprentice geishas. When they join a maiko house, Kiyo is deemed unfit to be a maiko and ends up employed as a live-in cook. (From MAL)


Insert purchase links for physical: Amazon JP and CD Japan. (For my fellow Europeans, I bought the physical book from Verasia)
Insert purchase links for digital: Kobo and BookWalker.

Personal Opinion

I am actually surprised I haven’t seen this recommended anywhere, but it’s a story that has attracted me for a long time. I’m a big fan of slice-of-life stories, and also enjoy the cooking theme also present in this one. But what I’m mostly curious about are the geisha themes and the deeper look at this aspect of the Japanese culture, especially seen from the eyes of such young (well, teenager) characters. As the BBC, I feel like the casual dialogues and the cultural themes would really fit here.

Pros and Cons


  • Has furigana
  • Book seems quite easy to purchase
  • The story is centred around a quite interesting (in my opinion) topic in Japanese culture, and I feel like the narrators being young girls really gives it a fresh point of view
  • Volume 1 isn’t too long (~135 pages), and while there are a few longer or more text-heavy chapters, we might be able to complete it in ~6 weeks (or less?)
  • It also has an anime and netflix live-action adaptation!


  • Some pages can be quite text heavy (others will barely have text), which might make this book a bit harder than other picks. It’s also difficult to determine the difficulty level as its not in Natively
  • I haven’t read that much from the volume yet, but seeing the food and cultural themes, we might see some very specific vocabulary (not necessarily a con, right?)
  • It’s quite a long series with over >20 volumes, which some people might not be a fan of


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


I bought the first three volumes when I was in Kyoto a few years ago. Although I haven’t read them. I think I’ve skimmed some of volume 1, maybe the first chapter or so at some point to figure out how hard it was for me then.

I bought it because of fascination with maiko/geisha and Japanese food. I feel like it has to be the perfect combo, yeah? :joy:


This is the manga that the (rather beautifully shot) Netflix series (The Makanai: Cooking for the Maiko House - Wikipedia) is based on, right? Might be another pro for some.


Indeed! I think there was also an anime adaptation, but I’ll edit to add this as a pro in any case!


Vote for the next book - now!

Can I vote?

If you are interested in joining the next book club we run, you can - and should - vote!

Please look open the details “Snapshot of current proposals” below for more details on each option, including links to sample pages which will help you gauge the difficulty.

Snapshot of current proposals
Manga - Kiyo in Kyoto (< 8wks)

Kiyo in Kyoto

Nomination Post
Natively - TBD

This is a geisha district in the middle of Kyoto. Maiko comes home after working late at night, and lives in a shared-house called a yakata. Kiyo, a 16-year-old girl who prepares daily meals for the maiko at a certain house as a makanai-san. There is an unexpected reason why she became a makanai-san.

A warm human pattern is drawn through the backstage of the gorgeous entertainment district and the meal of an ordinary day. (translated from

Kiyo Nozuki and Sumire Herai are childhood friends who share a common desire to become maikos—apprentice geishas. When they join a maiko house, Kiyo is deemed unfit to be a maiko and ends up employed as a live-in cook.

Physical: Amazon JP | CD Japan | Verasia EU
Digital: Kindle | Kobo | BookWalker.

Difficulty: 2.38 [8 votes]

Manga - Behind the Supermarket, Smoking With You

Behind the Supermarket, Smoking With You

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24

The sole thing that gets the middle-aged Sasaki through his soul-sucking job is a cheerful smile from Yamada—the young woman who works at a nearby 24-hour supermarket he frequents. After every tiring day of getting berated by his boss, Sasaki stops by the store to have his spirit healed by his favorite cashier.

After a particularly grueling day, Sasaki shows up at the supermarket, only to find that Yamada’s shift has already ended. Disappointed, he searches for a place to smoke when a woman from behind the store calls him over to join her. The bold and dangerously playful Tayama is quick to call out Sasaki’s peculiar habit of always seeking out her coworker—even going as far as telling Yamada about Sasaki’s vested interest in her.

Now, in addition to seeing his adored cashier Yamada, Sasaki also visits the store to see if his new smoking partner Tayama is around. But there is more to Tayama’s mischievousness than she initially lets on. With every cigarette, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom.

Physical: Amazon JP | CD Japan.
Digital: Kindle | Kobo | BookWalker.

Difficulty: 3.00 [11 votes]

Manga - Rojica and Rakkasei

Rojica and Rakkasei

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 21

Rojica and Rakkasei lead a cozy countryside life, exploring their world’s whimsical, fascinating creatures. Through their scholarly friend Isaac, they learn about many bizarre artifacts and the ancient civilization that once inhabited their planet. A vinyl record and a twister mat are just some of the items with mysterious purposes!

When there is nothing else to do, Rojica and Rakkasei investigate their strange neighbors, like the secretive Shi-san, the off-putting and incoherent Mrs. Grace (who terrifies Rakkasei) and Mrs. Massu, the kind old lady from next door.

Adventures are had, new friends are made, and every day they discover something new. There are a lot of things that the two still don’t know about the place that they live in…

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | BookWalker | Kobo

Difficulty: 2.27 [11 votes]

Manga - Skip and Loafer

Skip and Loafer

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24

Excellent student Iwakura Mitsumi has always dreamt about leaving her small town, going to a prestigious university, and making positive change in the world. But she’s so focused on reaching her goals that she’s not prepared for the very different (and overwhelming) city life that awaits her in a Tokyo high school. Luckily, she makes fast friends with Shima Sousuke, a handsome classmate who’s as laid-back as she is over-prepared. Can this naive country girl make it big in Tokyo with Sousuke by her side?

Physical: Amazon
Digital: Kindle | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.25 [12 votes]

Manga - Dreamin’ Sun

Dreamin’ Sun

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 22

Shimana Kameko decides to skip school and run away from home after feeling overshadowed by her six-month-old brother and new stepmother. After leaving home, she stumbles over a man wearing a kimono who has apparently been locked out of his own house. Desperate to get back in, the man offers Shimana a place she can rent from him if she can fulfill three conditions: find the house key, tell him why she ran away, and have a dream.

Physical: Manga Republic | Amazon JP | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 1.90 [10 votes]

Book - Buying Mittens / Gon, the Little Fox

Buying Mittens / Gon, the Little Fox

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 22

  • 手袋を買いに (Buying Mittens): When a cold winter comes to the forest, a little fox awakens one morning to the magic of a first snow-fall. His romp in the snow is cut short, however, when his cold, wet paws turn peony colored. What he needs, his mother decides, are some woolen mittens the size of his little paws. And so begins an overnight journey into the village where humans live…
  • ごん狐 (Gon, the Little Fox): Gon, a mischievous little fox, loves to cause trouble… but one day realizes that one of his pranks had gone a bit too far.
  • 花のき村と盗人たち (Hananoki Village and the Thieves)
  • 決闘 (Duel)
  • でんでんむしのかなしみ (The Sorrow of the Snail)

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle

Difficulty: 2.36 [11 votes]

Manga - ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 21

Hitori Bocchi, a girl with social anxiety who has difficulty communicating with others. Before starting middle school, her friend Yawara Kai, who will be attending a different school, tells Bocchi she is breaking off their friendship until she can make friends with her entire class at her new school. Thus, Bocchi is left with the task of befriending everyone in her class before graduation.

Physical: Amazon, CD Japan
Digital: Kindle, Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.33 [12 votes]

Manga - さよなら絵梨


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 23

With his mother dying, Yuuta attempts to capture her last days on his phone. After her death, Yuuta heads to the roof of the hospital to commit suicide, but a meeting with a strange girl leads him on the path to making a movie.

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.43 [7 votes]

Manga - Slow Loop (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 28

Since childhood, Hiyori Yamakawa has witnessed her father’s various eccentricities, but one activity she has always loved doing with him is fly fishing—a complicated yet rewarding method of catching fish. Even after his sudden death, Hiyori still visits the seaside in her spare time, savoring the joy that her father’s memento brings her.

Three years later, Hiyori’s mother decides to remarry and arranges a dinner with her fiancé, his daughter, and Hiyori to celebrate. Anxious and wanting to pass the time, Hiyori goes to her usual fishing spot when a rather energetic girl named Koharu Minagi suddenly appears before her. The two soon become acquainted, with Koharu taking an interest in fly fishing herself. However, their meeting is more than just a coincidence: Koharu turns out to be Hiyori’s future stepsibling, which is only the beginning of treasured memories the both of them will reel in as they foster their sisterhood.

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
E-Book: Amazon | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.14 [7 votes]

Manga - Blue Box


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24

The series focuses on Taiki Inomata, a student at Eimei Junior and Senior High who is a member of the boys’ badminton team. Every morning, he trains alongside his upperclasswoman and fellow crush Chinatsu Kano, who is on the girls’ basketball team. However, Chinatsu moves in with Taiki’s family when her parents leave Japan to work abroad. With Chinatsu now living with him, Taiki aims to slowly develop his relationship with her as they both strive to make it to the national championship with their respective teams.

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 1.75 [8 votes]

Manga - Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 26??

A tale about a modern deep-sea aquarium employee in Tokyo!What’s living in the overwhelming darkness deep within the sea? Take a glimpse into this strange world about a boy working at a deep sea aquarium.

Physical: CDJapan | AmazonJP
Digital: Kobo | Bookwalker | Kindle

Difficulty: 2.93 [14 votes]

Book - 5分後に笑えるどんでん返し


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 29

A collection of comical short stories with surprising endings.

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Bookwalker | Kindle

Difficulty: 2.86 [7 votes]

Manga - Full Moon (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24??

Twelve-year-old Mitsuki Koyama dreams of becoming a singer to reunite with her first love, Eichi Sakurai. However, she is afflicted with sarcoma (a cancerous tumor in her throat), which affects her ability to breathe well and sing loudly. Her tumor is curable only through a surgery that could damage her vocal cords. At the same time, her grandmother hates music and is completely opposed to Mitsuki’s wish to audition. Mitsuki’s dreams seem impossible to achieve, until one day she is visited by two shinigami, Takuto and Meroko, whom only she could see. Takuto and Meroko inadvertently tip Mitsuki off that she has only one year left to live.

Physical: Amazon JP | CD Japan
Digital: Kobo | BookWalker | Kindle | EbookJapan

Difficulty: 2.00 [9 votes]

Manga - The Promised Neverland


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 26

From IMBD: When three gifted kids at an isolated idyllic orphanage discover the secret and sinister purpose they were raised for, they look for a way to escape from their evil caretaker and lead the other children in a risky escape plan. … No child is ever overlooked, especially since they are all adopted by the age of 12.

Amazon JP
CD Japan
Rakuten Books (Kobo)
Comic Pixiv

Difficulty: 2.45 [11 votes]

Manga - Rainbow-Coloured Photograph (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 21

Aoi Yamabuki is a shy high school student who’s incredibly self-conscious about her blue eyes. Living with her older sister, a popular novelist, the girls’ lives change when a young foreign girl comes to live with them.

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.69 [26 votes]

Manga - This Art Club has a Problem! (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24

A girl with violently too much common sense, a boy whose sole ambition is to draw the perfect 2D bride, an addlebrained ghost member, and an always sleeping president - what is wrong with this art club?!

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.71 [28 votes]

Please take difficulty into account

Some people do find that reading a work they love or know already is inherently motivating, but please be realistic. Look at the samples and compare to others. Remember that both language and density contribute to difficulty.

Difficulty Scores

For most items we list two different difficulty scores. They are displayed in [] in front of the name of the book/manga. The first score is determined by the polls within the nomination posts. These polls only take previews into account and are very tightly bound to the people that give feedback in the polls and are therefore not objective measures of difficulty. The second score is the Natively level (if available), because of the rating system the ratings without ?? should be reasonably accurate, but the levels with ?? are just an initial guess that must be taken with a pinch of salt.

When will we start and how many will we pick?

We will likely begin reading on the 06th of May, a week after we finish reading 古見さんは、コミュ症です. If a short manga (expected less than 8 weeks) wins we will also read the second place option following that without holding another vote. (The short manga determination is not final since it is based on limited information and might change)

How does the vote work?

The poll will be closed on Sunday, March 19th.

You can vote for up to 5 options.

You can change your vote at any time by clicking ‘Show vote’ at the bottom.

  • [2.38] Kiyo in Kyoto [Manga]
  • [3.00/L24] Behind the Supermarket, Smoking With You [Manga]
  • [2.27/L21] Rojica and Rakkasei [Manga]
  • [2.25/L24] Skip and Loafer [Manga]
  • [1.90/L22] Dreamin’ Sun [Manga]
  • [2.36/L22] Buying Mittens / Gon, the Little Fox [Book]
  • [2.33/L21] ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 [short Manga]
  • [2.43/L23] さよなら絵梨 [Manga]
  • [2.14/L28] Slow Loop [short Manga]
  • [1.75/L24] Blue Box [Manga]
  • [2.93/L26??] Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell [short Manga]
  • [2.86/L29] 5分後に笑えるどんでん返し [Book]
  • [2.00/L24??] Full Moon [short Manga]
  • [2.45/L26] The Promised Neverland [Manga]
  • [2.69/L21] Rainbow-Coloured Photograph [short Manga]
  • [2.71/L24] This Art Club has a Problem! [short Manga]

0 voters


Thanks to everyone who submitted new nominations! With this selection I hope everyone will be able to find a couple of books that they would like to read with the book club.

If one of the Regulars could change the title, that would be great. Thanks for always helping out!

[Vote now] Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 古見さんは、コミュ症です。


How did “Maiko-san no chi no makanai-san” turn into “Kiyo in Kyoto”? I was trying to work out where we abruptly got an extra nomination from.


It looks like Blue Box has been historically in the middle voting range since it was nominated so I don’t know if it’ll be picked any time soon, but if anyone ever wants to start a mini book club for the series I’d be interested! :badminton: :basketball:


I usually use the english titles when available and in this case the english title is “Kiyo in Kyoto”.

You mean Blue Box right?


yes my bad! I haven’t read either so they go in the same box in my head :sweat_smile:


By the way, why “at the latest”? I don’t think there’s any rush, so leaving it open for a full week to also allow people to vote who don’t check the forums regularly would be fine.


The time has come once again for me to vote solely for Blue Box

I’ve read it already but I’d happily participate in a dedicated book club if there is interest. I mean that’s my plan if it ever gets nominated anyway


Vote for Slow Loop! Learn how to fish, and be fed for the rest of your life!


I agree with this, for selfish reasons. I probably won’t have time to review all the summaries to decide what I want to vote on until the weekend.


That is wording that was in the previous posts so I kept it. I usually let the poll run until the end anyways so I will get rid of the “at the latest” phrasing. Thanks for pointing it out.

As it was not in the Natively database before I put in a request to add “Kiyo in Kyoto” and it was just added:


やめてくれ~ :weary:

Wouldn’t it make more sense to use the Japanese title in a Japanese reading club?

Otherwise, here are the others you can change so everyone loses:

Hitori Bocchi no Marumaru Seikatsu (English title, apparently)

Goodbye, Eri

You even used the JP title in the voting for this.

Not trying to be that guy, and I know the club has been run by a lot of different people, but I think this is important. Again, I’m not even in the clubs lately, so it’s something for y’all to discuss.


As everyone is buying the Japanese book, I agree. I think the English title is still useful though for nomination posts as people may not know words in the title.

Alternatively we can be completely unfair and put all the titles in Amharic:

የMaiko በኋላ ምግብ
Logica እና ኦቾሎኒ
ሰማያዊ ሳጥን
ብቸኛ 〇〇 ሕይወት


Why is Logica in English but Rakkasei isn’t? :thinking::eyes:


Bocchi says Urdu is fine.