Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 夜カフェ

Just in time hehe! I will start the next Intermediate Club poll probably next week or so.

5 Likes

My opinion was based on me having read 7 volumes of the series in Japanese. I was already familiar with it before as I followed it in English, even then the first chapter took me by surprise when I started reading it in Japanese. I couldn’t answer the poll fairly because what weighs higher the experience back then or where I’m at right now.

If it gets picked it might be good to split the first chapter in 2 or 3 parts. I typically read a chapter of manga per day, but that’s the only one I broke up in two because my brain was fried. Made Death Note look breezy in comparison, although I find it hard to say which one is actually harder. They’re really in same ballgame. I think it’s good to know that when the series is settled you get a better picture of an average chapter. Often times both the author and reader need time to find its identity.

5 Likes

Looks like first volume free on BookWalker currently.

Edit - see below, seems like it’s not the full volume.

1 Like

I have read 1 1/2 volumes so far but reflecting on it and especially looking back at Death Note I think it is a good idea to tune down the difficulty a bit for this club. That is why we have different book club levels! And obviously the lines between different clubs will always be blurry because when we make a decision on what club to use we always work with very liitle information.

5 Likes

Unfortunately that’s not the full volume; as you can see the page count is only 74 pages while the regular volume is 219 pages.
But there is the Golden Week sale going on currently which gives you a good discount in coins, so it would be worthwhile to grab it now anyways if you’re interested.

2 Likes

Hello! Moving this recommendation from the intermediate club to here! Hopefully here is a better fit! :blush:

5分後に笑えるどんでん返し

Summary

Japanese

(From BookWalker) 5分で脱力、5分で笑える。5分で読める“5分シリーズ”からお届けする、クスッとできるどんでん返し。 小説投稿サイト「エブリスタ」に投稿された20000作超の短編から厳選した、『5分後に笑えるどんでん返し』。 意外すぎるオチに驚く珠玉の掌編15本。

English

(Quick google translate and a little editing)
Weakness in 5 minutes and laughter in 5 minutes. An unexpected twist from the “5-minute series” that can be read in 5 minutes. Carefully selected from over 20,000 short stories posted on the novel posting site "Everystar”. Fifteen short stories that are have a surprising ending.

Availability

Amazon Japan (tankobon and ebook)
BookWalker (ebook)

Personal Opinion

I’ve recently seen these kinds of short story books a lot in Japan. They are very popular with children. Definitely think it would be fun and interesting reading practice. The short stories also makes it easier to consume.
This book’s stories also seem to be selected from a novel publishing site, which is interesting.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Recently these 5分後 type of books have been very popular in Japan.
  • Many short stories from different authors, so possibly a little variety for everyone and easy to digest.
  • Not very long (about 200 something pages) (may be a con to some)
  • If people enjoy this read, they can continue other 5分後 books.

Cons

  • Not all the kanji have furigana (can be a pro for some)
  • Some may prefer one continuous story instead of many short ones

Pictures

Pictures

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

8 Likes

At a quick glance the lack of furigana was off putting but they’re mostly common kanji, so it didn’t look too bad.

Do you know,if they’re all different reading styles or the same author?

2 Likes

I’ve only read the first story so far, and I felt the same way about the furigana in the beginning. But like you said, mainly common ones that repeat so it wasn’t too bad!

And it looks like there are three stories by one author, but the rest are mainly all different authors.

1 Like

Interesting. On Kobo, it’s the whole first volume.

How about this one on BookWalker?

image

1 Like

Actually I just looked, and I think I did get the full volume free - there are two versions. I’m too tired to be certain tonight…

1 Like

Hehe, yeah, so on Bookwalker you can get two kinds of restricted “free” volumes. This is the second variation :wink:
You can identify it by the addition 期間限定無料 (free for a limited time period). Unfortunately that does not only mean free to buy but also free to read :expressionless:
To the right, you can see the 閲覧期限 (time limit for reading): It is until May 15th (so you better get cracking :rofl: - or - of course - if you apply your usual magic you should do that before that date).

Key takeaway: If there are any additions to the title, that is not a full version that is free to buy and keep forever.

4 Likes

My first time making a proposal so I’m also not so sure about the difficulty, let me know if this one seems too hard for here and I’ll move it.

Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell

Summary

Japanese

東京湾の水深200メートルに水族館がオープン!!

「マグメル深海水族館」は、野生の深海生物の姿を間近で観察することができる世界唯一の水族館。
清掃員のアルバイトとして働くことになった天城航太郎は、深海生物が大好きで、少し引っ込み思案な青年。ある日、館長の大瀬崎湊人と出会ったことで、彼の人生に変化が訪れる―――。

深海に憧れ、生き物を愛する青年の成長に胸が熱くなる、海洋ロマン開幕!!

English

(No official one so my rough translation)
An aquarium opens 200 meters deep in the Tokyo Bay!!
“Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell” is the world’s only aquarium where you can observe wild deep- sea creatures from a close proximity. Tenjo Kotaro, who works part-time there as a cleaner, is a bit of an introverted young man who loves deep-sea creatures. One day, through meeting the aquarium director Osezaki Minato, a change arrives in his life—

Availability

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

Personal Opinion

I think the setting of an aquarium in the deep sea where you can directly see creatures that are usually impossible to see is really interesting. So far from my reading it’s a nice slice of life where we get to see the life and growth of the protagonist and the people around him as they interact with creatures from the deep sea. I also don’t think the language itself is too hard aside from the occasional explanation about the creatures, and the lack of furigana.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Some amount of conclusion for each chapter so can enjoy even if people want to just read one volume
  • 8 volumes and some underlying story lines so potential for offshoot
  • Slice of life with an interesting setting
  • Learn about lots of interesting deep-sea creatures

Cons

  • No Furigana
  • Some aquarium/marine life specific vocab
  • Sea creature names all long strings of katakana (a pro if you want to practice katakana reading)

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

10 Likes

I updated the nominations and added a Natively link and the current level!

The next Beginner Club poll will be in about a month, but the Intermediate Club is currently holding its poll. If you want to test your skills have a look here:

7 Likes

The next poll will start on May 30th, if you have any nominations you want to bring forward, now is the time!

12 Likes

Not sure whether you‘re a Regular (and too lazy to check :sweat_smile:) so I changed the OP title. If you don’t like this, just shake your fist at me and I‘ll remove it again :grin:

9 Likes

耳をすませば

Summary

Shizuku Tsukishima is a middle school girl who loves to read. One day, she notices the name Seiji Amasawa on the library card in her favorite book. As it turns out, he’s already checked out and read every library book Shizuku is reading. What kind of person is he?

Availability

Physical: AmazonJP | AmazonJP | CDJapan
Digital: Amazon | Book Walker | Kobo | Rakuten

This manga has had a few releases over the years.

Images of covers of various releases
Year Format Cover
1990 Paperback image
2005 Paperback
2014 Digital
Warning: There are other releases that are not this manga!

Physical release of the animated adaptation as manga:
image

Digital release of the animated adaptation as manga:
image

Book about the animated adaptation:
image

Book about the animated adaptation:
image

Personal Opinion

This story is well-known due to Studio Ghibli’s animated adaptation, released in the west under the title Whisper of the Heart. If you’ve seen the adaptation, this gives an opportunity to see the source material.

Even if you haven’t seen the adaptation, it’s an opportunity to take a step into manga of the late 1980s.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Short story, spanning a single volume.
  • Furigana is used only on more difficult kanji. Readers who’ve avoided no-furigana material can transition more easily into reading kanji rather than furigana.
  • Ebook pages are a decent resolution (1075x1536).
  • Art style holds up well (unlike many comics from the 90s).
  • Lacks all the modern anime/manga tropes.
  • Has an animated adaptation.
  • Occasionally, cats.

Cons

  • Not all kanji have furigana. Readers who are first starting to learn kanji might prefer a pick with full furigana use.
  • Many readers will have no idea what a library card is.
  • Difficult for me to think of cons for =(

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

15 Likes

Another plus! We can check out her library books for more potential reading material! (And they’ll likely be either good, or classics, or both haha.)

The amount of furigana looks just right for me! The kanji that don’t have it are more or less effortless at this point, so that feels very very cool. And I love the art. This will probably become my number one pick for the next round of voting. :blush:

10 Likes

シャドーハウス

Summary

[from Amazon]
貴族の真似事をする、顔のない一族「シャドー」。その“顔”として仕える世話係の「生き人形」。来客のない奇妙な館には、今日も煤と黄色い声が、舞う――。

[From AniList]
Faceless shadow nobles living in a vast mansion, attended by living dolls who spend much of their time cleaning up the soot endlessly emitted by their mysterious masters.

Follow the story of Emilico, a young and cheerful living doll, as she learns her duties serving as the attendant for Kate Shadow-sama. What dangers and dark secrets will she and Kate encounter, as they become more deeply involved in the inner workings of the shadows’ society?

Availability

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Amazon | Amazon Color Version | Bookwalker | Bookwalker Color Version

Personal Opinion

I’ll quote my review of the series overall from Natively:

Shadows House is a really interesting series. It starts off almost as a slice of life comedy about a servant and her master, with a little mystery and intrigue thrown in. However, as the series progresses the comedy is toned down and the mystery elements become the focus. There’s a lot to love about this series, but the story and characters are really where it shines.

For the book club in particular, it doesn’t have much furigana, but the language overall is relatively simple (especially in the first volume), so it might be a good opportunity to practice without furigana. Also, if you happened to see my gradings on Natively, know that those gradings are for the overall series, since some content in later volumes is a little more complicated. The first volume is easier overall.

As a side note, I don’t plan on rereading the first volume if it wins with the book club (and would prefer someone else run the club as well). I just wanted to nominate the book to try to share what I consider a great series. I will of course follow along with the book club threads and help answer questions that pop up.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Short chapters (about 12 pages each)
  • Relatively simple language
  • Good practice for reading with minimal furigana
  • The first volume is a good introduction to a more complex world and story, easing the reader in and not overwhelming them.
  • Full color digital version!

Cons

  • Some might see the lack of furigana as a bad thing
  • Some might find the first volume a bit slow since it only teases the bigger world and story (though personally I found it very entertaining)

Pictures

I’d recommend checking out both the black and white and full color previews from the Amazon links above to compare the two versions.

First Four Pages of Chapter One

(Full chapter 1 is available on the Amazon preview)

Additional pages

(From chapter 6)

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

14 Likes

Anyone interested in me nominating ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活? It’s a 4-koma manga that also lacks furigana, but it’s pretty sparse on text and is one of the easiest 4-koma manga I’ve read. I don’t want to go too heavy on the no-furigana nominations in the beginner book club unless there’s interest though, so I figured I’d check first this time.

8 Likes

Although I’ve read volume one, I wouldn’t mind a return to it and the potential for an offshoot for subsequent volumes. I definitely felt it was a bit on the light side for a 4koma.

That said, I have already read it the first volume, so my input should count a lot less than others’ =P

2 Likes