Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 舞妓さんちのまかないさん

Might I recommend a trial one-off pre-intermediate book (whether a new book or a reread at a slower pace) to try it out before committing to an entire new difficulty-based recurring book club? Just to make sure it does what you want and has enough demand before going through all the effort of setting up a new general book club topic, adding a section to the Master List, etc.


just do it!!!

chances are you’ll have a few that will join in…
even our spin off teasing master is a small group but there are a few of us still there and we are in vol12…

go for it… what’s the worst that could happen…

you read a book alone :upside_down_face:

the primary reason I haven’t done an individual book is I’m afraid it will get too hard and/or motivation for the story will die and I’ll end up stopping partway through then if someone does come along…they will be annoyed at me hehe


Read part of a short story collection?


The only reason I hadn’t done this yet is because of the ideas I listed, option 2 (about manga and books that fall in the gap between the clubs) and option 3 (a slow read of an IBC book) are actually two different things that don’t necessarily work together.

One would be about probably having the same time restrictions that the normal BBC/IBC/etc. has. While the club of a slow IBC read will probably exceed that so doing that one doesn’t really work as a trial for the other, but anyway.

I’ll go ahead and set up a pre-intermediate slow read of one of the previous IBC picks sometime today. Since there might be enough interest and if there isn’t, I guess it just won’t get off the ground.


Sorry to interrupt your discussion like this, but I’ll be traveling over the weekend and won’t take my laptop. Would someone be so kind and change the main thread, title & master list over to the new manga on saturday?


If no one beats me to it, I can for everything except the title on my Friday night, which is mid-day Saturday Japan time.

But if anyone can get to it before I do, go for it!


On a related note, @TobiasW are you going to update the schedule in the home thread? It’s still just a TBD.




Sorry, I’ll try to do it tomorrow! I’m really stressed at the moment, with too many things to juggle. (There won’t be any surprises there though; we’ve already talked about the schedule in the thread after all.)

(Also sorry to everyone in the thread here who I haven’t answered - I didn’t have time to properly read everything yet, and much less answer.)


how can you have anything else to do to give your all to the newest bookclub… it’s not like you have a life of your own or anything

teasing… don’t stress…don’t think anyone is really worried :wink:


And here we are, week 1!

Can somebody change the title, please? Thanks!


I’m behind reading this thread so just got to here!

I’d agree about this - I’m not sure how long ago this was a pick, but I tried it, massively struggled, but still got 40% of the way through with good comprehension. I’d guess this was 18 months to 2 years ago, and I was barely managing the BBC at the time! I’ve been aiming to try again, but I’ve been in too many book clubs to fit in into a schedule.

Edit: just checked and it was over 2 years ago. I’d been learning Japanese for less than 18 months when I tried it!


Thanks for taking care of the main post guys! My life has gotten incredibly busy recently, but I’ll do my best!

Here is the schedule for this club in the next couple of weeks:

  • 06th May: Started ロジカとラッカセイ book club
  • 22nd May: Polling starts
  • 01st July: Last week of ロジカとラッカセイ book club starts
  • 08th July: Break week
  • 15th July: We start the new book

Feel free to nominate manga/books up to the 20th aprox!


Finally caught up with this thread and the idea of a lower-intermediate / upper-beginner club. Are you planning to do this for real @meagstudies ? Because I’d have a bunch of ideas for the handling as well as for suitable books, but I think this thread has been spammed enough so if there is a better place please direct me there :blush:
And if you dropped the idea by now, that’s of course also fine with me.


There is NicoleIsEnough!
Now you’ve read through this, time to read through the actual thread:


Oh excellent, thanks for the pointer! :+1:


Yeah I’m still planning on doing this if the first IBC Primer goes well and people want to do a regular club! Yes please share your thoughts on handling/books, I need all the help I can get :sweat_smile: (I’ll head over to the actual thread now to read your replies there but I just wanted to respond here first :blush: )


Bit of an early proposal, but I’ve forgot to nominate it multiple times now, so I don’t want to do that again.

先輩がうざい後輩の話 (My Senpai is Annoying)

Natively: Level 20



ちょっぴりガサツだけど面倒見のいい先輩・武田と、そんな彼に素直になれない(?)後輩・五十嵐。 今日も五十嵐は武田をうざいと思いつつ、本当はまんざらでもなかったりやっぱり本当にうざいときもあったりと自覚のない二人の微妙な距離感にもだえちゃうことまちがいなし! 気になる武田と五十嵐の出会いや、ちょっとオトナ(?)な風間と桜井のお話しを含む約40Pの描き下ろしも大収録でおとどけします!!


(Translated from the Japanese, which is a bit crude, so this is also a bit crude(r))
Takeda, the somewhat crude, but caring senior, and Igarashi, the junior, that can’t be honest with him. Even today, Igarashi thinks that Takeda is annoying, but in reality, she doesn’t find him all that bad, and even though there are times, when he is annoying her, she unknowingly struggles with the distance between them. Both the story of Takeda and Igarashi, and the newly drawn story of the slightly more mature(?) Kazama and Sakurai are included!


First few chapters on pixiv
Amazon: Digital, Physical
Bookwalker: Digital
CDJapan: Physical

Personal Opinion

That blurb is somewhat of a nothing burger, so I’ll fill the gaps in.
I’m following along this manga in English, it’s a very cute, modern romcom without all (or at least most) of the usual plot points that come with the genre. The story is mainly built up of 2 (and later on 3 or so) plot lines of love interests, that are mainly focused around an office environment. As far as I could tell, it has a more natural, more mature language, because obviously everyone’s an adult. It also actually develops over time, unlike some other series. It’s great for those that love a good romance manga, but are looking for something a bit more grown up.
It also had an anime adaptation back in the middle ages of 2021. It got pretty decent rating back then.

Pros and Cons


  • The first few chapters (in a rougher draft format) and incredibly the last few volumes I’m pretty sure, are completely free and available on the author’s pixiv
  • The language, while still manga-esque, seems way more natural than most other series
  • The quality of the digital edition is very good
  • It’s made up of very short stories (4-6 pages each), which makes it a very easy read to pick up whenever you have a few minutes spare
  • Some earlier chapters, and all later chapters are beautifully rendered (earlier chapters are either black
    and white or flat colour)


  • No furigana and a typeface that changes based on emotions can make for a frustrating kanji look-up session.
  • It’s almost purely a romcom. Any and all scenes are at least somewhat related to romance, especially in the earlier chapters. This could easily be a positive for you.


First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

From the second chapter, this shows the artstyle used in the first volume better

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


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 - 先輩がうざい後輩の話 (My Senpai is Annoying) (< 8wks)

先輩がうざい後輩の話 (My Senpai is Annoying)

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 20

Takeda, the somewhat crude, but caring senior, and Igarashi, the junior, that can’t be honest with him. Even today, Igarashi thinks that Takeda is annoying, but in reality, she doesn’t find him all that bad, and even though there are times, when he is annoying her, she unknowingly struggles with the distance between them. Both the story of Takeda and Igarashi, and the newly drawn story of the slightly more mature(?) Kazama and Sakurai are included!

Physical: Amazon | CD Japan
Digital: Kindle | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.55 [11 votes]

Manga - 舞妓さんちのまかないさん (Kiyo in Kyoto) (< 8wks)

舞妓さんちのまかないさん (Kiyo in Kyoto)

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 27??

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: 2.77 [13 votes]

Manga - スーパーの裏でヤニ吸うふたり (Behind the Supermarket, Smoking With You)

スーパーの裏でヤニ吸うふたり (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 [13 votes]

Manga - スキップとローファー (Skip and Loafer)

スキップとローファー (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: 2.31 [13 votes]

Manga - 夢みる太陽 (Dreamin’ Sun)

夢みる太陽 (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 - 手ぶくろを買いに/ごんぎつね 10歳までに読みたい日本名作 (Buying Mittens / Gon, the Little Fox)

手ぶくろを買いに/ごんぎつね 10歳までに読みたい日本名作 (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: 2.42 [12 votes]

Manga - ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 (< 8wks)


Nomination Post
Natively - Level 20

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 (Goodbye Eri)

さよなら絵梨 (Goodbye Eri)

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: 2.50 [8 votes]

Manga - スローループ (Slow Loop) (< 8wks)

スローループ (Slow Loop)

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 - アオのハコ (Blue Box)

アオのハコ (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: 1.78 [9 votes]

Manga - マグメル深海水族館 (Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell) (< 8wks)

マグメル深海水族館 (Deep Sea Aquarium MagMell)

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 24

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 - 満月をさがして (Full Moon) (< 8wks)

満月フルムーンをさがして (Full Moon)

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 - 約束のネバーランド (The Promised Neverland)

約束のネバーランド (The Promised Neverland)

Nomination Post
Natively - Level 27

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 - にじいろフォトグラフ (Rainbow-Coloured Photograph) (< 8wks)

にじいろフォトグラフ (Rainbow-Coloured Photograph)

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 - この美術部には問題がある! (This Art Club has a Problem!) (< 8wks)

この美術部には問題がある! (This Art Club has a Problem!)

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 15th of July, a week after we finish reading ロジカとラッカセイ. 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, May 28th.

You can vote for up to 5 options.

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

  • [2.55|L20] 先輩がうざい後輩の話 (My Senpai is Annoying) [short Manga]
  • [2.77|L27??] 舞妓さんちのまかないさん (Kiyo in Kyoto) [short Manga]
  • [3.00|L24] スーパーの裏でヤニ吸うふたり (Behind the Supermarket, Smoking With You) [Manga]
  • [2.31|L24] スキップとローファー (Skip and Loafer) [Manga]
  • [1.90|L22] 夢みる太陽 (Dreamin’ Sun) [Manga]
  • [2.42|L22] 手ぶくろを買いに/ごんぎつね 10歳までに読みたい日本名作 (Buying Mittens / Gon, the Little Fox) [Book]
  • [2.33|L20] ひとりぼっちの〇〇生活 [short Manga]
  • [2.50|L23] さよなら絵梨 (Goodbye Eri) [Manga]
  • [2.14|L28] スローループ (Slow Loop) [short Manga]
  • [1.78|L24] アオのハコ (Blue Box) [Manga]
  • [2.93|L24] マグメル深海水族館 (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??] 満月をさがして (Full Moon) [short Manga]
  • [2.45|L27] 約束のネバーランド (The Promised Neverland) [Manga]
  • [2.69|L21] にじいろフォトグラフ (Rainbow-Coloured Photograph) [short Manga]
  • [2.71|L24] この美術部には問題がある! (This Art Club has a Problem!) [short Manga]

0 voters


Here we go again! It feels like it was yesterday when I started the last poll.

I have a few favours to ask:

  1. Could a regular please change the title to [Vote Now] Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: ロジカとラッカセイ
  2. It would be great if you could advertise the poll in other book clubs etc. just make sure that no one has advertised it already in that thread. I would normally do that, but I currently am a bit swamped in real life.
  3. If you have friends that are learning japanese feel free to invite them!

Thank you all for being an amazing community!