Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 葬送のフリーレン // Next: ウスズミの果て

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