Beginner Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: Ogawa Mimei: Collection of Children's Stories

Now Reading: 小川未明童話集・Ogawa Mimei: Collection of Children’s Stories

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Start date: August 28th, 2021

For details on the club and on your options to get hold of the book (free or paid) please have a look at 小川未明童話集・Ogawa Mimei: Collection of Children’s Stories


Welcome to our Book Club!

In this club we choose a Japanese book together and read it following a weekly schedule. We help each other with grammar, compile a vocabulary sheet together and discuss the story.

We hope that eventually you’ll be able to take the jump to the Intermediate Book Club :rocket:

If you’re interested, just grab a copy of the upcoming book (we vote ~6 weeks before finishing the current pick) and join in! You are always welcome to ask new questions in the threads of any of our previous picks as well :slightly_smiling_face:



Which Book Club?

This club is for those beginning to read native books and manga, not beginners to Japanese. We suggest a solid understanding of N5 grammar and at least some of N4.

Our picks vary in difficulty, roughly from relatively easy manga for teens to children’s books. The best way to judge is to look at the sample pages for a particular pick. Remember that it will be easier with everyone’s help though!

The Absolute Beginners’ Club usually tackles material aimed at younger children.
The Intermediate Book Club usually tackles books and reads faster.


Previous Picks

For a subjective comparison of these picks and pointers on where you might want to start, please see the Comparison Thread.

Manga unless stated otherwise.

Book 01 | よつばと!・ Yotsuba&! ***
Book 02 | 魔女の宅急便 ・ Kiki’s Delivery Service / novel
              | 2020 Repeat Club for Kiki’s Delivery Service
Book 03 | Aria; Masterpiece Edition ooo
Book 04 | のんのんびより・ Non Non Biyori
Book 05 | 夏目友人帳 ・ Natsume’s Book of Friends
Book 06 | 時をかける少女 ・ The Girl Who Leapt Through Time / novel
Book 07 | 少女終末旅行 ・ Girls’ Last Tour ooo
Book 08 | 銭天堂 ・ The Mysterious Sweet Shop / novel
Book 09 | 一週間フレンズ ・ One Week Friends
Book 10 | ふらいんぐうぃっち ・ Flying Witch ***
Book 11 | 霧のむこうのふしぎな町 ・ Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist / novel
Book 12 | ゆるキャン△・Laid-Back Camp ***
Book 13 | フルーツバスケット・Fruits Basket +++
Book 14 | シメジシミュレーション・Shimeji Simulation ***
Book 15 | ハイキュー!!・Haikyuu!! ***
Book 16 | 不可解なぼくのすべてを・FukaBoku ooo
Book 17 | 日常・Nichijou
Book 18 | 地縛少年花子くん・Toilet-Bound Hanako-kun

*** currently continuing as an offshoot club
+++ continued as an offshoot club, currently in hiatus
ooo entire series completed as an offshoot club

We always read just the first volume of a series (sometimes we read a ‘Master’ edition which incorporates the first two volumes of an original run). Sometimes, if a particular pick was enjoyed by many people who want to continue reading it together, that pick will continue to run as a parallel offshoot, reading the subsequent volumes.


Proposed Books

Feel free to nominate something you’d like to read using the template below! Suggestions must be appropriate though; please read the guidelines.

Guidelines for Proposing Books
  1. Nominate something you are ready to read
    We want to maintain lively discussion throughout the club, so don’t nominate something you yourself will struggle to participate in. You also can’t rely on there being more advanced learners available to help with all questions.

  2. Books must be under 200 pages
    This is the most we could tackle within a reasonable timeframe (ideally no more than 16 weeks), but if the book is dense even 200 pages may be too much.

  3. Do not nominate anything clearly NSFW
    We try to maintain a wide appeal, so don’t knowingly nominate anything associated with fanservice or gore.

  4. Do not nominate anything difficult to procure
    Picks must be readily available at online stores. If no eBook version is available please consider whether it’s still worth nominating and list this clearly as a “con”.

  5. Well-known works are more desirable
    Guidance only: the reader pool will be much larger for well-known works, and background knowledge of the premise will make it easier for people to understand the content and help each other out.

  6. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are less desirable
    Guidance only: fantasy and sci-fi works often use niche and esoteric vocabulary (on top of intimidating info-dumps). Series which focus on human interaction in a real-life setting tend to provide a lower barrier to entry and higher returns on time invested.

Proposal Template

Copy this template into a new post when making a nomination.

For page samples, you can either take photos of your own copy (try to make the three additional pages ‘representative’ if possible), grab photos from the internet, or use eBook previews from e.g. Amazon, Kobo, BookWalker. Make sure the text is legible!

# Insert Title Here

## Summary
Insert summary here, taken from wherever - Wikipedia, Amazon, etc. Improve the description if you would like / feel it necessary.

## Availability
Insert purchase links for physical: preferably Amazon JP and CD Japan.
Insert purchase links for digital: preferably Kobo and BookWalker. Mention if an eBook is not available at all and list this in the cons.

## Personal Opinion
Insert why you think this book would be good to read, personally and for the book club.

### Pros and Cons

**Pros**
* Insert pros here.

**Cons**
* Insert cons here.

## Pictures

[details=“First Three Pages of Chapter One”]

Insert images here (can be photos from you or from eBook previews).

[/details]

[details=“Additional Pages”]

Insert a few more representative images here.

[/details]

## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this book?

[poll type=regular public=true]
* 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
[/poll]

List of Removed Nominations

Current Proposals

See the linked nomination posts for more information, including sample pages.
Follow the comic.pixiv links to read the first chapter or so for free; click the white 試し読み button.

The difficulty scores come from club members voting in the nomination post; you should vote too!
Last updated: 2021-05-24

Manga - A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow

熱帯魚は雪に焦がれる

A Tropical Fish Yearns for Snow Nomination Post
A Tropical Fish Years for Snow on comic.pixiv

Konatsu is about to start a new school in a new town, and she’s basically all on her own. Her dad just got a job overseas, and her aunt can only check in from time to time. It’s a lot for a shy, reserved girl to handle. But on one of the first days of class, she discovers that the school has an aquarium! The club that runs the aquarium is headed by an older student named Koyuki, and Konatsu is instantly drawn to her. Konatsu’s introverted tendencies are hard to overcome, but maybe she’s found something worth coming out of her shell for?

Amazon JP | Bookwalker

Difficulty: 2.71 [14 votes]

Manga - Rainbow-Coloured Photograph

にじいろフォトグラフ

Rainbow-Coloured Photograph Nomination Post
Rainbow-Coloured Photograph on comic.pixiv

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: 2.68 [25 votes]



Manga - Koizumi-san Loves Ramen

ラーメン大好き小泉さん

Koizumi-san Loves Ramen Nomination Post
Koizumi-san Loves Ramen on comic.pixiv

Cool, quiet and mysterious, Koizumi-san is a transfer student who doesn’t get along with others. She is a ramen professional who searches for the best ramen every day!

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.89 [18 votes]



Manga - This Art Club has a Problem!

この美術部には問題がある!

This Art Club Nomination Post
This Art Club on comic.pixiv

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]



Manga - Ao's Island and a Cat

青の島とねこ一匹

Ao’s Island Nomination Post
Ao’s Island on comic.pixiv

The freshly graduated teacher Souta escapes the capital’s buzz and moves to a small island in the inland sea where he wants to start his first job. He is planning to live at his senpai’s place whom he knew from long ago, but when he gets there he discovers that senpai is not there; only his daughter and a cat. So he moves in with the two…

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 3.07 [30 votes]



Manga - Magi

マギ

Magi Nomination Post
Magi on comic.pixiv

Deep within the deserts lie the mysterious Dungeons; vast stores of riches there for the taking by anyone lucky enough to find them, and brave enough to venture into the depths from which few have ever returned. Plucky young adventurer Aladdin means to do so, but he may be just as mysterious as the treasure he seeks…

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.82 [17 votes]



Manga - My Hero Academia

僕のヒーローアカデミア

My Hero Academia Nomination Post
My Hero Academia on comic.pixiv

In a world filled with superpowers, middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he doesn’t have an ounce of power. With no chance of getting into the prestigious high school for budding heroes of his dreams, his dream looks like a dead end. That is, until a chance encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all…

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.91 [23 votes]



Manga - Death Note

デスノート

Death Note Nomination Post
Death Note on comic.pixiv

When Light Yagami, an ace student with great prospects who is bored out of his mind, finds a notebook giving him power over death, will he use it for good - or for evil?

CDJapan | Amazon JP | Kobo | BookWalker

Difficulty: 2.79 [24 votes]



Book - Scary Lessons

絶叫学級

Scary Lessons Nomination Post

A girl, Yomi - a creature without legs - leads us through a world of horror, which slumbers in the midst of everyday life and lies in wait to pounce on the unsuspecting. Terrible things will happen to anyone foolish enough to tangle with it!

Amazon

Difficulty: 3.09 [35 votes]





Where to Purchase Books

This section explains where to buy Japanese books in general; see the nominations above for links to purchase specific books.

Purchasing Japanese Books

Physical books:

Note that you need a separate account for each ‘instance’ of Amazon, so you won’t be able to use Amazon JP with e.g. your French Amazon account. Amazon adds an estimated customs charge to your bill which will be refunded if you don’t have to pay customs (or pay less).

CDJapan has economy shipping options which take longer to arrive but cost less.

If you can’t find an online store that will ship to you, you can use a forwarding service like Tenso or White Rabbit Express. If you live in the right place, you may also be able to find the book at a local Japanese book store such as Kinokuniya; just Google your area.

eBooks:

Sirvorn has a wonderful guide to purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP.



Historic Polls


"Next Book" Polls

Winner links go to the original nominations.

Other Polls


164 Likes
What level can I start reading books?
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Looking for some recommendations
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 14 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 18 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 17 Discussion (+ Special Navigation: 社長の日常)
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 15 Discussion
のんのんびより: Chapter 8 Discussion
のんのんびより: Chapter 9 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 24 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 27.5 (Special Navigation) Discussion
夏目友人帳 - Natsume’s Book of Friends: Chapter 4 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 22 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 23 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 20 Discussion
時をかける少女 Home Thread (Beginner Book Club)
一週間フレンズ | Week 8 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 25 Discussion
時をかける少女: Week 6 Discussion (Chapters 8 and 9)
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Wanikani Confessions
時をかける少女: Week 2 Discussion (Chapter 2)
時をかける少女: Week 8 Discussion (Chapters 12 and 13)
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 27 Discussion
時をかける少女: Week 1 Discussion (Chapter 1)
時をかける少女: Week 7 Discussion (Chapters 10 and 11)
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 26 Discussion
時をかける少女: Week 4 Discussion (Chapters 4 and 5)
時をかける少女: Week 3 Discussion (Chapter 3)
一週間フレンズ | Week 1 Discussion
魔女の宅急便・Kiki's Delivery Service :red_gift_envelope: Repeat Club
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Week 2: フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
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Week 1: フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
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一週間フレンズ | Week 9 Discussion
What to do when you want to add some inconsistent studying to your routine?
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時をかける少女: Week 11 Discussion (Chapters 18 and 19)
一週間フレンズ | Week 2 Discussion
Finally, beginning to read books
一週間フレンズ | Week 3 Discussion
魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 4
Week 7: フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
[2021] 多読/extensive reading challenge
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I made it to Level 60! :sunflower:
魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 2
Week 5: フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
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魔女の宅急便 (Kiki’s Delivery Service) Discussion Thread: Chapter 3
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Idk what to put as a title
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Volume 4 (Original Ed.): フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
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Week 3: 小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories
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Week 2: 小川未明童話集 - Ogawa Mimei’s Collection of Children’s Stories
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少女終末旅行: Chapter 13 Discussion
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少女終末旅行: Chapter 15 Discussion
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のんのんびより: Chapter 5 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 13 Discussion
夏目友人帳 - Natsume’s Book of Friends: Chapter 3 Discussion
時をかける少女: Week 10 Discussion (Chapters 16 and 17)
少女終末旅行: Chapter 14 Discussion
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Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 16 Discussion
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少女終末旅行: Volume 3 Discussion
少女終末旅行: Volume 4 Discussion
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少女終末旅行: Volume 5 Discussion
少女終末旅行: Volume 6 Discussion [Final Volume]
少女終末旅行: Chapter 16 Discussion (End of Volume 2)
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 7 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 4 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 6 Discussion
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Example Sentence Breakdown
Comparison of Book Club Picks
少女終末旅行: Chapter 3 Discussion
少女終末旅行: Chapter 1 Discussion
少女終末旅行 Home Thread (Beginner Book Club)
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 19 Discussion
少女終末旅行: Chapter 2 Discussion
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一週間フレンズ | Week 7 Discussion
少女終末旅行: Chapter 4 Discussion
When and how?
銭天堂 | Week 1 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 2 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 3 Discussion
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銭天堂 | Week 4 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 5 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 6 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 7 Discussion
When did WaniKani start to get easier?
銭天堂 | Week 8 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 9 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 10 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 11 Discussion
一週間フレンズ | Week 6 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 12 Discussion
銭天堂 | Week 13 Discussion
銭天堂 | (Bonus!) Week 14 Discussion
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のんのんびより: Chapter 6 Discussion
のんのんびより: Chapter 7 Discussion
Volume 6 (Original Ed.): フルーツバスケット ・ Fruits Basket 🍏 🍇 🍑 🍒 🍐 🍊 🧺
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のんのんびより: Chapter 1 Discussion
銭天堂 | (Bonus!) Week 14 Discussion
Aria the Masterpiece: Chapter 12 Discussion
のんのんびより: Chapter 3 Discussion
のんのんびより: Chapter 2 Discussion

A list of quick suggestions of books/manga for the first pool:

Please, if you have any suggestions, do say so. I made this list based on what I’ve seen considered as “easiest to read” around the Internet/Japanese learning community. I think it’s better to hear some suggestions from everyone before creating the pool that will decide the first book. I’ve heard that sports related stuff are also beginner friendly (Baby steps & Haikyuu!). Doraemon seems also to be a good option…

Also, feel free to let me know if there’s something that you don’t agree with :slight_smile:

11 Likes

Since I just ordered “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time,” but am also already committed to 秋の牢獄 for the next round of the other club, I guess I’ll just pop in and say hi now, and hope that “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time” doesn’t get picked right away. I may be nuts, but I’m pretty sure I can’t handle two book clubs at once.

I’m excited to see this starting, and I hope those who don’t feel ready for the original club will find a place here!

3 Likes

I have recently orderer yotsuba& and found it pretty entertaining and easily readable. I would be totally in for that one :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Since I just bough the whole series for 絶叫学級 I’m hoping it might be picked :wink:
It seems like a very good beginner book, with easy language and furigana (which is good only while on lower levels, which many of us still are)

I have been considering Yotsuba too though, as I’ve seen it on so many lists for beginners =)

Edit:
Bought Yotsuba. Whether or not we pick it doesn’t mater, I have been thinking of buying it for so long anyway =) Found complete set at bargain price on eBay, free shipping!
時をかける少女 too, hey, if it is good for beginners, just as well grab it =) Got it of eBay for a fair price.
しろくまカフェ as well, I’ve seen it on more than one list of recommended mangas, founda set for a decent and low price on eBay.

4/5 (current suggestions) bought =) None in possession, though one bought before list :wink:
Himouto! I’m skipping on for now, and won’t have my vote as first book. Might be doable later when higher level due to not using furigana much.

3 Likes

I’ve seen the other book club, and always thought it looked like fun. I’m still super beginner, but if we were reading something easy I would love to do my best. I think I have a lot to learn before I can read without looking up words and grammar all the time, but even if I have to look up every other word, I still think want to give it a try! I think it would be good for my learning and very motivating for me to have something to read in Japanese laying around.

I’ll add myself to the members list for now.

I’m interested in Yotsuba because I’ve heard it’s one of the easier books, but I’ll try to read anything.

By the way, where do you think is the best place to order books for me living in Sweden? Is it possible to order stuff from amazon.co.jp and have them shipped overseas?

1 Like

I’m able to buy from there, and I’m from Norway. I can’t seem to get free shipping anymore (always over 100Nok in shipping =/ )
I got Yotsuba of eBay instead, full series for 500Nok, free shipping.

I would like to recommend Chi’s Sweet home. It too, like Yotsuba, has easy language and a child as main character (the child is a cat, but still a child :wink: There’s an actual child too =P ) It has an easy yet fun plot that makes you feel for the characters, and the story is quite interesting. I have seen it on lists for beginners, and of my reading material it is one of the less strained readings I have without meaning to be (as in, it has natural language, yet is easy to follow) The language is about things happening around the house and family.

I would not, however, recommend Doraemon. I bought it cause it was made to be bilingual, and though made for Japanese people it could work the other way… No, not really. The Japanese text is very small and little to no furigana as it was meant for adults. I’m not able to read the Japanese part of those. The small Japanese text is set outside the frames while the English is in the text bubbles. I haven’t even gotten around to reading the English part of it yet. Much better to buy both versions of some other manga and read side by side.

Personally I love trying to read Naruto in Japanese. It feels t me just the same as Chi, cause I already know the lingo :wink:
For those not used to the series it would be much harder. They keep a lot of the Japanese parts in the scanlations of the mangas and in the subtitles of the anime, as well as being repeated so much that you end up knowing a lot of the phrases and specific ninja words they use in Japanese.

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A good resource we could use to find something good might be https://wakarukana.com/index, as it provides you with sample sentences of the work that you check so it tells you how hard it might end up being.

I wouldn’t be upset if we went with Yotsuba. I love manga and I hear Yotsuba is incredibly cute. Since I already love manga (I read a lot of manga but I’ve only read english translations so far), I think it’d be cool if my first book I read in Japanese (from cover to cover, anyway) is a manga. Plus, since everyone says Yotsuba is so simple, I would probably be able to have time to participate while still studying Genki like I want to. So if we go with Yotsuba as the first book, I’ll start participating now instead of waiting until next year. :slight_smile:

Though, I do also want to read “actual” books so I would want to go with something other than manga for our second book.

Whatever we decide to go with, I hope someone will post some links of good places to purchase from?

I checked out Himouto!, found photos of the actual pages. Since it doesn’t use much furigana it will be good for high levels but bad for lower levels. Didn’t buy it for now.

I do hope we try actual books as well, though I wouldn’t mind going with a manga as the first one and book as second =)

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よつばと! is a very entertaining book. The grammar and the vocabulary are fine but it should be said that there’re some informal particles or sentence structures which should be discussed. Also, keep in mind that Yotsuba pronounces the words long so don’t be confused when you see strokes in words =)

Oh yeah, I know a website which ships for free (over 39 bucks). But keep in mind that the prizes for individual books are more expensive. http://www.yesasia.com/global/en/japanese-comics.html

Sure! This isn’t supposed to be a manga club. The problem is that what we associate as children books in the West, 日本人 associate with manga. That’s also why it’s important that everyone shares any extra book suggestions they might have :slight_smile:

From what I researched on google/forums, amazon.jp seems to be the place to go to order books in Japanese. That’s why I linked only from Amazon in the suggestions that I gave. Not sure if there’s better places out there though.

Kiki’s Delivery Service (魔女の宅急便)might be nice!

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I sometimes grab the same book through amazon.co.uk for a better price on shipping (doesn’t always work, but sometimes)
And eBay is always a good place to check. Not as easily linked as most will be one of, sold and gone. But do have a search there when looking =)

I’d be up for either よつばと or The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Although I’m hesitantly skeptical about how easy TGWLTT will be to read for beginners, based on my hazy memory of the movie.

I voted for that one in the previous vote on the original Book club! =D
Just cause I know the story, which is a good bonus (Ghibli Movie)
I should grab it too, to check it out =)

Edit: bought the set just as well. Found it at decent price on Amazon jp

Only a small amount of items can be shipped internationally. But it is possible to get it shipped for an extra fee by choosing a seller for used books and mailing them for a international shipping request.

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Really? Every book I’ve tried and bought (four so far) was easy to get through JP Amazon.

Omg, I’m sorry, I’m so dumb. I didn’t realize you already had provided those links in the other post… I read the titles but for some reason it didn’t click in my head that they were links to purchase them. xD

So, thank you, you already did what I was asking. xD My bad!

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From what I remember reading the book (in Swedish) the movie and the book(s) are quite different. Ghibli (Miyazaki) usually deviates quite a bit from the source material when they do an interpretation. Nothing bad with that, just putting it out there.

I like both versions though, might have give the book a read in Japanese!

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