Currently reading: 霧のむこうのふしぎな町 ・ Mysterious Town Beyond the Mist
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
If you’re interested, just grab a copy of the upcoming book (we vote 5-6 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
Book 01 | よつばと！ ***
Book 02 | 魔女の宅急便 ・ Kiki’s Delivery Service)
Book 03 | Aria; Masterpiece Edition ***
Book 04 | のんのんびより
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)
Book 07 | 少女終末旅行 ・ Girls’ Last Tour) ***
Book 08 | 銭天堂 ・ The Mysterious Sweet Shop
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 ***
*** continuing in their own book clubs
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 (older) 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!
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
Nominate something you are ready to read
- This is a big cooperative group, but there’s always a minority keeping things active. If your pick wins, there’ll be some expectation that you contribute.
- If you can’t mostly read your own sample pages you may not be able to judge the difficulty effectively, and won’t be able to help others much.
Books must not be longer than 200 pages
- Our reading pace means this is the longest we could tackle within a reasonable timeframe (ideally no more than 16 weeks), but if the book is dense it will need to be even shorter.
Do not nominate anything clearly NSFW
- This can be hard to judge without reading the book, but if you’d associate the work with fanservice or gore please don’t suggest it for this group as we try to maintain a wide appeal.
Furigana does not imply something is easy (or vice versa)
- It’s useful to note the presence or absence of furigana in your nomination, but don’t equate it directly with difficulty: it’s a factor.
It must be readily available to purchase
- Please don’t nominate anything which people will have difficulty finding.
- Ideally there should be an eBook version available as well as physical.
Try to pick something reasonably well-known
- This will increase the reader pool as more people will be interested / already have a copy, and some might be more willing to take part if they can easily sell the book on after reading.
- The overall premise is probably widely understood and some may have read (or watched) it before, making it easier for readers to understand the content from context and to help each other out.
Slice-of-life and drama is safer than fantasy
- Slice-of-life and drama tend to focus on human interaction in a real-life setting, providing both a low barrier to entry and high returns on time invested.
- Fantasy and sci-fi often feature info-dumps and long monologues, which are difficult and off-putting for beginners, as well as niche, esoteric and even unique vocabulary.
- There are of course always exceptions, both ways.
Copy this template into a new post when proposing a book/manga.
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 previews from e.g. Amazon, BookWalker, eBookJapan. Make sure the text is legible!
# Insert Title Here
Insert summary from Amazon/Wikipedia/MyAnimeList/wherever here.
Insert link to book on amazon.co.jp here.
Insert link(s) to ebook here, or mention if an ebook is not available.
## Personal Opinion
Insert why you think this book would be good to read, personally and for the book club here.
### Pros and Cons for the Book Club
* Insert pros here.
* Insert cons here.
[details=“First Three Pages of Chapter One”]
Insert images here (can be photos from you or the internet, or from ebook previews).
Insert a few more images here - try to make them representative.
## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this book?
[poll type=regular public=true]
* No effort at all
* Minimal effort
* Just right
* Impossible, even with everyone’s help
* I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)
List of Removed Nominations
|おおかみこどもの雨と雪||Too long (270 pages)
Moved to the intermediate book club
|キノの旅||Too hard / long (213 pages)
Moved to the intermediate book club
Misc discussion available
|放浪息子||Misc discussion available|
|日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 18冊全巻セット||Moved to the absolute beginners’ club|
|あたしンち||Moved to the absolute beginners’ club|
|しろくまカフェ||Read by the absolute beginners’ club|
|チーズスイートホーム||Read by the absolute beginners’ club|
|ナルト||Lack of interest|
|ドラゴンボール||Lack of interest|
|聲の形||First volume too depressing on its own!|
|進撃の巨人||Lack of interest|
|ポレポレ日記いざ流星学園へ！||Lack of interest|
See the linked nomination posts for more information, including sample pages.
The difficulty scores come from club members voting in the nomination post; you should vote too!
Last updated: 2019-08-31
Manga - Nordic Girl Åsa Discovers the Mysteries of Japan
Convenience store onigiri are way too handy! Why is it that Japanese girls can call just about anything “cute?” The guys at host bars are so hot, they’re like real-life anime characters! These are only some of the mysteries Swedish manga artist Åsa Ekström discovers in this journal comic about her journey from Scandinavia to Japan, which is jam-packed with surprises and laughs!
Difficulty: 2.40 [15 votes]
Manga - Ao's Island and a Cat
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…
Difficulty: 2.79 [19 votes]
Manga - Laid-Back Camp
Rin likes to go camping by herself along the lakes that provide a scenic view of Mt. Fuji. Nadeshiko is determined to see Mt. Fuji after just moving to the area. After they meet, Rin and Nadeshiko take camping trips, eat cup ramen together, and enjoy the scenery.
Difficulty: 2.83 [23 votes]
Manga - Fukaboku: Love Me For Who I Am
Mogumo, a student who goes to school wearing a girl’s uniform, is invited to work part time at a cafe one day. At first, Mogumo is happy about getting to work while wearing a cute uniform, but after learning the that the cafe is an “otoko no ko ” cafe…
Difficulty: 2.29 [17 votes]
Manga - Fruits Basket
After a family tragedy leaves Tooru Honda all alone and forces her to live in a tent, she encounters the esteemed Souma family, who’s estate she is unwittingly pitched on. Things start to look up after they discover her secret, as she is invited to live with the family, but she soon discovers that the Souma family have a secret all of their own…
This nomination is for the Collector’s Edition; those reading eBooks would need to purchase the first two ‘normal’ volumes.
Difficulty: 2.89 [18 votes]
Manga - Skip Beat!
Kyoko Mogami discovers that her childhood friend and romantic goal, Sho Fuwa, only keeps her around to act as a maid and to earn his living expenses, while he works his way to become the top pop idol in Japan. Furious and heartbroken, she vows revenge by beating him in show business.
Difficulty: 2.50 [12 votes]
Manga - Neighbourhood Story
Koda Mikako is a first year student in the Clothing Design department of the Yazawa Art Academy. She is working hard to accomplish her dream of becoming a designer and creating her own brand. This story depicts the relations of the friends and acquaintances who surround her, as well as her romance with Yamaguchi Tsutomu, who lives in the same building as her.
Difficulty: 2.57 [14 votes]
Manga - Haikyuu!!
Junior HS student Shōyō Hinata gains a sudden love of volleyball after seeing a national championship match on TV. Although short in height, he becomes determined to follow in the footsteps of the “Little Giant”. However, his dreams are destroyed in his first official match, where his team suffers a crushing defeat against the championship favourites, including so-called “King of the Court” Tobio Kageyama. Hinata vows to defeat Kageyama, only for the two to wind up as unlikely team mates.
Difficulty: 2.63 [8 votes]
Manga - Great Detective Conan
Shinichi Kudou, a great mystery expert at only seventeen, gets into trouble after witnessing some disturbing illegal activity. Dosed with an experimental drug and left to die, he is astonished to live and wake up in the body of a seven-year-old. Hiding his identity, he takes on the alias of Conan Edogawa…
Difficulty: 3.35 [17 votes]
Book - Scary Lessons
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!
Difficulty: 3.24 [21 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
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) - bear this in mind when comparing prices.
CDJapan has economy shipping options which take longer to arrive but cost less, and a reward points system.
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.
- Amazon JP
- eBook Japan (doesn’t show tax until checkout)
- BookWalker (accepts paypal)
- Honto (mobile reader app is region-locked – on Android get an APK, on iOS use JP App Store)
If purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP gives you trouble, check out sirvorn’s wonderful guide on purchasing eBooks from Amazon JP.
"Next Book" Polls
Winner links go to the original nominations.
Book Poll 8 - Winner: ふらいんぐうぃっち
Runoff Poll - Winner: 霧のむこうのふしぎな町
- Book Poll 7 - Winner: 一週間フレンズ
- Book Poll 6 - Winner: 少女終末旅行 and ふしぎ駄菓子屋 銭天堂
- Book Poll 5 - Winner: 時をかける少女
- Book Poll 4 - Winner: のんのんびより and 夏目友人帳
- Book Poll 3 - Winner: Aria the Masterpiece
- Book Poll 2 - Winner: 魔女の宅急便
Book Poll 1 - Winner: よつばと！
Poll to decide what to do when the winner is a short manga (~4-6 weeks of reading)
- Result: read first volume of winner, followed by first volume of runner-up
Poll to decide whether book club topics should be moved to the
- Result: move everything
Poll to decide how long “next book” polls should stay open
- Result: 1 week
Poll to decide how many votes “next book” polls should allow per user
- Result: no limit
Poll to decide whether to create a 2nd Book Club for beginners
- Result: yes!