Challenging my reading level: 真訳 五輪書 自分を超える、道を極める

Since ~Lvl30 I’ve been reading this shounen manga “Bamboo Blade”, and I can read it fairly ok. There’s occasional kanji here and there I don’t understand, but with the story and illustration it doesn’t prevent me from understanding the meaning.

There was new book released " 真訳 五輪書 自分を超える、道を極める", it’s explanation book about the Miyamoto Musashi book “5 rings”. The book itself is fairly difficult to understand to even Japanese people (I never read it, Japanese or translated). So this new book is supposed to help understand what the book actually says.

But, it’s really jump into deep end.

My goal is to read 1 page a day, about 3-4 times a week. At that pace it would take me ~1.5 years to finish.

Anyone else read proper books around lvl40? Is this pipe dream to be able to read? Am I going to cry?

Fish me luck.

(Amazon link to the book: 真訳 五輪書 自分を超える、道を極める | 宮本 武蔵, アレキサンダー・ベネット |本 | 通販 | Amazon )


I mean, I started reading long before mastering kanji in any meaningful capacity. As long as you have enough of a grasp of grammar + enough vocabulary knowledge, you’ll be fine.

Will you get incredibly frustrated by the slow pace of translation, having to look up tons of kanji all the time - very likely - unless you have the right mindset from the get go. :eyes: It really boils down to your attitude to the task here whether it’s doable or not.

I certainly didn’t try anything as difficult as what you’re attempting. I did computer games thought early on, where I basically had to look up all kanji I encountered. What made that possible though, was for sure the ability to copy kanji from the game using dialogue extraction tools on a computer, and then putting them through a digital dictionary search.

Doing this sort of thing without that extra help, does require even more patience. :eyes:

Only you can tell if this is too steep a hill to climb or if you’ll be fine.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

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My default answer when it comes to questions like “do you think I can do X” in the context of studies is “just try and you’ll know for sure”.

If you’ve got your mind set on it already, answers to this question can only really discourage you from something you would otherwise have done, right?

Also, chances are you’ll not be able to get it out of your system unless you try it. This is the case for me.

So unless it takes a lot of time and/or money to even make an attempt, like I said, I think that if you try it you’ll know pretty soon whether or not it was feasible.

And this way, even if it turns out it wasn’t at this point in your studies, it may have given you something to work towards in the future.

EDIT Also… the point is to surpass yourself right? :slight_smile: You’re not gonna do that by just listening to people (including yourself!) telling you that something is impossible!



I started reading novels at level 12 (:eyes:), after finishing the equivalent of Genki I and II. It is veeery painful but I enjoy it! I do read manga and other things but nothing makes me happier than reading prose. Sure it looks like a brick wall at first (still does sometimes…), but once I got the hang of parsing and “decoding,” getting the story, it’s very fulfilling to me.

If you like this book and topic, don’t let your level stop you from trying and seeing if it’s doable! One advice is buy it in ebook or Kindle version (if you have Kindle or a similar e-reader that can have a Japanese dictionary). The ability to just click and look up an unknown word is a time-saver. If not, just being able to copy paste digital Japanese text into jisho will save you time in having to look up kanji manually.

がんばれ! :blush:

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Usually when I start something, I’m too bone headed to stop until done. Also with my planned reading speed, I should be Lvl60 even before I’m halfway through the book. So that should help.

The tip about kindle is great, and also too late :stuck_out_tongue: I already received the physical book. Maybe if I get too frustrated, I should buy the kindle edition. And just checked, it’s not available for kindle. It just came out though, maybe they’ll convert it to kindle later.

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Seriously, good luck!

I had a look through the sample page and my kanji/vocabulary is somewhat lacking, but I might check it out in the future.


Well, started.

Day1: Index

Jesus h this was difficult. Lot of strange sentences. Only few sentences, but took ages to mull over

Day2: Page1:

Not too bad, had to look up few kanji but overall was much easier than the index page.

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:open_mouth: you’re doing it!! Good luck! I’d also like to share this website > < it’s a godsend in parsing sentences especially for unknown grammar and/or weird compound words.

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Few more pages done. Not getting easier.

One of my biggest difficulty is verb forms, it’s often tough to know if the sentence is positive, negative, conditional, etc. Like I can read the actual kanjis but then the verb form is strange so it’s difficult to get the actual meaning.

I think that’s a good starting goal. Similar to mine, actually, but the book I’m reading is a joke compared to this one :sweat_smile: .

Also, it’s 1 page per day now. I’m pretty sure that you will be able to quickly pick up pace :slight_smile: . Judging by the kanji density, it’s not the worst!

Now this one would make people cry…:

That’s the Diary of a Mad Old Man by Tanizaki Jun’ichiro. I read a bit of it in my mother tongue and at some point would like to read it in Japanese.

Since I’m terrible with bringing luck, here’s the Dog of Good Luck in a Yellow Raincoat:

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Ohhh, I also read this one in my mother tongue, it was cute. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: ( public opinion may disagree with that adjective, though :smiling_imp: )

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Almost given up on this book. It’s still on my night table but I think I’ve done total ~15 pages. It’s just bit beyond my skills so might need to learn more before continue. Currently I’m reading the Bamboo Blade and after that the plan is to read Kimetsu no Yaiba. Those are much closer to my skills, much faster to read and less frustration.