Happiness Week 1 - Absolute Beginner Book Club

Happiness Book Club - Week 1

Chapter 1 (part 1) ・ Pages 3-19

Start Date: March 5th
Week 2: Link
Home page: Link

We’re reading volume 1 of this manga as part of the Absolute Beginner Book Club.

Vocabulary Sheet

Building the vocab spreadsheet for the book is a joint project and everyone is welcome to contribute. Please read the instructions on the first page if you are doing this for the first time.

Discussion Guidelines

  • Please blur / hide any major events in the current week’s pages (however early they occur), like so: texthere
  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked
  • Join the conversation — it’s fun!
Page numbers for ebook readers

The page numbers quoted by ebook readers often don’t match the print version of the book. This is usually because they count the front cover and inside front cover as pages 1 and 2.

We’ll be using the original page numbering from the print version. These will be found on the bottom corner of some (but not all) pages in the digital version.

Often subtracting 2 from the “ebook reader page” will give the equivalent “print version page” but you’ll need to check your edition.

Participation poll

  • I’m reading along
  • I’m planning to read but haven’t started yet

0 voters

If you’ve read it before but will join in the discussion, please select ‘yes’!

I’m reading

  • Physical version
  • Digital version

0 voters


Welcome to Week One of Happiness!

1. Ask Questions!!

This group works best when people ask questions - so please ask! No question is silly - this is the Absolute Beginner’s Book Club so people are expecting Absolute Beginner Questions. The questions drive the discussion, and there’s a good chance if you are wondering, there are several other people wondering the same thing.

When asking a question:

  • Please include the page number for every question you ask
  • Check whether your question has already been asked / answered before posting
  • Remember to utilise the vocab spreadsheet
  • Blur out any major events when posting, however early in the ‘week’ they occur (like so: [spoiler]text here[/spoiler])

2. Useful Resources

  • Jisho is a popular online Japanese-English dictionary, and the usual source for populating the spreadsheet
  • ichi.moe is a popular tool for parsing out sentences. It’s not infallible but it can be really useful when you don’t recognise the conjugation of a word, or when a set of words form a set expression.
  • The Jaded Network is a useful resource for looking up the little sound effect words in the pictures which are often not in Jisho
  • Deepl will translate a sentence from Japanese to English. It’s not going to be right all the time, but when you are struggling with a sentence it can sometime help to point you in the right direction.

Another poll…

  • I’ve never tried reading a Japanese book/manga before
  • I’ve started a Japanese book/manga before but not finished
  • I’ve finished at least one Japanese book/manga previously

0 voters


So read this weeks part. Man the main character instantly seems like a super perv. Not sure yet what purpose this serves in the later story. I hope it’s not just thrown in there just because.

The news cast is probably pretty hard to understand for our beginners. The grammar and words are not too easy so PLEASE ASK QUESTION if anything at all is unclear.

It’s my first work by oshimi and he has quite a reputation so I’m looking forward to see what this story has in store.

I have to say the art of the first 7 pages was beautiful. Would have loved the whole manga being in that style :smiley:


I just had a quick glance and accidentally read a bit too far ahead :sweat_smile: It’s hard to keep track of the pages on Bookwalker, apparently!

I noticed a couple of things I’m curious about, so I’ll be back later to ask after I’ve read more carefully. Just wanted to check in and express how excited I am to get started on this book with everyone. :sparkles:


Ok well I just started reading and in the first few pages with the group telling mc to get them a bunch of stuff, they are saying “あと” a lot, what does that mean? It’s pretty hard to look up for obvious reasons.


あと (後) alone means most probably “after”. This usage we have here is the Jisho.org: Japanese Dictionary 5. definition on jisho meaning “also; in addition”. I think of it as just a nuance of the “after” meaning ^^


I was wondering if i just folow along without saying anything but i think i will be more commited to this if i speak so here i am.
Complete beginner here. I’ve try to read few chapter of another manga and few children stories before but i hope that i will understand more.
I’ve start to read the digital version. But sometimes the furigana aren’t readable so the vocab sheet will be pretty usefull i think.
I need to read it again along with the vocab sheet and i may ask questions later in the weekend.


For some of the kanji that the furigana is too small to read, how would you suggest I try to look up the kanji? I’ve tried guessing what the furigana said and get no results in Jisho. I’m not sure in general how to look up unknown kanji.


There are different methods.

You can go by radicals. On jisho on top left of the search bar there is a dropdown where you can select “parts” of the Kanji. The more unique the radical is the easier it is to look up the Kanji. You have to be able to identify the “parts” of the Kanji though. This is a very useful skill to have.

Another one is to go by stroke count. If you know how to write the most common parts of kanji you can count the number of strokes and some dictionaries allow you to look kanji up with a specific stroke count.

Lastly you can try to draw the Kanji. Next to the radical selection is an input field where you can try to draw the kanji.

Another way that requires a smartphone is to look it up with an app like google translate. You can select Camera as input and capture it and google will show you what it is and how it is read.

Generally it is a good skill to develop reading small hiragana also. So what you did is a valid strategy too. (You get used to more and more mad kanas the longer you expose yourself to japanese)

Example from slam dunk

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Compare the small stuff on the left with the normal text font size. It is a little worse because of my camera but it reads おそるべし and you will get used to text in this size…

If you tell us which page/panel we can try to give more specific advice on how one would go about that specific case.


Hello! This my first time joining one of the book clubs, and I’m happy to be reading along with others! :smiling_face:
It’s not my first time reading manga in Japanese, so just from this beginning part I feel it won’t be very difficult for me. But I have not been reading much lately, so this is great for motivation!

I’ve also started sentence mining recently! (just a little, when I feel like it :sweat_smile:)
So this is a great opportunity for that too!

I’m especially bad with onomatopoeia, so I think this will be great for that!

new onomatopoeia for me

IMG_9209 Small
IMG_9210 Small
IMG_9211 Small
IMG_9214 Small

ぴく is the same as ぴくっと?
Any ideas on what ズズ would be called?
And I assume ひゅう is just the wind.

And a couple more words I learned!

はめになる(羽目になる)to get stuck with (some job); to end up with (something unpleasant)​
IMG_9212 Small

何らか some; any; in any way; of some kind; of some sort​
IMG_9213 Small

Otherwise, we aren’t very far in the story yet, but it seems interesting so far. Looking forward to reading more and seeing where it goes. It’ll be interesting to see how the main character get involved with the vampire girl we saw in the beginning.


I believe so, yes, this is a twitch of surprise.

The sound of the seat of his desk sliding on the floor as he gets up, I believe. ずー is usually the sound for something sliding smoothly; ずず instead would be two consecutives small slides, so it feels like a more clumsy slide.

I agree that’s probably what this represents.


Yes to the first. He twitches because he is called unexpectedly and knows what is to come. You often find onomatopae doubled or single like this or with the と to work like an adverb. That makes it especially hard to look them up I feel.
Read the third the same as you.

I gave up learning them all. I just absorb the mood in which they appear while reading manga. Sounding them out (verbalising) sometimes makes it click in combination with the picture on what it means…


Yes, definitely feel like they are really easy to understand through how they appear in the manga.
But still fun to look up ones I haven’t seen before. Will be saving only very common ones for learning though :blush:


If you are reading on pc or laptop you can use the KanjiTomo app to hover the mouse over and get it will show several definitions.


For the sake of actually trying to stick with a book club, I’m gonna try to do a translation

Here we go



Nice touch that they don’t use any sort of honorifics


O - ka - za - ki
Hurry up


Well, for me, it will be a…
a corn dog and a katsusando
and a melon bun

This will be a lot of food to translate…


I want a curry sandwich and a red bean-margarin sandwich(??)
Fish sandwich and a menchikatsu for me
I’d like a mayokon and a chocolate cornet

and a caffé latte

uhm… yes…
what about the money?

We’ll give it to you afterwards
Now go quickly

Man, I’m hungry

Not quite sure what exactly the つぶあんマーガリン part is all about, but the pictures about it seem dreadful


Granny! Can I get the bill?
I’m coming

A curry sandwich…
The red bean paste (sandwich I assume)
The cornet

Ah, I want this one


Can I help…
with anything? (Not sure what this あと何 is all about, this is my best guess)

Fun fact, this page took a third of the time to translate than the previous one, purely because of the food names


Thank you
Don’t worry about it!

I’m sorry Okazaki-kun
I’m letting them do such a thing to you… next time I’ll be by your side (kinda awkward translation)
Don’t worry, you shouldn’t need to apologize

Those guys…
It would be nice if they died


Good guy Nunota, looking out for our protagonist



Hardest page yet!


In other news

Today at dawn on the roads of Nakanoku, Tokyo
A 42-year-old from Kobayashi, named Kouji-san, was found collapsed by a passerby

Man, that second sentence was mostly chinese, only 2 particles, nothing else


He was rushed to the hospital, but was soon confirmed to be dead
Isn’t that around here? Look!

I’m scared
According to the police, they were involved in some kind of incident… (I assume they mean like gang wars or similar)

Be careful from now on, you guys

Thank you for the meal

Makoto, you done?
If you don’t eat properly, you won’t grow taller… Look at your brother

So apparently you know it’s the newsreporter talking, because it will be mostly kanji


Can I get seconds?
Of course

Satoru, how is university going?
What about it? I’m trying hard

Look, english!

As usual, I’m not the most confident about my translations, so if someone finds anything that’s not quite the way it should be, feel free to correct me!

Sofar this manga seems quite nice in terms of difficulty, I was surprised how many grammar points I could spot and actually make sense of. Felt really nice


So reading a translation, it seems I got a few things wrong:

Seems like Nunota was telling Okazaki, that he used to be the one being bossed around and now he is


やらす - to make someone do something
やらされる - to be made to do something
やらされている - to be made to do something (present cont.)
やらされていた - to have been made to do something (past cont.)
やらされていた事 - thing someone was made to do


はめになる - to get stuck with something
やるはめになって - to get stuck doing something

So basically “The thing I was made to do… now you’re stuck doing it”

also, the man that was found dead had the name “Kobayashi”, which is of course a name. So that sentence was rather “A local man named kobayashi kouji…”


Looks like it’s commonly a koppe bread with one side spread with sweet red bean paste and the other with margarine. Haven’t tried it myself, but I can imagine others liking it for the combination of both a sweet and salty taste together on a fluffy bread :eyes:

regarding p13

あと - also / after / the rest
何 - what

So I interpreted it as “what’s the rest?”. Or better english: “What’s left to do?” or “what else?”


Page 19

This みたい isn’t anything to do with 見る (みる - to look).
It’s this みたい meaning “like, similar to”

So it means If you don’t eat more you won’t grow taller, like your brother

Page 14
Always hard a word like 今度 that can mean “this time” or “next time”. As you deduced when you looked at the translation, here it means “this time” or “now”.

Page 13

おばあさん means granny, and is also used a general term to refer to older women.

This word is おばちゃん which means auntie, or is just used in general to refer to an older woman (as used here).


man i think i am. completely out of my depth with this. i really want to enjoy reading this but it’s so slow to try to figure out what each thing means because i know a lot less than i would like to lol. is it even worth doing this at the point where i have to look up something in each sentence to figure out what this means or should i just come back to trying to read books that aren’t graded readers when i know more


I think you’re the only one who can make that call, but speaking as someone who wishes she began reading earlier, I think there’s merit in the early struggle. All of the grammar and vocabulary will become familiar after a while, and for every manga or book you slog through, the more knowledge you’ll end up with! Also, the book club is here to help if there’s anything you get stuck on. From my experience, reading can be a bit of an uphill battle no matter when you start, so it’s nice to have the support of others while you do it.

But yeah, if you really dislike looking up words a lot, it could be helpful to get some more kanji and grammar under your belt first. It really just depends on your level of frustration and how much you feel like you’re getting out of the book. After all, there’s little point in forcing yourself to read if the only thing it leads to is frustration.