Happiness Week 4 - Absolute Beginners Book Club

thank you so much!

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Thanks for the discussions so far! They were quite helpful!

I still have one question left:
Page 72

I understand that やる can have a lot of meanings and I was wondering if まじめにやれ is a standing expression? After all, a literal translation would mean Seriously, do it, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. I also saw that @Gorbit99 translated it as Get it together, which I believe is a fine translation for meaning but to me has nothing to do with the acutal words in this panel. So I was wondering if I’m just missing yet another meaning of やる or if this is a standing expression?



Keep in mind, my translations aim for translating the spirit and not the exact sentence. Since in some cases you just can’t do a translation that’s exactly what the words say.

I guess the literary translation would be “act seriously” which is what get it together implies


I would say that the literal translation is “Do it seriously”. This would differ from “Seriously, do it” - in the latter, “seriously” is an adverb that applies to something different than the verb “do”. It’s more like “Seriously (speaking), (just) do it”.


@2OC3aOdKgwSGlxfz’s answer is solid! I’d like to chip in a little more on the grammar that’s happening here as I understand it if that’s okay:

まじめ: “serious”, na-adjective
まじめに: “seriously”, na-adjective turned adverb by adding に behind
やる: “to do”, verb
やれ: “do it”, imperative form of やる
よー: could be the よ used to sound more friendly and less commanding while giving an order as explained in this video

まじめに is an adverb used to modify the verb やれ, which is how we can arrive at “Do it seriously” rather than two separate phrases “Seriously, do it”. To do what seriously is then inferred from the context of the story.


Hey guys, this is my first time posting with regards to the book club. Tbh, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed to participate this time around as I feel I’m a bit too beginner. I understand that this is somewhat the purpose of the club, but pretty much every word is one I have to check in the Vocab Sheet in order to understand. So, I just don’t know how much time it’d be worth trying to read a book where I’d be lucky to understand one word across two-pages of text. Perhaps when the next ABBC starts I’ll join in :ok_hand:


Page 75, Panel 1

What does てめー mean?

You really should google this slang. てめー at DuckDuckGo


Hey there. Don’t feel pressured.
If it does not feel right it probably isn’t. A bit of discomfort is normal when starting but if you don’t feel you benefit from it and don’t take joy out of it, it’s probably better to move on to greener pastures for the time beeing. (Grammar books or vocabulary decks or whatever)

I like your mindset of not giving up and trying for the next ABBC. You can take this as an oportunity to have a goal to study towards and maybe be more motivated for it? Who knows maybe the next one will be just right for you after some more study and with different theme.

All the best to your efforts!


てめー means “you” in a very offensive way.

(Just putting this here in case anyone else looks for this)


Is anyone else being reminded of a certain wizard?



Thank you so much for your words of encouragement :slight_smile:

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I’ve had this experience more than once, bounced off a few books and a book club. For me, I went and started with looking at free graded readers and spent a few months building up some reading time. I’m not sure it really helped from a ‘did it mean you could read more of the manga text’ but it definitely helped to build up my confidence so that I was ready to take that next step.

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Says google that, proceeds to duckducko it. Chad behaviour.


As someone who is also way too beginner for this, I wanted to tell you what I’ve been doing while also enjoying the bookclub!

On Friday, I first read the pages with basically no intention of understanding the text, but I try understanding through the pictures (thank goodness for the art). Then I read the vocab sheet, without the intention of memorizing anything. Then I read the pages one more time with the vocab sheet, and then add any words I find “fun” into my SRS (like maybe 5-10 words). During the week, I follow this thread to read the comments as they appear to try to get a better understanding.

None of this takes me more than like 20 minutes, I’m not trying to understand everything deeply because I know I am too beginner to do so. But what I’m learning is how to read, and I’m talking the very basics, for example:

  • What order to read the panels on the pages
  • How to search/google vocab words I don’t know
  • How to search/google grammar points I don’t know
  • How to add vocab/grammar to my SRS
  • Learning that onomatopoeia is a thing!
  • Learning when a name is being said…
  • Etc…

So am I really understanding IN DEPTH what’s going on? Absolutely not. But I’m building my knowledge on how to read & reading the comments helps give me enough context to feel involved, without spending an enormous amount of time on this. In addition, I totally intend to use this as a benchmark and reread this in like a year to see how I’ve improved!

Anyway, of course do whatever you think is best for you, I just wanted to share how I’m doing it :smiley: GL!


Thank you so much for this response, it’s really lovely! At the very least I’ll be able to use some of these pointers moving forward.

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I loved @melisma 's response because it shows very well how there are many ways to benefit from a book club, on many different levels. A book club is not any kind of exclusive club, and membership doesn’t come with obligations or even expectations. You can follow along at your own pace and at your own level, trying to understand everything in depth or even just getting a feel of how things work. You can keep up with the book club’s recommended pace, read a panel per week if you like, or even start reading several years later (and still come here to ask questions if you feel like it, there will always be people willing to answer). Even just following the discussion here may help something click for you that you never expected, I know it often did for me when I was starting out. Feel free to leave the book for later if you’re not getting any fun out of it for now - reading should be fun first and foremost, even if it’s also more deciphering than reading in the early stages. But don’t get discouraged just because you don’t know most of the words (why would you? You’ll know them if you keep encountering them), or because others seem to have an easier time than you (everyone struggled with their first book(s) just as much). And if you do decide to give it a go, now or later, never hesitate to ask a question here because you may feel it’s too basic or silly - there is no such thing.


Eharnett, last year I tried an ABBC, and it seemed too hard, so I didn’t keep going til the end. But now, a year later, I decided to try again. Although I’ve been learning lots of vocab through WK, I never could get started reading. But now it’s working, somewhat. I’ve been reading on my phone, enlarging each sentence or word so I can read the furigana. Then if I don’t know it, I type it into Jisho in romaji, and this has actually worked a number of times. And if I can’t figure it out, I check the Vocab List, or just wait to read the comments here. Also, it seems as if many words get repeated over and over again. For example, they usually use Kimi for “you” and Boku for “I”. And they say Daijoubu (are you okay, or I’m okay) lots of times. Plus they say Okazaki’s name about a million times. So, if it seems daunting to you, you could do what some others have suggested, just get used to the way the pages and dialog boxes are read, get some of what’s happening by pictures, etc. Or try again in 6 months or a year, since they keep having new ABBC selections. When I started Japanese in January 2018, I set a goal of five years to be able to read simple books, and watch TV shows w/o subtitles. I’m into year 4, and I still have a long way to go, but things are finally really start to come together. Good luck!


These responses have been motivating me to say the least. To the point where I ended up reading the entire allocated pages in one go! :sweat_smile: All I’m doing is reading out each character at a time, but it’s a start. My biggest difficulty thus far is trying to discern if the the つ I’m looking at is a big つ or a small っ, as it’s difficult to tell. Also the furigana tends to be a bit hard to make out even when zoomed fully. Other than that I enjoyed it, despite only knowing two or three words! I guess it was quite an actiony section of the story so I started reading the book at the right time. I’ll now have なめたい associated with this book forever, once I look up what it means of course :joy: So, thanks again for all the advice, because now I can officially say that read I’ve a half chapter of manga in the original langauage, even if meant only really being familiar with 大丈夫 :blush: