Intermediate Japanese Book Club (Coming Soon: 地球星人)

So 20 for people reading the normal IBC 15 pages per week as well, if I understood that correctly? We did (do) have Haruhi which is the same length, so it’s possible if a bit of a drag. Nothing wrong with nominating it, if you don’t mind maybe reading it with the club. And if it doesn’t get chosen you can still run you own.

I’ve been wanting to read しあわせのぱん, that one’s short and probably OK level wise. I’ve only read the first 10 or 20 pages so far, but I’ll give it a more in depth look soon.

When I put a poll before, most people didn’t vote for the “nominate it for book club” option, so I’m going to stick with my original plan unless there’s significant pushback. Plus I specifically prefer to start reading it in January or February, while the book after キッチン will start in December. I was thinking about creating a poll to decide when specifically to start.

2 Likes

I’m still hoping 氷菓 might win so I guess no nominations from me this time.

2 Likes

I don’t think I’ll vote for that, but I’d read it if it won.

Here’s a nomination I picked up in Japan the other day. Honestly not sure whether this is better suited to Beginner or Intermediate, but I decided to put it here in the end because classical Japanese. I thought of you when I saw this, @seanblue. :slightly_smiling_face:

マンガ✖くり返しでスイスイ覚えられる百人一首

Smoothly Memorise with Manga and Repetition: The Hyakunin Isshu

Summary

Japanese

●累計10万部突破の「マンガ×くり返し」シリーズに「百人一首」の本が登場!
百人一首は、さまざまな教科の先取り学習にぴったりです。
百人一首を覚えると、こんな効果があります。
1)昔の言葉、古典に親しむことができ、言葉の力がつく………国語の成績アップ、語彙力アップ
2)作者が生きた時代の出来事を知り、歴史の勉強になる………社会(歴史)の成績アップ
3)季節の移り変わりや恋の歌を知り、心が豊かになる…………表現力アップ

百人一首を暗誦することで、優れた和歌を通して言葉の決まりや表現法、
昔の人の考え方などを身につけることができます。
こうした知識は、このさき本格的に始まる古典や歴史の学習にも大いに役立つものです。

この本では、百人一首に収められている和歌をマンガで楽しく紹介しています。
難しい言葉には解説をつけ、覚えやすいように語呂合わせも紹介しています。
また、作者のプロフィールや歴史的な背景も取り上げ、無理なく歴史の知識も身につくように構成しています。
覚えやすいよう、全体を5章に分け、復習クイズをつけました。
ご家庭や学校で百人一首に親しむときの「虎の巻」として、また、国語や歴史の勉強のきっかけとして、
この本を役立てていただければ幸いです。

English

Simply put, it’s a book to help kids (specifically, twelve-year-olds, according to the cover) memorise the Hyakunin Isshu, the Hundred Poems which are used on karuta cards. I’m not expecting us to memorise the poems, but it’d be great for finding out more about them. Each poem has a double-page spread, with the poems (including modern-equivalent readings, if they differ), a brief explanation of the meaning, a handy mnemonic for memorisation, a single four- (or sometimes three-) panel manga strip illustrating the meaning, and an explanation.

Availability

Amazon
Can’t seem to pin down an e-book version…

Personal Opinion

Well, aside from the lurking Chihayafuru fanclub which I know exists around here, it might be good for us to get some exposure to actual aspects of Japanese culture, not just the works of fiction.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Quite well divided into bite-sized chunks - no need to put a break in mid-chapter simply to stop the page count getting too high.
  • It’s intended for twelve-year-olds, which might peg it below intermediate level, but on the other hand, it’s therefore specifically aimed at people who are still learning the language.

Cons

  • It’s a reasonably solid book - 240 pages. I mean, there’s a hundred poems - if we read five a week, it’d take us twenty weeks to get through the book, even without the foreword and afterword pages at each end.
  • Everything’s got furigana.
  • Seemingly no eBook version.

Pictures

Images of the prologue

Random poem pages

Soooo tempting to include the ちはやぶる poem here, but I’ma keep that hidden as incentive for people to vote. :stuck_out_tongue:

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

7 Likes

Ya know, I was leaning towards putting this one in Beginners, but I don’t wanna make more competition for Yuru Camp, so I’ll put it here as well. :slightly_smiling_face:

空挺ドラゴンズ

Airborne Dragons
Though, “Drifting Dragons” appears to be an official translation, perhaps. Honestly not too sure on that point.

Summary

Japanese

龍を追って、世界の空を往く捕龍船『クィン・ザザ号』。大物を捕まえれば一獲千金、獲りたての肉も食べ放題。でも、失敗したらもちろんお陀仏。空と龍に魅せられた乗組員たちの大冒険の旅&世界グルメ紀行!

English

Meet the crew of the Quin Zaza, a flying ship which hunts flying dragons. And then butchers them for meat and other products, and sells them. Like, that’s literally the blurb on the back of the book’s obi - “Hunt, butcher, sell, and then… eat!!” But more to the point, it’s full of swashes, and buckles, and all manner of derring-do.

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

It looks kinda pretty and kinda fun. Honestly, it first caught my eye because the style of shading and the aircraft technology was quite reminiscent of the Nausicaä manga.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Pretty. Not excessively wordy. No furigana.
  • It’s getting an anime adaptation starting early next year, so clearly it’s popular.

Cons

  • Well, if I’m to be completely honest… it’s got some fairly strong hints of whale hunting in the imagery, which is not an awesome theme, though at least in this case the dragons propose a legitimate threat to both the ship and to innocent towns on the ground.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

3 Likes

CIt’s hard to give a straight answer to difficulty. The poems themselves are quite hard to memorize, I feel, even with the mnemonic proposed by the author.
I could, of course, just not care about memorizing them, but then the book looses 80% of its interest, I think :thinking:

5 Likes

80%? You really think so? I’d have thought a lot of the appeal would be in learning just what the poems mean.

1 Like

TL;DR: I feel like the book gives too much information to quickly go through it, but the alternative would take too much effort/time.

Way too long opinion

Well, I’m not saying it’s not interesting. I’m saying that I feel a book like this requires more time than we can reasonably give it in the book club. Just learning the meaning covers simply the top right box and the manga. Maybe the vocab/grammar points on the bottom left if you are feeling fancy.
I do not have the historical knowledge required to put those poems back in context, since I have no context.
I can’t even do the cute “Oh, he is from, err たいかのsomething something” (ref to the first poem) because I haven’t heard of 大化の改新. I’m left with two choices: shrugging it off and basically getting nothing from that part, or looking it up and discussing findings with others, which does seem like a good idea, but time consuming.
I’d be interested in doing something like that with others, if people care, but I have a feeling I might be alone on that.

4 Likes

I care :smiley:

... too much

It sounds really fascinating. But I think going into it with that much detail, 5 poems per week are a lot!

For a book such as this, it might even be fun to treat it like an actual group project from school, where we have the above mentioned 5 poems per week (or x amount for x people) and then everyone chooses one for their project that week, for which they prepare a post with a summary of the history etc and some reference links for people to take a look themselves.

This way we’d all get to take a look into a poem’s background without having to look them all up ourselves, and still have convenient starting points if we do want to know more about sth particularly intriguing.

So yeah. In any case I’ll be getting that book when I’m next in Japan, at the latest. It’s kind of nice to have an ongoing project. :smile:

6 Likes

I was just gonna say that! I’d actually also be interested @Naphthalene.

When I saw it nominated my first reaction was that i wanted to get the book. The second reaction was that I would way too obsessive about it and actually want to remember all of them (Which will never happen, but one can have dreams.)

I really like your idea @Belerith, that would be a fun little project, if more people would be interested. And I agree, one poem a week a person is more than enough if you put the time into doing research and everything. In this case though, I don’t think it should be treated as a book club, simple because the format is quite different, it’s probably not everyone’s cup of tea and it would replace another book we’d otherwise read.

(do love that book though, not gonna lie :joy:)

6 Likes

@Belerith @Kyayna Haha, it’s good to see I’m not the only one :joy: I also really like your idea @Belerith.
Well, let’s see how it does in the poll. Even if it doesn’t win, we can see how many people could potentially be interested. I don’t think I would have the time to tackle that before the poll anyway :sweat_smile:

3 Likes

Haha, glad to see I’m not the only one with fond memories from school. :stuck_out_tongue: Not that it was quite this exciting very regularly

@Kyayna @Naphthalene Yeah, the format wouldn’t quite fit for a normal book club. More like @Belthazar’s poem research club for the betterment of everyone’s education. Or however that one went, I forget.

But yeah, let’s revisit this after the poll/ in the new year. :slight_smile:

4 Likes

Is that like @Belthazar’s version of the SOS Brigade?

4 Likes

… You’re right, there’s no good acronym you could make with that.

4 Likes

Having browsed through my stack of 積読 books, I’d like to nominate one of them:

ifの悲劇 (if no higeki)

Summary

Japanese

北海道・網走に住む小説家の加納豪は、かわいい妹の彩を溺愛していたが、彩が商社に就職して夕張でひとり暮らしを始め、やがて同期の奥津と結婚することになり悲嘆に暮れる。しかし婚約者・奥津の浮気が発覚し、彩はショックで飛び降り自殺してしまう。奥津への復讐を誓った兄は、奥津を網走に誘い出し殺害する。奥津の遺体を車に隠しアリバイを構築するために夕張に向かう途中、加納は交通事故を起こしてしまう――。

ここから物語はふたつに分岐していく⇒

A:交通事故で人身事故を起こし、殺人が露呈した場合

B:交通事故を起こしたものの事なきを得て、殺人が露呈しない場合

……果たして加納の運命やいかに。

ふたつのパラレルワールドがひとつに結びつくとき、衝撃の事実が明らかになる。

English

The novelist Kano who lives in Abashiri, Hokkaido, loves his cute sister Aya, but when Aya got a job at a trading company, she started living alone in Yubari. However, when it was discovered that her fiance Okutsu had an affair, Aya committed suicide by jumping off of a building. The elder brother who vowed to revenge on Okutsu invites Okutsu to Abashiri and kills him. On the way to Yubari to hide the body of Okutsu in the car and build an alibi, Kano causes a traffic accident.
From here the story splits into two ⇒
A: The murder is revealed through the traffic accident
B: The murder is not revealed through the traffic accident
… and how about Kano’s fate?
When two parallel worlds are combined into one, the impact becomes clear.

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker
ebook Japan

Personal Opinion

I think it would be nice to read a criminal story, especially in the dark part of the year (for those in the northern hemisphere at least). I especially like the idea of the split story, and I’m curious to see how this is done in the book and what it leads to.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • It’s a different genre for a change
  • Not too long (240 pages)
  • Vocabulary is available on FloFlo
  • FloFlo claims it has 4080 individual words, that’s a manageable size imho (slightly more than Kitchen, slightly less than Kino no Tabi)

Cons

  • Might be difficult to read for people who don’t like the genre.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

(Note: I skipped the prologue.)



Insert images here (can be photos from you or the internet, or from ebook previews).

Additional Pages


Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

7 Likes

With all these nominations, I’m starting to feel obligated to nominate 人類は衰退しました.

3 Likes

I’ve seen the anime of that. Dunno if the light novels can topple the supremacy of the animated fairies. :stuck_out_tongue:

1リットルの涙 難病と闘い続ける少女亜也の日記

Summary

Japanese

「神様、病気はどうして私を選んだの?」 恐ろしい病魔が15歳の少女亜也の青春を奪う。友達との別れ、車椅子の生活、数々の苦難が襲いかかる中、日記を書き続けることだけが亜也の生きる支えだった。「たとえどんな小さく弱い力でも私は誰かの役に立ちたい」 最期まで前向きに生き抜いた少女の言葉が綴られた感動のロングセラー、ついに文庫化。

English

Aya Kitō was diagnosed with a disease called spinocerebellar degeneration when she was 15 years old. The disease causes the person to lose control over their body, but because the person can retain all mental ability the disease acts as a prison. So in the end she cannot eat, walk or talk.

Through family, medical examinations and rehabilitations, and finally succumbing to the disease, Aya must cope with the disease and live on with life until her death at the age of 25. (from Wikipedia)

Availability

Amazon
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

The ドラマ based on this book original diary was very high praised, so I thought that it would be nice to read the original in Japanese and bought the book. That was two years ago…
This is definitely a very sad story, but I think this kind of stories are motivating and help appreciate life more.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Not very long.
  • A new genre for the club: non-fiction.
  • Written from a perspective of a school-girl, so probably not very difficult (see cons though).
  • Positive reviews on amazon and on goodreads.

Cons

  • Sad story.
  • It’s written in a form of a diary, so the style is a bit different from usual.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One





Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

3 Likes

I’ve got that book already, so aquiring it would be easy.

But on the other hand: noooooo.

1 Like