Welcome to our Japanese book club! In this club we choose a Japanese book, read it together, and discuss what we’ve read. It could be meaningful discussion on the content, questions about vocabulary and grammar that confuse us, or just motivating each other to keep moving.
We’d love it if you joined the club! All you have to do is buy the next book lined up, read along with the schedule and join in the discussion!
Now Reading: おばちゃんたちのいるところ
Start Date: Oct 29th
Start Date: Feb 18th
Courtesy of fl0rm and the beginner book club (adapted for this club).
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 throughout.
- If you can’t read your own sample pages (at least mostly) you may not be able to judge the difficulty effectively, and won’t be able to help others much.
- Furigana does not imply something is easy (or vice versa); it’s just one factor contributing to difficulty.
Books nominated must not be longer than 350 pages
- Our reading pace means this is the longest we could tackle within a reasonable timeframe.
- A book of short stories can be longer: we will only pick select stories.
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, even if just by reputation, please don’t suggest it for this group.
Try to pick something reasonably well-known
- This will increase the reader pool as more people will be interested / already have a copy.
- People will be more able to re-sell or pass along their copy after reading.
- Popular works often have more accessible language.
- Some participants may have already read it, and themes are probably broadly understood, making it easier for members to help each other and for readers to draw inferences from context.
Books that fail to score at least 20% on the last three round of voting will get automatically removed.
- This approach ensures that the list remains reasonably small and dynamic.
- You may nominate a removed book again, but please think about it before hand. Do you think there’s reasonable interest for that nomination?
Taken directly from the beginner book club.
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
Add Japanese summary here.
Add English summary 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
* Moderate effort
* Significant effort
* So much effort my head might explode
* I don’t know
The nomination posts linked under each entry will give you further information, including sample pages.
Page count: 213 pages
Natively: きらきらひかる | L32??
Difficulty: [2.67 | 6 votes]
2. 日本人の知らない日本語 (Manga)
Page count: 141 pages
Natively: 日本人の知らない日本語 なるほど~×爆笑!の日本語“再発見”コミックエッセイ メディアファクトリーのコミックエッセイ | L28
Difficulty: [2.33 | 9 votes]
Page count: 208
Asa’s husband is transferring jobs, and his new office is located near his family’s home in the countryside. During an exceptionally hot summer, the young married couple move in, and Asa does her best to quickly adjust to their new rural lives, to their remoteness, to the constant presence of her in-laws and the incessant buzz of cicadas. While her husband is consumed with his job, Asa is left to explore her surroundings on her own: she makes trips to the supermarket, halfheartedly looks for work, and tries to find interesting ways of killing time.
One day, while running an errand for her mother-in-law, she comes across a strange creature, follows it to the embankment of a river, and ends up falling into a hole–a hole that seems to have been made specifically for her. This is the first in a series of bizarre experiences that drive Asa deeper into the mysteries of this rural landscape filled with eccentric characters and unidentifiable creatures, leading her to question her role in this world, and eventually, her sanity.
Natively: 穴 | L37
Page count: 247
人質の朗読会 (‘the recitals of the hostages’) is another work by Ogawa, like Revenge, that is only very loosely a novel and is composed of a series of essentially distinct stories – nine of them. The set-up, or framing device, is quite striking – bizarre even - and naturally colors the reading of the pieces themselves: a short prefatory section explains that a minibus with seven tourists, their guide, and the driver, travelling somewhere on the other side of the globe, was attacked by a group of local anti-government guerillas while on its way to visit some local ruins. The tourists and their guide were taken hostage; negotiations went nowhere, and after more than three months the government launched an attack against the rebels; the hostages were all killed in the rescue attempt. Two years later recordings from their time in captivity were made public, recording of each of the eight hostages recounting a story or memory they had written – a task they had been able to focus on in their otherwise so difficult situation.
The rest of the book then consists of these eight recitals by the hostages, one for each evening.
Natively: 人質の朗読会 | L30??
Page count: 200 pages
PSYCHIATRIST: So how can I help you?
ME: I don’t know, I’m - what’s the word - depressed? Do I have to go into detail?
Baek Se-Hee is a successful young social media director at a publishing house when she begins seeing a psychiatrist about her - what to call it? - depression? She feels persistently low, anxious, endlessly self-doubting, but also highly judgemental of others. She hides her feelings well at work and with friends; adept at performing the calmness, even ease, her lifestyle demands. The effort is exhausting, overwhelming, and keeps her from forming deep relationships. This can’t be normal.
But if she’s so hopeless, why can she always summon a yen for her favourite street food, the hot, spicy rice cake, tteokbokki? Is this just what life is like?
Recording her dialogues with her psychiatrist over a 12-week period, Baek begins to disentangle the feedback loops, knee-jerk reactions and harmful behaviours that keep her locked in a cycle of self-abuse. Part memoir, part self-help book, I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki is a book to keep close and to reach for in times of darkness.
Natively: 死にたいけどトッポッキは食べたい | L30??
Page count: 208 pages
A housewife takes up bodybuilding and sees radical changes to her physique–which her workaholic husband fails to notice. A boy waits at a bus stop, mocking businessmen struggling to keep their umbrellas open in a typhoon–until an old man shows him that they hold the secret to flying. A woman working in a clothing boutique waits endlessly on a customer who won’t come out of the fitting room–and who may or may not be human. A newlywed notices that her husband’s features are beginning to slide around his face–to match her own.
In these eleven* stories, the individuals who lift the curtains of their orderly homes and workplaces are confronted with the bizarre, the grotesque, the fantastic, the alien–and, through it, find a way to liberation. The English-language debut of one of Japan’s most fearlessly inventive young writers.
嵐のピクニック | L30??
12. はたらく細胞 (Novel)
Author: 時海 結以 (著), 清水 茜 (原著)
Page count: 176
Please see the Discussion Thread of the current book for direct purchasing links.
Two good options for purchasing physical books are:
The former has economy shipping options which are likely to be cheaper but slower. You can also check out the Amazon site for your home country, or might be able to find the book on Amazon US.
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 to forward the package to you for a fee. Alternatively, you may be able to find the book at a local Japanese book store such as Kinokuniya; just google your area.
There are several places you may be able to purchase eBooks:
The club has a Discord server, which is sometimes used for voice chats / read-along sessions. See specific book threads for current activity.
Links to Discussion Threads
Book 1 | No. 6
Book 2 | Autumn Prison
Book 3 | An Unexpected Conclusion in 5 Minutes: Red Nightmares
Book 4 | The Devil is a Part-Timer!
Book 5 | Kino’s Journey
Book 6 | Convenience Store Woman
Book 7 | The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya
Book 8 | キッチン (Kitchen)
Book 9 | 氷菓 (Hyouka)
Book 10 | 夜市 (Night Market)
Book 11 | 聖☆おにいさん (Saint Young Men)
Book 12 | 博士の愛した数式
Book 13 | 君の名は (Your Name)
Book 14 | コーヒーが冷めないうちに
Book 15 | ヨコハマ買い出し紀行
Book 16 | 地球星人
Book 17 | 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん
Book 18 | Spy x Family
Book 19 | TUGUMI
Book Selection Polls
|Poll 1||2017-07-12||23||No. 6 (conducted in the old thread)|
|Poll 2||2017-08-08||48||Autumn Prison|
|Poll 3||2017-10-31||26||Red Nightmares (An Unexpected Conclusion in 5 Minutes)|
|Poll 4||2018-02-27||18||The Devil is a Part-Timer|
|Poll 5||2019-01-25||60||Kino’s Journey (nomination)|
|Poll 6||2019-04-24||39||The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (nomination)
Convenience Store Woman (nomination)
|Poll 8||2019-11-22||27||氷菓 (nomination)|
|Poll 9||2020-04-01||24||Night Market (nomination)|
|Poll 10||2020-07-10||29||聖☆おにいさん (nomination)
|Poll 11||2021-01-09||26||君の名は (nomination)|
|Poll 12||2021-05-07||34||コーヒーが冷めないうちに (nomination)|
|Poll 13||2021-09-08||34||ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 (nomination)
|Poll 14||2022-02-16||40||佐賀のがばいばあちゃん (nomination)|
|Poll 15||2022-05-03||39||Spy x Family (nomination)
|Poll 16||2022-09-13||21||おばちゃんたちのいるところ (nomination)|
|Poll 17||2023-01-02||24||僕が愛したすべての君へ (nomination)|
Favorite pick poll
Up to 10th book (poll #1 - poll #9)
Poll regarding the beginner-level book club - Result: Beginners’ Book Club formed
Poll regarding how many votes each person should get - Result: 5 votes
Poll regarding whether to read two books in parallel - Result: no!
Poll to decide how to break the tie on round 7 - Result: extra poll
Proposals that got turned into their own book clubs
|Name + Book Club link|
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas
Magical Girl Raising Project
Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny-Girl Senpai
If cats disappeared from the world
Smoothly Memorise with Manga and Repetition: The Hyakunin Isshu
Proposals that were removed due to lack of interest
In order to keep the list of nominations fresh and interesting, we might think about removing those that frequently get only few votes in the polls.
Therefore we set a threshold of 20%. A book will be removed from the list of nominations if it reached this percentage or less in three polls in a row. (The polls overview seems to always round down, so we need to manually recalculate if it is a close call.)
This table is used to keep track of the books that were removed or are in danger of being removed:
|Book||1st time||2nd time||3rd time||Removed|
|(Manga) Made in Abyss||08/2019|
|(Manga) Land of the Lustrous||08/2019|
|The Familiar of Zero||08/2019|
|The Closet of Nightmares||08/2019|
|Wolf Children Ame & Yuki||11/2019|
|A lollipop or a bullet||11/2019|
|Tokyo Cat Stroll||11/2019|
ー SAKE PAIRING
|Poll 9 (12%)||Poll 10 (10%)||Poll 11 (11%)||01/2021|
|灰と幻想のグリムガル||Poll 11 (11%)||01/2021
|City||Poll 11 (7%)||01/2021
|変愛サイケデリック||Poll 10 (13%)||Poll 11 (3%)||Poll 12 (0%)||05/2021|
|All You Need Is Kill||Poll 11 (15%)||Poll 12 (11%)||Poll 13 (14%)||09/2021|
|もやしもん - Tales of Agriculture||Poll 11 (15%)||Poll 12 (17%)||Poll 13 (11%)||09/2021|
|ブギーポップは笑わない||Poll 11 (11%)||Poll 12 (17%)||Poll 13 (5%)||09/2021|
|ポーション頼みで生き延びます!||Poll 11 (3%)||Poll 12 (8%)||Poll 13 (14%)||09/2021|
|ifの悲劇||Poll 12 (17%)||Poll 13 (14%)||Poll 14 (12%)||02/2022|
|くま クマ 熊 ベアー||Poll 13 (14%)||Poll 14 (20%)||Poll 15 (17%)||05/2022|
|City||Poll 13 (14%)||Poll 14 (12%)||Poll 15 (15%)||05/2022|
|山と食欲と私||Poll 13 (17%)||Poll 14 (10%)||Poll 15 (15%)||05/2022|
|笑顔のたえない職場です。||Poll 14 (17%)||Poll 15 (20%)||Poll 16 (9%)||09/2022|
|Just Because!||Poll 14 (10%)||Poll 15 (5%)||Poll 16 (4%)||09/2022|
|リング||Poll 15 (17%)||Poll 16 (9%)||Poll 17 (16%)||01/2023|
|推しの子||Poll 16 (19%)||Poll 17 (16%)|
|日本人の知らない日本語||Poll 16 (14%)||Poll 17 (16%)|
|死にたいけどトッポッキは食べたい||Poll 16 (9%)||Poll 17 (12%)|
|パレード||Poll 17 (16%)|
|嵐のピクニック||Poll 17 (16%)|
|ガイコツ書店員本田さん||Poll 17 (12%)|
|少年と犬||Poll 17 (12%)|
|穴||Poll 17 (12%)|
|はたらく細胞||Poll 17 (4%)|
|禎子の千羽鶴||Poll 17 (4%)|
One in Seven
|Seems to be a tale about a band of fraudsters / con artists planning an operation - with some double crossing intrigue going on between the members. Don’t know for sure about this book, but in general the author is known for having a comic style to his writing.||Post||Amazon|
Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge
|This is by the same author as Welcome to the NHK and seems to contain some similar themes. However, it has a Kindle edition and is aimed at a youth audience so ought not to feature some of the more questionable content some people were worried about.
Story is about a high school boy who is riding home on his bike one day and comes across a girl fighting a man wielding a chainsaw. From what I can understand this is not really explained and is more a representation of the boy’s desire to find someone to ‘save’. The two team up and form a bond while the girl continues her nightly fights.
|Murakami’s shortest and probably easiest to read work. Set over the course of a single night and the first (I believe) of his novels not to be written from a first-person 僕 perspective, this centres on two sisters - one asleep in a mysterious room and viewed through a camera, the other out and about in Tokyo where she encounters various unusual characters including a jazz musician and a love hotel manager.||Post||Amazon|
|Classics Club||Oreki Houtarou is a self-proclaimed “energy-saver”—that is, he refuses to actively waste energy doing things that aren’t necessary. Though he had no interest whatsoever in participating in any clubs upon entering Kamiyama High School, he was commanded by his older sister, Tomoe, to join the club she was once a part of, the Classics Club, as it was in danger of being abolished due to its nonexistent member count. Together with his old friends Fukube Satoshi and Ibara Mayaka, as well as with the elegantly ladylike and curiously inquisitive Chitanda Eru, the newly reformed Classics Club ends up finding themselves involved in all sorts of mystery-solving escapades. Houtarou quickly learns that life in the Classics Club, just as Tomoe had promised, would be an interesting one indeed. And so begins the “Classics Club Series”.||Post||-|
|ほしのこえ||In this timeless, interstellar love story, the power of love must conquer the distance of outer space. Rated for teens.||Post||Amazon|
|怒り||A grisly unsolved murder links three seemingly unrelated people in three different Japanese cities.||Post||Amazon|
|クリムゾンの迷宮||From a rising new star of horror comes a killer read that will make you lose track of time and reality. The Crimson Labyrinth is a wicked satire on extremist reality TV in the tradition of The Running Man-if that indeed is what it is. Welcome to THE MARS LABYRINTH where things aren’t what they seem. Welcome to the world of Kishi, where the plot is as gnarly as the humor is twisted. When an unemployed former math major wakes up one day, he wonders if he’s somehow ended up on the red planet. The good-looking young woman with aid-she says her name is Ai and that she draws erotic comics for a living-seems to have no clue either as to their whereabouts. Their only leads are cryptic instructions beamed to a portable device. Has the game begun? There is no reset button, no saving and no continue-make the wrong move and it’s really GAME OVER. In the cruel world of THE MARS LABYRINTH, mercy and compassion are only for the weak or the very, very strong. The stakes are nothing less than your life-and apparently a lot of money. If you’re a fan of Lost or Battle Royale, don’t miss this one||Post||Amazon|
|やはり俺の青春ラブコメはまちがっている||Hachiman Hikigaya is a cynic. “Youth” is a crock, he believes–a sucker’s game, an illusion woven from failure and hypocrisy. But when he turns in an essay for a school assignment espousing this view, he’s sentenced to work in the Service Club, an organization dedicated to helping students with problems in their lives! How will Hachiman the Cynic cope with a job that requires–gasp!–optimism?||Post||Amazon|
Proposals that were removed for other reasons
言の葉の庭 (too long)
Discussions about the story start at the end of each reading period, but other discussions (for example on the language or on the book club itself) can of course be performed at any time. Just make sure to use
[spoiler] tags for sentences that contain spoilers!
Early Book Club Members
はたらく魔王さま Member List
Red Nightmares Member List
Autumn Prison Member List
- : saiakuma
- Ell (lurking, will participate with next book and read the discussion of 秋の牢獄)
No. 6 Member List
- Caracal (slowly)
- GaijinInu641 (reading, but really slowly)
- Dimono (have the book but planning to just read at my own pace and read the discussion afterwards)
- AnimeCanuck (still working on grammar)
- DuncanDean (lurking, has ordered 秋の牢獄 for the next round)
- Kyayna (lurking, will participate with next book)
- Megbc (lurking, will participate with next book)
- NathaliRe (lurking, will participate with next book)
- Pydron (lurking, will participate with next book)
: Has book and is currently reading along.
: Has book but is not yet reading.
: Has ordered or will order / buy book.