Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん・Next: Spy x Family

New book starting tomorrow / next day (19th) if I’m not mistaken, right? I’m so ready!

I ended up buying it on Bookwalker because it was literally half price compared to my store… I enjoy paper but I also enjoy buying twice the amount for the same price :relaxed:

First time using Bookwalker, so it will bind my soul to it or destroy it forever, I suppose. I’m glad I can pick up words with yomichan, although it’s inconvenient that I can’t copy & paste sentences if I want to use Anki alongside it. Typing it is, then.

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For anyone on the fence about 地球星人, I’m halfway through now and highly recommend it :+1: Subject to the trigger warning if you are “sensitive” (if that’s the right English word here).

There are quite a few non-WK kanji in the book. Some are very common, like 頷く or 撫でる, and definitely seem worth learning. The book (my version) doesn’t give a damn about “usually written using kana alone” :smiley: it happily uses things like 筈, 藁 or 蜘蛛 without Furigana. Jisho’s radical search was my friend.
And a lot of “descriptive” hiragana words like とろりと, あっさり, つるつる etc. Being hiragana, you can look those up easily even when reading in paper form.

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Hello hello! I’ve started on the new book on my kindle, but can’t find the end of the first week using the search function. Could anybody be so kind as to update the TBD-section with the kindle stops? :slight_smile: Thanks!
Looking forward to reading with you guys! Anybody else excited to start…? :slight_smile:

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Hey! If you head over to the book’s home thread or to the thread for the first week, your question might be more visible for the others who also read this book :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the orientation! Having read the hints in the Week 1 thread, I actually managed to find the position, too! :slight_smile:

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We’ve got another Sayaka Murata book club starting in ~6 weeks. We’ve read two of her books before and both proved to be very enjoyable and reasonably straightforward (both in terms of language and in terms of style). We’re currently figuring out a schedule, so make sure to get involved in that discussion if you’re planning to read with us :slight_smile:

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We just finished up 日常 over in the BBC and the general consensus seemed to be that the manga itself was excellent but it really was not good for beginners. There also seemed to be interest in reading City by the same author, so I figured I’d nominate it here.

I saw that it appears to have been nominated here before, only to be withdrawn and moved to the BBC, but now the nomination doesn’t seem to exist there either. Would anybody take issue with me renominating it here?

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I think the nomination got removed because the user who nominated it apparently deleted their account (nobody really seem to know what happened for sure). Here is a discussion about it, the important bit:

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Thanks! I’ll write up a new nomination.

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City

Summary

Japanese

一文無しの大学生・南雲の行くところ必ず何かが起こる。普通のCITYに住むちょっと普通じゃない人々。彼女が走ればCITYは回る、皆が繋がる。あらゐけいいちワールド全開のガールズ・ラン・コメディ開幕!

English

From the creator of nichijou , this surreal-slapstick series revolves around a penniless college student, Midori Nagumo, who lives in an ordinary city filled with not-quite-ordinary people. And as this reckless girl runs about, she sets the city in motion.

Availability

Amazon (physical)
Bookwalker (ebook)

Personal Opinion

Nichijou may be my favorite comedy anime of all time. The Beginner Bookclub just finished reading the manga, and the consensus was that it was very enjoyable but not a good pick for beginners to native material, because the humor relies on bizarre situations and twists that often have little context, as well as (somewhat) obscure cultural references. That’s why I’m nominating City, Arawi Keiichi’s second series and Nichijou’s spiritual successor, here in the IBC. It seems to be every bit as well-received as Nichijou despite being less popular due to its lack of an anime adaptation.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • If it’s like Nichijou, there will be some really fun humor and likable characters.
  • A lighthearted manga might make for a good quick interlude between novels (and choosing more books = more publicity for the club)
  • A few of the BBC members who really enjoyed Nichijou might take this chance to give the IBC a try.

Cons

  • If absurd comedy is not your cup of coffee, this might not be for you.
  • The humor and writing style can sometimes make the jokes difficult to get, even for intermediate learners.

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
  • Moderate effort
  • Significant effort
  • So much effort my head might explode
  • I don’t know

0 voters

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I’m still pretty new to the book clubs, so I’m not sure if this fits the intermediate club or not (I found the sample pages very easy to read), but this looks cute as heck and I’d be inclined to read it no matter what!

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As mentioned in the nomination, Nichijou (by the same author) was read by the Beginner Book Club, but was judged to be a little bit too difficult in hindsight, which is why this was nominated for this club.

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I understand - I read the nomination post, and I’m not begrudging the nomination (I even said I’d like to read it). It just seemed to be a pretty easy read to me, at least based on the sample pages. If it’s relatively easy in terms of grammar and vocabulary, but comes across as more difficult mainly because of cultural references (or at least if that’s the assumption we’re making based on Nichijou), it seems like it falls in kind of weird void between beginner and intermediate content. And if that means it ends up in the IBC, I wouldn’t be the one to object to it. I was mostly just making conversation/reacting to the nomination.

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I think it’s important to raise questions like these, so thank you! (I was wondering about that as well tbh and did not have the Nichijou background info either). Of course it’s not the end of the world if we happen to read an easier manga in the IBC but I think it’s good to reflect on the general level we‘re aiming for from time to time.

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Honestly I haven’t read City–I’m going completely off of my experience with Nichijou. I would expect in the IBC we’d read a volume in just a few weeks as opposed to the BBC’s 10 though, which would add to the intermediate-ness. Even though the content was difficult at times in Nichijou, it still wasn’t very time consuming because there were a ton of visual gags and not many long written passages. Honestly any manga would probably be a little bit on the easier side compared to the books this club typically reads (which I don’t think is such a bad thing for a brief interlude at least).

For a bit more discussion and a few more perspectives on the difficulty check out the end-of-volume thread.

Also, it does indeed look cute as heck.

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To be honest I had an easier time reading コンビニ人間 than I did with 日常 (which I gave up on after a few weeks), because with コンビニ人間 you can at least get a sense of whether you have understood the sentence or not depending on how much sense it makes. With 日常 there were tonnes of things I didn’t get and I had no idea if that was due to my Japanese or due to the humour being completely absurd. Reading 日常 felt more like ploughing through to me… but ultimately it’s a very personal thing, I guess.

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This makes sense - I have the same issue when reading lots of things. Not even necessarily only because of absurd humor either. A lot of times in a book or manga, a writer will intentionally leave certain things vague because a reader is not yet meant to know something. Maybe a mystery is building, or maybe it takes place in a fantasy/sci-fi setting where we’re meant to discover the “mechanics” of the world as we go. In my native language, these are easy to pick up and I can be completely confident that it’s not a language issue - I’m simply not understanding because I’m not meant to. But of course, in a foreign language, it’s difficult to have that same confidence. Am I not understanding because I’m not supposed to or because I’m simply misreading/misinterpreting the language?

This is even more difficult in Japanese since it is so context dependent in the first place - sometimes things aren’t explicitly stated because the language gives you the flexibility to drop already apparent information. So that gives foreign readers a third possibility when seemingly misunderstanding something - maybe I should already know from context and I missed something from the previous sentence/dialogue/etc. :sweat_smile:

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Hey I just wanted to remind folks that the next Murata Book Club pick is starting next week! If you haven’t read anything by Murata yet, now’s the perfect opportunity to start. If you have read a Murata book before, then I assume you’re probably already planning to read with us (because why wouldn’t you be looking for every chance to read another?).

If you want to join but don’t think you could get a copy on time, feel free to vote in the start-date poll to potentially delay a week.

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If you’ve ever wanted to read a bit faster than the Intermediate Book Club, or wanted to read more difficult material, there’s the Advanced Book Club for you! We are currently voting for the next pick, and we will start reading it from Sept 18th. Hop right in if you’re interested :slight_smile:

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We are planning a new intermediate level book club, かがみの孤城. We are aiming to start sometime between September 25th and November 6th.

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