Japanese-Japanese Book Club Enquiry

Hello all!

The purpose of this post is to explore the idea of starting a book club where we not only read in Japanese, but also discuss in Japanese! Forums are a uniquely wonderful place to practice both writing and conversation skills, a sort of shallow end where you can converse with others while still taking the time you need to compose what you mean to say without feeling any (external) pressure.

My ideas

Note: a few lines are bolded for easy TLDR

I have thought about this a lot, and my initial vision was of a low-pressure environment, like a book club that meets up at a bar. A place where people can feel comfortable just saying whatever they’re thinking, even if their command of the language is less than (or not at all) perfect.

It might help to choose a book that either was previously discussed in another book club, or one that’s currently being read in another book club. That way any hardcore grammar questions can be answered in English in another thread, and we can focus on chatting about the story and whatever else comes up in Japanese.

To keep the atmosphere more like a social club (in Japanese), rather than a language class, I think it might help to not do any grammar correction in-thread. Correcting each other in-thread could derail the focus on conversation, and might also make folks more self-conscious and embarrassed of their own mistakes (thus making them more hesitant to participate).

More on that: Most of us have plenty of opportunities to study intensively (for example in the ABBC and the BBC); this club would be focusing on the skill of actually getting words out there in the first place, making it clear what you’re trying to say even if you don’t have the right words, getting into the flow of a conversation. (But all that in the low-pressure environment of a forum, where you have plenty of time to compose yourself and look up words if you straight up can’t remember them …) Speaking from personal experience, you may be surprised how much you’re able to communicate, even if you’ve literally never tried to communicate in Japanese before!

Of course, if we don’t understand what someone’s trying to say it would be fine to ask them for clarification, or if they make a really embarrassing mistake just warning them about it as an aside, or if they make a really funny mistake sharing the joke in a gentle way. That all seems like good bar banter. :joy:

My last (but not least) point: the WaniKani forums are a great place, but right now they are mainly accessible to people who speak English with relative ease. Although chatting in Japanese might be harder for a lot of us, it may also be easier for others, and how awesome would it be to be able to get to know those folks as well?!

NB I have run a similar book club before (on a different forum) but my own Japanese communication are (still) only まだまだ / very basic. In my view, this club will not be about achieving perfection, but rather making the attempt to achieve real communication.

However, this all depends on having a group of people who have more or less the same goal in mind! So if you’re interested, please share any suggestions, preferences, ideas, etc! :slight_smile:

Now for some polls!

  • I’m interested in this idea!
  • I am interested but have some reservations …
  • I am not interested
  • I just really need to click a poll

0 voters

From this point on, please only answer if you are interested (with or without reservations) in participating!

What is your reading level?
  • Absolute Beginner
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

0 voters

What level is your Japanese communication ability at?
  • Absolute Beginner
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

0 voters

What would you be most interested in reading?
  • Something from a previous or current book club
  • Something new!
  • Either
  • Let’s decide later during nominations and voting

0 voters

What do you think would be the best way to have a lively and fun discussion in Japanese?
  • Japanese-only thread focused on the story with little to no discussion of grammar
  • Japanese-only thread with story and grammar discussions (to the extent that we are able)
  • Japanese-only story discussion thread paired with a Japanese-only grammar thread
  • Japanese-only story discussion thread paired with a grammar thread (in any language)
  • Something else! (Explain in comments, please!)

0 voters

What about the administrative stuff?
  • Let’s have a nominations and voting thread in English
  • Let’s have a nominations and voting thread in Japanese
  • Let’s have a nominations and voting thread where we can use either language
  • Something else

0 voters

These polls are just to get the ball rolling and get a sense of who’s interested. I’m sure I haven’t thought of everything or explained it all perfectly, so comments of all sorts and on all aspects are welcome! 日本語で書くのはもっと容易いだったら、それをしてください。

みんなさん、ありがとうございました! よろしくお願いいたします。






この間は日本語を初めて書く。苦手だ( i _ i )でも、頑張りたい(^-^)










実は、私も同じアイデアがあったけど、ちょっと難しすぎるかな?と思って、あまりWanikaniで参加する時間もないので、諦めちゃった。だから、@MaraVosにすごく感謝している。 :smile: もちろん、日本語で話し合いをするのは良い書く練習(特に日本語で考える練習)になれるけど、もっと日本語(特に漢字)の練習にもなれる!








ガイドがあったら、もっと分かりやすくなるし、もっと参加したい人も増えるかな?とくに、皆さんのレベルは違うので、日本語を読むことだけはかなり大変だし、日本語を書く練習は無しで、突然日本語を書くのはちょっと難しいすぎるかもしれないね。(私は逆だけど。書くのは簡単だけど、漢字を読むのは大変 :sweat_smile:)









1- タメ語か敬語かどちらを使いますか?日本だったら、こういうクラブは敬語じゃないかと思うんですけど、自分の経験から言うと日常会話ではほとんど使わないので、タメ語の方が逆に役に立つじゃないかなと思いました。

2- 他人(特に初心者)の日本語に対しては、訂正してほしい人と訂正してほしくない人に分けた方がいいですかね。どんなつもりでも、訂正されて嫌な気持ちになる人も何人かいると思います。




問題と言うか、気になるのは、敬語を使ったら、メッセージが長く見えます。だから、初心者にとって、それはちょっと怖いから、「もう読めないから、このスレを飛ばそう」と思うかもしれないから、最初のスレはタメ語で書いてしまいました :sweat_smile:






いや、これもあるからこそタメ語がいいかなと思った :sweat_smile::joy:





アンケートを作りましょうか? :wink:


私の体験は少ないけど、今までの参加しているブッククラッブはほとんど、文法の質問は多いので、たまに楽しい話になりません :sweat_smile: でも、自分の感想を伝えることは目的になったら、もっと楽しいと思います。








いいね!いつも書く練習がもっとしたいとは思ったけど、実際それをしたら、なにを書けばいいかなって言葉に詰まってる。みんなと一緒に同じ本を読んだら、感想がたくさん交わせるからその問題がなくなって、本で勉強した言葉も速く使える。そして楽しい練習になりそう。楽しみにしてる! :smile:






(Scroll down for English!)





To summarize in English, we have a few questions and ideas!

  • Will using casual language rather than sonkeigo make it easier for beginners to keep up with the conversation and be able to participate?
  • Several of us think that it would work best to have one thread for discussing the book, and a separate thread where folks can request feedback/grammar corrections on their own writing. That way it will not derail the discussion, but we can still do language help for each other if someone is really struggling with how to express something, or concerned that they are continuously making the same mistakes, etc.
  • @Hantsuki had the idea that during the discussion people could write up their 感想 (thoughts/impression) on the reading even if the thread is moving too fast for them to keep up with. That way people at all levels will be able to participate!
  • Someone (sorry, can’t remember who!) suggested using furigana to make things easier for beginners. I think the only problem with this is it adds a lot of work to writing. But this could still be worth exploring!
  • @Hantsuki also suggested a book club vocabulary guide, which I think could be a great way to make it easier for folks to jump in to the discussion.

All those who answered the first poll “I am interested but have some reservations …”, please let us know your thoughts! Japanese or English are both fine to use!

And one more poll for good measure.

Which do you find easier to understand?
  • Casual language
  • Formal language

0 voters


Just gonna respond in English because miscommunications are less likely to happen and it’s still a lot easier :sweat_smile:

For casual vs. formal language, it’s all the same to me personally, but from a writing practice perspective I’d prefer either to be fine, honestly - I lack some practice varying casual-ness anyway, as well as staying consistent in my messages, so being able to vary it a bit (possibly depending on who I’m talking to) could make for good practice.

With that in mind, I have no idea which option to vote for in the poll :smile:

There’s a great plugin that makes adding furigana no effort at all:

It’s entirely automatic.


I’ll also do English for ease and quickness.

I also don’t know what to answer because I understand both fine, unless we are talking native level casual language which does take a bit more work. :joy: (Same could be said for high keigo too, though.)

However, most beginners learn formal/polite language first, so from that perspective, if we were going to go with one or the other, polite language might be better. Personally, I don’t see a reason to limit that though.

This amazing script does not work for Safari. Believe me, we just spent several hours today trying to get it to work for me, and we couldn’t get there. D:

So for me and every other Safari user out there, writing furigana is not automatic… :sob:


I was going to say the same thing here. No strong preference, other than I think people should use what they feel they need to practice with.

Though my understanding with this plug-in is that you do often have to double-check what it adds for accuracy, no?

My opinion on the furigana is kinda on the fence, honestly. I see how it could be helpful, but I lean towards suggesting those who need it use Yomi-chan or something similar, instead. This would help them more quickly look up words that they don’t know, as well as showing them furigana for words they need it for, while not adding it for words they may not need (which is better for recognition long-term, instead of building a reliance on furigana).

Maybe throwing a quick guideline on how to install and use Yomi-chan (or similar) in the OP would be a good way to introduce it to those who might not be familiar with it.


I’m not 100% what yomi-chan can do and maybe it exists for Safari, but I have Safarikai. So this kinda thing definitely exists for Safari.


The way this one works as I understand it (I’d have to read through the source code to be sure) is that it adds what you wrote in kana as furigana for the resulting kanji, I believe, so you’re in full control of that.

Oh that’s very unfortunate.

I wonder if Safari is the problem or it’s Apple’s IME or something… I’d offer to check and possibly see if I can get a fix in, but I don’t have an Apple machine to test with :sweat_smile:

Yeah, that’s a very good alternative. It makes furigana a non-issue, and makes reading potentially unfamiliar vocabulary a million times easier anyway.

I just checked, it does not… Apparently Safari makes devs cry :sweat_smile: But if Safarikai is a good alternative, that works just as well.