May 3rd Daily Reading ブラックジャックによろしく Manga

Regarding ~て: ah ok then. Well, I’ll keep my eyes open and I’ll get it eventually.

Regarding the WK level: I honestly have no clue about what the level of our activity is. I don’t do the WK so I’m not a good reference in that aspect. YanagiPablo’s level has gone up so I assume he might be in a better position to judge.

Re: Duo Lingo:
I don’t understand what you mean. Is this something we’ve talked about before? I don’t remember.

So far I have only seen kanji (recognition of composing elements, raw meaning, main readings (usually the ON reading is required on the quizz, but sometimes, as for 目 and 手 it is only the kun-reading)), then some vocabulary using those kanji.
I haven’t seen any grammar at all, so I suppose people that use WK have other sources to learn Japanese.

I don’t know if our path (coming here for the forums) is an usual one; or if the forum participants are mainly people already actively using WK kanji memorization drills.


What I grandiosely call “THE EXPERIMENT”

The first experimental result

Ah ok gotcha. Out of curiosity, you want to pass the N5 as a personal challenge or just for fun? Both?

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Yes, indeed.

The sentences are more complex than the ones in our training cursus (at least for me); both in grammar and in length.

There is also a thing lacking a lot in Duolingo (and probably in any other course): context! That thing so particularly important in Japanese language. Having real sentences in a real context (as there is a history going on; the meaning and interpretation depends on what happened before, what has been said, the interactions and positions of the different characters, etc) is something I really like, I think it helped me a lot to progress in a path of better understanding the inner working of the language.

Also, the fact that we have to actually type the texts, instead of just doing copy and paste of an already available electronic text version, is also a benefit. It improves our ability to recognize kanji elements and readings.

The helpful contribution of more knowledgeable people is also a big thing; if I had read it alone by myself, with a dictionary, I would have been able to get the meaning of the history and enjoy it; but I would have missed so much nuances, grammar points, and other information…

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! That’s awesome :grin:

I would definitely recommend that she do something like take a look at the BookWalker preview pages to see how comfortable she would be reading it. There’s a link to the vocab spreadsheet that we’ll be using to help people with vocabulary, and of course we’ll help each other out with questions as we go, but looking at the preview can give you a good idea of whether it’s within your capabilities or not.

You just click the picture on that page to open up the preview. Sadly the eBook doesn’t have any pictures :pensive:

thoughts on WK level

I would actually say that people don’t join based on their WK level! WaniKani is only a service for learning kanji (and incidentally vocabulary), so we usually advise people that their level of grammar knowledge is far more important than their WK level to reading ability, as you can always look up words (assuming there’s furigana :grin: ).

Sorry to ruin that idea :grimacing: I’d say giving a rough estimate of JLPT level, while 100% acknowledging that native material does not align with JLPT levels (!), is more helpful.

You’ll see that in the Master List of Book Clubs we pretty much give a vague beginner - intermediate - advanced tag, depending on the text difficulty and the pace, or a vague JLPT level recommendation.

Er… I think you’re the first group I’ve ever encountered coming to the forums not as WaniKani users?! :grin: we’ve had the odd individual join who was interested in joining an existing book club or something (though only occasionally), but personally I’ve never experienced a group of users joining specifically to use the forums.

Obviously there are also people who sign up for the free WaniKani trial, decide it’s not for them, and continue using the forums anyway.

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Off Topic @Radish8

I was hyperventilating a little bit when I saw the sample page…I can see that I will be one of those people who needs to begin now for the club beginning at the end of June (nervous laughter). Now… To get my hands on a paper copy…

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Yes, it’s definitely one of the harder books we’ve done in that club :sweat_smile: I’m a bit nervous myself!

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@Radish8 @Shannon-8 (hm… just realised you both have an ‘8’ in your usernames… Haha)

Off-Topic (Book Club)

I just took a look at the first page or two of the book in the sample pages. It took me a good ten minutes (at least) to get through, and there were a few words I had to look up – which is to say that, even if I seem quite advanced, there are still things I need to learn. Also, it may seem ironic, but my knowledge of and attachment to kanji as a Chinese speaker actually puts me at a disadvantage when reading such books: I need more time to recognise certain words because I think of them using kanji instead of using kana. :stuck_out_tongue: Actually, for that matter, let me rephrase that: sometimes, I need kanji to help me remember because I’m too used to ‘storing’ meaning information in pictograms or in parts of words (like root words). In Japanese, I haven’t found a way to do that yet, so kanji is my crutch. :joy:

Honestly, the story sounds adorable just based on the beginning. It sounds like such an idyllic village. I think it’s going to be really enjoyable to read. Grammatically speaking, I think it’s less complicated than this manga, and it’s also mostly written in standard Japanese (i.e. all the particles and verb endings are there), so it’s harder to get lost, and you don’t have to guess what each word is doing in a sentence. You’ll just have to have a dictionary handy because it looks like there will be lots of (so far fairly simple) descriptive words. (I say ‘simple’ because they’re literal. No strange figures of speech. I had to look them up too.) So don’t worry too much about it.

@Shannon-8: if you managed to make it through this manga so far, you should find the book much easier to handle, really. But since a lot of stuff is written in kana, you’ll need to know what to look out for so you can guess where one word splits from the next, which is to say word endings: い or な for adjectives, に or と for adverbs, along with common endings for different types of verbs (られる・(あ)れる for passive (to be done) verbs, られる・(え)る for potential (can do) verbs, させる・(あ)せる for causative (make someone do) verbs), along with common particles (が、は、の、に、で etc). I’m not saying this to make you panic :sweat_smile:: I just really think having even just the vaguest idea of these things will help you process the book more easily, especially if you want to put a word into an online dictionary, because it always starts like this: ‘OK, so… what’s the word? Is it this whole thing? Why isn’t anything coming up?’ That’s when having some guessing ideas might help. Whatever it is, have some faith: you can do this!

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I find reading books much more daunting, but actually easier than reading manga. Prose is easier to understand than dialogue, basically, because it largely uses nice complete sentences with standard Japanese (normally!). Still, I don’t think I could have handled reading a book like this before reading some manga to get some less intimidating experience. But then, maybe I could have if I’d tried :grin:

This book has a rather particular style, and yes, uses quite flowery language. We already have a populated vocab sheet from when the club ran the first time, so hopefully looking up words shouldn’t be too painful.

Pace is still an issue when comparing manga and books though. Books just contain an awful lot more words, even if they are easier to read :sweat_smile:

@Shannon-8 too

off-topic: about books, and what more advanced books can look like

Hahaha. That’s true. Books are far more wordy, and each sentence is usually far longer than anything you’d find in a manga, so you need to try to process the whole thing. Still, I think the fact that this book seems to use fairly simple sentences and grammar is something to be glad about. I tried reading the source light novels for some of the anime series I follow. One page of Kiki’s Delivery Service would probably take me 10-15 mins, maybe less if I simply stopped at the definitions and ignored the example sentences (because I usually read those to learn how to use the word myself). For those light novels… I think I read at a rate of 1 page every half an hour or more. E.g. I started Volume 18 of 盾の勇者の成り上がり (The Rising of the Shield Hero) using the sample pages online. I had to stop after 20 pages of text, because it was just too tiring: there were too many words I didn’t know! (I still have the tab open in my browser to remind myself to go back to it some day.) Also, those light novels have a tendency to use more advanced/rare grammar (like 〜ねば instead of 〜なければ) and chains of interdependent words (I think the technical term is ‘relative clauses’), so you have to keep the entire sentence/half-sentence in your head in order to understand. Here’s an example I just spotted while re-reading the first page:
毒料理 を 作っている みたい じゃない か
poison-cooking [object] make-progressive-present as-though be-not-present [question]
…as though [I] am making/have made poisonous food, no?

Another one (and this is a full sentence on its own):
出された 飯 を もりもり と 食べる 食欲 魔人 共 を 見習って ほしい もん だ。
take-out-passive-past meal [object] energetically [adverb] eat appetite demon [people-plural] [object] see-learn-TE want [strong desire/opinion] be
*[I] really want [them] to learn from (the example of) the demons with a huge appetite who energetically eat the food prepared [for them].’

When I first read this 8 months ago, my brain was doing this: ‘OK, the food is put out, and something happens to it. It… what’s もりもりと? OK, it’s eaten energetically… Eh, it’s eaten by “appetite demons”? OK… wait, he wants to learn from the ‘appetite demons’? OK, no, he wants the others to learn from them. Wait, what kind of ‘appetite demons’ again? OK, he wants them to learn from the example of the put-out-food-energetically-eating-appetite-demons. Phew. Got it.’ In essence, to translate the sentence into English, you have to start from the end and work backwards. It’s much easier for me to read now since I’ve got more used to such sentences in Japanese, but understanding it requires you to hold all that information in your brain. In other words, to really become comfortable with Japanese, we have to stop expecting information to arrive in the same sequence as it does in English: we have to start with a core, and then constantly add new ideas to it.

I kinda wish I had found nice books like Kiki’s Delivery Service before I got to where I am, because it looks like that book is going to help you ease into such ideas and sentence structure, and you get to pick up fairly important but not-too-complex grammar in context along the way. I… kinda just threw myself straight into the deep end because I wanted to know how the story continued after the anime. It taught me a lot, but it made me realise I might have to give up on reading novels until I became more proficient. (Since then, my only reading material has been textbooks, blogs and NHK news. NHK news tends to have that sort of sentences appear in their articles fairly often.)

Anyway, I hope I didn’t scare you or anything like that. It gets easier once you’re used to it. Just the other day, while watching anime without subtitles (I still check them once in a while though, or refer to a transcription), I noticed that my brain was changing its interpretation of what a verb meant as more syllables came in: ‘OK, it’s [verb]. No wait, there’s an A sound. OK, causative (i.e. make someone do something) form.’ I couldn’t do that before. I had to see the whole thing, or I would be stuck. We’ll all get there. We just need to give our brains some time to ‘think Japanese’. :smile:

More off-topic @Radish8 and @Jonapedia

Well, I just spent an hour trying to figure out how to get any version of the hard copy of the book (no US repositories, apparently). I like to write in my books!! I want to try it, even if my daughter doesn’t think she’ll have enough time. At least she’s IN Japan, so I think she’ll be able to get a copy more cheaply. We already watched the Ghibli adaptation together before. Even though I love paper, I wish I could get the Kindle version so that I could get an inexpensive Audible version (audiobook). But Apparently I can’t get the Kindle version in Japanese here in the US?! Then I might have trouble getting the Audio version, also. I think it’s a mess because copyright and associated licenses are national. And the physical forms are a mess because of demand. So I was thinking that If set up a Bookwalker account to get a digital copy, at least I could get it before July!?

Anyway, my final thrust of persuasion to my daughter is in the basis of having all that work already done on lookup and verb forms and basically all of the stuff we are doing now for Black Jack. I think it will save us both time. I am using her to look around the thread and the worksheet and associated materials. I think she’s still hovering at 50%; and it will depend on how her teaching load goes. She serves 4 schools, unfortunately ALL at different levels, and that is a heavy courseload to prep for!

I’m more confident because if what we’ve BEEN doing in these threads. But I’m willing to give it a go! If you look at the massive gains the Book Club participants experienced 2 years ago in their ability to read… There’s really no better way to start reading, IMHO.

@Shannon-8 (frankly, there are so many off-topic posts right now that we might as well stop hiding the posts :joy: There’s already a substantial ‘off-topic’ block that will serve as a divider.)


How’s your daughter’s Japanese, actually? I understand that teaching is not easy, and it’s hard to set time aside for stuff unrelated to work, but this is just my two cents: better Japanese will undoubtedly make her life easier in Japan, no matter how much help she’s getting from friends and colleagues over there. (She’s on the JET programme, right?) It might even allow her to discover more of Japan (even just as a tourist) when she has time off from teaching, since knowing the language always allows you to delve deeper more easily. (I certainly discovered a lot more about France after learning French than before, and that allowed me to plan a trip for my family there.) Also, if she’s considering staying in Japan beyond her JET teaching career, she will definitely need to know more Japanese.

From a teaching perspective… again, I know teaching is already a lot of work, and I don’t know what the English syllabus is like in Japan, or what the rules are as to how she should teach. (I can certainly imagine the demands of one school enforcing a certain teaching model, let alone four different models!) However, speaking from personal experience as a native English speaker fluent in French: in France, I frequently explain words and concepts to my classmates, who are French and have to take English classes in which they’re expected to handle roughly newspaper level content (general interest articles, not so much specialist ones). I’m regularly told I teach better than our teachers (who are often French), and I’m thoroughly unqualified, while they have at least a master’s degree in linguistics, if not a PhD thesis. Just a little extra knowledge of Japanese might help your daughter better understand the difficulties her students are facing. I mean, I’m sure teaching is always more satisfying for both the teacher and the student when the student makes a new connection and understands something that used to seem difficult. FYI, I’m helping a friend who’s taking French at a Japanese university alongside his main degree, and even though we’re both native English speakers, I find myself drawing more and more parallels to structures in Japanese to help him understand nuances that aren’t as clearly defined in English. I’m sure the same can be done when teaching English to Japanese students, even if the two languages are very different.

Finally, about the book itself: my impression is that, as long as you have a basic grasp of Japanese grammar, reading it is going to be mostly dictionary-checking + a little bit of new grammar (like how ~しう creates a verb that means ‘to do ~ to/with each other’ e.g. 話し合はなしあうactually means ‘to speak to each other’=‘to discuss’). The sentences really aren’t complicated (I left some examples of how far ‘relative clauses’ can extend in Japanese in my previous post. I see none of that in Kiki’s), and the amount of hiragana makes me believe this is a book for children/tweens. Since the vocabulary list has already been done up, there won’t be much work beyond reading and getting used to Japanese sentence structure, which should build a great foundation for later study.

Anyway, I’m glad that you’re so enthusiastic about this, and I hope you manage to get a copy of the book somehow. I don’t know much about Bookwalker, so I can’t help you there. I’m sure there are some Japanese companies that would normally ship to the US (and there’s of course Amazon Japan), but I don’t know what state stocks and transportation services are at the moment. EDIT: Just checked comments on the Bookwalker app: you can access and view purchases from the global, Japan and Taiwan store there, so there shouldn’t be a problem getting an e-book copy that way. Honestly though, if your daughter is able to and doesn’t mind, she probably could get you a hard copy and mail it out of Japan, right? I don’t think there are legal issues with that.

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off topic again

@Jonapedia thanks for that Analysis. She is buying some books. She feels she is still only N4. Surprisingly, the Japanese Kindle version is “unavailable” to her in Japan!! We can’t understand why an e book would be unavailable!! So she’s going to set up a Bookwalker account and getting it digital ok that AND ordering a used paperback. She probably won’t mail one to me because of mail delays.

So far, her province is the LAST REMAINING ONE in all of Japan that doesn’t have a single case of Covid yet, so they are going to school, but anyone who leaves Iwate had to quarantine for 2 weeks before reentry!!

Her classes range from elementary to high schools including a school for the blind, so every study plan is radical different, even for different classes at the same school! She works hard to give the blind students tactile examples, as well. It’s quite challenging!


It’s strange that the e-book isn’t available, but honestly, I have no clue how digital distribution laws work in Japan. Either way, it’s good to hear that she’s safe. I hope her province stays virus-free, seeing as every country in the world has been struggling to stop the spread. Back on the topic of the book though, maybe you’ll be able to read the ebook using the same account once she gets it.

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She already bought a paper copy yesterday for ¥100!! I’m buying the digital copy off Bookwalker tonight.

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That’s great! Hope you both enjoy reading it! (And that you learn lots. Haha.)

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I figure continuing to use off-topic makes it quicker to scroll past though, and if someone has a legitimate contribution to the intended discussion in future it will be more obvious where it resumes :sweat_smile:

Also just a note that it doesn’t actually tag people if you include their name in the title of the drop-down thingy :+1:

Regarding your difficulties purchasing, Shannon-8; I’m not sure why it’s not available in general (presumably some strange COVID-related thing?), but for future reference for yourself…

You first need to have a separate account for Amazon Japan - you can’t use your US account to purchase things from Amazon Japan. Secondly (and I don’t read eBooks, so I’m no expert on this), you need Amazon to think you’re in Japan. I know some people put in a random Japanese address in order to buy Kindle eBooks, and often you have to use a VPN just for the first purchase (or if you later get denied again) and set your location to Japan. I’ve seen people recommend

I also just wanted to mention - I know you’re interested in reading Kiki because you actually want to read Kiki :slightly_smiling_face: but if you do end up finding it too much of a slog, we’ve done easier books in the past which also have vocab sheets and places for you to ask questions and so on. I highly recommend 銭天堂 as a super enjoyable kid’s book (it is rather lacking in kanji, which can be painful for beginners, but again the vocab sheet helps), or if you want something even easier there are the Doggy / Kitty Detective books. I realise that looks like I’m just shilling my own clubs :thinking: but those are genuinely good ones if you want an alternative to manga!

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Final off-topic

I’m shocked that the name thing doesn’t work behind the "“details”! Thx for the info.

My daughter in Japan with the Amazon JP account was the one who told me that the Kindle version said “unavailable”! We think it’s a weird Covid thing. The has her copy already. I got an account at CD Japan, because I saw in the thread that everyone else got theirs quickly, and ordered my block blue V.2. I expect to get it soon. THANK YOU for pulling together that market research! Very helpful! I looked at the Doggy Detectives threads. Cute!

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Final off-topic v2?

Weird, the kindle version is available for me. I just followed the link from the thread.
Well, to be fair, some service are starting again from today (public libraries went from closed to “limited service” here in Tokyo, for instance), so it might be that for some weird reason it was unavailable until yesterday and just went back to being available :woman_shrugging: