My first native series: 10分で読める伝記。やった!

At last!! The last story of 10分で読める biography series.

It took me quite a while to go throw the entire series, but it finally came to the last story today.:tada::confetti_ball: (which is the very suitable story of Koichi Wakata, the veteran japanese astronaut, with some final words at the end of the tale, from the man himself, encouraging japanese kids to persue their dreams :slightly_smiling_face: ).

I started and went simultaneously with the first volumes while still reading the Graded Readers series Lvl.3 and then 4 from Ask, I don’t know if that serves as a reference, but I thought on mention it if someone is about the take the leap, since it felt like a nice transition (altough a steep one). Mixing both series served to interchange the difficulty and give me some breaks while going throw the first half of the series, which felt somewhat more taxing than the last ones.

By far the most difficult of the volumes was the first volume, for several reasons. First, the series has progressively more and more kanji in the vocab, relying at first on hiragana for a lot of words that you would encounter otherwise written in kanji, at least for the parsing it’s well controlled and there’s spacing between words that usually prevents from confusing them, but I really missed those kanji. The other point that put some difficulty on the start was to encounter unknown grammar points mixed with the new vocab. Graded series introduce only a handful of grammar points per level, native series don’t take that much into account, so it’s every men by himself.:smile:

I found myself more or less along the entire series picking up about 30 new words per story, which is like 2 words per page, so indeed the graduation is mostly on the unique vocab and vocab count per story I would say, alongside with the kanji, that progressively starts to appear with every new volume, mostly presenting characters that are expected to be known in the previous level, though for the most part there is furigana on almost every kanji.

A couple of changes over the last 2 volumes that really made a huge change in the way I went through the stories: first, I bought a Kindle and decided to purchase the last two volumes in ebook format. Huge game changer!! Reviewing new vocab on the spot super quickly made the lecture a pleasure and quickly started to resemble to just reading (just at a different speed).

Second, I made use of the vocab builder feature in Kindle to export all the new vocab into Anki and made flashcards directly with those sentences (I used to only put the vocab, but was too lazy to also copy the sentence it came from). That really has made my recent reviews much more entertaining, since I get to remember where that word came from, adding more of a personal context.
Lastly, since the vocab started to really pile up as I read more often, I decided to apply some frequency list filter in Anki, and started adding to my reviews only the vocab ranging in the 20K most common words. I started with the mentality that if the word was in a children’s series it must be a basic vocab. Progressively that just wasn’t the case, as these are biographies and the vocab can pretty much be related to the life of the character alone but still be quite rare.

Anyway, there you have it. I’m really glad I picked this series, as it kept me entertained until the very last story. I learned a lot actually, and overall feel this is material I can share in regular conversations as general culture and not so japanese oriented / learners stuff only. :smile:

Next reading challenge, that first novel!!

EDIT: I didn’t notice before but biography series are like a thing in Japan, there’re a lot more series, though revolving around mostly the same characters. I saw Steve Jobs as the new character added in some series. There’re series that go deeper into the life of the characters too. All in all I think they are nice resources for people struggling to find a theme not too childish as the first introduction to native material.


Ok , bit of an update and comparision.

I started today with the novel ペンギン・ハイウェイ .

Seems very suitable next reading, vocab wise I’m adding probably less new words per page .
Besides that, something I forgot to mention and I’m glad it’s no longer there. Kindle had from time to time trouble picking up the words (finding a correct match in the dictionaries) due to words been written partly in kanji and partly in hiragana in the 10分で読める series.

It doesn’t seem to be something common in the book I’m reading now, it will use furigana for “difficult” kanji. And there’s that… the furigana … It’s no longer there on every single word. cool!


I’m adding probably less new words per page

Ok, false hopes on my behalf :sweat_smile: … reaching 15 pages today, definitely more vocab is been added (around 80 new words so far) , word count been higher, seemed obvious :roll_eyes: … and yet I thought I was set for a walk in the park with this book. No, is the expected struggle… made into almost 400 pages :sweat_smile: … kinda missing my old series :joy:


Do you have link to those? I’m having a hard time finding Kindle editions.

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I’m not sure how ebookjapan works, in regard if it will allow you to buy them overseas directly.
In any case you can set your kindle to work with an Amazon Japan account (link to the Kindle thread describing the steps I went through).

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Thanks for reviewing your experience, that’s very cool. Japan has a great book culture and you can find books about anything: biographies, hobbies, selfhelp etc.

If I understood you right your 1st reading experience came from the Graded series then you switched to this 10分で読める series ? At what wanikani level did you start these books ?

After reaching a high Wanikani level kanji in these books were not much of a challenge but there was a lot of new vocab and grammar. Would you say that the words you picked up were mostly common words or words related to specific subjects (astronomy, biology, history or whatever) ?


I started with Graded readers at the same time that I started with WK. The kanji present in those first volumes (Level 0 or 1) is so low that kanji is not even a thing to have in mind. Vocab wise, probably reaching 600-700 words and halfway Genki 1.

Same is true for the first book in the 10分で読める actually … kanji present in that volume were only those 80 taught in 1st grade, so not a big concern either. The only important number probably is vocabulary. I had something like 3500-4000 words between my Anki deck and WK by then (and was around Level 28 in WK)… an it was a struggle still :sweat_smile:

Anyway I think keep adding vocab constantly is probably the single most important thing to progress in the material to read. Those graded readers did that very well, since they spoon feed you vocab in small chunks so you never get stuck because of too much unknown content at once.

I really liked the series because there’s indeed vocab coming from different areas. Mostly common stuff, after all it’s a series aimed at kids, but still some vocab still came as too specific for adding it to my daily reviews (I checked with the frequency addon, but common sense usually was enough to identify those). Anyway most important thing for me was that the series really caught my atention, I bought another 10分で読める volumes of a diferent series and was a bit too childish for me taste , so it went unreaded.:sweat_smile:


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