[Now voting!] Advanced Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: アンダーグラウンド

Advanced Japanese Book Club

Welcome to our Advanced 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!

This is the Advanced Book Club, meaning we are aiming to read either longer modern books (at a faster pace) or harder books (i.e. older or more literary books) than the other clubs.

For the modern books, we will aim at reading 30 - 50 pages per week, while we plan to read the less modern, more literary books at about 15 pages per week.

If you are instead looking for something a bit more chill, why not check out the Intermediate Japanese Book Club // Now Reading: セーラー服と機関銃 // Next: 変な家 ?

Now Reading: アンダーグラウンド


Start Date: May 25th, 2024

Next: マスカレード・ホテル

Start Date: Aug 17th, 2024

Current Proposals

Category 1: easier reading, faster pace

1. クォンタムデビルサーガ アバタールチューナーⅠ

Author: 五代 ゆう(ごだい ゆう)
Illustrator: 前田 浩孝(まえだ ひろたか)
Length: 372
Nomination Post


2. 村上海賊の娘

Nomination Post
Length: 343 pages
Author: 和田竜 (Wada Ryou)

3. 砂漠 (さばく a campus life)

Nomination Post
Length: 512 pages
Author: 伊坂 幸太郎 (Isaka Koutarou)

4. さわらびの譜

Nomination Post

5. 風が強く吹いている

Nomination Post

6. Butter

Nomination Post

7. 香君 上 西から来た少女

Nomination Post

8. 占星術殺人事件

Nomination Post

Category 2: harder reading, slower pace

1. 風立ちぬ

Author: 堀 辰雄(ほり たつお)
Length: 110
Nomination Post

The Wind Has Risen (風立ちぬ – Kaze Tachinu) is a Japanese novel by Hori Tatsuo, written between 1936–37. It is set in a tuberculosis sanitarium in Nagano, Japan. The plot follows a main character identified only with the pronoun “I” as he takes care of his fiancée, and then wife, Setsuko, who has been diagnosed with the disease, deciding to stay with her until her death.

The main character meditates about life and death as he sees her beloved’s condition deteriorating, finally moving with her to a sanatorium surrounded by beauty, and finally discovering that just like the wind rises he can still keep living after her death through the strong bond of their love.

2. 文字渦

Author : 円城塔 (Toh EnJoe)
Length: 302
Nomination Post

――漢字の領土争いにルビの反乱! Unicode宇宙大戦「誤字」

3. 本の読み方 スロー・リーディングの実践

Author: 平野 啓一郎
Length: 224

Nomination Post

Over at Natively, there is also a list of the WK Advanced Japanese Book Club Nominations | Japanese list by nikoru | Natively, where you can directly check out the books’ levels and reviews.

Previous Books

Over at Natively, there is also a list of the Books read by the WK Advanced Japanese Book Club | Japanese list by nikoru | Natively so far.

Book Proposals

How to Propose Books

As a rough guideline, good candidates are (1) those books that exceed ~300 pages in modern, standard Japanese; OR (2) those books shorter than ~300 pages that are less modern, more literary (read: harder).

Proposal Template

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

## Summary
Add Japanese summary here.
Add English summary here.

Natively link:

## Availability
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
#### Pros
* Insert pros here.
#### Cons
* Insert cons here.

## Pictures

[details=“First Three Pages of Chapter One”]
Insert images here (can be photos from you or the internet, or from ebook previews).

[details=“Additional Pages”]
Insert a few more images here - try to make them representative.

Purchasing Books

Please see the Discussion Thread of the current book for direct purchasing links.

Physical Books

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.

Book types:


There are several places you may be able to purchase eBooks:


Nominations with Low Interest

In order to keep the list of nominations fresh and interesting, we decided to remove those that frequently get only few votes in the polls.
This is a bit tricky as currently the number of nominated books is high while the number of participants in the polls is rather low. To mitigate this, we set the threshold to 10%.
A book will be removed from the list of nominations if it scored less than this threshold in three polls in a row. 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
アウト (OUT) 上 Poll 2 Poll 3 Poll 4 2021-03-02
薮の中・将軍 Poll 3 Poll 4 Poll 5 2021-05-22
騎士団長殺し 第1部 Poll 4 Poll 5 Poll 6 2021-08-09
86―エイティシックス― Poll 9 Poll 10 Poll 11 2022-12-23
化物語(上) Poll 10 Poll 11 Poll 12 2022-02-25
感応グラン=ギニョル Poll 13 Poll 14 Poll 15 2024-01-09
午後の曳航 Poll 15 Poll 16 Poll 17 2024-07-09
檸檬 Poll 15 Poll 16 Poll 17 2024-07-09
砂漠 (さばく a campus life) Poll 17
文字渦 Poll 17

Note that books can be re-nominated after having been removed, but that should only happen after some time.

Previous Nominations that were removed for other reasons
Favourite Pick Polls


All things subject to change as community wants and needs are gauged.


Sounds good to me.

That’s hard to say. I would say like the other clubs: one week break between books.
That being said, I understand the point of taking longer breaks, since this club will be more time consuming that the other ones.

We can use the current one. All the other clubs are doing it, it would be weird to have a separate server just for this club.

Also tagging @Kumirei so that they can nominate their book :stuck_out_tongue:


Just here to read your interesting posts :eyes:



By the way, how many nominations should we consider before a vote? I guess as long as we have 5+, we could set a firm deadline for nominations (e.g. a week) and then put up the poll?


Forgot to say: you need to have the Regular status to do that. Otherwise, you’ll need a mod to make it a wiki for you.

1 Like

That’s only if you guys plan to do a read aloud though, which could be challenging at 30-45 pages per week. 獣の奏者 takes us 1.5-2 hours and that’s when the chapter is 15-20 pages. Granted we’re just chatting for 10-15 minutes at the start and we’re stopping to ask questions, which may not happen much in an advanced club.

The 本好き book or something else?


That’s what the Re: zero club is doing, though? Also I’m not saying we need to read out loud, but if we do, we should use the same server.



Oh yeah, that’s impressive!

Hopefully I can keep up if you pick that one!


Sounds good!

In the other clubs we sometimes have polls when to start a new book. We could do this here as well to check back with members when they are ready to tackle the next one or whether they need a longer break. Other than that, I’d lean towards Naphthalene 's suggestion of a one week break.

(Copying my thoughts from the previous discussion:)

For the discord channel, I’m not sure about this. We will not be able to read a whole book aloud if we go at that pace, plus we (in the Kemono no Souja read aloud club) have discovered that we hardly post any questions in the threads any more because we discuss them all in the read aloud session… And while I definitely prefer having a quick chat over writing a lenghty post, it kinda dries out the reading threads, which is a pity for those who are not in the live discussion. So, I would actually lean towards not having a discord channel in order to force me to have more discussions in the forums.

For reach, it might be interesting to announce this book club in the Extensive Reading thread and to ping some of the participants from the previous Advanced Book Club discussion thread?


OK, let’s get cracking :slightly_smiling_face:

雪国 - Snow Country

by 川端 康成 (かわばたやすなり)



雪国 』(ゆきぐに)は、川端康成の長編小説で、名作として国内外で名高い。雪国を訪れた男が、温泉町でひたむきに生きる女たちの諸相、ゆらめき、定めない命の各瞬間の純粋を見つめる物語。愛し生きる女の情熱の美しく哀しい徒労が、男の虚無に研ぎ澄まされた鏡のような心理の抒情に映されながら、美的に抽出されて描かれている。


Snow Country is a stark tale of a love affair between a Tokyo dilettante and a provincial geisha that takes place in the remote onsen town of Yuzawa.

“Snow country” is a literal translation of the Japanese title " Yukiguni ". The name comes from the place where the story takes place, where Shimamura arrives in a train coming through a long tunnel under the border mountains between the Gunma (Kozuke no kuni) and Niigata (Echigo no kuni) Prefectures. Sitting at the foot of mountains, on the north side, this region receives a huge amount of snow in winter because of the northern winds coming across the Sea of Japan. The winds accumulate moisture over the sea and deposit it as snow while running up against the mountains. The snow reaches four to five meters in depth, sometimes isolating the region’s towns and villages from others. The lonely atmosphere suggested by the title is infused throughout the book.



Personal Opinion

This book is a classic of Japanese literature. The author was the first Japanese person to receive the Noble prize for literature, and this book (together with two others) was mentioned by the committee.

Whenever I mentioned this book, (Japanese) people kept telling me that it is hard, so we might want to pick a slower pace. I don’t really know the exact reason for this, though, as the Japanese does not seem to be especially hard or old (where I looked at it).
Wikipedia might give a hint as why it has this reputation:
" Edward Seidensticker, noted scholar of Japanese literature whose English translation of the novel was published in 1956, described the work as “perhaps Kawabata’s masterpiece.” According to him, the novel reminds of haiku, both for its many delicate contrapuntal touches and its use of brief scenes to tell a larger story."
So probably it is more the contents that makes it hard to understand than the language.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club


  • Japanese classic
  • Not too long (224 pages) so we can take our time with it
  • Author received Noble price


  • Probably not much action
  • Probably very philosophical and therefore hard to digest


Note: page numbers are from an ebook and do not correspond to the real pages.

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


checks text



I mean, I’m not against it though. 苦しゅうない!


Heeey! I said

right after what you quoted :joy_cat:


I already have this book, so I would be a vote for it. I’ve been wanting to read something more literary, it seemed interesting, and I had to add some books to an order to make shipping worth it. :wink:


Coming in swinging, @NicoleIsEnough. I would love to.

Also, @Naphthalene proposed waiting until there are at least 5 nominations, then we can set a firm deadline––probably a week later––for any other nominations to come in and for votes to be cast. That seems like a good idea unless anyone objects.


I’m planning to propose a book per day until somebody tells me to stop :laughing:

But I do hope that some others step up as well and propose something!

By the way, would it be a showstopper for a nomination if there were no ebook? In the other bookclubs we have no fixed rule for this, but I cannot recall that we actually had a nomination without ebook.
I’m asking because my bookshelf (and my list of recommendations) contains a bunch of books that are only available in printed form, so I’m wondering whether I should rather not nominate those?


Great idea. I’ll go make an announcement post. When you say ping… I @ them in this thread?


Yep, that’s what I was thinking.

1 Like

Because this book club will have dual harder+slower / easier+faster books to vote on, the book selection poll should probably indicate if it’ll follow the slower or faster pace.


*licks lips* Two categories: slow and hard, or quick and easy. Say no more.