Online novels at Shousetsuka ni Narou


#1

I’ve just discovered the website 小説家になろう (Shousetsuka ni narou, or “Let’s Become a Novelist”) at http://syosetu.com/.

As explained at Wikipedia, this is a site where (usually new/aspiring) writers publish novels or light novels, which all can enjoy for free. Often the popular ones get picked up by publishers and printed as books, or adapted into manga or anime.

I discovered this because of a Crunchyroll ad for the “Knight’s & Magic” anime, which led me to the manga, which led me to the light novel available here. Ain’t Japanese culture great?

Currently, actually reading a novel is still a bit too much of a slog for me. But I’m working my way pretty happily through the Knight’s & Magic manga, and maybe by the time I finish that, I’ll be ready for the novel.

Web-based novels are pretty ideal, since you can use things like Rikaichan, or even on a phone, copy & paste to look words up as needed. So I think this will be a really useful resource for more advanced Japanese learners.


#2

Did you study any manga-specific vocab for knights & magic? I haven’t done a lot of vocab learning outside of WK yet, but most of the sources I’ve tried seem to focus more on vocab for reading news and other formal text. I think I’d rather learn what I need to know to follow along with basic stories like visual novels or manga, and learn news style language when I need it later on. Do you have any recommendations?


#3

I’m planning to write up a “How I study Japanese” post soon, when I reach 3000 burned kanji in WK. :slight_smile: But here’s a quick overview:

While reading, I look up any words I don’t know in the Japanese app on my iPhone. I then add it to a list for that manga (e.g. I have a “Knight’s & Magic” list, a “New Game!” list, etc.). But when I go to add it, it shows a checkmark for any lists that already includes that word.

SO, if I go to add a word and see a checkmark anywhere, it means it’s a word I’ve looked up before (and forgotten). So I also add it to a special “Seen Multiple Times” list. And words on that list get put (now and then, when I have some time) into an Anki deck to actually learn. I figure, those are words that are either generally common (showed up in multiple sources) or at least common in the book I’m reading (showed up in the same one twice or more). So those are words worth learning.


#4

Thank you! Just downloaded the app, I‘m going to try that technique. Did you jump straight into reading or did you get a foundation with for example core 2k first?


#5

It was hard to get started. Most manga use a lot of slang and colloquialisms, such that even if you have a decent grasp of basic vocab and grammar, it’s still hard to understand. My bookshelf is littered with the remains of books that I only got partway through before giving up.

The “New Game!” manga (which you can get via http://ebookjapan.jp) is a good one because it’s a slice-of-life story that takes place in modern Tokyo — no fantasy, no supernatural, just people at the office. Yet the story and characters are very interesting. It’s also good because the anime follows the manga very closely, so you can watch one and read the other, and they reinforce each other.

But even before that, the absolute best way I know of to start reading Japanese is https://satorireader.com/. This site has a large number of stories of many kinds, and really amazing support for reading them. That includes native speaker read-along, definitions of every word, notes on grammar or tricky phrases, and a nice Q&A thread at the end of each one. Even if you can’t read anything else, you can read this! Not free, but totally worth every penny.

So, start with that, then find an easy manga, and just keep leveling up your skills. Someday we’ll both be tackling full novels. 頑張りましょう!