I think manga just has its own barrier to entry which is what you said. Of course, any speech thats present in manga will be present in books, but the fact that its the minority of text in most cases makes the barrier to entry for books more on the vocab side imo. Personally, while I think the vocab wall on the books side is much taller, it kinda comes with a built in ladder since its pretty easy to look up words. Dialogue on the other hand can be hard to look up and get answers for. So its like a small wall with barbed wire.
One thing I’ll say is, if you read harder stuff, you get a lot better at reading the harder stuff and easier stuff. If you read the easier stuff, though, you get better at reading easier stuff but not so much harder stuff. It can be really hard to see your own progress when you really push yourself, but its there.
I’ve heard a few people say that Aria is a good beginner pick and that’s more on the sci fi side I think? I think there was a book club.
You mentioned demon slayer - my experience with that is that reading the first volume I had much the same experience as you, looking up every third word - but by a couple of volumes in that reduced drastically. Generally that seems to be the case in my experience (but I also know very little vocab haha) so an option could be just to pick something you really want to read and stick with it through the first volume and see how you feel after you are past the ‘new author/manga/book vocab mountain’.
That said, I don’t (after many failed attempts/SRS burnouts) SRS any vocab from things I’m reading but just lookup as I go, so that might make for a different experience.
(Another option you could give a shot is ブルーロック - I’m reading this just now and finding it a pretty easy read but (while it is a sports manga) it is paced and reads more like a shonen battle royale style manga. It is a lot less dense/seems to me like an easier read than things like demon slayer, Haikyuu etc. I have zero interest in soccer but yet am totally hooked on it, and pretty much every chapter ends on a cliffhanger so it’s got real ‘omg I can’t put this down!’ energy)
Another thing to note that (at least for me at my current reading pace/when I’m reading a novel with a beginner book group) makes manga an easier pick is that (obviously depending to an extent on the material) with about the same amount of words read/time spent reading, you can generally read at least a chapter of a manga which will generally have some kind of satisfying arc, whereas in a novel quite often we will read our bookclub 6 pages and really not much has happened at all to progress the plot. Obviously as your reading pace picks up/if you are reading with a faster paced book club that’s not an issue any more but it’s certainly an adjustment/frustration I found coming from manga initially that can make it harder to keep motivated with novels when first starting to read them.
I guess it’s alright to make a separate post about what I read through the weekend. Finished reading the haiku and two stories from 10分で読める物語 二年生, thus completing it. There was also an after reading section that had some additional remarks about the stories and also some tips on how to approach reading it next time.
松尾芭蕉の俳句 were 3 haiku from Basho, these all had a seasonal theme to it. Text accompanying them further explained some of ideas that are attached to the meaning. I liked the pictures that went with them and the layers it provide them. I can appreciate its simplicity and beauty, but ultimately they’re not as rememberable as stories to me.
算数の時間です is a pretty funny story about a king that hates math lessons. So he thinks up all kinds of excuses to get out of it. However the teacher is well prepared to deal with it. King then thinks he outsmarts the teacher, but ultimately only gets himself.
かぐやひめ is the last story in the book. I was already familiar with it and still like this old tale. On the whole this book wasn’t as bad. It still was a bit of struggle here and there, but luckily there’s plenty of variation. Some stories were easier and more interesting than others.
I think I’ll join the tanuki club next. They’re pretty volumes.
I have Spy x Family in german because I was moaning to a friend who lives in Berlin about not being sure how to keep up with my german when there are so many Japanese books I wanted to read, and so she thought it would be a funny birthday present!
No you poor thing. Travelling days are basically non-days so I think we can all agree that your streak is unbroken. In fact I propose a formal ‘Tanuki Indulgence Day’ that everyone can claim once during the challenge when life gets in the way.
Haha you’re not taking the easy route, are you Scifi and fantasy are usually tricky because of the world building, which can be more or less excessive depending on the author, plus they will contain (more or less large amounts of) made-up words that you need to get used to but which are not used anywhere else. (Which is not a bad thing, mind you! But something you should take into account.)
I can imagine that psychological and philosophical might be difficult to understand contents-wise even without the language barrier? So that would probably not my first choice…
There’s one book recommendation I can give you though: It’s a fantasy book (the medieval type) called 狐笛のかなた (Koteki no Kanata) Home Thread and we read it a while ago as a stand-alone book club. It’s aimed towards somewhat young-ish children and the language is not too difficult iirc.
And read today’s folktale which is from Yamaguchi prefecture. About a midwife delivering a baby that turns out to be a sneaky fox
~ New Words ~
お産婆 (おさんば) - Midwife
難産 (なんざん) - Difficult delivery (childbirth), and there’s an English word for this that I didn’t know: Dystocia.
女中 (じょちゅう) - Maid, female servant
お膳 (おぜん) - Four-legged tray for food
Bonus Confusion Word: 武蔵, I’ve always known this as the ultimate Japanese swordsman of legend: Musashi. But in この音, the furigana it gives is「たけぞう」rather than 「むさし」, so that left me stumped for a bit (then I remembered that they’re both valid readings, and that names generally don’t care how a kanji is read).
大工 = だいく carpenter. So there are two words apparently for carpenter, and if my understanding is correct, 大工 is for someone that is related to buildings and construction, whereas 木工 is someone that makes wooden tools and whatnot.
小屋 = こや cabin, hut.
不満 = ふまん dissatisfaction, discontent.
樹液 = じゅえき sap (lit. “tree liquid”).
整理 = せいり sorting, arrangement.
鍬 = くわ hoe.
耕す = たがやす to till, to plow.
収穫 = しゅうかく harvest.
竿 = さお pole, rod (from 釣り竿 , fishing rod).
I missed yesterday, that’s fine. Today was the most unexpected turn of events, ended up just trying Stardew Valley in Japanese for fun. It’s actually pretty well done, and it looks promising. Whether it was a silly day and that’s it or the start of a regrettable new addiction, I do not know, but I’m looking forward to both. I’m actually somewhat excited to learn more vocabulary related to farming and the like and the day to day interactions with the villagers. I haven’t played Stardew Valley in many years, but it’s an amazing game, and I expect no less from the Japanese version.
Day 41: October 11
What did I read?: ハイ☆スピード!
How much did I read?: 5 pages
How long did it take me?: 1 hour 44 min
As usual, Rin is bothering Haru with his existence Honestly, I feel a little for both of them in this moment. Rin comes up to join Haru in laying the bricks for the flowerbed - he obviously just wants to talk to Haru about swimming, but Haru’s completely ignoring him (or trying to, anyway). It’s sad because it honestly feels like Rin is making an effort to work on their relationship - he’s, like, telling Haru about his observations on Nagisa (which is so cute, honestly, he’s such a little team captain), and he’s voicing his ideas for the team practice in a way that isn’t as, like…demanding or overbearing. But Haru literally just wants him to shut up so he can work in peace Which is a feeling I definitely also understand…I have a (sometimes very) chatty coworker who I love, but sometimes it’s like…why is there no polite way to say “I love you but I really don’t know why you’re talking to me about this right now, I’m busy, please go away” xD
A thing from this scene that I love: when Haru stands up to take a break, he notes that Rin’s actually been doing a pretty good job on the bricklaying, even though he’s been chattering away the whole time. Idk, I like that a lot. For one, it’s another little indicator of how Rin does take things seriously and put care and attention into what he does. And it’s nice that Haru can acknowledge this as a positive, even though Rin’s been bugging the crap out of him
均す (ならす) - to make even; to make smooth; to make level; to flatten
あからさま - plain; frank; candid; open; direct; straightforward; unabashed; blatant; flagrant
意味ありげ (いみありげ) - meaningful; suggestive; telling; significant; pregnant (pause etc.)
息つく (いきつく) - to take a breath; to take a short rest
延長線上 (えんちょうせんじょう) - extension of a straight line; (conclusion) following as an extension of (an argument) (I like it 'cause it rhymes lol)
覆す (くつがえす) - to reverse (decision etc.)
I’m usually pretty strict on myself and will probably still do my makeup day… But! Instead of leaving a blank spot on my calendar, I’m gonna do a little tanuki dude in the spirit of TID (tanuki indulgence day)
Today I typed up the first ~25 pages + a few random pages here and there to start mining for vocab, and I started realising that for the most part the grammar wasn’t as scary as I thought and actually seemed maybe kind of almost approachable.
So then I approached it, today I read almost 3 pages of demon slayer (almost as I have to go back and redo 2 sentences that I get the meaning of but I don’t 100% get the grammar of), so maybe 2.5 pages.
I’m kind of expecting the difficulty to suddenly increase once I get further in, so I may have to pause reading it later on, but for now I’m giving it a go.
The chain of faultcausation inspiration.
Aria had been on my radar, funnily enough maybe 2 days earlier I was looking at the wikipedia page for it trying to decide if I was interested. The world seemed interesting, but the characters core motivation of wanting to be a gondola tour guide on new mars was a bit off putting, still uhming and ahhing over if I should explore it.
Hmmm I’ve never been bitten by the sports anime/manga bug, but it won’t hurt to try, thanks for the recommendations .
loads up bookwalker
Ohhh those covers do look surprisingly enticing for a sports manga… colour me intrigued .
I tried to warn you =D
I had known that at some point I would just have to struggle through something to try get an entry point into my genres of interest, but I keep thinking my grammar isn’t enough yet, will have to see how quickly I NOPE out of demon slayer =D
+1, even in my native tongue they can be a pain, I’m not yet brave enough to try it in a 2nd language I barely know.
Awesome, thanks for the recommendation, I hadn’t seen this book club before so colour me very excited. Added to my watch list =D
Thanks everyone for the replies, recommendations, and inspiration - it really does mean a lot
45 pages in and these guys are still shouting at each other, but it’s okay now, they’ve shared a lasting touch of each other’s arms and now they are friends.
Also decided to get around to reading about Gunma prefecture, and there was a load of new words on that page!
~ New Words! ~
内陸県 (ないりくけん) - Inland prefecture / Landlocked prefecture. 内陸~ can be used before other words and on its own.
多数 (たすう) - Large number of [something] / many
養蚕 (ようさん) - Sericulture, didn’t even know what this was in English, it’s Silkworm cultivation / farming.
コンニャク (蒟蒻) - Konjac, didn’t know what this was either, at first I thought it meant Cognac
クロマツ(黒松) - Black Pine
語源 (ごげん) - Etymology, origin of a word
レンゲツツジ (蓮華躑躅) Japanese Azalea
ヤマドリ (山鳥) - Copper Pheasant
固有種 (こゆうしゅ) - Endemic Species
褐色 (かっしょく) - Dark Brown
抱卵 (ほうらん) - Incubation
雛 (ひな) - Young bird, chick, fledgling
アユ(鮎) - Ayu, sweetfish
Was nearly on time, I had to finish the last 1% of 解説 today, because the sentences stopped making sense yesterday evening. But I refused to add another day to my count, and used instead
All in all, it was a nice book, and somehow it managed to be both surprisingly dark and overly sweet. But it tried to balance things, its solutions to problems just didn’t click with me in particular.
I think it’s also very refreshing to read something with just one volume, and not a part of a series with 30 volumes.
And I’m so proud of myself for being right about the ending from the beginning but it also took away some enjoyment I think, to guess the conclusion so early.
And, I only read smart 解説 so far about the deep meaning/symbolism, so this one was a surprise The seiyuu who did the mother’s voice just babbled about her experiences with the book (like, when she first heard about it when she got the job offer and such).
And that concludes this challenge for me!
Thank you all for your ongoing support All those likes were always making me so happy.
And special thanks to @windupbird for setting up this thread
and to @Redglare for the original idea. Your tiny updates are always so adorable
I’m still planning to read a few times a week, but I’ll be concentrating more on the other things now. And somehow I want to rest from the feeling of being hold accountable
Generally, I think I’m feeling too overstimulated by forums now, and I need a rest, so I’m planning to be less active for some time.
But I’m probably still gonna skim through this thread!