Day 39: Today I read 4 more pages of よつば＆！
I’m starting to find the graded readers a bit tedious to get through, I used to be excited enough from the prospect of reading in Japanese at all, but now they’re kind of like pulling teeth as I find the material quite meh. The last few I’ve found myself skim reading parts of them, as they often have lots of fairy-tale-esque repeatition - being able to skim like this is pretty cool I guess.
Was kind of feeling a little over the slice-of-life nature of チーズスイートホーム so trying to push through it so I can finish it up, hopefully to come back to another volume at a later date. I think this is mostly due to my low Japanese level kind of restricting me to slice-of-life manga, which is not a genre I typically read a lot of, so I’m feeling a little ~ “burned out” on that kind of content. I tried to push through a little bit, and then just kept going as I got closer and closer to my goal of finishing it.
大海原と大海原 has been a breathe of fresh air, as its the first manga which has truly felt like I’m reading it for the story/plot and not just because of my reading level. I’m likewise excited for 王様ランキング for similar reasons, but trying to read at least a bit more of チーズスイートホーム first.
Your perseverance is pretty amazing, I must say I only read one set of Graded Readers, and while I found the stories not extremely bad actually, they were not really exciting either
Why do you think so? Realistically speaking, you will need to learn a lot of new vocab anyways, no matter the genre. So a “low level” of vocab is never an excuse
For “low level” of grammar, I’m sure there are manga (and books) of all genres that use complicated grammar, and those that mainly use simple grammar. I personally find it much harder to read manga than to read books, tbh, because manga use direct speech almost exclusively, which means jargon, slurs, colloquial speech etc. With books, there is of course direct speech as well, but it’s embedded into descriptive sentences written in standard Japanese. (But I guess many people disagree with this )
Anyways, no matter whether books or manga, you could always have a look at previous picks in the Absolute Beginner and Beginner book clubs - the bonus is that you’ll get long discussions for free!
What genres are you interested in, though? Maybe you can get some recommendations for easy reading material in your preferred genre(s) here.
日本語: I read a lot of 伯爵と妖精 19.
中国語: I read 真的不知道 and 母爱. I added 伟大 and 肚子.
And another complete week!
October 10 So today was a tiny read day. I spent more time watching anime instead
・Honzuki 6. (47% → 48%)
Pretty tired today, read 4 pages of この音とまれ！, one of the pages was super full with writing, took quite a bit of getting through.
Also read today’s 記念日, and it’s 銭湯の日 (Public bath day) !
A bath sounds so good right now.
銭湯 is a word I’ve been getting wrong on here quite a bit, hopefully this’ll make it stick better.
It’s a pun! 1010 = 千 (せん) １０ (とお / とう) → せんとう ＝ 銭湯
Also futon day! Futon also sounds real good right now…
~ New Words! ~
愛護 (あいご) - Protection / Tender Care
アイメイト - Guide dog - blindness support dog. This is such a cute word! Eye-mate… that is so wholesome. There is also a link to the official guide-dog association: アイメイト協会, now I’m trapped looking at good dogs and then the main page greets with this:
「アイは I (私)」「アイは EYE (目)」 「アイは 愛 (LOVE)」
such good dogs…
Noooooo! I broke my streak
Yesterday was a long and stressful day, since we weren’t able to board our plane (all due to an issue with vaccine certification, resulting in a last-second PCR test and re-booking for today.)
I will certainly be reading today! And I plan to make up my lost day at the “end” of this challenge.
Thank you for the information.
Thanks for your amazing & kind reply @NicoleRauch =D sorry for my verbose reply
At the start it was very much a “wow I’m reading in another language, this is amazing, I’ll never get bored of this”. Once I started manga proper it was hard to go back.
My stubbornness was at least partially motivated by cost, since I’d purchased a few sets of graded readers and they don’t come cheap.
This is mostly a naive opinion based on me looking over ABBC / BBC picks and quickly looking at things I had hoped were easy (e.g. Demon slayer).
Common and repeated vocab isn’t too scary, but a sentence full of unknown vocab can be overwhelming. This is why I’ve pre-reading series to mine vocab (to Anki) before starting properly.
Through 大海原と大海原 and 王様ランキング I’m building up a “fantasy vocab” (caste, knight, sword, spear, magic, …), which I’m hoping will eventually ease me into more complex fantasy works.
Grammar has been my weakness so I’ve been trying to focus on it while reading. Long sentences are still kind of scary >.>
Interesting, I have been wanting to ‘eventually’ get into a book, but so far the one’s I’ve peeked at (時をかける少女, カラフル, 星の王子さま) were somewhat scary, in particular with lots of specific vocab which I’d have to spend a lot of time with.
The pictures in manga give a lot of context which has helped with unknown vocab (e.g. a new word appears and there is a new object in the picture), and they tend to have shorter sentences - I often have to push past some internal resistance to read longer sentences for some reason - which probably means I should be working on that…
The book clubs here seriously are the best, they’re one of the best things I’ve done for my Japanese. I’ve tried to keep an eye on them and go over previous picks, but it is absolutely possible I’ve missed some gems.
Mostly scifi / fantasy / mecha / psychological / philosophical / shounen / seinen.
Favourites include Fullmetal Alchemist, Neon Genesis, Ghost in the Shell, and recently I’ve enjoyed The Promised Neverland and Tokyo Ghoul. Most of these seem well beyond my current ability, except maybe Neverland although I’m not sure I’d enjoy re-reading yet.
But I don’t want to create work for anyone, so please don’t feel pressured to offer recommendations, for the time being at least I think I have a few things which I’m excited to read (大海原と大海原 and 王様ランキング), then I’ll have to figure out where to go next.
Oh no I’m so sorry, that sounds extremely stressful for you both, glad you were able to turn-around and get a new plan in place so quickly! all the best.
I sometimes find speech within media can be difficult for my brain to grok. 1:1 in person is easier, but even with English media (native) I find it much easier if I have good subtitles. I remember when I used to watch without subtitles without trouble, so it seems to have got worse.
I’ve tried dabbling in Japanese audiobooks to not much avail. I had some mild progress with an abridged wizard of Oz as it is short enough to listen to repeatedly (in the background while doing chores), and by the 3rd or so listen I was starting to pick out very small snippets or individual words.
For now I’m thinking occasionally listening to audiobooks but solely with the goal of getting used to the sounds rather than trying to understand anything, as actively listening is very tiring and tedious.
That’s awesome! All the best with exploring a possible diagnosis, and thank you for sharing =D
Day 40: October 10
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 4 min
Makoto is talking about Haru + water and I am crying
Aki and Makoto are taking a break on the bench during practice, and Aki asks why Haru only swims freestyle. And the answer
^ yes, that
(my hopefully-correct rough translations in the spoilers) I’ve never asked him about it, but I think that, for Haru, swimming has a different meaning than it does for you and me.
And then later:
“In a word, instinct. It’s like asking a dolphin or a whale why it lives in the sea.”
Asking Haru why he only swims freestyle is like asking a dolphin or a whale why it lives in the sea.
It’s so true that it hurts, I have so many feelings about this sentence Makoto, you know.
I love this conversation. I want to read it forever. It’s one of my favorites so far. Ugh I have no words to express the feelings in my soul. Why are my emotions
On an unrelated note, we learn that Haru is the expert bricklayer in the class, apparently It does sort of strike me as something he’d be good at, though, for some reason. I low-key want to try too now, is that weird? I’m absolutely not handy at all, but it sounds sort of…satisfying, once you know how? I’m not watching bricklaying videos on Youtube right now
Here are some good words
- 焼き上がる (やきあがる) - to be fired (pottery) (can also mean to be baked (food); to be printed (photos))
- 翳り (かげり) - shadow or cloud (e.g. on someone’s happiness); shade; gloom (I thought this was a cool-looking kanji that the book used, it’s also written as 陰り)
- 生まれ持つ (うまれもつ) - to have (something) innate; to be born with (what a pleasantly logical word)
- 適性 (てきせい) - aptitude; aptness; suitability
- こげ茶色 (こげちゃいろ) - dark brown; olive brown
- 春めく (はるめく) - to become spring-like; to show signs of spring (this is such a cute word to me)
Day 40: Today I read 4 pages of よつば＆！and 1 page of ツバサ Reservoir Chronicle.
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.
Home post October 11th finished up the final 2 chapters (19 and 20) of チーズスイートホーム (1), having that checked off has left me in a much better mood.
My wrists are misbehaving so I really have to minimise typing tonight, thanks @sycamore for your reply, I’ll get back to you tomorrow once I’m in less pain
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.
OMG that sounds super hilarious!
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.
4 pages today!
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).