My brain feels blah today, and all of… whatever the beginning of ch 2 of 海辺のカフカ is certainly wasn’t helping, so I only read like a page and a half. I don’t like military stuff, and I have zero interest in reading military documents in English, much less in Japanese. It appears I’m the opposite of everyone else in the book club: I liked the prologue and ch 1, and I don’t like ch 2 at all so far. That’s gonna be real slog to get through, one which I am not looking forward to at all. Looks like I’ll be falling behind.
Still wanting to read and needing something easier, I finally picked up vol 4 of クールドジ男子 and read ch 19. Hayate, Souma, and Shun all go to the theater to watch the latest film adaptation of Igarashi-sensei’s works (I dunno if it’s his latest novel, or just his latest one to be adapted), and they even run into Igarashi himself afterward! Souma and Shun don’t really read, so they don’t really care that Igarashi is an author (beyond “Oh, you wrote the original work? That’s cool”) and are just like, “Oh, you’re Mima-san’s friend? Then you’re our friend, too!” Hayate, meanwhile, considers Igarashi-sensei to be one of his favorite authors, so he doesn’t really know how to deal with meeting him, much less being so friendly with him so simply, much less being called by his given name by him!
Okay, good. The katakana actually barely gave me any trouble, but having to look up what felt like every other word (some I’d tried to skip over, but then they showed up again, and I was like, “all right, wellp, looks like I’m looking you up after all”) was exhausting. And I hope you’re right about me warming up to it.
I thought I had absolutely zero interest in reading a Japanese VN because I don’t have any interest in the medium in English, but I have to say, some of these legitimately look really good to me… . The first two in particular both look like stories that I would pick up myself haha. Summer Pockets had nice art, but the heterosexuality of it all was such a hard sell for me, I wasn’t tempted at all. If you start posting about one of these others, though…
I’m still holding off a bit on truly diving into games. The first one I’m planning on attempting is the 大海原大海原 RPG, which I already have downloaded and everything (it’s free, but installing Japanese RPG Maker games on a non-Japanese computer is a pain in itself, as it turns out). But I’m waiting to start it until I’ve finished the manga, and you’ve all seen how slow my progress on that has been . At the rate I’m going, I might be finished with Minna no Nihongo and WaniKani by the time I start the game.
The main issue that I have with VNs is that I hate repeating sections of the game over and over, but I also am a bit of a completionist, so I feel compelled to try multiple routes, which means having to repeat sections. But maybe if I’m using them as language practice, I won’t mind the repetition as much?
Glad to be able to pique your interest, haha. As much as I’ve enjoyed Summer Pockets, it’s not without its dips into anime style… well, being more horny that it has any reason to be. In the large scheme it’s not even that frequent, but despite no sexual content it sure wants to indulge in references here and there. Elements of that would make it a hard blind recommend anyway.
VNs can have their vices like that. But really I mention all that to say, both of the first two have Steam releases, so I can see reviews there (people on VNDB are very likely to overlook a lot of things…), and it’s encouraging that it seems like fans of boy’s love or yuri seem to think they handle that side well. Never know if such things would end up… fetishistic or anything, knowing how the medium can be, y’know? Which I should point out, Flowers has no sexual content, but it appears Hashihime does. Just in case you are ever interested – I of course don’t really know the degree it reaches, but I always want to warn people since some VNs can be outright pornographic.
Honestly, most visual novels incorporate a smart skip button that will go right past any text you’ve already read, just stopping for choices or any parts that have become different. I’ve not done any outright rereading at all in Summer Pockets (though it has… something going on across routes that has caused some parts to be very slightly altered and made me reread those, but even they were pretty short).
Anyway, I’ll definitely be interested in how the 大海原大海原 game goes when you get to it!
I finished this week’s reading for the 海辺のカフカ book club today! I just had chapter 2 left, so I also immediately faced the brick wall of government and military terms and was like “oof there’s no way I’m getting far with this today” but luckily that part was pretty brief and once I got past it… ooooh And so before I knew I’d just read the whole chapter so that’s cool! So far so good, diving straight into the advanced book club hasn’t murdered me yet
All of you guys looking into/reading 人間失格 is super cool but also terrifying lmao, serious literature from like seventy years ago?? That feels so far above my pay grade at this point, but like also Everyone here is so powerful, love to see it
This is a bit off-topic, because it’s not about reading in Japanese, but I found such an awesome book, I really wanted to mention it.
The book I checked out of the library today is a local history book (so I’m not going to say the title, haha) that is written as a parallel text book with Spanish on one side, and English on the other! It’s incredible! It was written intentionally to encourage people using it for language learning as well as learning about local history (and to make local history more accessible to Spanish speakers, since there is a fairly large Spanish-speaking population here).
Our library has a small collection of parallel text books in Spanish and English, but most of them are for children, so it’s nice to have one with genuinely interesting content that is made for all ages, including adults . It’s very smooth and not disruptive at all to read because I can glance over at the English side whenever I don’t know a word or am unsure of the meaning of the sentence. My Spanish is good enough, the reading process for this is mostly spot-checking specialized vocab that I’m not super familiar with, because the grammar is pretty intuitive for me.
Has anyone here read parallel text books in Japanese? I’ve seen reviews of a few, but admittedly they never appealed to me enough for me to want to buy any of them. I would absolutely try one if it was made with as much care as the Spanish-English book I’m reading now, though.
That sounds really cool! Haven’t used any personally, but I’ve heard very good things about those Read Real Japanese ones. Though it wouldn’t surprise me if those are the ones you already saw reviews for…
I hadn’t seen those particular books actually, but they sound like they’re awesome!! I’m especially interested in the translation notes, since that sounds like it might be super helpful for my own translation work. And reading that they’re apparently on the harder end of intermediate reading material actually makes them sound more appealing haha. Maybe I’ll try picking one of these up the next time I order some new books.
Thanks for the recommendation; I’m really glad I asked
While I wished it would have been an easier read for you, it is good to not feel so alone. Sometimes I feel like a thesaurus was heavily used to make sure all synonyms of destruction and collapse and such words where used. But even more so with the verbs. Just all the verbs. O_O
Consistency is the name of the game for this challenge. At least that is my take. And while many places says consistency in habits means Every Single Day, I disagree. Consistency is achieved by doing things regularly in a way that makes it possible to keep doing them regularly. Otherwise you’re heading towards breaking the consistency.
So I approve. Because my approval is so important to you, I’m sure.
Joking aside. I don’t see missing a day as a failure. Most of us go into these challenge to do the best we can, and sometimes the best we can is to say no, not today. And there is nothing wrong with that. Doesn’t matter if the no comes from prioritizing something else important, or something supposedly unimportant (because our own interests and hobbies are so often seen as unimportant, which I find sad… anyway…).
This is to consistency without the tyranny of every day!
I’m in northern Sweden.
And yes, for about an hour we had heavy downpour. Because I’m assuming it took me about an hour to read 40 pages of Sailor Moon (probably longer to be honest), and it rained for almost the whole chapter. It had also rained off and on for most of the afternoon and evening, but not like it did for that hour(s).
I think it was good for me that it rained , because it made me go from feeling bummed out by how hard it was to reread a chapter to deciding to read something because that meant I wouldn’t have any sound distracting from the music of the rain.
I looked into this game a bit (come on, Taisho era book-ish dudes? What even is real shenanigans? Sold), and found the official website and… they had a 春画 tab. There’s definitely sexual content and cgs in there. The Switch version has a lower rating, so probably something between some to a lot of that got cut, though. For people who’d rather avoid sexual content, the Switch version might be the better bet.
I feel like that’s a pit trap with a lot of VNs, like you said. Sometimes someone will recommend a VN for its awesome story, and it’ll be an epically long one too so I believe it even. But looking at the tags can get wild.
Spring challenge summary!
I had a lot of fun with this challenge! Read 55 days, I ended up missing quite a few but I managed to read a lot more than I did before the challenge started as well as get through some stuff that I started a while ago and somehow ended up continually putting off finishing, so I’m really happy with what I was able to get done. I had read quite a few manga and games before this but never managed to get all the way through a book until now and finishing one has reminded me how much I enjoy reading (and also made me realize I really need to learn more vocabulary ). I’ll probably try and keep reading and posting everyday because this month is the one where I have the most free time (and a big pile of things I want to read saved up)
Thanks to everyone in the challenge! I really enjoyed seeing what everyone was reading and the progress they made, and thanks to @windupbird for organizing it (and for all of the cute manga)
I look forward to seeing everyone in the summer challenge!
Started the book 夜は不思議などうぶつえん, which so far doesn’t seem so hard grammar wise but took me forever to get through 20 pages because there’s a lot of zoo related vocab in the beginning. Then I remembered the game LOOPERS came out on the switch today, it’s apparently on the short side so I think I’ll finish this before I continue 幻想マネージュ. I love games where crazy things are going on with time so I’m excited to see where this one goes. So far it’s really interesting, (being vague) the tone changed so fast, it went from happy treasure hunting to what?!! in no time flat. I’m too tired to keep playing right now or I’d probably not be able to stop there. One of the characters has a way of speaking I’ve never seen before, she ends like all of her sentences in し.
Some zoo vocab
マントヒヒ hamadryas baboon (Papio hamadryas); sacred baboon
厩舎 （きゅうしゃ）barn; stable
換毛期 （かんもうき）moulting season; molting season
飼料 （しりょう）fodder; feed
檻 （おり）cage; pen; (jail) cell
猛獣 （もうじゅう）fierce animal; beast of prey; big game
ヒグマ brown bear (Ursus arctos)
Today I managed to finish the foreword, so now I’m onto chapter one, or “First Note” as it’s called and into the story proper. Quite a lot of new words (and stumbling over words I know but using different kanji) but they are repeated quite a bit so reading’s gradually getting a little quicker.
Japanese found in the tall grass
変貌「へんぼう」ー Transfiguration; transformation 美貌「びぼう」ー Beautiful face; good looks (same kanji ender X2 Combo) 覗く「のぞく」ー To peek through a hole or crack (This was in my list only yesterday or the day before but I’ve forgotten how to read it) 籐椅子「とういす」ー Wicker chair 渋み「しぶみ」ー Astringency; a Japanese aesthetic of simple and unobtrusive beauty. 充実感「じゅうじつかん」ー Sense of fulfilment 羽毛 「うもう」ー Plumage; feathers 造り物「つくりもの」ー Man-made thing/structure/product (the alt. kanji threw me) 気障「きざ」ー Smug; pompous; pretentious 軽薄「けいはく」ー Frivolous; superficial; shallow 奇怪「きかい」ー Strange; wonderful; weird 箇所「かしょ」ー Place; point; spot; portion 謂わば「いわば」ー So to speak; as it were (think this has come up before too, but the alt. kanji keeps throwing me off) 瞑る「つぶる」ー To close your eyes 主人公「しゅじんこう」ー Protagonist; main character 霧消「むしょう」ー Vanishing like mist 死相「しそう」ー The shadow of death; look of death 所謂「いわゆる」ー So-called; so to speak 駄馬「だば」ー Packhorse; workhorse
New Meanings 熟「つくづく」ー Deeply; keenly; severely. Can also be written like: 熟々, but most likely it’ll just be in kana.
Thanks for the additional motivationnn! I’ve found perseverance is the key to most things in life, step by step until you’ve made the whole Lego model.
I get a little excited when finding weird, old, archaic kanji or words, like an archaeologist uncovering some ancient rune of cosmic origin. And then hurrying it back to the lab to uncover its secrets (mostly ‘how the heck do I read this??’)
Love that my VN post has attracted some discussion, thanks everyone
I appreciate you looking into that to add on to what I knew! Often when an all ages version is created, that’s the one put onto Steam, so I just made the quick assumption that no such version existed when I saw the Steam one labelled with sexual content. Oops.
Yeahhh… this is getting into a bit of an aside, but it feels like Japan especially has an interesting history with this sort of thing. Outside of the VNs just made purely for their sexual content (which I haven’t read), a lot of the time it very much feels like a niche product that tries to farm a few more sales through including that stuff, in order to stay afloat. It varies by game but sometimes they’re totally just tacked on in that way. But part of what keeps me coming back is how, through being niche, they’re also able to be pretty free about what they make if they can hang onto the small audience they need. There are some surprisingly challenging VNs or just ones that go in very unexpected directions.
I mention the more broad history of this because it reminds me of pink films, softcore pornographic stuff that was big for a while in Japan. The thing about that was, there often weren’t particularly demanding standards on the films as long as they fulfilled a quota of smut and were made quickly/cheaply. So you actually sometimes got these really dense pieces of art, especially with some of the political movements going on at the time. Directors that a studio would, under normal circumstances, never consider were given the resources and distribution that way. There are pink films that discuss things that go way over my head, it’s just every 10 minutes they take a quick break for someone to have sex, hahaha.
Oh, I just saw this post! Flowers is like my favorite thing ever (hence my avatar). I read the entire series in English but I do want to go back to it in Japanese later on. If you read it, I’ll definitely follow along and talk about it with you. If you like emotional stories and really good character development, you’ll be in for a treat. I’ve yet to read anything that comes close to being as good as Flowers. The OST is super good too I like everything about it really
Hahaha I just saw your profile description too! I’ll consider this as a helpful extra nudge that direction. It being a series is the only thing making me slightly lean away, approaching the end of a very long visual novel that took me like half a year and wanting something a little more quickly finished given my reading speed. But I could always read part one of Flowers and decide from there if I need a quick break.
Yeah each game individually isn’t too long, think they took me about 12-15 hours each so altogether it’d be slightly longer than Summer Pockets, at least based on my time in English - not sure how difficult they are to read in jp. I have a friend that read Flowers in jp and they said grammatically it was pretty easy, just that the author uses some unique/obscure kanji at times.
I can understand wanting to read through a shorter series first though, I get that way a lot too when I read stuff haha. If you do decide to read the first one though, I’ll look forward to following along to it!
I feel like this has happened for each challenge I’ve been a part of…
A lot happened in both April and May: namely, I got married (which involved travel and last minute planning/drama) and I started taking a translation course (the work for which has occupied a large chunk of my time). I have trouble managing my time even when I’m not relatively busy, so having more factors thrown into the mix didn’t/doesn’t help. My reading took a nosedive as a result. Looking at my habit tracker for April, there’s a two-week gap around the time of the wedding festivities. While I did push myself to read every day in May, a lot of those days were filled with either 1) reading whatever was part of my pre-class coursework or 2) stories on…Duolingo. (They apparently added ones to the Japanese course recently.)
I know the point is to just get some reading in every day no matter how small. I guess my guilt comes from feeling like I abandoned the Sayaka Murata Book Club (still haven’t made it up to Week 2’s reading…) in addition to not reading everyone else’s updates and progress. I also feel like, if I just managed my free time better, I wouldn’t have fallen behind (which was the only goal I really set out for myself this challenge). Clearly this is a perspective problem that I hope to fix in time for the summer challenge.
Though I’ll keep trying to read every day in June, I’m really going to take this month to better work out how I manage my time so that, come July, I’ll be ready and raring to go. (the emoji is labeled as angry, but it’s a face of determination in this context)
If anyone has any time management tips that have worked well for them, feel free to let me know. I’ve tried lots of things, but I’m always willing to try some more.