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.
For finding time to learn Japanese the only thing that has really helped me consistently find time for it is severely dropping my standards for the quality of my performance in other parts of my life, as well as basically completely dropping some of my best loved hobbies (even then I had to drop the challenge towards the end of April). I’m envisioning this as a 1-2 year state of affairs (which I am now 6 months into) after which I’ll find a new normal
Don’t know how much this helps you but I thought I’d share the one tip I have
An update on my own reading status, I’ve still been reading every day, I just forget to post here sometimes. I am about halfway through volume 3 of マリア様がみてる now. Grammatically the series hasn’t been too hard but there has been a lot of expressions and vocabulary that I’m unfamiliar with. Also don’t know if its an お嬢さま type thing or just them being overly girly, but almost everyone in the series adds ね in randomly to particles in the middle of sentences (lots of はね、がね、etc). Lots of ですわ as well although I find that to be a bit cute.
Outside of マリア様がみてる, I also started on a VN called 「生命のスペア」. The story in that one seems pretty sad,
Synopsis from VNDB
Shukugawa Meguri is afflicted with an illness called the “Oumon” disease. At this point in time, nobody knows its cause, and there’s no real treatment for it yet. The only option with a slight chance of success, is to undergo a heart transplant. But finding a compatible heart is something that can be compared with a miracle. For that purpose Meguri’s sister, Ria, was actually born as a designer baby. So that her heart could be used “like a spare”.
I’ve only read a few scenes so far in the VN but I think I will like this one. I’m usually a sucker for more “sad” VNs.
I’m not sure if you mean you played Summer Pockets in English as well, but if so, I’m playing Reflection Blue so mine is especially long with the 4 new routes (by the way, every single time I type this name, I write Reflection Eternal first and have to go check. Good rap group, heh). But yeah, that sounds not too bad. Summer Pockets has thrown all sorts of seemingly at least somewhat rare kanji at me, loads that aren’t on WK, but I texthook stuff for Yomichan lookups so the only real fear is something being so dense I can’t even understand it with help. On that note, I haven’t verified the texthook-able nature of any of these VNs! But I remember seeing Flowers recommended for Japanese learners and I’m pretty sure that list implied it was doable. Anyway, we’ll see how I feel when the time comes, but given yours and fallynleaf’s interest, I might just go for that one.
I hadn’t heard of that, but it looks interesting!
Oh yeah I think I’m just using the term differently – I had assumed to be on the Switch all the full sex stuff would be gone, but I don’t know for sure. I just think, based on how I’ve seen it used, among VN readers “all ages” tends to be a catchall term for versions of games with the sexual content cut out (or lacking it in the first place, regardless of any other content/ratings.
Yeah it’s hard to say. There’s been a huge boom in translating them to English and that’s nice, but I never get the impression they’re in a great place? Steam has been a double edged sword of getting them more attention but also being over crowded with some pretty low effort just straight porn VN stuff that doesn’t help perceptions. But I’ve heard of a few developers that always made the adult stuff making their first VNs without it from the beginning recently, so maybe that’s encouraging in that direction? Who knows. It also really depends on where you look, cause I get the impression Otome stuff is doing pretty well and rarely has all that, but at least by the communities they draw, I’ve almost compartmentalized them separately from “visual novels” (I mean they’re not different, and I don’t mean that in a gatekeeping way, there’s just often not a lot of overlap in “otome fans” and VNDB types). I myself have been meaning to explore stuff like otome more some day…
Yeah… the one way I’ve been able to see results as quickly as I wanted to (granted I’m not a patient person lol) has been to pretty much throw out all my other hobbies for a while, haha. Of course, eventually I think I can transition to doing some of them themselves in Japanese… but it really takes crazy amounts of time. Respect to those who can hang in there for the long haul without going crazy with it like I did. I think I’d burn out in the other way.
I read 12,000 characters today! It’s going very well for me recently. A little slower than yesterday, as I spent longer, but it’s all good. In the past I hit numbers like this (maybe 15,000 at absolute most?) only a few days, and those were outright draining marathon sessions where I was dragging along to see the end of a route. Today I’m still pretty refreshed, just ready to go for a nice walk again soon.
I’ll give my full thoughts on this game eventually when I finish it, but it is pretty cute how often it is genuinely about holding hands and hugging and the like when the romantic stuff comes along, heh. They mostly commit to the “being a kid in summer” vibes.
The only reason I really struggled any more today was a pretty big section on fireworks, and comparing them to various plants (oh god, specific flower and tree kanji). The impact was a little blunted by the constant lookups, but it was pretty sweet and poetic in what it was aiming for. Shiki’s route has improved substantially since the early days.
If my ability to feel these routes out is as good as I think it is, I’ll probably be finishing this one tomorrow
Edit: Oops, forgot to hit the reply button to @Daisoujou when I made the post originally
Ah, yes, I meant I read Summer Pockets in English haha. I took a rather long break from studying jp and only started it back up at the beginning of this year so I ended up reading SP back when it came out in English. Reflection Blue seemed interesting but the game is super long so not sure I want to go back and play it in jp just for the extra routes. I did like the game a lot though, might be my favorite Key game.
Yomichan is a godsend, makes reading everything a lot easier! Flowers should be texthook-able as far as I know. I’ve also seen it on a lot of lists for more “beginner” type VNs so I’d be surprised if it wasn’t texthook-able. I think I might have missed fallynleaf’s post about the game, but if lots of people had interest, it would be nice to do a VN reading club here one day~
I’ll keep this bit uncollapsed since it’s something I’ve been musing on…
@fallynleaf was mostly just indicating that while they don’t usually play VNs, it was one that looked good, and would be interesting to see me post about. But you know, I’ve had the same thought about VN reading clubs as well in the past. It just runs into a few problems – beyond being a little unsure where the interest level would even be, visual novels tend to be pretty long. We could pick against that of course, but even the shortest are probably pretty big investments of time, especially when I know I can’t do anything that requires going too fast. It’s also hard to divide things up for a few reasons. They aren’t as easy to just look at and divide up a schedule because you can’t open the whole thing up like a book. So maybe it’d be schedule-less? Even then VNs have different formats, we’d either have to play one that doesn’t allow for splitting to different routes or all commit to what route we are going to do (and look up how to ensure that happens haha), or we’d be having totally different experiences for a while. I guess it’s fine to go totally free for all but yeah, ends up a little awkward no matter what.
I think I would love to do it, but pretty much everything about the medium is a barrier to making it work well.
I know there are a lot of kinetic visual novels so something like that could be easy to follow along with since there wouldn’t be any route order enforced, just a straight playthrough. For games with multiple routes though, I tend to follow a walkthrough since I don’t like going through all bad ends etc but I know not everyone likes to play that way.
There are some shorter VNs out there, I’ve played a decent amount in the 8ish hour range (probably be much longer to do it in jp at my current level but yeah). It would be awkward to break it down into a schedule though. Some VNs break things down by in-game date or chapters but that’s not really consistent throughout the medium, would probably have to be a more free-for-all style? I would definitely be interested in a VN club either way even if it was just a place to discuss the game and ask questions throughout without a rigid schedule.