The planned start date for the Summer Challenge is July 1st! But if you’re feeling motivated to continue reading daily beyond the “official” end date of this challenge (May 31st), you’re more than welcome to continue posting in this thread through June, until the next challenge starts ^^
Does the challenge usually run 2 months on, 1 month off, 2 on, 1 off, and so on?
Yep! That’s what we’ve been doing so far, seems like it’s been working pretty well
May 29 Home Post
I just read some more 海辺のカフカ today. I’m still enjoying it; right now it’s a lot of exposition sort of stuff which is to be expected, but it’s been really manageable difficulty-wise so that’s good! I look forward to seeing more of what’s actually going on
夜市 ~ 82-100%
I wrote before how I hoped I would get to finish 夜市 before the challenge was over, then the very next day I just went and finished it all - more or less inadvertently! The story picked up quite a bit towards the end. There were some wild developments, and I just couldn’t put it down.
Thoughts on 夜市 (no spoilers, but there are some descriptions of the stories' structure and general nature
I’m very torn on how to rate the book. This second story for example, it started well for me, slowly building tension and mystery, then got somewhat meh in the middle, then towards the end it all came together in a wild and very satisfying (for me) way. Like @NicoleIsEnough had said, it didn’t feel like a short story at all. It was more of a novella probably. A lot of things happened over a long period of time, and I don’t feel like we needed to explore the characters or the setting more than the length of the story allowed.
I think my problem with the book was expectations. I went in expecting mild horror, a world populated with strange creatures, a creepy, mysterious atmosphere. The beginning of both stories seemed to hint at exactly that kind of content. Then, when the characters actually entered the fantasy worlds described, that atmosphere was, surprisingly, gone. We were just in a slightly different world, with some rules that don’t apply to ours - but there was no actual sense of wonder, no feeling of unspeakable things lurking in the corners. There were weird creatures aplenty, but they were in the background mostly, more decoration than anything else. And there were a couple of macabre moments, but again, nothing worse than I’ve seen in regular fiction. To me it felt more like fantasy than anything else, and not even particularly dark fantasy at that. At the end of one story, the author/narrator comments that this wasn’t a growing-up story. But I disagree. If I had to decide a genre, fantasy and coming of age would be what I’d have chosen.
Another thing the author did that defied expectations: Both stories started with what we thought as the main character (first person narrator even, in the second one), and as we get invested in them the focus suddenly shifts to someone they meet later on. These someones have fascinating back stories that get gradually revealed, but for the longest time their stories feel like an unnecessary diversion from the protagonist’s story instead of something the reader should be interested in. A strange way to frame things, I thought.
So did I like the book? Not particularly, as I was reading it. I liked the beginning of both stories, loved the final part of the second one, but most of the time I was reading them rather indifferently. However, now that I’ve let them sink in for several hours, I’m finding I’m still thinking about those worlds the author built. They’re fascinating. The idea of them maybe existing just outside our perception is tantalizing. Why am I more fascinated by the idea of them than when I was actually reading about them? I can’t quite put my finger on this.
Two more days left on this challenge, today and tomorrow! I think I’ll dedicate these to maybe finishing ゲゲゲの鬼太郎, the only book (other than book clubs, which have their own timetables) that I still haven’t completed during the challenge. There are still four stories left (84 pages) so it might be doable if things don’t get in the way. We’ll see.
I think what happened was I conflated the SxF book club with the 海辺のカフカ book club, and since SxF starts on the 18th, I ended up thinking they both started next month.
Maybe it’s just because 身体 is the first word I learned for “body,” even before 体, but I’ve never understood why it’s always got furigana the first time it shows up even in books that use little furigana. I see it so often, it’s difficult to imagine it’s a particularly uncommon word or anything. Is it just because からだ is a unique reading for the kanji, which would otherwise be read しんたい?
Anyway, I read 4 more pages of 海辺 today, finishing the prologue. I also read ch 3 of ボーイミーツマリア.
We get some more of Taiga’s backstory this chapter. When he was 9, his mother fell ill and died, and his father wasn’t there at the hospital when she did; he’d sent Taiga ahead alone while they were walking there and went to see someone else, Taiga assumes. That’s at least part of why he doesn’t particularly get along with his father, and it’s when he realized that heroes don’t exist in real life.
Return of The Idiot Thinker. (He’s just been asked if he likes Arima as a gal or as a guy. Arima’s really cute when he dresses as a girl, but when he’s acting, he’s really cool. He can’t choose!)
asdfghjkl he’s so dumb. His nickname has gotten worse and longer yet again, and he’s just like, “Huh? What’s that, that’s cool. Sounds strong.” I love this idiot. The drama club advisor also gives him the nickname 不思議君, which is much less of a mouthful.
And now we’re heading into Arima’s backstory and trauma, which we’ll be getting next chapter, which I plan on reading tomorrow. Not particularly looking forward to that, but to the developments afterwards, absolutely. I’m actually kind of surprised I like this story as much as I do, considering (blurred for sensitive/potentially triggering content) when Arima was a child and being forced to live as a girl by his mother, he was betrayed by one of his teachers whom he’d thought was his friend who turned out to be a pedophile, was raped by him, and then was very nearly mutilated with a knife by him too. And that monster did go to jail for it, but he was allowed to go watch one of Arima’s performances, which only compounded his trauma. I do love how Arima has a complicated relationship with gender (and is quite possibly nonbinary) and how Taiga accepts him regardless, simply and wholly, but I still don’t go for stories with that sort of thing.
Some vocab of note
うなされる [一, intransitive] to have a nightmare. to make a noise during a nightmare.
あろうことか [expression] of all things
過小評価 (かしょうひょうか) [四字熟語, noun, する verb] underestimation; undervaluation
タンマ [noun] interrupting a game; time out
懲りる (こりる) [一, intransitive] to learn by experience; to learn one’s lesson; to learn the hard way
At the end of last week (Sat-Sun), I read JoJo and watched Yuru Camp.
Regarding watching and listening, Yuru Camp appears to follow the first chapter of the manga very closely, but not exactly the same. Later, I found subtitle files on Kitsunekko; but not sure how legal they are… Death Note’s in on Kitsuneko too.
Still, subtitles, whether displayed in real time, or read later, feel very strange, unlike speech clouds in manga. (And Yuru Camp, in particular, read small texts too.)
And OP, ED songs aren’t in subtitles.
I also tried reading on 山梨県 (and Japan’s geography in general), and 将棋; but it still appears I am not the level to really read it yet. Nonetheless, Wikipedia isn’t really read by articles, but rather interlinks of articles.
I will write the whole month’s reflection later, after the month really ends. (Who knows what I will do in the last two days.)
That’s what I found strange at the time of writing 3 months’ plan. I’m glad it now got explained.
Personally, I’ve got my own plans, like weekly/monthly/trimonthly plans/reflection/revision. I wouldn’t take a break as long as 1 month. And ensuring daily isn’t really for me (but isn’t bad at all, also quite similar to clearing up WaniKani reviews too).
May 30, Mon calendar post
Week 10 of Spring 2022’s planning
- Committed, and paced - for the sake of discussion
- Death Note Vol.2 Ch.16 (last chapter of the vol)
- Night Cafe Ch.8 The truth is I tested, and still found it a little hard.
- Committed, with マイペース
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 2 - finish vol.2/4 of the part in monochrome = vol.5 overall - invasion of the training ground (4 chaps)
- 1+ sentence structure’s grammar
- 1+ verb form’s grammar, compounds, comparison and usage
- Watch 1+ episode of anime (probably Yuru Camp S01-E02)
- 1+ documentary. Maybe about Yuru Camp.
- 1/4 of WaniKani Context Sentences - Level 2’s Breakdown = 20 vocab, 60 sentences
- WANTED! Story 3 (一鬼夜行) - I just want to finish this book, and perhaps, 1 chapter per week.
- Read それでも歩は寄せてくる to 75%
I will probably start SPY X FAMILY reading-and-watching, as soon as reading club starts (two more weeks).
Tanuki Den (aka Homepost): Date 20220530
Tanuki Scroll LX: 六助いなり
Read today’s folktale, from Kyoto prefecture!
About a man who gets tricked by a fox.
Since there’s just one day left I’ve been thinking how to continue once this challenge has finished. I thought for June-reading I’d attempt to read “No Longer Human” by Osamu Dazai. Not sure if I’ll continue any updates on here, but I’ll probably still be reading it come the summer challenge anyway.
Perhaps I could leave it for when the next challenge starts but now that I’ve had the thought that I want to read it I’m excited and want to start right away
Japanese found in the tall grass
茅「かや」ー Grass used for thatching
祟り「たたり」ー curse; wrath; divine punishment
(think I have seen this one before)
ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 84 pages, four chapters, completed
I finished ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 too, which means I completed all books and manga I started for this challenge! Hurray! (Now, what can I start and finish in one day for tomorrow? )
These last stories were a lot of fun. Summaries and panels collapsed below:
Beware of mysterious potties in the mountains
Children using a potty in the middle of a field in the mountains are eaten up by a 釜 (small cauldron) and transferred to a whole other world inside it. Kitaro’s hair is sucked up by the cauldron too, and his eyeball for a father gathers up several yokai to help him get his hair back, and save all who are imprisoned in the cauldron. I love these yokai team-ups.
The cauldron in question:
And how it looks in real life (I love the lid):
The dangerous potty:
Yokai help is on the way!
Mermen, squids, and gender(or species) identity
In the next story Kitaro saves a turtle from a merman, but is then eaten up by the merman’s pet giant squid. Kitaro consciousness transfers to the squid (or something) and he’s made to bring the merman huge quantities of fish for eternity. After he rebels he’s sneakily killed by the merman, made into かまぼこ and sold in fish shops, but again the yokai team up to buy all the pieces and revive Kitaro. Kitaro then takes his revenge by dressing up as a …maid, and convincing the merman to have an operation that turns yokai into humans. The merman loves the idea, but when he realizes that being human is no fun it’s too late, he can’t be turned back.
The merman trying to eat the turtle:
Notice that he has two tails/legs:
I love this panel:
Some more cool panels
And his speech on sex-change operations (this story was written in 1969):
Power to the people
In the second to last story, the army seeks Kitaro’s assistance because a huge mud monster keeps causing accidents to jets taking off on rainy nights. It is revealed that the air base was built on mud paddies, taking away the villagers’ livelihood, and even a small monument in memory of the dead villagers wasn’t respected. In the end social justice is (sort of) restored.
Strange to see a fighter jet in this manga:
This is the air base in the night rain:
Various officers are speculating on the mud-monster apparition. I wonder whether this one looks a little like a specific dictator on purpose:
A random cat panel that I really liked:
Pleasure sucking yokai
The last one was a little crazier than usual, I thought. Two boys find an unconscious person in the woods and help them (unsure whether it’s man or woman) by getting them to the hospital using their own pocket money, despite their parents’ protests that they shouldn’t inconvenience themselves to help strangers (!). Bizarrely the parents are right in this instance, because the person is in fact a yokai that feeds on people’s pleasure. It sucks all joy out of the air, so that even little things like taking a bath hold no pleasure any more. The yokai also makes some people into his helpers by giving them 色気 (yes, sexual desire)! So Kitaro and Nezumi Otoko end up fighting for the heart of a little girl even younger than Kitaro. Ermm… In the end Kitaro defeats the yokai by shooting his own teeth (yes) onto the yokai’s きんたま. Super weird.
That’s where the yokai lives:
More gender uncertainty:
Returning from work, wondering why there’s no pleasure in anything any more:
I started the last book in Level 1, Set 1. This book has several different stories. I read the first one today,
笑い話. This is a collection of “Funny Stories”. In the first story, a child goes outside at night. He sees the stars and thinks they are pretty. He gets a stick and tries to grab a star. But his father comes out and tells him, “It is useless. The stars are far away. Your stick is not long enough to reach the stars. It is hopeless.”
This was easy reading and no new words.
I just read the second story. It is basically about the bush warbler and his song in Spring. Everyone likes to hear him sing. Nothing funny about this story, but a nice reference to Spring in Japan.
鶯 Japanese Bush Warbler
Today I finished デスノート ・ Death Note 📓 Vol. 2 just in time for the end of the challenge
Now I’m only behind for the 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん 👵🏼 (Intermediate Book Club) but I’ll have to catch up with that one later. I think I’ll just read some ヨコハマ買い出し紀行 🛵 Volume 6 tomorrow
Just for the fun of it some interesting words that I’ve been finding lately (various sources):
暗算 - mental arithmetic
肝心 - essential, crucial (as the 大辞林 explains it, the heart and liver are extremely important organs)
山分け - split evenly
子息 - someone else’s son (oh, so you just swap the kanji to indicate that it’s not your own son? )
お手柔らか - please go easy on me
Traveling remains more difficult to find consistent time to read, but I am now 70% done with 心霊探偵八雲1. I asked a tutor last night if it was aimed at kids because it feels incredibly easy to read (compared to many other novels I’ve read) and they said it was probably for high school students or thereabouts. Makes sense.
I kind of wonder if the intermediate book club would enjoy it or if it’d be too dark. Then again one of the book clubs is reading Death Note and if the movie I watched is any indication that’s hardly sunshine and roses.
I read Chapter 22 of Mitsuboshi Colors today. It was about hayfever, which was nice as it reminded me of a conversation I had with my tutor last year about hayfever
I’m quite sad that its the last day of the challenge tomorrow - is anybody planning to carry on posting throughout June too?
May 30th Actually got packing and stuff done today, so was a bit busy.
・薬屋のひとりごと 2 (84% → 88%).
Finished chapter 19. Thoughts: First we get to experience Maomao’s father’s point of view of the garden party Might be first time? I can’t remember. Seems like he only views people as pieces on a shogi board. And he doesn’t relate to seeing pretty people as pretty. That’s kinda interesting, he’s like "yoku wakaranai ". Second half, I think it was Jinshi’s point of view? Maomao encounters father and challenges him to a game of shougi Turns out he, as the military strategist, never loses a game of shougi, but Maomao knows how to beat him. That was fun. Turns out he’s super weak to alcohol.
Word: 腹癒せ (はらいせ)
Meaning: retaliation; revenge. Literally “stomach heal/cure” ?
yes hello doctor, my tummy has the aches. Oh, so the cure is revenge, you say? Okie, if that will make me better shouganai desune
10,000 characters read again today! This was also the point where the VN clearly tried to steer to a bit of character development and making Shiki more likeable, so it was generally a nicer read, haha.
In two days, the day the challenge is over, it’ll be the real, exact mark of me having done this for a year! Celebrated in my study log a little early after that practice test. I’ve done at least some studying every single day, so that’s pretty cool. I also have gone very slightly ahead of schedule to finish up 佐賀のがばいばあちゃん, so I think by tonight or tomorrow I’ll be able to officially say that just under the wire, I finished 3 books in this year. Summer Pockets will be a little late.
Cool word I want to share: 夢うつつ (ゆめうつつ), sounds like it describes the state of being sort of half between dream and reality, struggling to distinguish them.
- ジョジョの奇妙な冒険 14巻
ah yes. Planes.
Read another reader waiting for a friend. We then finished Belle. It was… interesting. Glad I could see it from the comfort of my home.
Progress on Tadoku graded readers
44 / 44 level-zeros
14 / 14 level-ones
10 / 10 level-twos
3 / 18 level-threes
May 30th (Calendar Post)
少女漫画主人公×ライバルさん => 74 pages (82 min)
Completed all four volumes just in time for the end of this
spring autumn challenge. Coincidentially, this is probably the manga I enjoyed the most among everything I’ve read these last two months.
Final fun panels:
Angels have descended
Sadly I can’t properly represent how hilarious this panel is in context without getting into spoilers.
Blushing ライバルさん round 1
主人公さん failing to contain her laughter
Blushing ライバルさん round 2
Blushing ライバルさん round 3
I am going to miss these two too much. I am also really sad the author doesn’t seem to have any other series yet. sad cat noises
Interesting expression I ran into:
Need to figure out what to read for the final day of the challenge… haven’t quite decided yet.
May 30 Home Post
Today I finished up chapter 1 of 海辺のカフカ and played a little AI: The Somnium Files. My brain wasn’t super on top of it today 海辺のカフカ felt a bit harder than it has but I think that was just me. It’s almost the end of the official challenge huh; hopefully I can end on a strong note tomorrow!
Odds are good I’ll still be here, it feels too much a part of the process now
I didn’t watch it in Japanese (I can’t even imagine, I was lost anyway) but yeah it was a time lmao, I’m not sure I knew what was actually going on even once but it was pretty!