📚📚 Read every day challenge - Winter 2022 ☃❄

First novel seems to be a contentious topic in the general language-learning sphere online. I read Harry Potter in Japanese for my first novel. I’ve seen a bunch of discussions saying it is or is not the ‘correct’ book to start with.
It took me 3 months to finish, but I knew the English version practically inside out so I probably reached for a dictionary/grammar resource a lot less than someone with no idea about the book. I probably view HP as ‘easier’ than it would be for such a person. I also kind of wonder if that’s why 君の名は is rated as 30 on Natively when I considered it closer to the mid-30s due to dialect, vocab spread, and disjointed writing style - lots of people being able to intuit what is going on due to having seen the film.

If you’re on the edge about jumping into コンビニ人間 @BadWeather you might want to try the short story by the same author: コンビニエンスストア様 to see if you like the writing style and if it’s a level of difficulty you’re comfortable with. You might also like the short story 記憶の森の魔女 - longer than the above but less of a commitment than a full novel.

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Yeah, I had the same experience with Harry Potter as my first novel in japanese. My familiarity with the plot meant that I I had the option to rely on that rather than perhaps be stuck on something. I feel like having that ‘crutch’ for a first novel was really helpful. But I can also see how it could be a really bad pick for some people as it has a wide range of vocab (not all of which common), uses kanji liberally etc etc (which I found fine esp as reading on the kindle but can definitely see why it could be annoying). Really does depend on the person.

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I’m not updating here regularly, but I’ve been keeping up with the reading every day so far. Admittedly it is very short time on some days. So, I’ve finished Chapter 9 of 極主夫道, which was the last and the best chapter in Volume 1.
Now I’m reading Death Note (again with BC). At first I was a bit apprehensive about this choice, since there is a lot of text. To my surprise, I’m enjoying this manga the most of all my previous reading attempts. I remember only the very basic plot points from anime, but it helps with the context. Every kanji has furigana, which makes lookups very easy. Some sentences are convoluted, and I probably miss a lot. But sometimes there are sentences which suddenly make sense and it feels rather like normal reading versus brainstorming a difficult problem. Could it be that the manga was targeted toward middle school children, hence it is somewhat “easy” read?

Or maybe I like the suspense element, and and also am looking toward seeing L in the future chapters :slight_smile:

Home post

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Summary Post

January 30
君の名は , 5 pages.


Very late and quick update today :stuck_out_tongue: .

I changed my setup today. I normally read the book sitting on the PC chair and do lookups online as I come across them, add them to the SRS, and so on. But today I had another idea. When I visited Japan for the first (and only) time back in 2016, still quite a beginner, I bought a 電子辞書でんしじしょ. It’s basically a device like a portable console, but instead of games it’s full of different kinds of dictionaries (my version is the Spanish one so that includes Ja-Spa / Spa-Ja, Ja-En / En-Ja, and many many J-J dictionaries, encyclopedias and other cool stuff. It’s basically a dictionary and tool collection for Japanese natives that are learning languages. Or was, since I’d say the internet is making them more and more obsolete. But it was also used by Japanese learners, like my first Japanese teacher, who spoke good about them.

Now, to be fair, this thing is super useful, but I wouldn’t have bought it nowadays at all. It was quite frankly a complete waste of money :joy: . It’s super expensive (was like 250-300eur) and it does nothing you cannot do with the internet, with all the super cool tools out there nowadays. Literally nothing. But hey, I thought it would be super useful to me back then. And to be honest, it actually has indeed been very useful at some points.

But anyway, since I have it, why not use it? I thought. So I did. I sat completely in silence, with no phone nor PC to distract me, just this thing and the book. Did I do anything different from what I do usually? Not really. I sat, I read, and I looked up things in the J-J dictionaries first and J-Spa / J-En second. But since I normally use the PC way too many hours every single day, it felt really good to be away from it for a little. I think I focused more than I usually do, and tried to dissect J-J definitions a bit more as well. Normally I read them, get a rough idea and add the word to the SRS. Today, since I couldn’t add to the SRS right away, I tried to understand much more thoroughly the definition to understand the word, and then add it to the device’s vocabulary list that you can create. Once I was done reading, I then put all the words into my SRS. And honestly, I think that little effort dissecting the definitions actually makes me remember them better, because I remember working on them and I remember the nuance of their definitions, at least for a while.

So pretty cool! I’m happy with how this worked out, and will most likely keep trying this way for a bit, see if I like it better.

Edit: even though I say it was a waste of money (which to be fair, it kind of was), this thing is actually pretty cool nonetheless. It has the 大辞泉 and 明鏡国語辞典 dictionaries, one kanji dictionary with a thorough JP explanation on anything and everything about the kanji you enter, a thesaurus, one of collocations, another one of pitch accent, one of antonyms, one of modern katakana, one of 四字熟語, and so on.

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The どんぶり does seem to be quite a simple recipe so far. It’s basically a meat and vegetable stirfry on rice, with a sauce. I think the recipe book is really great if you liked the anime/manga, but we’ll have to see how it all turns out. I’d like to try some more of the recipes, because I’m having a lot of fun.

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Summary post

Day 30: January 30th

365日にっぽんのいろ図鑑
Time spent: 12 min
Today’s color: 飴色 (あめいろ) - amber; yellowish-brown

Pretty! I love how the kanji basically translate to “candy color” xD I love hard candy :drooling_face: Actually, it reminds me of these really cool hard candy…art pieces(?) I bought the last time I was in Japan!

Pic of one of them

This shop is so cool, they have some more pics on their website

Good words
  • 積み重ねる (つみかさねる) - to pile up; to accumulate
  • 作り上げる (つくりあげる) - to build up; to complete; to construct; to create; to put together​; to make up; to fabricate; to invent; to cook up
  • べっこう飴 (べっこうあめ) - hard candy; candy suckers molded on a griddle; tortoise-shell candy​
  • 琥珀 (こはく) - amber
  • 子供じみた - childish; child-like; immature; infantile​

まいにち暦生活 日本の暮らしを楽しむ365のコツ
Time spent: 9 min

Return of 憲房色 :joy: Interestingly, this book uses けんぽういろ as furigana for this word :eyes:

What else did I read?
おでかけ子ザメ
Amount read: 55 pages
Time spent: 19 min

Of course, I had to start this today! :shark: I was dying of cuteness overload pretty much the whole time because this tiny shark is just. so. cute! Ahhh :confounded: I love him so much you guyssss :sob:
My face the whole time reading :arrow_down:

This manga has…almost no text, so it’s really not the best choice for reading practice if that is your main aim xD However, if your main aim is to see a baby shark doing supremely adorable things, then this is the best manga and I can highly recommend it :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Here's part of my favorite chapter, baby shark goes to a movie :33333

Look at how small he is on the counter :pleading_face: :pleading_face:
バイバーイ :sob:

I had a hard time choosing my favorite panels so here are a bunch of them xD

Soft and friendly shark :heart:

The wonder in his little eyes is so cute :3

Polite shark waits patiently to cross the street :pleading_face:

Smol shark shares an extra soda with a friend

I want this shark to be my friend :heart:

I did get a couple words out of it, too
  • 上映 (じょうえい) - screening (a movie); showing
  • 合体 (がったい) - union; combination; coalescence; amalgamation; merger; incorporation
  • 押しボタン式 (おしボタンしき) - pelican crossing; pedestrian light controlled crossing; push-button activated pedestrian crossing
  • ずかん - pictorial book; picture book; illustrated reference book; identification manual; field guide
  • チューチュー - slurp; sucking noisily
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How…how do you eat something like that? If it were soft candy I’d just chomp but with hard candy I’m not so sure…

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Like a lollipop, pretty much - that’s how I ate it, anyway xD It was on a stick that you could detached from the wooden block, so that seemed the most logical way I did crunch off some of the fins because I like chewing hard candy lol, the main body would have been too big/thick to do that though

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Hmm yes I think you’re right! It makes sense that it would more tiring like… staying in Japanese-mode for an extended period without the mental “breaks” to look stuff up and the like. All things that will improve with time I’m sure! Need more stamina :eyes:

Oh jealous, listening is so much more exhausting for me :joy: which I mean it should be, I haven’t put nearly as much effort into listening so what can I expect you know? I’m bad at understanding what people are saying in English and it’s my native language lmao

Facts :brain:

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Summary Post

Day 30: Today I read 6 pages of よつば&!

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January 30 :snowflake: Home Post

Whew, we’re almost through a whole month :eyes: That’s pretty wild, honestly; not sure if it’s felt longer or shorter lmao. I read about 8 pages of (かぜ)つよ today, and it’s starting to get to the main plot! (80 pages in haha) ハイジ really does just con them all huh, surprise, you’re athletes now!! I don’t feel like it came off quite the same in the anime :joy: though it’s been a while, maybe I’m blinded by other ハイジ feelings

Vocabulary in (かぜ)つよ isn’t generally all that bad, EXCEPT… except :joy: sometimes the author goes on wild metaphorical tangents where I suddenly don’t know any of the words that are happening and I’m like ??? until I start looking things up and realize what’s going on. Perhaps not the most extreme example, but what got me today:

代官(だいかん)年貢(ねんぐ)()()げを()農民(のうみん)さながらの(あわ)れさで、神童(しんどう)清瀬(きよせ)()いただした。

This book is about college students :joy: Ah the adventures of metaphors.

Anyway, it’s really getting going! I’m very excited to see things play out in novel form :eyes: can’t wait to probably cry lmao

Some words!

雑学(ざつがく) - miscellaneous knowledge
判読(はんどく) - decipherment, interpretation (very relatable)
仕組(しく)み - structure, mechanism (like of an organization)
爆弾発言(ばくだんはつげん) - bombshell announcement
()(わた)る - to be well known
目配(めくば)せ - exchanging looks, making an eye signal
車座(くるまざ) - sitting in a circle

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Day 27: January 31

  • 君の名は。page 178-185 (74%)
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I just remembered that my Japanese teacher gave me short stories from きまぐれロボット for reading practice. (should have thought of this earlier!) I think this is a popular recommendation among actual teachers. 星新一 is known as a master of the “short-short” story. His stories are in the 5 to 10 page range, and are typically speculative/sci fi with a twist at the end. きまぐれロボット is a collection aimed at children so it’s written simply (the Natively level is 24 and I agree), and I think it’s easier than 時をかける少女。I took a 5 or 6 year break from actively studying Japanese and when I started to read again last spring and felt really rusty, this is one of the books I started with.

If that’s too simple, his general-audience collection ボッコちゃん has deeper topics, more complex sentences, and kanji without furigana. I think the overall difficulty level is in between 時をかける少女 and コンビニ人間, but it might vary among individual stories.

The Amazon.jp pages for these books have reading samples to check style/difficulty level. The preview for ボッコちゃん is long enough to include the entire first story.

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Home Post


January 29th
Shirokuma Cafe - p.1-4

I ended up spending most of this day getting the introductory post out, finding a source for reading material, and reading what you all had to say. I appreciate the warm welcome!


January 30th
Shirokuma Cafe - p.4-8

Today, I did some actual reading. This is hard! … but I feel like it’s getting me somewhere? After reading through the replies to my original post, my approach right now is taking the manga one sentence at a time. I do a couple passes where I identify the words I know and try to figure the rest through context, then move on to Jisho and looking things up, and finally to the vocabulary list of the book club thread – all the while translating what I can.


This has been working for me so far. The list definitely is going to be a huge help, because like you mentioned, I’ll go to the list after struggling with something and realize that I was looking at a single part of a phrase instead of viewing it as a whole word.

I’m glad this seems to be a valid method, because that’s exactly how my intuition told me to approach reading this. A lot of my first translations are messy, and it does take a lot of time, but I really like it so far.


On another note, I’m starting to pick up on all the fancy formatting people use for their posts. If nothing else, I can strive to have some aesthetic posts.

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Tonight I read six pages of Death Note. It was difficult because there was a lot of text. Here’s a couple new vocabulary I learnt.

緻密------ちみつ------minute; fine; delicate

一生懸命------いっしょうけんめい------very hard; with utmost effort

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So, I’m just going to not read today and miss another day… I know this is a read every day challenge, but I’ve got too many things I need to work on and complete, which requires a lot of time and brainpower…

I’ll be going to bed in about ten minutes, so I can wake up extra early tomorrow and make up for not reading today, as well as finish a lot of those tasks I need to do :slightly_smiling_face:

Posting for accountability lol

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Well, that should be fine. Work and health are more important than studying. So there is no need to strain yourself and read even you are busy/tired. :durtle_officer:
I believe that you read almost every day (saw your blog thread), so you probably have compensated this day already.

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Today’s article I stole from @sycamore because it looked interesting: 「松竹梅」のランクの意味は?順番付けの背景も解説 | ハルメクWEB

The answer seems to be “no one is really sure, but we have these theories”. It was a fun little read, I enjoyed the author’s writing style.

Some words I looked up

懐石 - traditional food eaten before tea is served
古くから - set phrase meaning s.t. like ‘from long ago’
歳寒三友 - three friends of winter (3 plants which endure winter)
清廉 - honesty & integrity
吉祥 - good omen
引出物 - some sort of special おみやげ

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Yay! I’m finally at least 10 pages into 夜カフェ! Considering the story starts from page 5, that’s still not saying very much, lol.

Anyway, I remembered that Koohi Cafe has the vocab list up on their site, so it’s a little easier to refer to vocab meaning while I’m reading. I’ve found that typing the words out in Japanese and then going back to put the English meaning afterwards (since I have to switch keyboards to do it) every paragraph to be faster. But it’s also a little tricky because Koohi has a few mistakes here and there, and sometimes they leave out certain words, particularly if they’re written in katakana like ヘマ. But it’s overall helpful, so I’m not going to complain especially not for a free service!

1月30日~31日 ~ Days 30~31 / Back to Home

夜カフェ page 6 on 30日 and pages 7-12 on 31日

I’m still not too far into the book, but we get some insight on Hanabi’s motives for choosing a private middle school vs. a local public one. At her elementary school, she was bullied by a popular girl named Yayako. She insulted Hanabi in 5th grade for her mistakes and lateness during Sports Day, and since then, Yayako’s followers have been talking about her behind her back. Hanabi used to be a very cheerful girl, but in order to stand out, she started hiding and staying quiet and out of the way so as not to attract attention.

In a way to regain her former self, she wanted to go to a private school after hearing about Yayako wanting to go to the local public school. But since she failed her entrance exam for the private school, she has no choice but to attend the same school as Yayako.

Now that spring vacation is over, it’s time for her to head out to her first day of school. When she reaches the bulletin to find herself in class 3, she hopes that at the very least, Yayako would be in a different class. But as fate would have it (and for the sake of moving the plot), she’s in the same class as Yayako! This time though, none of her followers seem to be in the same class. What will happen next?

Vocab for Reference - New words are bolded

かなり・considerably; fairly; quite; rather; pretty
慰める・なぐさめる・to comfort; to console
却って・かえって・on the contrary; rather
半紙・はんし・Japanese calligraphy paper
書き始め・かきぞめ・first (calligraphy) of the year
必勝・ひっしょう・certain victory
直ぐさま・すぐさま・immediately; promptly
剥がす・はがす・to tear off
くしゃくしゃ・crumpled; rumpled; wrinkled; creased
丸める・まるめる・to make round; to roll up
捨てる・すてる・to throw away
仰向け・あおむけ・facing upward
零れる・こぼれる・to spill; to fall out of; to overflow
枕・まくら・pillow
抱き抱える・だきかかえる・to hold; to carry; to embrace (in one’s arms)
埋める・うずめる・to cover; to bury (e.g. one’s face in hands); to submerge
断つ・たつ・to abstain (from); to give up
区立・くりつ・established by the ward
浮かぶ・うかぶ・to come to mind; to have inspiration
取り巻き・とりまき・followers
明白・あからさま・plain; frank; candid; open; direct; straightforward
無視・むし・disregarding; ignoring
切っ掛け・きっかけ・chance; start; cue; excuse; motive; impetus; occasion
競技・きょうぎ・game; match; contest
へま・blunder; bungle; gaffe
音痴・おんち・having no sense of (e.g. direction); being hopeless when it comes to (e.g. computers); -illiterate
大げさ・おおげさ・grandiose; exaggerated
表情・ひょうじょう・facial expression
実際・じっさい・actuality; practicality; reality
鈍い・にぶい・slow; sluggish; inert; lethargic
最大・さいだい・biggest; greatest
ヒソヒソ話・ひそひそばなし・whispered conversation; whispering
体操着・たいそうぎ・gym uniform
一斉に・いっせいに・all at once; in unison
優・ゆう・gentle; affectionate
何時しか・いつしか・before one knows; unnoticed;
unawares
行動・こうどう・action; mobilization
ちょくちょく・often; frequently; now and then; occasionally
成るべく・なるべく・as much as possible; wherever practicable
ひっそり・modestly; quietly; inconspicuously
一生懸命・いっしょうけんめい・with all one’s might; to the best of one’s abilities
地元・じもと・home area; home town; local
ピンと・tensely; immediately; intuitively; tightly; erectly
漸く・ようやく・finally; at last​
潜める・ひそめる・to hide
地味・じみ・plain; simple; subdued
差し込む・さしこむ・to flow in; to shine in
塾・じゅく・cram school
ウキウキ・cheerful; buoyant; lighthearted
成績・せいせき・grades
ぐんぐん・steadily
合格圏内・ごうかくけんない・within range of passing the exam
いよいよ・at last; finally
程度・ていど・about; approximately
潜る・くぐる・to pass under
校舎・こうしゃ・school building
掲示板・けいじばん・bulletin board
新入生・しんにゅうせい・new student
張り出す・はりだす・to put up (a notice); to post
紺色・こんいろ・navy blue; deep blue
群れ・むれ・group; cluster
抜ける・ぬける・to escape
萎む・しぼむ・to fade away; to shrivel; to wilt
背後・はいご・background; behind the scenes
聞き覚え・ききおぼえ・learning by ear; memory of having heard something
降りかかる・ふりかかる・to happen; to befall
振り向く・ふりむく・to turn one’s face; to turn around; to look over one’s shoulder
ニャニャ・smirking; grinning

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Main Post

Been a while since I posted an update. It neatly worked out that this was the last day of January and me just finishing reading through Death Note vol 1. I always find the start of Death Note to be really good, as it’s laying the foundation of the series and the rules of the death note. Also find revisting it to be interesting, like how Light is a bit more edgy than I remembered. The color edition is also very pretty. I think my only real issue is that the furigana is for ants and you can’t zoom in. Had to rely on the vocabulary list in the book club for one instance.

The difficulty is not that bad. Yeah, more advanced grammar overall and it likes to use longer compound words, but usually the dialogues and thought processes aren’t that hard to follow. Whenever it switches to the side of the police, I have a harder time figuring things out and have look up quite a bit. There’s also multiple ways they convey information, through notes, the newspaper or tv. It’s nice if you can grasp what it says, without having to read and decipher the whole thing. Probably the most frequent word is 心臓麻痺 and you’ll see it appear over and over again in this volume. Of course 死神 is another one. I took quite a few screenshots and I’ll share a few down below.

Volume 1

Here Light was still being cute.

Ryuk appears before Light

Here you can see some death note usage, Light has no idea how this dude’s name is written, so he writes it a bunch of times.

One of the famous lines in the series

The cat and mouse game starts, I like the contrast where Light uses 僕 while L uses 私.

The art here is done so well and it has this foreboding sense of danger.

The shinigami eyes.

Ryuk wants a GBA SP Silver Edition

Was able to read every day for the past month and read through all the things I wanted to read for this challenge. In the next month I’ll be working through my remaining pile of spy x family volumes, starting with volume 6 tomorrow. I’ll update my main post to be ready for the coming month as well.

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