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.
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
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.
I believe that you read almost every day (saw your blog thread), so you probably have compensated this day already.
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
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!
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
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
零れる・こぼれる・to spill; to fall out of; to overflow
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
明白・あからさま・plain; frank; candid; open; direct; straightforward
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
実際・じっさい・actuality; practicality; reality
鈍い・にぶい・slow; sluggish; inert; lethargic
ヒソヒソ話・ひそひそばなし・whispered conversation; whispering
一斉に・いっせいに・all at once; in unison
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
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
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
潜る・くぐる・to pass under
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
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
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.
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.
To be completely honest, the way I see this challenge personally is “read more than you did before”, or even just a visual record that I’m indeed working on my Japanese, like a study log. Of course if you do read every day that’s better, and a small part of the challenge fun could be trying to see if you can make every day. But I said it before and will say it again, no matter if you can’t read every day, you can still aim for a smaller percentage of the challenge. For the summer one I did 100%, but for the autumn one I couldn’t make every single day so I changed my goal: to reach at least 90%, and I ended up with 95%. Of course, you don’t need to quantify it this way at all if you don’t like it or if it adds another layer of pressure. I was kinda disappointed at first but then I understood that it’s not a big deal at all. At the end of the day I’m here to learn Japanese, and the challenge is a means to that goal. No matter how many days I miss, that won’t take away the days I did study. If I couldn’t make it to 90%, I would’ve changed it again to 85% or 80%, and so on. Life and mental health takes priority . Not to say that there will be another challenge after this one, and another one after that one, and so on.
I think what’s important is that you’re reading. I like to use colours in my log to see very clearly that missing one day, two, three, or ten days is not a big deal at all. Seeing a lot of green reminds me that I read and studied a lot of days.
Screenshot of my autumn challenge calendar
In my opinion, I don’t think you need to compensate for a missed day ^^ . I think it’s okay to forgive yourself and rest, and then come back with a refreshed mind the next one. Punishing yourself with double the amount might lead to burnout eventually.
About… well… a couple who have very musical bottoms because they can’t afford to eat anything so they live off the potato ends that the other villagers throw out.
One day the Lord of the territory comes to visit, all the villagers kneel and bow, but the musical couple just… can’t. stop. farting. But the Lord, who has never heard such a noise before, is like, “Yes, this is
most interesting, please do it more.” 何？？
And thus the Lord is overjoyed.
What in the even did I just read…
The narrator is so enthusiastic with the ぴーひゃらぴー！… he had too much fun recording this.
☆ Learnings ☆
イモの尻尾「いものしっぽ」ー Potato ends (It’s not really a “word” word but it’s the bits of the potato that you don’t usually eat) ほれ ー Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! Hey listen! ぴーひゃらぴー ー The sound of flatulence All I can hear now is the narrator enthusiastically going ぴーひゃらぴー！ぴーひゃらぴー！ 捲る「まくる」ー to turn up; to roll up (sleeves); to do over and over again
You reached (and surpassed!) the goal you set yourself to get 200 pages before Feb, so a rest day is well deserved!
Read this week’s assignment of 大聖堂 in two days (yesterday and today). Some parts take a bit of consideration (when the protagonist explains some details about building churches and stuff) but other parts (where the action happens) are pretty easy to read.
Since it’s Monday and I’ve already finished the two “book club” books for this week, of course I did not consider turning to one of my manga that are waiting for me, let alone doing something productive like studying or working, no! Of course I had to pull out a new book from my mile-high 積読 pile
I chose ifの悲劇 because I wanted to read it for ages, it’s not too long at 240 pages (so maybe I can even finish it during this challenge? ), and last not least because I hope that a criminal story won’t be too difficult. So far I read the prologue and I’m already intrigued
So a whole month has passed by Already by the halfway-mark, not bad. It’s great to see so many of you joining in and reading as much as you can and learning new stuff Making progress and hopefully having a fun time. I really like the energy in this thread, y’all are amazing
To any lurkers out there, it’s not too late to join!
This section was SAD I feel like it’s just going to get more and more sad as we go on. I need the devil to have some long scenes for comic relief
I want to read more but I couldn’t sleep last night and got zero work done today so I really need to sleep tonight. If only my work would just pay me to read novels in Japanese, wouldn’t that just be the dream. Until then I shall have to try to restrain myself!
Haha yeah, I am pondering looking up more articles or bringing the article and relevant section of 世界から猫 to my Japanese teacher to see if she has anymore insight on it but also I kind of feel like it might be just one of those things!
agreed on both counts! It is extremely pretty. I’ve been trying to hold back to the bookclub pace so I’m excited to meet L, I remember him being my fave when I read the series as a teen.
Thank you all for your recommendations! This made me realize I need to pause and do some research. I guess I’ll collapse my responses so that the post is navigable
Hmm, actually I’d say I found that every chapter had something or other happening. Sometimes it wasn’t in an action-y way, but that’s not what I’m after anyway. The far-fetched part is on point, though, – it required quite some suspension of disbelief at times
Totally – that’s exactly what I hope to find
I checked out the short story from the same author that @pocketcat recommended, and the complexity is tolerable, but barely. I’ll sure look into it again a few books later
I checked out the preview on Bookwalker, and the language seems to be ok (although still surprisingly hard for a children’s book – it seemed harder than 時をかける少女). But it also has some nice illustrations, and I (vaguely) remember the story to be quite profound, so I’ll definitely consider it. Thanks! I’ll probably first buy a physical version though.
I don’t have any specific genre inclinations. I guess the thing I care for the most in a book is a deep story that makes you think even when you’re not reading, but of course it’s not a must. Atmosphere and/or interesting characters with a lot of development can compensate for that.
What I don’t care much about is “fact-oriented” narrative, where things take priority over the story itself. E.g. I’ve briefly seen some modern fantasy novels, and often they sound like a description of RPG gameplay rather than a story – that sort of thing is definitely a turn-off. But I haven’t heard any recommendations of this sort around here, so I assume I’m not the only one
I don’t mind darker topics, but jpdb says it’s quite a bit harder than anything I’ve read so far, so I guess I’ll save it for later. Thanks!
I’m actually quite interested in VNs, I just never considered them as an easy medium to practice with I haven’t played many VNs in any languages (I guess only Steins;Gate and 999/Zero Escape, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to do that in Japanese now), so if you have recommendations, please do share!
BTW, Summer Pockets looks appealing (at least atmosphere-wise; and the art is gorgeous), but the language seems to be a bit too hard for me just yet, based on the screenshots you’ve posted so far.
I had the same feeling. Thanks for confirming!
Hmm, I just read your review on Natively, and even though it’s a children’s book, it caught my interest. Thanks!
Now this looks very appealing! Thanks a lot, I’ll definitely try it, and perhaps ボッコちゃん, too!
Thank you! I tried reading the first page, and it was very tough, although I guess I got the general idea (including where this is going, if I deduced correctly from the narration quirks combined with the title). So, I guess it’s a bit early for me to start コンビニ人間…
Also, this was the first time I’ve seen 貴方 written in kanji – never realized it was a thing
January 31 update:
After reading all the great advice, I decided that I wouldn’t read anything specific today, but rather try out a few things. Here’s what I tried:
また、同じ夢を見ていた – read a page of it, and it seemed approachable. Regarding its kanji use, I only came across about 5-6 kanji I didn’t know, which may still seem like a lot, but it’s actually less than what I would typically see in 時をかける少女. The amount of unfamiliar vocab was on par (one page is probably not enough to judge this, though). Surprisingly, I didn’t find the lack of furigana that big of an obstacle – although it may change if I start doing more lookups. Overall, from all the books I currently have (I bought it on a whim a month ago), this one definitely seems like something I may be able to read. I’m still a bit uncertain whether I’ll like it, but I’m willing to give it a try.
コンビニエンスストア様 – read probably around a page? This story has an interesting style, but feels way too hard right now.
星の王子さま – read a couple pages (including pictures, so not so much text). Seems like a possibility, so I’ll probably buy a physical version to read next.
直視 = ちょくし looking directly/straight at someone or something.
前触れ = まえぶれ previous notice, herald.
目尻 = めじり outer corner of the eye.
Aaaand finished . That officially marks the end of my first novel read in Japanese ever . It’s a kind of weird feeling, to think that I’m reading in Japanese, just like that, and it feels like the most normal thing to be doing. But what the heck, it’s not normal at all!! You don’t wake up one day and casually go: oh yeah let me just grab a Japanese book and read it today . If younger me saw me right now reading things that I couldn’t back then, I’m sure I’d be super amazed, and yet it somehow feels normal right now. And if anything, that’s the payoff of the work done until now, for this very thing to feel normal after so much struggle. And don’t get me wrong, IT IS a struggle, a constant and frustrating struggle for which I feel forever underprepared. But slowly, unconsciously, you get there a bit more, and a bit more, and a bit more. And it doesn’t stop being painful yet somehow fun and rewarding at the same time. You don’t notice you are improving, but you are. If I have to pick a favourite phrase from this thread, it is undoubtedly: brains are weird . They do be weird indeed. It’s so painful they sometimes let us know we are improving in certain moments of clarity, just to go missing for weeks or months until you have another one.
I finally can rewatch the film. I’ve been eager to watch it again ever since I started the book, but I didn’t want to just in case it made the book super easy to follow. I still remembered most of the scenes of course, but it was after reading it, and not before reading it. I haven’t watched the film in years, but it was as if it was playing in my mind as I was reading the book, it’s pretty cool. And even though I still liked the book, the film is still definitely better IMO. It’s just so colourful and the medium works so, so well. There were things I really liked in the book, some descriptions, some internal thoughts of the characters, etc, but overall I still pick the film over the book, it’s just that good. But I still enjoyed it a lot.
So yeah! That was one month of reading and around 500 new words to the SRS. For February, I’ll be starting 星の王子さま tomorrow. Hopefully I can finish it before March, but we’ll see. I’m very satisfied with my current study plan regardless :3
Ah, yeah, no, sorry for misleading you! I would not consider it a children’s book at all, it’s pretty deep and philosophical - and I just read some background about the author and what the book is probably actually about… I would have never guessed that tbh. (And I’m not giving that away to somebody who has not read it yet )
Hmmm, lemme think… scrolls through bookmeter list
Hah, found something! If you like medieval fantasy, then you might be interested in reading 狐笛のかなた (Bookmeter). It’s a children’s book, though, aimed at about the same age group as Time Girl, I’d say. I found the language to be fairly easy, once you get past the special fantasy vocab that inevitably crops up here and there. This author generally has a faible for long-winding world-building, but in this book it was not that extreme (as it’s a pretty short book). We read it in a stand-alone book club, so you might find some discussions and can also still ask questions, as with all the book clubs.
Also, did you check out Night Market yet? (Bookmeter) Maybe it’s also too difficult right now, but that was definitely a story that made me think.
Apart from those two, I’m afraid the other books I read were probably a bit harder than Konbini Ningen, so I’ll stop my recommendations list here.
Yeah, that’s really horrible! I once started to read one of those (I just liked the cover as it looked like medieval fantasy) but it was more like an RPG, as you said, with a scorecard for the MC and with references to the modern world and stuff. I’m still contemplating finishing it once I get a bit better (it was still pretty hard for me when I started to read it), but definitely not a second volume
Today I finished Eden Cage volume 3 my eighth manga volume in January. The manga was boring I will stop reading this series. Which manga to read next? Probably the next volume of Domestic Girlfriend it will surely be full of useful words.
Started to read some lines from the No Game No Life light novel it’s pretty hard but I really want to read it. Also read some lines from Melty Blood Actress Again video game lots of N2 grammar points are used, even learnt a N1 grammar point from it までもない there is no need to, unnecessary. Last I read two texts from the Kanzen Master Reading N3 book and got both times the answer right maybe there is still hope for me.
Day 31 complete
I’m glad to have made it to a whole month. Feels like an achievement!
I started reading よつばと！ today, and read the first chapter.
This was the first manga I bought to try to read in Japanese, over a year ago, and at the time it was much too difficult and I was a little disheartened about it.
Today is the first time I’ve tried to read it again since, and I picked it up and just… read it. I only had to look up one thing. It felt pretty magical.
Oh yeah, you know, I used jpdb to look up visual novels here and there, then natively became my usual book lookup place, and I kind of forgot jpdb can do that too! I never know what to make of the difficulty spit out by their algorithm, but that’s cool. I think what I’m learning from this thread is Satori Reader might’ve prepared me better than I realized, haha. I will say I sampled the very beginning of コンビニ人間 and Zoo (along with another thing or two) when I was looking for what to read and actually chose Zoo because I thought it seemed easier at the start. But that very beginning of コンビニ人間 looked relatively descriptive, and right now I’m trudging through a bit of a particular story in the last day or two, so maybe Zoo also lulled me into a false sense of security, haha. There are exceptions, but it’s overall fairly straightforward and not descriptive; some of the reviews of the English translation complain about the writing being too minimal, heh. Nonetheless, it may still be more of a step beyond the traditional first books than I realize.
I’m not sure what kind of setup you have for books, if you’re reading them on a PC or something it might be similar, but I just love visual novels because of how well you can set up the text hooking for instant lookups, Anki integration, etc. Plus with a variety of narration, spoken dialog, voice acting, etc, it’s kind of a well-rounded practice experience. But you’re kind of right that there is no… super easy entry point. VNs with furigana borderline don’t exist and I guess the simpler ones are on the easyish light novel end of the scale, allegedly? They can get very hard though.
Stuff like the Key visual novels that are more slice of life are probably some of the easier ones you can get while still having them be generally considered pretty good. And I know a lot of things more or less around this difficulty level, though the few significantly easier ones have bad reputations, heh. Been eying Flowers as something people recommend for around entry level too, though I’m hoping that maybe by the end of Summer Pockets I’ll feel like ratcheting the difficulty up a little and reading Musicus! or something. I’d say some of the images I’ve posted are on the upper end of Summer Pockets’ writing complexity, but if it looks like too much of a headache then yeah, might be best to read a little more before diving into VNs.
That aside, I don’t think this is an easy one, but whether in Japanese one day or just in English, I have to very highly recommend The House in Fata Morgana if you ever get the chance. That VN is phenomenal.
That’s incredible, congrats!
Congrats on the results! And I remember that grammar point from Ace Attorney again, haha. My scattered random learning pays off again I’ve always thought it’s really cool how learning from native material like this leads to everyone having their own personalized set of knowledge. I know it’s kind of self-evident but I dunno, building your own language understanding subset is neat. Glad to hear you’re seeing results.
While I’m at it, I have to congratulate you too. Sounds amazing
I hate that inbetween zone where sometimes it feels like “wow, I finally get it,” then other times I wonder if I have learned a single thing this entire time. I’m sure you all know what I mean cause I hear this described as pretty much how life will be from now on with Japanese unfortunately, heh. I dunno, doesn’t help that I feel a little ill today. Probably not actually sick? My body just isn’t behaving too well. Still read about the usual amount. Right now I’m doing my best not to get at annoyed at wildly specific words you’d need a sentence to describe in English and how I seem to come across them constantly. There are, it turns out, many words.
Wow I love this background; it’s triggering my desires to go climb a mountain in Japan pretty hard. I’ve been living vicariously through this mountain climbing Youtube channel while pretending I understand more than a few words in most sentences, haha.
I feel these so much. I sometimes have to remind myself that past-me would be very pleased that I’m reading books and holding conversations (even if said conservations are still stilted ).
A win today was a friend saying they’re planning a trip to Japan (assuming borders open. Big if) and feeling confident in replying, “Yeah hit me up with any questions you have about buses or hotels or whatever. I should be able to read the sites for you if they’re not in English” and that was about my own growth for the first time in a long while.
And then I go try to read the article on 敵性語 てきせいご - term from WWII, language of the enemy (generally English) that a language exchange partner sent me and I’m back to despair.