・かがみの孤城. I finished the first week. It was kind of tough, narration went all over the place. But I guess it’ll smooth out later. My experience is that the beginning of any given book is usually tougher than the other parts.
Progress: (5% → 8%)
General feel of the theme/plot: Seems like this book isn’t a particularly happy one, at least not in the beginning. Social anxiety, staying home from school, guilt, solitude… it’s heartbreaking ;-;
January 2 update:
Read the other half of chapter 4 of よつばと! 1. Jumbo’s jokes were a bit hard to parse, but otherwise it was still pretty easy, so I might try reading a whole chapter or two tomorrow.
On another note, I noticed that BBC is starting reading Death Note on January 22. This sounds fun, I think I’ll try joining! I ordered the first couple volumes – hope they arrive in time. I was a bit surprised to see it in the “beginner” club, but after checking the sample pages I think I see how it ended up there
On a completely unrelated note, I finally watched 君の名は。today (not sure why I postponed it for so long), and I’m totally planning to give the novel a try soon! (Even though it seems to be way beyond my current comfortable reading level…)
today I read a chapter of よつばと4 with the little book club I’m in. It was, as usual, very cute and funny Only a few vocab lookups needed, and most of those were ones that I realised that I knew as soon as I saw the kanji, so a nice chill read. Only one more chapter until we are done with this volume!
I also read volume 6 of 呪術廻戦, and then the first chapter of volume 7. In contrast to よつばと, still a lot of vocab lookups needed here, but I think I’m at least starting to break through the ‘reading a new manga series/writer’ wall. Volume 6 was way more exciting than vol 5 as expected. Despite my complaints last time, I am really enjoying this manga, mainly because of the wealth of really likeable characters (including more than one that I thought ‘ugh, I hate them’ on their first appearance and within the span of a few chapters was like " omg I love them ") and the series general sense of humour. I have tomorrow and tuesday to finish off vols 7 & 8 before the free period runs out - they might be a bit slower going than these last two which contained a lot of fight scenes which were lighter on text…but should be just about doable! It will be tempting to just continue straight on with the series once I’m through the free ones…but I keep promising myself that I will try another novel so I should probably do that!
Very much same! I want to read the rest of the NO.6 series but I don’t think I’m good enough for it yet - I definitely limped my way through the first one looking up like half the words in each sentence which got in the way of my enjoyment I think. Will be interested to hear how you find orange as it’s also one that I’ve considered!
I have customs blues … my little box of comic books was denied entry to the US. I guess DHL is gonna try again … but not sure how long that will take … Anyone else had this happen with books coming from Japan?
Anyway, I slightly moped my way through another chapter of Way of the Househusband. Chapter 9, probably the cutest chapter in the whole book! And now there are only a couple bonus stories left. I’m starting to wonder if I want to get volume 2
Yes, thank you!
Edited to add: since I’m home alone tonight I read Yotuba (chapter 33 plus a few pages of 34) while eating dinner, and brought my pages total for the day up to 40!
Ended up reading more of Kona’s Big Adventure yesterday (9 episodes!) and continued to episode 15 today. I stopped there because (slight spoilers) that’s the end of the backstory part of the story. Tomorrow I’ll get started on the actual adventure!
As a side note, I’ve been wanting to adopt a cat for a while now and this story is making me want to even more…
I think I will continue soon gotta find out more about Nezumi - I still enjoyed it a lot and don’t mind the look ups much, especially because I thought the book worked pretty well as a vocab mining source. I also felt the “authors often use the same words again” effect kick in a little bit (though not as much as I expected considering I’ve already learned over 700 words from it )
Hoping it will get easier and easier with time!
Something more straightforward in between for a change of pace will be nice though, I think.
I am now kinda wondering who you hated in the beginning?
Day 2 down! I actually got through TWO more pages of よつばと！because of a helpful grammar guide someone linked me today as well as someone pointing out that I was not reading the bubbles as complete sentences Very proud of myself tonight!
This went a little better today, but still had to look up a lot of words I do like descriptive words though, like I enjoy the exposure to more complex descriptors/language than the ones you typically get in textbooks and such. It adds a richness and dimension to “the world in Japanese,” if that makes any sense at all.
紅梅 (こうばい) - red-blossomed plum tree; red Japanese apricot
濃 (のう or こ) - prefix meaning “dark” (as in a dark color)
聴色 (ゆるしいろ) - permitted color (a color that the “common people” can wear)
Time spent: 21 min
Today I learned about 初夢 (はつゆめ) - the first dream of the year. Apparently, there are some auspicious omens you can see in your 初夢, as expressed in the following phrase: 一富士二鷹三茄子 (いちふじにたかさんなすび). It means “best is Fuji, second is a hawk, third is an eggplant” One explanation for the is that ナス (eggplant) = pronunciation of 成す, meaning to accomplish; to achieve; to succeed in, which is my favorite explanation because wordplay xD
What else did I read?
囀る鳥は羽ばたかない Vol 1
Amount read: 11 pages
Time spent: 45 min
Went better than yesterday, but I can’t shake the feeling that things are just constantly flying over my head with this manga. Now I’m only 2 chapters behind They are pretty big chapters though
I wrote this post before scrolling down lol, guess we all get to learn about this twice today xD
I also did not dream of anything last night I’ll join you and @rikaiwisdom in the void
Fun fact! This word can also mean ‘deep’ (like a deep flavor - 濃い味) or …heavy? not sure the English word. If someone has rather ‘intense’ features, I guess. Article on 濃い顔 - you can skim the headers and it’s basically all you need to know.
It’s one of the words in Japanese I find super interesting because it doesn’t translate cleanly into English but the concept it’s conveying makes perfect sense.
I decided to stop reading 地球星人 because I want to read it with the same pace with the book club, and started reading 嫌われる勇気 instead.
Total page: 8
Time: 25 minutes
Book content (Warning: Spoiler)
The book format is a dialog between a philosopher and a young man. The philosopher will introducer Alfred Adler’s psychology from their dialog.
The book starts with a claim from the philosopher that “people can change”. The young man doesn’t agree with this. Everybody keeps wishing they could change. Everybody is wishing they could be different. They wish they could change exactly because people can’t change. That’s his argument.
To support his argument, he brought up the case of his hikikomori friend. His friend wants to change. His friend wants to be able to go outside, but every time he tries to do that, he starts trembling, he starts feeling pain. He can’t change.
The philosopher argued that he can’t go outside because he doesn’t want to go outside. His past (whether it’s abuse, bullying, etc) doesn’t turn him into what he is today. Us human act with a goal in mind. In the friend’s case, the goal is “to not go outside”. Because of this, whenever he tries to go outside, there will be things happening to support this goal, e.g. uneasiness, tremor, physical pain. It’s not “He can’t go outside because he feels uneasy”, but “He feels uneasy because he doesn’t want to go outside”.
The philosopher then went on saying that the past does not define what we become. The meaning that we give to the past is the one that defines our life. Whatever events that happened in our past, we can choose what meaning we want to give them.
Still keeping my reading small so I don’t get overwhelmed. Read page 1 of the Naruto manga. Really like that they have furigana in the book for kanji that I don’t know. I did recognize 分 and 今, although I still needed to use a translator to understand the sentence as a whole. I’ll definitely need to focus on learning grammar soon.
Sorry to hear about your manga. I’ve had DHL deliveries a bunch of times from Japan to Canada (routed through the US) with no problems. Maybe they filled out the shipping/duty information incorrectly?
(Amazon Japan is a great place to order from as well, if you haven’t already. Those are delivered by Fedex here, not sure about the States).
なぜ？どうして？みぢかなぎもん (1年生) - 4 pages (per question):
Question 3: “Why are rocks laid out under railway tracks?”
The narrator points out you can see rocks laid out under railway tracks at railway crossings and at the station’s home and ponders why that is so. Well, since trains are very heavy and go really fast along the railway and ground, it takes a lot of power so the rocks are used to help moderate that power even just a little bit.
The narrator provides an example of carrying something heavy - the more people that help carry the thing, the easier it is to carry. That’s because when many people are helping, one person isn’t burdened with the whole load. In that same way, when many rocks are laid under the railroad, the train’s weight is somehow supported. The rocks act like a cushion for the impact of the train on the ground and railroad and helps moderate the work the ground and railroad have to put in to supporting the train.
As for one part of a Bullet Train, they don’t lay rocks underneath but use a slab of concrete instead. That’s because a Bullet Train moves so fast that it can cause the rocks to fly off, so using concrete lessens accidents and vibrations.
Overall, I got the general idea of the explanation but had a hard time translating exactly due to subject confusion and not being used to seeing かかる used in another situation other than “taking something such as time.” If you look up the verb, there’s actually a lot of meanings for it. I got kind of overwhelmed and a little unsure of which meaning it was being used as sometimes. It was also my first time seeing the verb 敷く so I got confused when seeing 敷かないで and confused it for しか無い when looking it up initially. (This is why kanji can be really helpful!)
Already Learned Kanji
和らげる・やわらげる・to moderate - Had no idea of this reading for 和
持ち上げる・もちあげる・to lift up
人数・にんずう・number of people - This word was actually written in kanji with furigana, but I sometimes forget the reading when encountering it in WK.
分けあって・わけあって・for some (unspecified) reason
新幹線・しんかんせん・Bullet Train - Since I know the first and last kanji, I’d like to think I could recognize this word out in the wild.
敷く・しく・to lay out
地面・じめん・ground - I know the first kanji but don’t recognize the second one.
掛かる・かかる・to take (something)/to depend on - I’ve never seen the kanji but it looks like it’s rarely used.
荷物・にもつ・luggage - Know the second kanji but forgot about this reading.
板・いた・slab (of concrete)
Question 4: “Why do Jizo statues have red bibs?”
What do you think?
The narrator asks the reader if they’ve seen those Jizo statues with red bibs along the roadside and invites them to inquire why they have them. The narrator first explains that Jizo statues originated from Buddhism. From a long time ago, people valued the Buddhist’s way of thinking that all life is important and must be protected.
Along the roadside that anyone can pass, people pay their respects by offering a prayer as they’re passing by. From then on, it was said that the Jizo statues would offer protection so when women bore babies or when raising them, they would offer a prayer to the Jizo statues to keep them safe. The red bibs that Jizo statues have are the same as what babies use, which signified their prayers that their babies would be kept safe.
Flowers and dango offerings as well as paper cranes and toys were placed before the Jizo statues. When babies died, their red bibs were tied around the Jizo statues in hopes that they would be guided to the land of paradise (Sukhavati or Amitabha’s Pure Land, according to Buddhism).
There was only really one sentence that I had trouble with because there were two words that I wasn’t sure of the meaning of (I assumed おがん was a polite way of referring to cancer and おかれ was a polite way of referring to a man). (I’m still waiting for my husband to wake up from his nap so I can confirm the real meaning, but I think I got it now.) Otherwise, I thought it was a nice story and it answered a question I had once or twice while living in Japan. Since religion is something a little complicated of a concept for little kids to explain, I’m surprised that it was explained in a way that was simple but easy to understand for that age range.
Already Learned Kanji
要る・いる・to be necessary
考え方・かんがえかた・way of thinking
古く・ふるく・a long time ago
通る・とおる・to pass through
生む・うむ・to give birth
連れる・つれる・to bring someone along
涎掛け・よだれかけ・bib - It literally means something that catches drool.
道端・みちばた・roadside - Actually not too difficult to guess since the left kanji does mean road.
於かれましては・おかえれましては・in respect for
拝む・おがむ・to assume the posture of praying
折り鶴・おりづる・folded paper crane
玩具・おもちゃ・toy - I don’t think I’ve ever seen this written in kanji.