📚📚 Read every day challenge - Winter 2022 ☃❄

So, I haven’t read that (as I’ve said, I haven’t read much of anything!), but I’ll mention as a first book, I’ve been having an overall reasonable time with Zoo 1, and it sounds like all of Otsuichi’s work is probably written on a similar level. That said, this is some stuff deep in fairly dark horror territory so… if you don’t want to deal with unpleasant and violent topics, steer clear. Beyond that, most of what I have any (secondhand) idea about are all visual novels, though.

Summary post

It’s too cold in my poorly insulated apartment to believe in the summer vibes as hard as I try, haha. Most of today was fine; I had a few frustrating instances of missing a little bit of a sentence that changed everything, or in the time spent working out a sentence or doing my Anki mining, getting a little lost from the thread of the conversation such that I thought the subject was the opposite, and had to read back later when I realized the people were doing the reverse of what I thought each said they would. Proof that I have a long way to go, but I’m understanding on the whole.

That is, until I made a mistake. This VN has presented me with a lot of little choices that I think are mostly for flavor (I’ve heard in general it’s not hard to get the routes you want so I figured the arbitrary looking choices aren’t accumulating unintuitive points on me behind the scenes or anything). Today, while the protagonist was wondering what to do in downtime, I could choose between homework, strength training, or writing a song. Out of curiosity how that would go, I chose the song. So, he started coming up with lyrics:

I’m being slightly overdramatic for impact, but lines like this certainly had more unknown fancy words than usual (shoutout to 七色, (なないろ), the seven colors of the rainbow). I was coming up on the end of my reading time anyway so I suspended midway and I’ll fight through the rest of the lyrics tomorrow, haha.

Besides that one, the interesting word of the day is 煙たがる (けむたがる), which can mean both “to be sensitive to smoke” and “to dislike the company of someone / to consider someone a nuisance.”


Updating for today and yesterday. It was the weekend and the weather was pretty miserable so plenty of time to read!

I read more 世界から猫が消えたなら 17%-42% - still really loving it. I think the style is also very helpful for a beginner reader too as it is quite introspective and so there are quite often times where an idea will be presented and then the narrator will be like ‘in other words [describes it in a slightly different way]’ or will give some kind of example to illustrate what is meant. Today’s reading included a quote from that great philosophical text ‘The Matrix’, and yesterday’s reading involved the MC imagining three different scenarios which were presented like 梅 [scenario A] 竹 [scenario B] 松 [scenario C].

This isn’t something I’d seen before and it felt like some kind of cultural reference that I wasn’t getting, so I did some googling today and read this article: 松竹梅」のランクの意味は?順番付けの背景も解説 - which cleared things up a little bit? Mainly just seems like it’s a common way to present 3 choices in Japanese. A fairly easy (well, had to look up a lot of vocab but that’s fine) and alright article to read! Articles/blogs etc still scare me a little bit haha.

I also read two chapters of よつばと today as it was bookclub day (we were only reading the first but I enjoyed it so much I couldn’t help but read another). Both chapters were so cute and funny, I love よつばと :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I love your daily Yotsuba pictures, they are so cute! :slight_smile:


IMO the reason why また、同じ夢を見ていた is rated easier than 時をかける少女 is because few people have read both. It looks to me like there’s a general trend to read only one children’s novel before leaping straight into コンビニ人間 or some other intermediate-rated grownup book or light novel. Those two, plus Kiki’s Delivery Service, are the most popular, but very few people have read even two of them, never mind all three. So each book is existing in its own little independent grading universe, without a base of relative comparisons. If you look at the book difficulty comparisons at the bottom of the review page you’ll see that only 3 people have read both books, and each one of them had a different opinion on the relative difficulty.

I’m one of the people who left a review of また、同じ夢を見ていた on Natively, and although I haven’t finished 時をかける少女 I did spend a few days reading the first few chapters on Bookwalker using their “whole book available for 10 minutes per day” feature. I think また、同じ夢を見ていた is harder than 時をかける少女, and less enjoyable too. The sentences are long and there’s full kanji with no help, and if you decide that you’re up for dealing with a book with these aspects, then IMO you might as well just go straight to コンビニ人間 or one of the other easier grownup books rather than putting in that effort for a story about an elementary school student.

Personally, my favorite book around that level is the one I’m currently re-reading, ゆっくりおやすみ、樹の下で。 There’s no book club or vocabulary list, but after 時をかける少女, it’s likely you can read it on your own with just a dictionary. But it’s definitely a children’s book, and you may not be interested in that.


Day 30 :slight_smile:
I read this weeks assignment of デスノート. There was tonnes of vocabulary I didn’t know, and I struggled a bit with the grammar in a number of places. But I feel like I got the jist of everything in this second half of the chapter more easily than I did when I read the first half last week. Perhaps I was tired when I read last weeks part? Who knows.
Its still going to be very challenging for me to read, but I’m glad that I didn’t quit after doing last weeks reading, because after today it doesn’t feel borderline impossible like it did last week!

I also read the final chapter of レンタルおにいちゃん today. The ending felt a little rushed, but overall I really enjoyed this series. I’m a little sad its over though! This is the first series I’ve finished that felt more like reading than deciphering, which feels like an accomplishment! (…there WAS still a fair bit of deciphering though :sweat_smile:)

(Home Post)


This is an interesting point that I hadn’t considered! Just to add, it does seem to depend a lot on the person reading and what you find difficult. I’m reading Kiki’s Delivery Service with a book club and for me at least, I think it’s a really bad pick for a first novel to read (the pace we are going at /because we only meet once every 2 weeks means that while we still aren’t finished, I’ve started and finished the first harry potter(japanese translation) and the first NO.6 light novel(I would say that this was pretty hard to read but I was interested enough to make it through looking up every second word) in the time we’ve been reading it).

Kikis I think is a really nice story and I’m enjoying it, but it’s written in a very descriptive way, uses very little kanji (which means parsing long strings of hiragana), and generally the plot moves at a pretty leisurely pace. This can mean that early on when I could only manage to read a few pages in one reading session I would quite often feel like nothing had happened, which I found pretty demotivating. One of the people in our reading group actually dropped Kikis and switched to また、同じ夢を見ていた and seems to be enjoying it a lot more. But then again, I’ve seen loads of people highly rate Kikis as a first novel to read in Japanese so I think it really does depend on what you find motivating and what you find challenging.

Giving recommendations about difficulty is always so hard in general though, because sometimes you don’t really realise that the reason you find something more easy is because you’ve got better at reading!


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


Summary post

Day 30: January 30th

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?
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

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…


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


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:


Summary Post

Day 30: Today I read 6 pages of よつば&!


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:


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


Day 27: January 31

  • 君の名は。page 178-185 (74%)

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.


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.


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