[Seeking Nominations!] Absolute Beginners Book Club // Currently reading: Prefecture Stories

I made a home thread for Happiness. I’ve gone for a start date of March 5th - based on current schedule for Mitsuboshi Colours, with the usual one week gap between books.

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I’ve been reading Mitsuboshi Colours and having a blast! It’s making me curious to do a bit more reading on my own to get some extra practice and I see there’s 12 books that have already been read in this club.

It’s been mentioned a few times that Mitsuboshi Colours is a bit harder than other books ranked in the ABBC, are there any of the previous books that are particularly easy to start with or should I just go in order? I’m probably most interested in Shirokuma Cafe, how does that one compare in difficulty?

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I can’t speak for all of them, but a few that I’d recommend from the list are:

  • レンタルおにいちゃん: Starts off on the easier side and steadily ramps up in difficulty over the chapters and volumes.
  • からかい上手の高木さん: Stays fairly easy throughout the series.
  • それでも歩は寄せてくる: Stays fairly easy throughout the series, and has short chapters.

It’s fairly easy from a grammar perspective. The main difficulties are that 1) some jokes/puns are based on (sometimes obscure) Japanese culture/media, so they may not make much sense, and 2) a lot of the vocabulary that comes up in jokes/puns are uncommon words. So long as you know this going in, it’s not a huge problem.

The best material is the one that interests you most.

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We read this in ABBC last year. Currently free to pick up volume 1 on Book Walker (that usually means it’s free on other digital stores too).

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Thank you. I just got the book to practice some reading!

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Assuming you are referring to それでも歩は寄せてくる, don’t forget to check out the discussion threads from the book club if you run into any headaches while reading!

And should you decide to continue with the series, we’ve just wrapped up Volume 3, and will be starting Volume 4 next weekend (this is a series which you can fairly safely jump into at any point, and play catch-up later if you should so choose!~)

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Hi all, I was wondering if there was a place to make a suggestion for an off shoot club? Now that 五等分の花嫁 is complete, I think it would be a great manga to read through.

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I mean you can nominate it for one of the bookclubs, though it might take some time until it is picked up by any of them.
If you want to absolutely read it soonish and are looking for people to read it with you, you can just create a thread with a similar format to any of the book clubs. It might be harder to find people since most offshoot clubs get going because enough of them liked the first book. Another consideration is that maybe people already are booked solid by bookclubs? But you’ll never know if you don’t try.
Gotobu is pretty well known though so I would say your chances are not bad.

Maybe try coming up with a shedule and start date, and depending on the difficulty create a thread where you make a poll to gauge the interest. Best case you find a bunch of people interested, worst case you made a nice reading shedule for yourself :smiley:

Ah, and since you are the initiator most of the organizational stuff (vocabulary sheet, making threads, gauging interest, etc) will fall on your shoulders.

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If a book club for 五等分の花嫁 were to come into existence, I would likely join. Haha. I’m currently reading it on my own, currently about halfway through Volume 4 at the moment.

I do think it would be a decent manga for a club to read. The only reason I haven’t suggested it is because it is a little hard to place on the difficulty scale. It has furigana, so that would push it towards the ABBC a bit, but the grammar and style of expressions makes me lean more towards BBC, which is already fairly inundated with a lot of suggestions. Plus the font gets really funky in some situations. There have been pages with 4 different fonts on the same page with varying degrees of readability. So, my indecisiveness has just led me to sit on it and read through it on my own for the time being. But if a casual club were to appear, I would be happy to pop in and chat about the manga! :grin:

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Out of curiosity, how much different is the grammar and stylised fonts from another ABBC manga like それでも歩は寄せてくる?

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My very unscientific comparison:

While I had to look up some grammar points when I first started それでも歩は寄せてくる, now that we are into Volume 5, I almost never have to stop and look up grammar points, just the occasional vocab word.

On the other hand, I am still fairly regularly (once a chapter or so, on the high end) checking grammar in 五等分の花嫁. I also have to check vocabulary a lot more often (usually I get it from context, make a note, and look it up to confirm after finishing the chapter).

Itsuki and Nino are probably the worst offenders for grammar I have to look up, for different reasons. Itsuki speaks pretty much exclusively in keigo, and so uses a lot of formal terms and grammar that I haven’t seen much of (due more to what I have been using for immersion up to now), whereas Nino is the polar opposite. She speaks rudely, with a lot of casual and slangy speech, even more so than Urushi in それでも.

Miku tends to be the character who makes me look up a lot of expressions and vocabulary, because of her tendency to quote historical works. There has been a couple of times I’ve spent up to an hour researching a particular phrase because it’s archaic, thanks to her. So that would be something to watch out for.

Regarding the font, give me a bit, and I’ll see if I can pull up the page that has the multiple different fonts. It’s usually not to that extreme. I struggle the most with the curly/fancy font that makes an appearance sometimes, and some of the handwritten fonts.

There is also a particular font that makes 五つ子 look like 五っ子 instead, but that was just annoying the first time. Once you know of it, NBD.

Oh, one last note: the chapters vary a bit in text density. Some of them are incredibly text heavy, others are very light. That’s the other thing that made me lean BBC over ABBC; some of the chapters would be very difficult for absolute beginners to get through in a week, I think.

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That’s really good to know. I recently bought all the volumes and I was planning to read it after I had read a couple of the other Manga I have. Perhaps you’re right on the BBC grading!

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Yeah, it’s a tough call, but I think that would be the better location for it in the end. Like I said, though, if it ends up becoming a club at some point, I’d likely drop in and engage, even if I’ve finished the series by then. It would be a good excuse to come back and see other perspectives and to see if I misunderstood anything while reading. I mean, right now, I’m basically checking myself against the anime as I finish volumes, but that’s hardly the best way to compare. :laughing:

This is the page I was talking about that includes a few of the different fonts that you’ll see throughout the manga series. It’s on one of the Character Introduction pages at the beginning of Volume 2, and it’s definitely the worst offender for varying fonts. What I will say is that you usually won’t see these all at once. They just pop up randomly throughout the manga, with a slightly higher chance of popping up during some of the オマケ stuff.

It has the curly font that I struggle with the most, plus the handwriting font. Bonus points, it also includes the weird 五っ子-looking font, and some of the “bolded” font that is a bit tougher to read as well. :stuck_out_tongue:

Bonus: Another panel with handwriting that I read just the other day:

image

So, yeah, the fonts vary a lot more than in それでも, and some of them are harder to read than others.

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Happiness book club begins today:

Thanks for updating the thread title @NicoleRauch!

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It will be time for the next book pick in a couple of weeks. If anyone has any new nominations now is the time to make them. Please use the format shown in the opening post.

Please could someone add “Seeking Nominations” to the start of the title of this thread. (EDIT - thanks @NicoleRauch)

There’s not been a huge amount of absolute beginner content identified, so unless people feel strongly I haven’t removed any of the current nominations. Some other book clubs have a system where nominations which perform poorly in the polls are removed.

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ゲゲゲの鬼太郎 (GeGeGe no Kitarō) [soon to be moved to Beginners Book Club]

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Summary

GeGeGe no Kitarō focuses on the young Kitarō—the last survivor of the Ghost Tribe—and his adventures with other ghouls and strange creatures of Japanese mythology. Along with: the remains of his father, Medama-Oyaji (a mummified Ghost tribesman reincarnated to inhabit his old eyeball); Nezumi-Otoko (the rat-man); Neko-Musume (the cat-girl) and a host of other folkloric creatures, Kitarō strives to unite the worlds of humans and Yōkai.
Some storylines make overt reference to traditional Japanese tales, and others involve Kitarō facing off with myriad monsters from other countries.
The series was created in 1960 by Shigeru Mizuki. It is best known for its popularization of the folklore creatures known as yōkai.
(adapted from Wikipedia)

Availability

There seem to be two editions of the manga. The content is the same, but it’s grouped in a different number of volumes.
Amazon (Kodansha) ebook
Amazon (Chūōkōron) ebook and paperback
Bookwalker (Kodansha) ebook
Bookwalker (Chūōkōron) ebook

Personal Opinion

I think this is a fun way to learn about Yokai. This manga is a classic, and there have been lots of adaptations and other stories based on it. I read the sample and the text seemed relatively easy to me compared to other manga. It’s targeted to children and it’s classified as comedy horror, so I assume it doesn’t get too scary or gory, in case anyone worries about that. I really love the art too.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • It’s full of fun Yokai!
  • Furigana throughout and language seems straightforward
  • Fantastic art
  • Plenty more to read if you like it

Cons

  • It is an old manga so may feel old-fashioned?
  • The subject matter may not appeal to everyone

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One



Additional Pages



Difficulty Poll

How much effort would you need to read this book?

  • No effort at all
  • Minimal effort
  • Just right
  • Challenging
  • Impossible, even with everyone’s help
  • I don’t know (please click this if you’re not voting seriously)

0 voters

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Heh, I’ve actually just been reading the final volume of his Showa series.

I confess I do not like his art style. Though… those sample pages are definitely not it.

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His backgrounds are amazing. The characters are a little too cartoony by today’s manga standards.
How was the Showa series? I had a quick look and it seems really interesting.

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Aye, it is fairly interesting. And informative. I did not know, for example, that he’s only got one arm. Can sometimes be a little bit random when it comes to the timeline, though.

Don’t tell me how it ends, I haven’t finished yet. :stuck_out_tongue:

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I heard about this from the Tofugu Podcast episode on yokai, where they speak with someone who has translated the series into English. Would highly recommend. From the sounds of it, Kitaro is a beloved and well-known character in Japan on the level of Doraemon.

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