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

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]

image

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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That guy (Zach Davisson) is amazing! He’s a university professor in California (I think) and he researches Yokai :exploding_head:
I was fortunate enough to be able to attend (through a number of amazing coincidences) a talk he gave in Sydney - very informative and entertaining.

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あしょんでよッ ~うちの犬ログ~ (Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log)

Dog

Summary

Originally a series of short comics about observing everyday life with a dog that was originally published on pixiv. It was later put together into a full manga series.

Availability

Amazon (ebook and paperback)
Bookwalker (ebook)

Personal Opinion

I won’t be able to host this, so we’ll need a volunteer if this gets picked. But I saw a review on Natively, and from how accessible this manga is, it sounds like it would be a good fit for this club’s level. If you’re a dog lover, own a dog, are away from your dog, miss your dog dearly, love animals, or enjoy looking at cute pictures of animals being silly, then this would be a perfect feel good manga for you.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Not text heavy at all with only 153 pages so it’s a good pick after a more challenging read and can be read at a faster pace
  • Full furigana available
  • 10 volumes available and the set is currently on sale for 20% on Bookwalker until 03/31 if you see yourself wanting more cute doggie goodness.

Cons

  • Since the text is pretty limited it’s not really the best for learning per say.
  • There doesn’t seem to be a true plot that drives the story - mostly slice of life interaction between guy and his dog, so their might not be much to discuss beyond the cuteness of the dog.
  • The dog is the center point of interest in the manga so if you’re not very fond of dogs then this might not be interesting to you. :slightly_frowning_face:

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

Edit: Forgot to mention that if you live in Japan and have downloaded Line Manga app, you can read the first 64 chapters for free (the first 2, anytime, and the remaining chapters you’re limited to accessing a chapter a day for free).

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Thanks for the Gegege nomination. It looks like the feedback is that people think it too challenging for this club. I suspect the text density is going to be the main thing that makes it too challenging for an ABBC read. Perhaps it is worth nominating it in the BBC instead?

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I had been thinking about that, actually. I honestly don’t think it’s more difficult than some other ABBC books in terms of grammar, and text density can be handled by breaking it into smaller chunks I suppose, but if the consensus is that it’s too difficult for this club I will be happy to move it. Should we maybe wait in case there are more votes on difficulty, or shall I move it now, do you think?

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10分で読めるこわい話 1年生

10pun

Summary
12 “scary” short stories, some are japanese traditional with things like yokai, others are from around the world (an american story with a train, Andersen’s red shoes…)

Aviability
Physical : amazon.jp ; verasia.fr
Digital : booklive.jp

Personnal opinion
I’ve choose this book because i need a theme a like to commit to read a child book without loosing interest. Already try a few of them but i’m beyond absolute begginer level so it will be good to have help. Each story have a number of page very different but i think it’s manageable to make a planning (1 page a day = 25 weeks).
If we choose this book i don’t think i can take care of the tread as i’m a complete newbie here.

Pros
*Short stories
*Yokai and other stuff (i you like that theme)
*Every Kanji got Furigana
*Little or big illustration on each page, it help a lot sometimes. Plus it’s a very different style for each one.

Cons
*Not enough Kanji

Images

Summary+ few pages






Difficulty level 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

[I’ve made an error so if you have vote on the previous poll you can do it again on the new, and hopefully good one]

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I also took part in the poll and did put “It would be challenging”, however to me, this does not discredit the book for the book club tbh. I agree with @omk3 that it does not seem to be too different from other picks of this bookclub…

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There’s some discussion on another thread at present about how difficult it is judging the difficulty levels in these books! There’s also been a tendency towards the difficulty levels creeping up over time. I agree the individual panels are relatively straightforward grammar, but I can also see how people would be put off looking at those first few pages. Given that the below is the feedback so far - 10/10 voters grading as challenging - I suspect it’s the right thing to move it. Happy to wait longer and let others comment. I probably won’t add it to the upcoming poll for now. Thanks again for nominating it.

Screen Shot 2022-03-15 at 15.36.16

Hi @GwenMyo thanks for the nomination! We’ve read some of this series before and they definitely work well for ABBC. The fact they are broken into individual stories makes it easier for people to skip a story if they are behind, or even to jump in part way through the book club.

In the past people have tended to nominate the 2年生 version rather than the 1年生 version. This is because at first grade level there are so few kanji people actually found the text more difficult to read. Even at second grade level there were times where people found difficulty with words written in katakana only, where the lack of kanji made it difficult to distinguish between multiple potential meanings.

There is a 2nd grade version of this book (link below) - I wonder whether it might be better changing the nomination to this one? Have a look and see what you think - if you prefer the first grade version then feel free to leave the nomination as it is!

Book Live 2年生

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The first pages (and a few others) do look a little intimidating at first glance, I admit :sweat_smile:.
How do I remove the nomination? Delete the whole post or add a note next to the title that it’s moved?

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I think you can leave it there and add a note next to the title. :+1:t3:

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Thank you for the feedback

I think i will wait and see a little. Maybe change it later.

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