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

Today I learnt Discourse does pie charts…

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Welcome to the community!

For the Absolute Beginner Book Club, we routinely vote on the next item we’ll read.

Once an item has been voted on, it gets its own thread with a reading scheduled included.

Following the schedule, a new thread is posted each week to contain discussion on that week’s material.

For example, the current pick is a manga called Happiness, which has its own home thread. Participants are recommended to set the home thread as “Tracking” or “Watching”, so they will know when there is a new post (such as a weekly thread).

This manga is on its second week, which has its own weekly discussion thread. Here, discussion includes anything about that week’s material, whether it be to ask about grammar, request clarification on what a sentence means, or just talk about what’s going on with the story and characters. It’s likewise recommended to put each weekly thread on “Tracking” or “Watching” so you can follow along with the discussion.

As one book club gets near completion, voting takes place on this thread here for the next item to read, and anyone can nominate a book or manga that looks like it’s Absolute Beginner-friendly to be voted on for reading.

Most anything we read in the Absolute Beginner Book Club will have furigana readings beside the kanji, so your WaniKani level actually won’t impact your ability to read along!

The two determining factors will be:

  1. How much grammar do you know?

It’s best to have some background in grammar, or you will be completely lost.

For someone in this position, they may want to read through Genki I, or several chapters of Tae Kim’s online guide, or watch the first 20 or 30 Cure Dolly “Japanese From Scratch” videos on YouTube.

You don’t need to understand basic grammar deeply to begin, as that becomes easier once you get into reading.

It’s tough at first if you’ve never read native material beyond example sentences in a textbook.

  1. How much vocabulary do you know?

This is where being on a higher WaniKani level is helpful because you’ll recognize more words. As a counter to this, the book clubs provide a vocabulary sheet that some participants help fill out as they go. That means you don’t even have to look up as many unknown words, as you’ll have many of them already looked up and listed for you.

The current club is about to reach week three, but it’s not too late to jump in and follow a little behind schedule.

Or if the series doesn’t sound interesting to you, the first post in this thread includes a list of “Previous Books”, one of which may be interesting. These previous reads also have vocabulary lists and discussions, and you can still ask questions in the threads. You do lose the feeling of active participation, but there’s a wealth of knowledge that you can take in at your own pace.

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Thank you so so much for this reply, much appreciated!

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that one seems soooooo cute :smiley: Even if it won’t be chosen i’ll definately read it :smiley: i hope my dog will not be jealous, lol ^^

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I have the かがくのお話 1年生 version of this book, and I would totally read another in the ABBC book club.

I understand people feeling limited by the kanji (and I know that WK is ultimately more about kanji than vocabulary). I find that the lack of kanji is greatly mitigated by the fact that they put spaces between words in readers for young kids. That makes it The second thing I would add, and this is my experience only, that reading the story out loud helps a lot with recognizing words you know but only in their kanji form. Because honestly, if you only can recognize it via kanji vs saying it out loud, how well do you really know it?

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It’s Time To Vote For The Next Book!

If you are interested in reading along with the Absolute Beginner Book Club then please feel free to vote in this poll.

The list of options are below. Clicking on the book/manga name for each title will take you to the nomination post. This contains some information about the book and some example pages.

The difficulty rating is a very approximate rating based on feedback from people looking at the sample pages. A score of 3 is judged “just right” for the club, a higher score is harder, a lower score is easier.

You have 3 votes and you can change them up until the poll closes. We usually keep the poll open for a few days until the votes dry up.

The approximate start date for the next book is May 14th 2022.

List of Proposed Books

Books

Book Title Description Difficulty rating
日本昔ばなしアニメ絵本 Japanese Fairy Tales (set of 18) 2.7
福娘童話集 Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection 3.2
こぐまのクーク物語 春と夏 Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer 2.9
日本の昔ばなし Japanese Folk Takes Collection Vol 1 (Issun-boshi and other stories) 2.4
もしかしたら名探偵 Detective Milky Sugiyama 2.4
ミラーさん Mr Miller 2.8
都道府県のおはなし 低学年 Stories of the Japanese Prefectures (Lower grade reader) 3.0
10分で読めるこわい話1年生 10 minute reader - Scary stories (1st grade reader) 3.0

Manga

Manga Title Description Difficulty Rating
あたしンち My Family 3.1
Wanted Short stories from the creator of One Piece 3.5
こばと Kobato 3.5
あしょんでよッ ~うちの犬ログ Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log 2.6

Vote Now

  • Japanese Fairy Tales (set of 18) [2.7]
  • Lucky Princess Fairy Tale Collection [3.2]
  • Kuuku the Bear Cub’s Story, Spring and Summer [2.9]
  • Japanese Folk Takes Collection Vol 1 (Issun-boshi and other stories) [2.4]
  • Detective Milky Sugiyama [2.4]
  • Mr Miller [2.8]
  • Stories of the Japanese Prefectures [3.0]
  • 10 minute reader - Scary stories [3.0]
  • Atashinchi (My Family) [3.1]
  • Wanted [3.5]
  • Kobato [3.6]
  • Let’s Plaaay - Our Dog, Log [2.6]

0 voters

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Please can someone change the thread title from “seeking nominations” to “now voting” please? Thanks! EDIT - thanks @omk3!

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Minor public service announcement for people who put forum links in posts.

For links to posts within the forum, you no longer need to have that spot where people typically put an “x”.

For example, people commonly put:

https://community.wanikani.com/t/x/34698/

However, as of some update ago you can now put:

https://community.wanikani.com/t/34698/

I found this out by accident a while ago. Not certain when it changed.

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It has always been like that, but it’s undocumented that way and might break at some point. Or so I was told :joy_cat: There is a detailed explanation in the Master list of book clubs OP if I‘m not mistaken, would you mind double-checking there?

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I thought for certain I had originally tried to use /t/12345 and it didn’t work, so I started using /t/x/12345 like I see others do. Then at one point I noticed that /t/12345 was working.

That said, there is indeed that message on the main book club thread.

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More specifically, it did break at one point and when I asked them to fix it the response was basically “fine, but seriously don’t use this because it might break again and we might not fix it next time”. So @ChristopherFritz you should probably stick with the way I outlined in the master list.

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Obviously, I’m a bit late for nominating a book for this round of votes, but I figure I’ll get this nomination up while it’s on my mind!

可愛いだけじゃない式守さん ・ Miss Shikimori is not just cute

Summary

From Amazon:

Shikimori seems like the perfect girlfriend: cute, fun to be around, sweet when she wants to be… but she has a cool dark side that comes out under the right circumstances. And her boyfriend Izumi loves to be around when that happens! A fun and funny high school romance with a sassy twist perfect for fans of Nagatoro-san and Komi Can’t Communicate !

Shikimori and Izumi are high school sweethearts. They hold hands walking home from school, they flirt in the halls, they tease each other. But Shikimori knows what she wants, and how to get it, and she can turn from cutie to cool in an instant.

Availability

Amazon JP
Bookwalker

Personal Opinion

I think this is a pretty good fit for the ABBC for a few reasons. It has furigana throughout (well, mostly, we’ll get to that later), text density (with at least one exception, which I’ll post in the preview) is generally manageable, and there’s no major curve balls for grammar or vocabulary which I ran into. I picked the first two volumes up when they were both free on Amazon a couple weeks ago, and I read the first volume in its entirety in about an hour or two, during which time I only had to look up a couple of words here and there. Overall, this is just a cute, fun little read with the same comfortable vibes of からかい上手の高木さん and それでも歩むは寄せてくる, both of which were previous ABBC picks. Even if this is not selected as a pick, I’ll likely continue to read the series (certainly through the second volume, at the very least!)

The first volume is currently still listed as free on Amazon JP, though I’m not sure how long that will last. If you are interested, and you use Amazon, I suggest picking it up immediately! Bookwalker no longer lists either volume as free, unfortunately.

Pros and Cons for the Book Club

Pros

  • Most of the kanji has furigana (there are a couple of exceptions)
  • Text density is fairly low
  • Grammar feels quite simple; I certainly didn’t come across anything out of the norm for this group
  • Chapters are quite short. First few chapters are all 4 pages. The rest are 8 pages.
  • The first volume is fairly short. I think it comes out to around 96 pages of actual chapters, though the in-between chapter pages have varying levels of text (never more than couple of sentences, though).
  • Light-hearted and easy read

Cons

  • (For some this could be a con), it’s definitely slice-of-life, so if there’s an overall story, it’s slow-burning, and only small hints in the way of full-on plot advancement. Definitely like それでも歩むは寄せてくる in this way.
  • Some kanji do not have furigana, mostly background text and in-between chapter blurbs. I am fairly confident that each of the kanji that didn’t show up with furigana, did show up at some other point in the manga with it, though! It’s just it doesn’t have it every time.
  • Some of the background text is actually necessary to understand a joke, and some of it is handwritten and a little difficult to parse. Nothing crazy, but I could see it being an issue for some newer readers.
  • Not sure if this that much of a con, but the series is still ongoing, so any spin-off book club would eventually run out of material to read and be waiting on more releases.

Pictures

First Three Pages of Chapter One

Additional Pages

Final page of chapter one, just for posterity:

First page of chapter 2 is fairly representative of text density throughout:

A quick example of one of the in-between chapter blurbs (one of the locations where kanji lacks furigana, though I would be happy to make sure that the vocab sheet has any kanji that shows up in the blurbs!):

And finally, a quick example of some of the background text (lacking furigana):

The exception to the rule with text density I mentioned above:

If I need to add any other images, let me know!

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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regarding 五等分の花嫁 I have the English volumes 5-14 literally 4 meters away from me, so ping me if you’d like anything compared

(I haven’t got 1-4 as I watched the anime and people said that the manga didn’t add anything so I saved some money)

This was before I started my Japanese journey and I just wanted to know the ending…

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Get it on the poll, looks a lot more interesting to me than a lot of the other option, slice-of-life high school romance ticks a lot of my boxes

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Thanks for the offer! I’ll be sure to do so if I come across something that I really can’t figure out! So far, my biggest questions have all been related to stylistic choices, as opposed to having problems understanding what’s being said/what’s happening (though sometimes those stylistic choices do make it take a little longer for me to figure out a word here and there). 春場先生 sure likes to show that he knows his kanji, so he uses a lot of kanji in situations where it might usually only be a kana-only word, or in situations where a word has multiple kanji that applies to it, he’ll pick the less common option, as opposed to the more common option. :laughing: So, most of my questions have boiled down to, “Why must you do this, Haruba?”

I’m glad the pick caught your eye! I think that it would be a good fit here. I think getting it up in this round won’t really be doable, but hopefully when the next voting round comes up! I should have been a bit more on the ball about reading it and deciding if I was going to nominate it or not to get it in time for this round of voting, but just didn’t have the time until today to give it the attention it deserved. :sweat_smile:

I also was a bit worried that because I have a tendency to punch (quite a bit) above my weight a bit in the things I try to read on my own, that I was seeing this as much easier than it actually is, and that maybe this wasn’t the right location for it. Guess we’ll see how everyone votes on that though, eh?

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I took a sneak peek since the book is free at the moment and oh my god it is so cute, I’m definitely sold.

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I also picked up Shikimori when someone posted in another thread that the first 2 volumes we’re free on Amazon. I read the first couple of chapters, and I agree it’s really cute. Definitely a good candidate!

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Votes are drying up. Let’s give this poll another 12 hours or so and then I’ll close it. Thanks to everyone who has voted!

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Thanks to everyone who voted! Our last few picks have been manga, but this time the top 3 in the poll were all books, with Stories of the Japanese Prefectures coming out as the winner. Will get a home thread up soon!

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I‘ve updated the thread title and shortened the book title a bit because it’s so long :sweat_smile: I hope it’s ok this way? (if not, please provide me with an alternative wording and I’ll put that up).

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