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

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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Hmm. Suddenly occurred to me to wonder how I’m actually gonna get a hold of it. It’s on the website for my local Kinokuniya, but it’s not presently in stock, and currently you can’t place orders for books not in stock…

都道府県のおはなし? It’s only nine characters long. Shorter than the word “Prefectures”. :slightly_smiling_face:

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Potentially worth checking out the second hand shop (if you’re still in Sydney?). They have a random selection so possible they could have it. I probably won’t read along for this as I just started a BBC book.

https://fullofbooks.com.au/

(Oh and I’m also stuck in the UK with covid.)

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Thread is up for the next book. It doesn’t start til May 14th but it’s physical version only so plenty of time to get hold of a copy.

Also, I’ve removed Mr Miller from the nominations as it only got one vote from 53 voters in the last poll. It can always be nominated again in the future if people are keen to read it together. :+1:

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(If you’re talking Sydney) You can still place orders for books from the Japanese desk in store, it’s only online orders they’re not taking. You might even be able to try via phone, but I’ve only done it in person.

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I just came across this video and thought it might be interesting for you guys as well
I’m not saying he’s 100% right on everything he says or anyone has to do exactly what he says but I found it to be very interesting :slight_smile:

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Definitely interesting, and I agree with his point that reading more is better than doing more flashcards. :grin: For me, reading a chapter three times before I can continue the story sounds totally agonizing, but I might give his method a shot with the prefectures book, since each page can be read on its own …