Started (slowly) reading the No 6. novel series

Hello fellow Wanikanizens!

A long time ago, someone I can’t quite remember (@anon75098302 maybe…?) mentioned the No 6. novel series, providing a link much like this one where you can read a sample (about the first 8 pages of the book).

At the time it was too difficult for me, but for some reason the name was memorable enough to stick, even though I had literally no idea what the book was about.

About a month ago I gave it another go and noticed that I could read it pretty well without a dictionary. Since this was the first time I could do this with a book (I’ve played games, but I tend to eventually get hopelessly lost after a short while without visual aid), I decided to buy it!

Also, since I can’t find the thread where it was mentioned and it’s probably locked anyway, I thought I’d create a new one. Maybe this recommendation will be of use to someone whose reading comprehension skills, like mine, are a bit lacking, making it difficult to find the right book!

Anyway, I’ve been slowly making my way halfway through the first one (my reading speed in Japanese is a dazzling 5 pages per hour :b) and am really enjoying my read so far. I’m worried that I’ll eventually grow frustrated at my snail-like pace, but so far it doesn’t bother me.

So far my strategy has been to only look up words with unfamiliar kanji (since I wan’t to learn as many kanji as possible) and so far it’s been working out for me. I don’t understand every word or every sentence, but I’m following the plot without a problem.

As everyone probably already has assumed, reading feels super useful, so I’m kinda stoked (hence all this rambling). It’s also really fun how you can intuit a lot of difficult sounding words from context and simpler words or kanji you already know, stuff like 死後硬直 (rigor mortis) 環境管理システム (environment control system) 人工授精 (artifical insemination, which only made sense to me because they’d been talking about 精子/sperm just before it)

I just kinda wish that in the few cases when they use furigana, they’d not just use it on the very first mention of the word… especially having to look back to an earlier chapter to see how a name was read is a bit of a pain.

(Also, in case you care, I tend to buy books and stuff from cdjapan, shipping from Japan is pretty expensive but seems to cost roughly the same on other sites so しょうがないね・・・)

Finally, no spoilers please! I actually want to know literally nothing that happens (so maybe creating this thread is stupid :open_mouth:)

TL;DR: I started reading the No 6. Novels. They’re comparatively easy. I like it a lot thus far. You might too. You can try reading it here. Don’t spoil anything :slight_smile:


Great Insight and thanks for sharing! :slightly_smiling_face:

I always love to see these kinds of posts, really giving me motivation to continue studying Japanese, knowing well that one day (hopefully) I will be able to reach the same heights as you. Hope you continue to enjoy reading :blush:

1 Like

I tried the first one recently, too. Someone on Hello Talk recommended it. I enjoyed the first chapter but got pretty lost in the second. I found I could understand what was going on between the characters pretty well, but when they were describing the world / politics I got really confused so I gave up.

It looked good though and I’ll definitely give it another try one day. I’m currently having the same experience you described with キノの旅 though. I did finish that about a year ago but it was tough and I think I was missing a lot. Now I’m going through it again and thoroughly enjoying just reading.

Hope you continue to enjoy and if you have any similar level recommendations don’t hesitate to put them out there too!

1 Like

I love these kinds of topics and posts. Puts a smile on my face.

If I may, I’d highly recommend people who want a challenging, but managable first light novel to read to check out the Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko version of 時をかける少女. I found it to be very enjoyable, and at ~140 pages it was a very reasonable length for a first light novel to read. It’s available on eBookJapan (無料まんが・試し読みが豊富!電子書籍をお得に買うならebookjapan) if anyone wants to 立ち読み a bit and see if it looks to be around their level.

I actually started jotting down statistics for my reading starting with that book, because I have a long-term plan in mind and I want to be able to follow my progress in some way. Turns out it took me 1018 minutes to finish the book, and during this time I looked up 542 words. The lookups obviously add a bit of boilerplate to the reading time, but still, I’m interested in statistics and it’ll be fun to compare this book to one 10-20 down the line. Part of why I read is obviously also to learn new words, and as long as I don’t get annoyed I’ll keep looking up stuff to make sure I understand as much as possible. :slight_smile:

I bought some more from the same publisher afterwards, and recently started reading ももへの手紙. While also fun, there’s a lot of dialect in that one. Gonna have to put in some extra effort…! :smiley:


Glad to see that I wasn’t just rambling pointlessly (I seem to be unable to write anything short…) but that it was actually useful to someone! :smiley:

I wonder how much of this is reading comprehension and how much is tolerance for confusion :slight_smile: A few times I’ve been discouraged because a few sentences in a row haven’t made much sense to me, but then I think back on what I’ve read and realize that I can sum up the major points pretty well.

OTOH, what you describe is pretty much what I’ve experienced in every other of the few books I’ve tried :slight_smile: There’s some critical mass of getting lost, after which the lack of visual aid makes it really difficult to get back on track I find.

Speaking of chapter two, just as an aside: I remember being utterly confused by the word レタス, I tried reading to to myself but couldn’t figure out which loan word it was supposed to be… then I read on and when the person holding it started pulling leaves off of it I finally realized it was lettuce :smiley: I would have looked it up eventually, but I thought it was a bit of a fun challenge to try to get it from context, and now I’m unlikely to forget it!

Since I’m having trouble finding books at a suitable level, recommendations are certainly welcome! It also seems our reading speeds were pretty close to one another! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Yeah it can definitely be difficult, but the thing is, unless you stick to VERY simple stuff (graded readers et al), there’s going to be words and syntax that you don’t know for a very long while. Really, the only way to learn is to read more, as painful as it is. I buy into the whole “read a lot below your level to reaffirm already known grammar and vocab” to a certain extent, but let’s be real: low level books are pretty damn boring to most adults, regardless of language.

Regarding reading speed, well…to be fair, you’re reading an actual novel, and mine was a light novel with full furigana xD Still though, compareble-ish?! :smiley: I also order from CDJapan by the way, it’s kinda “funny” how the shipping is higher than the cost of the actual books, but I want physical books dammit! There are quite a few sellers on Amazon that have better shipping rates though, especially if you want to buy used sets (that are often in excellent quality still).

Do you (and other people, anyone feel free to reply) have any specific reading strategies? Like, how much do you allow yourself to “not quite get”? I think it’s important to find a balance between progress and analysis, but maybe that’s just me. If I’m completely lost for a while I’d obviously look at something else though, there’s very little point in “reading” a book and understanding quite literally nothing. I allow myself to not quite get all nuance but I always make at least a little effort.

By the by, I used this list 無料まんが・試し読みが豊富!電子書籍をお得に買うならebookjapan to find some light novels that seemed interesting. As far as I’ve understood, the main difference between Tsubasa Bunko editions and “normal” editions is full furigana, bigger font and some more pictures. The contents are supposedly the same, but don’t quote me on that :smiley:

1 Like

What I’m doing at the moment is if I don’t understand something I’ll read it more thoroughly a second time, and if I don’t get it then I mostly figure it’s not to be and I move on with the story. I try to remind myself that if I can explain what’s currently going on then that’s good enough. Sometimes I go back and re-read something when it turns out I made a wrong guess as to the meaning.

Like I mentioned, I’m also trying to limit how much I look up since I want to feel enough like I’m progressing on my own so to speak. I’m almost exclusively looking up words with kanji I don’t know so as to expand my kanji literacy. I think either way is fine here though, so long as it’s a system that doesn’t make reading so frustrating that it keeps you from enjoying the process.

(When I started playing JRPGs in Japanese, for instance, I was looking up every single word and enjoying it, but eventually that started to become a chore that made playing feel like work, so I opted for the opposite approach. I think what I have now is a decent enough compromise)

Also, like I mentioned earlier, In the other few books I’ve tried so far I’ve quickly come to a point where the uncertainties pile up and I literally can’t tell what’s going on and then I get frustrated and decide it’s not time for that book yet.

If that were to happen now, having invested the time into reading half the book I’d probably be more likely to look up every single word until it started making sense though, but so far this hasn’t been the case! Fingers crossed!

While definitely not in the same category, I’ve played through a few Pokemon games entirely in Japanese, though I didn’t have the kanji on (this was years ago before I started using WK). After playing the games, I had a very good understanding of a lot of their attacks and the meaning behind Pokemon names, which were normally made up of at least two other Japanese words combined together that described it. I think at first I was looking up every word, but then just stopped and only looked up things when it required knowing exactly what to do. Attacks and names were looked up, though. And since I was fairly familiar with most abilities, I could read an ability and guess at the effects using the words I knew.

Pokemon Moon is waiting for me to get to around level 5 so I can turn on the Kanji. :stuck_out_tongue:

No. 6 is AMAZINGG!!!
I read the English version, since I´m yet to be able to read a book in Japanese, but it´s pretty cool and you´re amazing for being able to read it in Japanese instead x)!!, You´ll totally love it!!!

1 Like

One cool thing you could do when you’re a bit further in your studies is check the link once in a while and see if it starts making sense to you.

Since you like the series so much it might make for a nice thing to work towards! And since you already know the story you’ll have an easier time figuring out what’s happening.

It was a similar situation for me with Japanese RPGs (FF7 and Suikoden and whatnot).

I bet it would be nice if we could start a book club thread of some sort. We could have a small list of books varying in difficulty and have members chose which books they want to read and have it updated on the original post. We could then chose how much reading we want to do as a group in X amount of time so that we can discuss grammar points that confuse us, stay motivated to keep moving, and have meaningful discussions on the content like a regular book club.


Wait, you’re saying we’d like…interact…? With…people…? 怖い。。。


On a more serious note, wasn’t there a discussion thread earlier for recommendations and book discussions? Or perhaps there already is one and I have gone mysteriously blind?

@crihak My last few hours of Ys VIII (Finished it, took 63 hours) I was really tired of looking everything up so I stopped xD Now playing through Blue Reflection and so far (~6,5 hours) I’ve looked up everything…cough…

That’s a fantastic idea! I’d love to do it if there’s some more interest. Maybe No 6. could be a good starter? I’d definitely be willing to give it another go in that sort of situation.

Edit: @Dwarsen, I remember a good one about manga with star ratings and everything and there have definitely been several about light novels but I don’t remember one specifically about real books.

Alright then, I suppose I shall make a thread about it and see who’s interested. I’m fine with No.6, its only about 224 pgs it looks like. I’ve never attempted to read it however, so I’m unaware of its difficultly.

@Dwarsen Yeah I think there was, but I don’t think it was necessarily a 'lets chose a book to read together ’ kind of thread.

Oh, I know, it’s just that I’m personally not interested in a book club, though I think there SHOULD be a thread for recommendations and discussions of a more general nature. :slight_smile:

@riccyjay Well, I mean, light novels are books… :smiley:

Yeah, I’m very unsure on what makes something a light novel as opposed to a novel. Are they like the equivalent of YA novels (edit: I’m also unclear how that gets decided)? I have a kind of instinctive dislike of them based on nothing other than finding ‘ranobe’ a very ugly word. But then, is キノの旅 a light novel? Cause I love that.

Yeah, キノの旅 is a light novel. I guess the closest equivalent is young adult fiction, but I feel there’s a bit more to it than that. Are YAs serialised? There’s such a huge swath of available light novels, there’s bound to be stuff everyone likes… :slight_smile:

Not in the way light novels seem to be. I think the best way to describe light novels is by their serial nature. They’re basically short affordable books, usually comparable in price to manga tankobons, and they’re serialized similarly to manga.

Can i just say that I love YA