We’re reading this book as part of the Absolute Beginner Book Club, starting May 14th 2022. This book is only available as a physical book.
You can try reading the introductory chapter in the prereading thread now! Link
This book takes you on a tour of Japan, visiting each prefecture and telling a short story from that area. The book is set out with one page per prefecture. There are 47 stories in total. The top part of the page contains the story, and the bottom part some reading comprehension questions. This book is aimed at children in Grades 1-3 of primary school.
We’re reading this as the Absolute Beginner Book Club. This book club aims to help readers who are new to native Japanese content successfully read their first book. It will be helpful if you have completed the first volume of a beginner Japanese textbook such as Genki 1 or Japanese for Busy People. That’s around the standard required to sit JLPT N5.
If you’re not at that level yet but interested in reading along you are still very welcome to join. You might need to look up more vocab and grammar, but we try to help each other by compiling a shared vocab list and answering each other’s questions.
We create a reading schedule, with a set number of pages to work through each week. Each week we create a new discussion thread for that week’s reading. In those threads we discuss everything from vocab and grammar to the characters and story. We try to help each other by contributing to the shared vocab list, by answering each other’s questions and by keeping each other motivated.
This is a book written for Japanese elementary school students in grades 1 and 2. The text is in polite Japanese, i.e. the sort of Japanese you learn in a textbook. It uses a lot of the common kanji found in the early Wanikani levels. All the kanji have furigana. Words which use kanji not learned until later school years will be written in hiragana alone.
The grammar will be relatively straightforward and mostly that found in JLPT N5 and N4, although this is native Japanese so there might be some grammar concepts from higher JLPT levels come up occasionally. There will be a broad range of vocabulary as this is a book helping young children learn more about the world. The vocab sheet will help with this.
Overall this is going to be a step up from reading a graded reader. It will hopefully be an interesting read that will help you learn more about the geography, history and culture of Japan.
One interesting aspect of this book is that each page contains a reading comprehension question so you really get to test your understanding!
Table of Contents
Translated with DeepL Translate: The world's most accurate translator (free version)
Map of Japan: What are prefectures?
Hokkaido: Where you can meet wild animals
Aomori: The lively Nebuta Festival
Iwate: The jagged rias coast
Miyagi: Delicious rice and Hitomebore
Akita: Are Namahage scary?
Yamagata: Cherries, a favorite
Fukushima: The secret of Goshiki-numa
Ibaraki: Natto, a healthy food
Tochigi: Monkeys in Nikko
Gunma: Konjac, a refreshing snack
Saitama: Soka senbei, a popular snack
Chiba: Japan’s sky landmarks
Tokyo: Tokyo Tower and Tokyo Sky Tree
Yokohama Niigata Prefecture: The time of the natural age
Toyama Prefecture: What is a Shinkiro?
A lively morning market Ishikawa
Fukui Prefecture Echizen crab, a winter treat
Yamanashi Prefecture Grapes, not pears
Nagano Prefecture: Cool summer air
Gifu Prefecture: Gashouzukuri no ie
Shizuoka Prefecture: Eighty-eight nights of tea gathering
Aichi Prefecture: Golden shachihoko and three heroes
Mie Prefecture: Shinju no hihitsu
Shiga Prefecture: Shigaraki tanuki
Kyoto Prefecture: A thousand years of Owarai and Takoyaki (octopus dumplings)
Hyogo prefecture: Tansei cider
Nara Prefecture: The Great Buddha and the Deer
Wakayama Prefecture: Ume, Ume!
Tottori Prefecture: What is Sakyu?
Shimane: Shijimi clams from Lake Shinji
Okayama: Momotaro and kibidango
Yamaguchi: Akiyoshidai and Akiyoshido Cave
Tokushima: What’s awaodori?
Kagawa Prefecture: Delicious Sanuki Udon
Ehime Prefecture: The Kingdom of Mandarin Oranges
Kochi Prefecture: Katsuo no Ippon Zuri
Fukuoka Prefecture: Study Goddess
Saga Prefecture: Ariake Sea Nori and Mutugoro
Nagasaki Prefecture: Secrets of Castella
Kumamoto Prefecture: What is Igusa?
Oita Prefecture: A lot of onsen!
Miyazaki Prefecture: Tropical mangoes
Kagoshima Prefecture: Sweet potatoes for snacks
Okinawa Prefecture: The beautiful sea and Shisa (sea squirts)
Get yourself a copy of the book (see “buying the book” below)
Click on the participation poll below to let us know you’re planning to join in
Set this thread to “watching” so you get updates on the group (go just past the last post in this thread, click on the grey box that says “normal” or “tracking” and change this to “watching”)
This is only available as a physical book. Some online options for buying include the below. Please let me know if you have other ideas for buying and I’ll add them here:
- I’m planning to take part in this book club
- I’m not sure yet
- Not for me
If you’ve read it before but will join in the discussion, please select ‘yes’!
Download this Anki deck and start learning the Japanese prefectures now! Japanese Prefectures - AnkiWeb