Stragglers Read Kiki Together

I’m a bit behind this chapter. The weeks got away from me. Mind if we push back our scheduled Chapter 4 deadline to be Monday January 4?

How are you guys doing?


I WAS way behind (still in the final pages of chapter 3) but didn’t see your message in the past day so I read the whole chapter last night and this afternoon… hooray for the looming sense of obligation to accountability… I thrive on deadline…

I have really enjoyed the book so far. Like you two, this is among the first novels I’m reading in Japanese. This IS the first novel above a 2nd grade reading level that I’m reading without furigana.

Background that I passed the N3 in 2019 and am currently studying this year for N2, but I have been so pleasantly surprised at how easily I’ve been able to read it! It is such a pleasure to read! That said @eainge, I cannot imagine having not seen the film and attempting this. I’m certain that would make it much harder. I haven’t seen the movie in about 5 years but it was one of the very first VHS tapes I ever owned. I believe I got it for my birthday when I was 4 or 5 (we did not own a TV before then) and I must have seen it at least a hundred times in my life, if not more than that!! While the movie clearly deviates from the direct plot at moments, those deviations have been brief and so practically every scene I read I can directly envision the adaptation in my minds’ eye. It is more a question of scenes they clearly ADDED to the ghibli version (the rainy night in the train… and the crows knocking the stuffed toy from the cage) than scenes they have altered or eliminated… from my memory at least. You’ll see what I mean when you finally watch it after the book!

One of my major goals in reading this though is so that I can read it aloud to my kids in a couple years (see my study log here for more background there since that goal seems to come out of left field without context, I guess), and that will be before they see the film (we have plans to watch it when my youngest baby that I’m pregnant with now is 2/2.5 years old). I hope that my reading aloud can capture some of the brilliance of these scenes and really put them in the story with me… the descriptions are so vivid and lively! I don’t want to make it sound boring!

Anyway I’ll be back tomorrow or Monday with more thoughts about the chapter specifically but that’s me getting caught up on the earlier talk!

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Oh wow, this comment made me really happy to read. It sounds very sweet that you are reading this book while pregnant so you can read aloud to your kids in the future. What a beautiful goal.

And - I am so excited to watch Kiki’s Delivery Service. I love all of Studio Ghibli’s films that I’ve seen (I grew up with them), and I’m really excited for this one. I’m glad to hear that they don’t deviate too much from the book, and it’ll be really interesting to compare the two.

Looking forward to Monday!

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Oof, I almost forgot about the book completely. I’m half way done with chapter 4 I should be done by Monday. The more I read the more I enjoy, not be paranoid of not understanding it’s noice.

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A straggler group! I’m in! :crazy_face:
Not sure what chapter I’m on… I passed the halfway mark I believe… I’ll have to check later =P


I just read through all the previous notes on this chapter. I did learn some things and get clarification on a sentence-by-sentence basis but I was pleasantly surprised at how well I had understood things in context.

I’m going to read more closely from here on out, I think. I’ve been struggling lately deciding whether it is better to read to understand (nearly) every word or to read for volume and pleasure and let the words/phrases catch up over time… I think I’ll write another post about it actually.

I don’t have any lingering questions about this chapter but I’m curious what everyone else has to say about it.

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I just finished this morning! Wow, what a read. We’re over a third of the way through, now!

I went through the chapter summary, and I found that my comprehension was about 90-95%. So that’s a good feeling. I also used the Engish version at one point to understand one sentence - The one where it’s a blending of the artist and Kiki talking about finding each other. I couldn’t understand it at all - the あたしはすてき threw me off. Then, when I realized it really is a nonsense sentence, I could understand.

As I read, I’ve been trying to balance understanding (nearly) every word while also reading naturally. I’m not sure what the right balance is. I have the vocab sheet open and I use it along with a dictionary. If I get to a word that I have a vague idea of what it means, I normally pass over it if I already understand the sentence. But for everything else I look it up. It takes about 15 min per page for me right now, and I’m hoping this speeds up as we go. Maybe I need to look things up less… How are you reading the book?

I’ll make another post today about my actual thoughts on the content. I really liked this chapter, but it was a bit stressful towards the middle. :slight_smile:


@Burnannator - How far along are you on Chapter 4? Hope we hear from you soon. :slight_smile:

@Abstormal - Welcome to the straggler group! We’d love to have you join us.

@ganbareniichan - What did you think of the chapter itself?

I found the beginning of the chapter a bit difficult. It used flowery language and not much happened. I also was a bit surprised that it went overnight from Kiki being full of hope to becoming depressed, and I felt so sorry for her. It’s hard to be out on your own. It felt like this chapter was a big tone shift from last one.

Last chapter was very peaceful, with her exploring along the river, meeting new people, and finally finding the town she wanted. Yes, there was the scene with the townsfolk, but mostly nothing too bad happens. In this chapter, it feels like everything goes wrong for Kiki. She can’t catch a break. When she finally gets her first delivery, she immediately loses the package. I just wanted something to go well for her! The chapter ends with a happy note, so I’m hopeful that things get easier for her. I’m here for the peaceful town stories, not the struggle!

Tentatively, what date do we want to set for the end of Chapter 5? It’s a shorter chapter this time around, 23 pages. If we read 3 pages a day, it’s 8 days. 2 pages a day it’s 12 days. Thoughts?


Yeah I totally agree with the tone shift I think I saw the movie in high school a looonng time ago when I was in High School It’s one of the only things I remember about the movie. At least things are looking up now!

I see ganbareniichan was joined us! One more group member! As for the pacing I guess 3 pages a day is fine??

Hoo boy 3 pages a day.


LET’S DO IT. We’re just that good at reading Japanese now. :wink:

So let’s meet up Wednesday 1/13 to chat about Chapter 5. If anyone feels this is too much, let me know and we can move it.

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Hooo…boy. I just finished the chapter. Remember how I was asking for a nice peaceful chapter last time around? It’s like the book heard me and was like “Okay let’s have a relaxing day at the beach…Just kidding!”

Looking forward to everyone’s thoughts!


キキは。。。と思って Kiki thought
自分に to her
いわれた past tense of いわれる = passive of 言う(いう) was said
のか whether
自分にいわれたのか whether it was said to her
立ち止まりました stopped in her tracks, came to a halt

Kiki stopped in her tracks, thinking, was it said to her?

Context: As Kiki was walking past the bakery, she heard a woman asking someone to deliver something, and stopped because she thought the person might be speaking to her.

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@Burnannator and @ganbareniichan - How far did you guys get? Should we not do 3 pages a day? That was pretty hard, haha.

Right, I though reading I started to read 5 pages since there was a few day I simply forgot to read. For me, I would not do it again haha. I barely finished today because of that.

It is is a bit hard some words like そべる(to describe) was frustrating me since I did not know what it was meaning. I did look it up and went I did know the vocab just with the kanji. Some words I wish were in kanji and with the fact most kanji in the version I have(i dont know for the other) has almsot no furigana so I occasionally am confusion but I got through it but do 5 pages a day again -.-

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Ha yeah, maybe we should go back to 2 pages a day. The best thing is to not lose anyone along the way, right?

There were some pages that were really hard for me, like when she’s describing saving Jiji and the young boy. That was so hard to visualize at first. But the scene when she’s talking to the boy with glasses about his 3 groups, that was surprisingly easy for me.

I really liked this chapter though, even though the ending was a bit of a sucker punch.

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Let’s give one more day for @ganbareniichan to join us and then let’s set a date for the next chapter, at 2 pages a day.

@Abstormal - we’re getting close to the halfway point!

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Hey sorry for the late check-in. I actually finished the chapter on time (with two days to spare), but my husband wound up needing a pretty intensive medical treatment on short notice so I wound up scrambling with the childcare and caretaking of my whole family in an unexpected way so the past 4 days vanished before me.

I liked this chapter a lot despite the stressful and sorrowful moments. I just find Kiki so endearing. Like, I loved how she was so nervous to wear a bathing suit but once she got to the beach she just had such a fun time soaking in all the new sights and sounds. She seems so curious about trying new things during this year of adventure and I appreciate how her fears are easily overshadowed by her courage.

Whatever schedule we decide for the next chapter will not be a problem. The reading is swift for me and the extra pages this time weren’t a problem but I’m much more willing to go more slowly to make everyone comfortable and start reading another book on the side with my extra reading time and as I saw this time around, sometime life gets in the way of the timing anyway so it is good to have a buffer. We can say 2 pages a day. Does that put us at Mon Jan 25 or is my reckoning off?

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Oh no! Is your husband okay? I’m really sorry to hear that. Thanks for coming back though, I was a bit worried.

I’m also impressed with your reading ability. That’s amazing. :slight_smile: How many Japanese books have you read so far? I feel like reading 3 pages a day was doable, but it did take up a lot of time for me. I’m hoping for it to get smoother as we go along, though.

I honestly have no idea where this book will go each turn it takes, it’s been a wild ride!

And alright - Let’s do 2 pages a day, yep let’s meet on Mon Jan 25. We are about halfway through right now, that’s exciting.

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Yeah, he’s fine. It was diagnostic but quite invasive. He now has a diagnosis so we can work on healing/fixing the issues he has been having but he will still be recovering for a while, though he will return to work soon. He is already able to help out with the kids more than he has been for the past few days, so things are feeling more normal.

I’ve really only read picture books, but I read a lot of those… on a consistent basis. That’s all hiragana or furigana, though. In terms of longer books I’ve read a few manga here or there, but really it’s just the children’s novel My Father’s Dragon, aka エルマーの冒険 that I’ve read before in Japanese, and that was typefaced at a first grade level so barely any kanji. I do think that Kiki just happens to be my exact reading level (for vocabulary, kanji, and decoding ability) right now, so it’s perfectly pitched for ease for me. There’s that, and then there’s also that I’m just trusting the extensive reading to do its job and filter in the vocab in context. I’m looking up maybe one jukugo or else hiragana vocab per page and am otherwise reading for pure pleasure. In terms of my comprehension I’m pretty sure I’m getting like 90-95% of it and there are just parts where I have to pause and reread a sentence a few times to be like “Wait, what? Who did what? Who said that?” I’ve actually been thinking I should order the other five books in the series as soon as I’m able as they really are perfect for me right now and reading that much I’m sure would improve my Japanese. I have some other books lined up to try next, though… but I might just come back to finish all of Kiki if none of that seems as perfectly matched in terms of reading level (most of it does seem harder than what I’m really ready for).


Glad to hear your husband’s recovering. That must’ve been really scary for the both of you. I’m wishing for his speedy recovery!

As for your reading level matching Kiki, that’s really amazing. I hear Kiki is an especially difficult beginner book because of the flowery language. So your reading comprehension may be upper beginner (or more?).

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