lucky 13

If Kanjius’ tadoku wrap-up post is half-assed this one won’t require more than a quarter …

At any rate. At the beginning of the month I set out a goal of 1000 pages, nearly double my previous best. This was according to the Saxon principle of making your boast first to make sure you follow through on it (which reminds me I need to find a Japanese translation of Beowulf). After the first week I thought that perhaps this could actually happen, and after I finished over a 100 pages over that goal I thought, well, should’ve set a higher goal! But at any rate I was pretty happy that I got as far as I did. More than that, was happy that reading things like みなみけ (which has no furigana, although pretty simple language generally) that I had hardly been able to get a start on the last time I picked them up, was actually quite easy now.

So of the stuff I listed previously that I had lined up to read, I did read:

  • Lucky Star – one volume only. There’s no furigana, rather a lot of text, and unexpectedly quite a lot of vocab I didn’t know. I’ll pick this up again in a little while.
  • Durarara!! – two volumes, which rocked, as expected.
  • Death Note – maybe two chapters. I just can’t get into this (I will resign myself to your disapprobation).
  • Yotsuba& 11 – so much fun.
  • イブの時間 manga – excellent, highly recommended.
  • The Hobbit – three chapters. Not as far as I expected. More about that in a second.
  • キノの旅 – four chapters. For my tastes and my current Japanese level, this is the absolutely perfect book. I will be spending more time with this one, and the succeeding volumes.
  • Gosick – most of the first chapter. This is not very good. Well … it’s actually pretty bad, in all fairness.

Additionally to this:

  • Lucky Star anime with subs, all 24 episodes. Fourth time through this, not the last. Yes it’s 萌え fluff, no that doesn’t stop me loving it.
  • Durarara!! anime with subs, 5 episodes. This was easier to follow the subs than Lucky Star, surprisingly. Not so much fast talking all at once I think.
  • Andalusia: Revenge of the Goddess movie with subs. Hopeless. I don’t think I caught even half of it. Maybe not even a third. Come back to this one in a year or so. It’s a good movie … I think?
  • The Abacus and the Sword move with subs. Again, this was difficult, and complicated by the old-fashioned language, but at least I could follow the story. This one I’m sure is a good movie.
  • 菊次郎の夏 movie with subs. Easy to follow, and both very funny and touching.
  • みなみけ manga, first six volumes, which is all I have, so far. The rest will be obtained in very short order. A chapter of みなみけ is like a happiness injection 🙂
  • Hidamari Sketch manga, about half a volume. Similar to Lucky Star in that there’s no furigana and a pile of text per page, so it was very slow going. Well, usually got through a page with no more than three or four kanji lookups, but still. It’s really enjoyable though.
  • 我が家のお稲荷さま manga, first three volumes. This is another one that absolutely baffled me not all that long ago, and was quite manageable now.
  • Assorted lyrics from a bunch of CDs that I got the last time I ordered from bk1.

Some of this material had no furigana, some had full furigana, some had a lot of kanji and some had very little. This of course made a big difference to the reading experience, since I’m still no more than intermediate level when it comes to kanji readings. I found that when reading material without furigana, I would very frequently be second-guessing myself, especially when it came to words like 後 that could have multiple readings any one of which could be considered correct. My solution to those sorts of things was to not worry about them, which has the potential to lead to ingrained errors pretty easily. With furigana the opposite problem can occur, where I read just the furigana and find myself (not often, but it happens) gliding right over the kanji, hardly noticing them. That doesn’t really help the cause either. Then there was Hobbit, which has no furigana, but also has very, very few kanji. This proved surprisingly difficult to read. There’s no indication of word endings and beginnings, and no indication of possible meaning to help you work things out from context. I think this approach to writing is probably quite common for younger audiences, since they will be completely fluent in the language itself but the less common kanji will still be troublesome. Well, I could still get through it quite easily, with comprehension greatly aided by being so familiar with the English original. I haven’t read it for several years though, so I think what I might do at some point is reread the English version to refresh myself and then go straight through the Japanese version. For now the best was キノの旅, which doesn’t shy away from kanji but (in volume one at least) has furigana on everything.

Next, then: finish キノの旅 volumes one and two (and order more), reread みなみけ and 我が家のお稲荷さま (and order more). I’m also going to give Learning With Texts a serious go, starting with some lyrics probably, and キノの旅.

Thanks again to LordSilent for hosting!

5 responses to “lucky 13

  1. I like キノ. I’m half through book 3 and I come back to it every few months. The short disconnected stories help with this.

    It is also nice to have something comprehensible to fall back on when you get trounced by more complicated material.

  2. I brought volumes 1 through 13 (or so) of Kino’s Journey back from Japan. It was my husband’s collection. I haven’t tried reading it yet, but plan to do so soon.

    How do you find movies with Japanese subs? Do you buy them from Japan directly? Or find them online? Movies in Japan can be expensive… I usually only have the version sold in America, but I do have a few movies directly from Japan.

    Have fun reading!

    • I didn’t realize there were that many … this could get expensive ^^

      Movies and anime I find online, feel free to DM me on Twitter if you want exact sources. Subtitles as well. Subs are hard to find. And yeah ordering from Japan is very expensive, movies especially, and you need a fat wallet indeed if you should want drama series. I do order from time to time, especially music, if I like the album I’ll buy the CD. Luckily books at least are cheap, although the shipping is murderous. I wish Japanese movie/anime producers were better about including Japanese subtitles. Very often there aren’t any.

  3. Hello! I was wondering if Durarara was written with a lot of furigana since I’m interested in reading the stories, but am not that familiar with complicated kanji. Thank you for answering!