This week I read vol. 3 of からかい上手の高木さん, which I got for free on Honto.jp (they occasionally give away the first volume or so of series for promotional purposes). Though it hasn’t quite caught up to Flying Witch, I’m now at the point where I can basically read it without effort and pick up new words easily in context. I spotted quite a few grammar points that I learned recently in the N2 track on Bunpro and it feels like wrapping that up really helped smooth the process out.
Another book I got for free (and also started this week) is 川柳少女, which came along literally just in time for me to learn 川柳 on WaniKani (and honestly, without enough real-world exposure, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to make that word stick in my memory). The eponymous character is 七々子, a girl who has trouble speaking in school and so communicates entirely in haiku by writing on a board she carries around. It’s a ４コマ manga and each set of frames has one haiku, most of which have been reasonably straightforward.
This week’s movie was しあわせのパン, which is a super wholesome slice-of-life drama about a husband and wife who run a tiny bed-and-breakfast in 月浦. It’s very easygoing and there’s no grand plot besides the fact that everyone who enters their life comes away enriched. The language was pretty easy to follow most of the time and while I don’t think I can say I learned any new words, it did reinforce some that I had lurking deep in my memory (なす comes to mind). I’ve had it on my shelf for the longest time and it feels good to finally break it out and be able to follow along.
This week I read vol. 10 of ５花嫁, which was I’ve had on my backburner for a few weeks since it came out. My comprehension for the first chapter felt pretty low and I was worried I’d gotten out of my groove, but it picked up after that. The writing has always felt pretty complicated at times, and I noticed a few of my recently-studied N1 grammar points popping up here and there. Still, by the end I didn’t have any confusion as to where the plot had gone, so it seems like it worked out.
Between two days of riding my bike to/from work, I listened to the first episode of HKBK, which I honestly expect to have a hard time with for a while. I shadowed bits and pieces as best I could and I find that it definitely helps me focus. At this point I’m mainly looking to convince my brain that listening and speaking are two things it should care about, so total comprehension isn’t really a priority, but when I do manage to follow the conversation it feels pretty good.
Finally, at the time of writing this I just finished watching 君の名は with no subs. I’ve only seen it once before but it was pretty memorable, which is good because otherwise I would have had a pretty hard time following certain plot points (as above, my listening comprehension is still pretty bad). Still, I was able to make sense of the conversations pretty well. The people in みつは’s country town use a dialect that made some things a little less straightforward but it wasn’t too bad. There was one pattern I thought was interesting; 忘れちゃだめな人 for “person I mustn’t forget”. I know you can use だめな of course, but it didn’t occur to me that this kind of construction would work.
This week I read ねねね, the second half of からかい上手の高木さん vol. 2, and 徒然チルドレン vol. 2. I also shadowed an episode of きくドラ and a good 40 minutes of the Persona 4 drama CD.
I put 高木さん on hold a while ago after it became obvious that I wasn’t up to scratch with regards to the grammar. I revisited it this week while working through my backlog and was delighted to find that it’s comfortably within my abilities now. 西方’s internal monologues can get pretty literary but I only got stuck once or twice.
徒然チルドレン is a series I picked up pretty early on Misa’s recommendation. It follows a variety of characters who all attend the same school and are all hilariously dysfunctional when it comes to romance. This was another series I shelved a while ago and (as expected) it’s much more accessible now, though there’s a fair amount of weird slang that I don’t always follow. I don’t think I’ll end up continuing it, honestly; despite not being all that difficult it took me a surprisingly long time to read, and the different threads are pretty hit-or-miss.
The star of the show this week was ねねね, which I literally picked up for no other reason than that the cover art was nice — I had no idea what to expect but I really loved it. The story follows an arranged marriage between 小雪 (a 16 year old girl) and 清 (a man 20 years her senior who wears a mask all the time). He’s made a vow to keep the marriage platonic until she comes of age, and she’s determined to be a good wife — so of course hilarity ensues along the way.It’s a pretty believable depiction of two people learning to communicate effectively with each other. It’s a one-shot and the whole story takes place in one volume, which is a nice change of pace that I’d like to see more of. Very cute and wholesome and I would highly recommend it.
This week was super busy at work again, so I ended up doing most of my reading while I was in bed trying to fall asleep. Originally the plan was to read the latest volume of 五花嫁 but I didn’t actually get too far…if I’m looking for something to put me to sleep it has to be a little comfier than that. So I’m back to Flying Witch again; this time finishing up vol. 4 (which I had accidentally skipped).
One of the chapters in this book had another scene where Makoto’s host father tries to explain something in 津軽弁, and I was surprised to find that I could actually understand a lot of it this time — after the scene in the first book where I didn’t understand a single thing he said, I went and looked into the dialect a little — the main difference from standard Japanese is that you add dakuten to a lot of the sounds. There are a few vocabulary changes like わ instead of 私, い instead of 家, and めごい instead of かわいい (all of which were used in this section). That being said, the running joke is that Makoto still has trouble understanding him and I was grateful for the following “translation” into standard Japanese so I could get the whole picture.
I wasn’t going to mention it because I’ve only just started, but I’ve also read a little of ねねね, which is (I guess) about an arranged marriage between a young girl and a man who always wears a kitsune mask. It’s just a short one-off and I picked it up because the art was cute, so I don’t really know what to expect. In any case, the reason I bring it up is because I just noticed Calynxx mentioned 二度寝 in his report and I’d just come across that word myself. One of those weird coincidences that’ll probably help the word stick in my mind!