Japanese reading report

Had a rough start of this week with manga; for the first time in months I let two days in a row go by without finishing one. Fortunately I made up for it later in the week and even managed to come out slightly ahead of pace. I also ended up finishing 君の膵臓をたべたい a week early, plus six completed audiobooks and a bit of anime.

For manga, I read vol. 1-5 of 青年少女よ、春を貪れ (the complete series). I’d gotten two volumes for free a while ago but decided to prioritize it when I found out it was set in 和歌山. I ended up enjoying it a lot, and the setting and dialect weren’t even the major factors. It’s really hard to talk about it without ruining the story. I’d to recommend it to anyone who likes serious drama about damaged people. I feel like it’s not quite on the same level as 溺れる花火 but I got very similar vibes on multiple occasions.

Somewhat early in the week I also read 実は私は vol. 1, which is one of those names I’ve heard of for years but have never learned anything about. Not really sure if it’s something I’ll want to continue but I enjoyed it well enough. The main girl is pretty guarded most of the time but she speaks 大阪弁 when she gets comfortable and it’s nice.

I also read 僕が死ぬだけの百物語 vol. 3-4 (now caught up and waiting until next year for a new volume…) and just like before, they each gave a slightly different feel from the others. I think my favorite story involved a guy who’s hired as an assistant “exorcist” and goes through what he perceives as just some song-and-dance to sell the bit, but as his sixth sense starts to awaken he starts realizing what he’s actually being made to do. A lot of the stories are left pretty open-ended, which always feels extra uncomfortable. Additionally, the boy who’s telling the stories is getting more and more wrapped up in his own real-life horror story, three pages at a time between chapters. I’m very interested to learn more about him.

Last manga of the week was 5分後の世界. I picked it up on a whim and haven’t decided whether I’ll continue it, but it was a good quick read. Basically the main guy gets the chance to travel to the future, spend as long as he wants, and then return — once only. Turns out the future he lands in is only five minutes later, immediately before the city is attacked by huge Buddha-shaped monsters, so he’s basically stuck in the future until he can figure out what he can possibly achieve in five minutes to prevent it from happening.

Last week I hadn’t read much of 君の膵臓をたべたい and didn’t really like either of the main characters. This past Wednesday I feel like I reached a point in the story where it started pulling me along, and I ended up more than doubling my expected pace for the rest of the week. I guess I’ll say I expected some of the story beats but not others. There were some moments that had me misty but unfortunately nothing that wrecked me like some of the other books I’ve read. I can see why it’s so well-regarded and I’m glad to have read it, I just feel like it didn’t quite live up to the hype.

Anime: よふかしのうた 9-10, 組長娘と世話係 9-10, それでも歩は寄せてくる 7-10, and サマータイムレンダ 21 (9 episodes in total). This week’s episode of サマータイムレンダ was a particularly difficult one to subtitle. In an effort to get less stuck, I’ve been just typing “???” when there’s a line I don’t know how to translate, and this time I ended up with 58 of them. Almost every one was a case of “I know what this mean but have no idea how to say it in english”, so just another day of being keenly aware of the difference between comprehension and translation. よふかしのうた continues to be my other favorite of the season and it seems like the anime will probably end cleanly with vol. 4 of the manga. Definitely going to start reading after it finishes.

I listened to 京都寺町三条のホームズ vol. 3 and 4 (17:00, med/high focus), スーパーカブ vol. 4 (6:21, low focus), 99%の人がしていない たった1%の 初デートのコツ (med focus, 1:34), レッドデータガール (6:25, med focus), and about half of 同志少女よ、敵を撃て (8:00, low/med focus). レッドデータガール was kind of disappointing because despite being set in 和歌山 there wasn’t a hint of dialect to be heard. I started 同志少女よ、敵を撃て purely because it’s been the #1 most popular audiobook for four months straight, and so far it’s been pretty interesting — it’s historical fiction set during the 独ソ戦 so I’m totally out of my depth by default, very different from anything I’ve read so far. 99%の人(ry was another of those popular books that I picked up just to broaden my horizons; I’ve never read any kind of self-help book and I wasn’t really impressed…it was full of really obvious stuff like “maintain eye contact” (specifically with her left eye?) and “make sure to spend as much time listening as talking”. One thing I will say was that it was easier to switch in and out of high focus mode because each point was low on context, so for that reason alone I wonder if it would be worth listening to more books like this.