My Japanese Journey 🌺

After many years of reading manga, I finally decided to start learning Japanese earlier this year. My primary goal is to be able to read manga in Japanese comfortably, although I do have other books I’d like to get to one day: the 十二国記 series, the 勾玉 trilogy, and 萩尾望都’s memoirs and interviews with other mangaka.

Having previously studied Korean using textbooks, I wanted to take a different approach with Japanese. I spent a week or two learning a couple of hundred words, then dove into よつばと! and チーズスイートホーム. I’m mainly reading manga and graded readers, only looking up grammar and vocabulary occassionally.

Ever since Natively Korean was launched, I’ve neglected Japanese in my excitement to return to Korean, so I’m hoping that keeping a record of my progress learning Japanese will encourage me to read more regularly. :innocent:




  • Spent about a week learning kana and reading some simple grammar explanations
  • Learned about 200+ words using anki



  • Read multiple N4 graded readers
  • Read a handful of children’s books


  • Read multiple N4 graded readers
  • Finished several manga volumes

July - August

Natively releases Korean beta; time spent on Japanese decreases



Phew, good luck juggling both languages bibliothecary! I’ve been reading your Korean log since you started it, and you’ve been putting in so much good work there already. I’m pretty curious about the memoirs and interviews you mentioned; could you tell me a little more about them?


Thank you! I’m hoping I can read in both languages each day, even if it’s just a manga chapter or something. Language learning is a hobby for me, so there’s no pressure thankfully. :smiley:

I’d love to! :blush:

As you may know, 萩尾望都 played a big role in pushing the boundaries of shoujo manga with the 24年組.

This book seems mostly to focus on her time with the group in the early 70s; This one is a compilation of her lectures on shoujo manga given at various universities; this one has several mangaka talking about her work and the impact it had on them; and in the Talk Collection, she documents her conversations with other notable mangaka over 40(!!) years.


マンガのあなた SFのわたし 萩尾望都・対談集 1970年代編 | L30??
手塚治虫 「SFマンガについて語ろう」
水野英子 「私たちって変わり者かしら」
石ノ森章太郎 「SFの話は延々尽きない」
美内すずえ 「親愛なるモー様へ」
寺山修司 「月で修学旅行の案内係」
小松左京 「絵の理想型とは?」
手塚治虫+松本零士 「マンガ、SF、アニメーション」
羽海野チカ 「全部、萩尾作品から学びました」


コトバのあなた マンガのわたし 萩尾望都・対談集 代編 | L30??
吉本隆明 「自己表現としての少女マンガ」
野田秀樹 Part.1 「オフレコにしてくれます?」, Part.2 「夢は舞台を駆けめぐる」
光瀬 龍 「百億の昼と千億の夜」
種村季弘 「吸血鬼幻想」
小笠原豊樹+川又千秋 「レイ・ブラッドベリの魅力」
伊藤理佐 「おんなの扉」


物語るあなた 絵描くわたし 萩尾望都 対談集 1990年代編 | L30??
中島らも 「恐怖の快感」
夢枕 獏 「小説をマンガで描く愉しみ、マンガ化してもらう悦び」
森 博嗣 「創作のきっかけは萩尾作品」
氷室冴子 「空想からの発想」
ささやななえ 「マンガ今昔物語」
巖谷 國士 「マンガ独特の体験」
東村アキコ 「私の人生を変えた萩尾作品」


愛するあなた 恋するわたし: 萩尾望都 対談集 2000年代編 | L30??
吾妻ひでお 「SF妄想世界の旅」
よしながふみ 「やおいと純愛」
恩田 陸 「萩尾作品は私の原点」
庵野秀明+佐藤嗣麻子 「エヴァンゲリオンのその後」
大和和紀 「少女マンガの黄金時代」
清水玲子 「マンガ的美少年」
ヤマザキマリ 「始まりは萩尾マンガだった」

I’ve got all of these sitting on a bookshelf just waiting for my Japanese language skills to improve so I can read them. :heart_eyes:


Daaaang. That is so cool! :open_mouth: I hadn’t even heard of 24年組 before; definitely going to have to look that up! Thank you for all the info!

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I’ve mostly been reading manga lately, but I’m going to try to get through some more Tadoku graded readers. I’ve read 92/109 of Tadoku - Free (series) | L0-20, so I want to finish the series, and I’ve got 5 volumes of Taishukan Japanese Readers (series) | L6-22 and Tadoku - Japanese Graded Readers (series) | L6-21 sitting on my bookshelf.

If one of my picks for the ライトノベル読書会 📚 Light Novel Book Club | Voting now! wins, I’ll join that (though it will be a stretch considering my current level); if not, I’ll to start a book+audiobook (possibly Magic Tree House Book Club? 🏡). I want to build my Japanese reading habit and improve so I can start reading all my BL LNs (new book club idea!) :laughing:



Don’t tempt me. :rofl:


Never fear. I shall join the club instead to save @eefara from temptation. It is a hard sacrifice, but a noble cause :triumph:


I am saved from temptation, because I own very few BL books. :face_holding_back_tears: however, webnovels exist. :face_in_clouds:


I managed to read Japanese every day this week! :tada:

Here’s what I finished:

I picked up 絵本 おじさまと猫 ふくまるとしあわせの宇宙船 書籍 | L19 because I was hoping it would be a heartwarming story about ふくまる and パパ (just look at that adorable chibi おじさま on the cover); instead, it was a story about ふくまる meeting a couple of 宇宙猫… :confused:

Anyway, I’ve started おじさまと猫 1 | L17 (already read it in English) and I am ready to feel some feelings. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

It doesn’t look like one of my picks is gonna win the ライトノベル読書会 📚 Light Novel Book Club | Voting now! (what a tense battle :sweat_drops:) so I guess I’m gonna be reading Magic Treehouse along with the audiobook. I’ll wait till the poll’s officially over just in case :laughing:


So August wasn’t a great month for my Japanese… :melting_face:

I haven’t really focused on a single book, instead dipping into a chapters here and there of various manga and children’s books, along with stories from,, and

I’m happy I read some Japanese most days, even if they were short sessions. I’m gonna try to remember to mark off my days read calendar, because I haven’t been doing that recently. :sweat_smile:

I’m thinking of starting early on next week’s reading for 🇰🇷 🇯🇵 Home Thread for 本好きの下剋上 / 책벌레의 하극상 📚 🪱 | Now voting on pace!. It’s my first book club and I’m attempting to read both the Japanese and Korean versions, so I want to give myself a bit of a headstart, just to be safe. :laughing:

:jp: ebook + physical book + audiobook
:kr: ebook

My plan is:

  • read the :kr: chapters (ebook) straight through, no lookups
  • read the :jp: chapters (physical + audiobook) straight through, no lookups
  • intensive reading of :kr: and :jp: side by side (ebooks)
  • (maybe) relistening to :jp: audiobook

Since I foresee this being a challenge, I’m not gonna aim for any more than this. If I can keep up with the book club pace, I’ll be happy! :blush:

Current stats



Finished this week

:memo: includes a written review
:headphones: read along with audiobook
:ear: audiobook only
:underage: adult content; not currently on Natively
:x: format not currently supported on Natively

Graded Reader

TV Show


  • Nihongo con Teppei 1-130 :x:


I think the book club has got me back in the groove with Japanese - I actually have things to include in a weekly summary! :triumph:

I finished my first non-anime TV series, and no surprises, it was a BL! If you don’t mind a bit of angst, 4月の東京は… S1 | L30?? is a great watch. :two_hearts:

I was underwhelmed by 初級日本語よみもの げんき多読ブックス [Box 1] GENKI Japanese Readers Box 1 | L5, although I’ll probably continue the series just for some extensive reading.

For some easy listening practice, I started Nihongo con Teppei. Each episode is only a few minutes long, but still, I was a bit surprised to realise how many I was able to get through!

As for 本好きの下剋上, I’ve found myself thinking this seems like the type of book I would have loved as a kid; I would have fallen into the world head-first like Alice in Wonderland. Alas, I don’t foresee myself reincarnating as a 5-year-old Japanese girl in order to truly fulfil this dream. :face_holding_back_tears:

There’s a lot of unknown vocab and grammar, but having the Korean copy to reference has been a big help (although I often find myself ‘reading’ kanji in Korean… ㅠ_ㅠ). I think I’ll have to be more discerning about what I choose to look up, though - intensive reading is slow-going, and there’s too many pages to read per week to look up every little thing.


Much the same as last week:


Finished this week

:memo: includes a written review
:headphones: read along with audiobook
:ear: audiobook only
:underage: adult content; not currently on Natively
:x: format not currently supported on Natively

Graded Reader

TV Show



In an attempt to speed up my 本好きの下剋上 reading, I’ve been reading a page at a time this week: first in Korean, then Japanese (ttsu + yomichan), followed by rereading the Japanese along with the audiobook. I can’t read it as closely as I originally planned, but I can get through the weekly reading and still have plenty of time for other books and TV shows. :grin:

I ended up falling head over heels for 美しい彼 | L36 and binging all the episodes… And then immediately bought the first volume of the light novel, a couple of manga volumes, the photo books for the drama series and the movie (just released; will be watching that as soon as I can!), the drama/movie script books… and Yusei Yagi’s photobook. I’m a fan now! :laughing: :heart:


I seem to have settled into a nice little routine, so I’ll just continue with it. :smiling_face:


Enjoy! All of them are really fun reads and even better than the drama (although it comes close :face_holding_back_tears:)


it was our monthly pick a while back in a club I am in and you are definitely not alone in becoming a fan. :rofl: Though, personally, overall it’s not quite my thing, I enjoyed the LN more than the drama. I was cringing so hard while watching the drama and only made it through because I had a group to vent with how cringe it was. :see_no_evil:


Please be sure to take pictures when it all arrives in! I want to see all the goodies! :smiley:

Ah, and I was doing some research; 美しい彼’s publisher Chara regularly publishes bonus stories and such for their series throughout the year. They’re mostly just fluffy additions afaik, not anything containing important plot or anything, but if/when you wanted to see what’s available for 美しい彼, just let me know I and I can take pictures/scans of any stories I have!

(Oh, I just realized the above may sound kind of sketchy. The bonus stories are printed in “not for sale” booklets and pamphlets the publisher distributes every year, not in paid books. Well, they may be reprinted in paid books, but if they are I wouldn’t provide a copy, of course.)


:eyes: :eyes: :eyes:


I will! It’ll probably be next week sometime… I’m anticipating it like a kid waiting for Christmas! :rofl:

Oh you wonderful person! :face_holding_back_tears: :heart:


Just a quick note for @bibliothecary and other 美しい彼 fans: looks like a special 12-page booklet’s going to be included with preorders for the third manga volume over at animate:


Finished this week

:memo: includes a written review
:headphones: read along with audiobook
:ear: audiobook only
:underage: adult content; not currently on Natively
:x: format not currently supported on Natively

TV Show


  • Nihongo con Teppei 301-350 :x:

Drama CD

  • 嫌いでいさせて :x:


I’ve struggled to really concentrate on anything this week, so I’ve mostly been watching TV and doing a bit of listening. I’m blaming my lethargy on the changing seasons… :yawning_face:

I watched ジャックフロスト S1 | L23, which I really loved. I don’t know whether I’ve just been lucky or Japan just produces amazing BL series, but all the ones I’ve watched so far have been amazing (美しい彼 | L36 and 4月の東京は… | L30 being the others). :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

I’ve also started グッド・プレイス S1 | L30?? which I’ve watched half a dozen times in English. It’s so weird seeing the characters speak Japanese! :rofl:

I happened to listen to the BLCD of 嫌いでいさせて | L24??, and was shocked to realise I could actually follow it! I’ve read the series a few times in English, so I know the story pretty well, but understanding the audio and being able to picture the scenes was a nice little confidence boost. :face_holding_back_tears:

I have a modest collection of drama CDs, but I assumed it would be a long time before I’d be able to understand them, so I hadn’t even tried listening to them until now. The combination of a familiar story and pure dialogue made for a relatively easy listen, so I’ll be on the lookout for BLCDs of manga I’ve read on Mandarake (buying new is… expensive :flushed:).

My plan for listening so far has been to work my way through Nihongo con Teppei’s beginner and intermediate podcasts (~1.5k episodes), followed by more beginner/easy podcasts. It’ll be nice to have some easyish native material to add into the mix.


Catch up with book club reading! I’ve given myself some slack this week since I was so tired, but I don’t want to fall behind too much. :persevere:


Any recommendations you have on BLCDs would be awesome; I really need to work on my listening, but I don’t have much as motivation atm.