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How I Struggled to Read a Japanese Book a Day — 30 Comments

  1. Wow, that’s impressive! I’ve managed to get through 2-3 books a week while doing Tadoku, but I’m not sure I’d have the guts to even try to attempt one English book a day, never mind one Japanese book!
    I have fallen off the reading in Japanese bandwagon lately (I do a lot of (not fun!) reading in Japanese for work, but barely any in my free time) and hopefully this post will push me to actually pick up something in Japanese next! I do have a whole shelf of Japanese books waiting for me..

  2. I can’t wait to get started with reading Japanese soon! I used to be a really big reader in middle school, 2 books on weekdays and 3 on weekends, but now quit for some reason. I really want to get back, but I decided to postpone it till Japanese. Also, (in a non offensive way) it’s great to see that not even one of the grand masters can do super extreme goals. It shows that you are still human haha.

  3. I wanted to say that finishing one book a day even in my native language (Russian) sounds like something impossible to me (my reading speed really sucks), but than I rememberd that I’ve actually finished a 500-page Terry Pratchett book in one day once. It took me the whole day though, not 4-5 hours, and I didn’t really have other things to do, so I just stayed in bed reading. Nowadays a book can take me months, which is pretty sad.
    But this post has somehow motivated me to take a challenge and try to finish one Japanese book in a week or two. Let’s see how it goes!

    • I limited my books to shorter paperbacks (as this is the type of book I prefer reading anyway), so this was definitely not a 500-page Terry Pratchett book every 2 days!

      I think you’ll really enjoy trying to finish a Japanese book in one or two weeks, as it’ll show you that you are actually capable of it and it wasn’t so bad.

  4. 一日一冊を目指した、流石アダムさん(^^)
    おれは一週一冊を目指しているけどいつか一日一冊できるかもしれない。。。一週間くらいでけどね(笑)

    • Jacobさんなら一時間に一冊ができるんじゃないの?

      でも冗談抜きで、一週間に一冊は本当にいいんですよ。

      • 確かにそうでしょうね。。。さらに本以外はやりたいことはいっぱいあるからこの量でいい。

        まあ、いずれにせよ一日に一冊が出来るとは凄い!(3・4日でも)

  5. I decided to try for 1/month. I don’t enjoy reading as much if I don’t look up almost every word and research almost every phrase I don’t know, and I’m a slow English reader to start with. One Japanese book takes me well over 10 hours. It would be great to get to 1/week as I eventually don’t need to look up as many words.

    1/day has a nice ring to it, but 2.5/week is still awesome!

    • Looking up every work and phrase definitely slows you down and changes the purpose of what you are doing it for.

      But I’m happy to hear you decided to at least start with 1/month. Way better than 1/year, and you can always move your pace up as you get better.

  6. I find posts like these really motivating and useful because they demonstrate setting ambitious goals, persistence at attempting to reach those goals, but also acceptance of limitations and handling failure gracefully.

  7. Did you ever read any old Japanese texts like The Tale of Genji in the original version? Or is that Japanese too different to be understandable? It could be a good challenge :P

    • I’m really bad with classics. So I don’t know if I’d have the motivation to make a challenge like that. That and I have never bothered to really develop classical Japanese understanding past a basic grasp.

      • Awesome! I just saw your difficulty level guide of everything Japanese! Thanks so much! And oh, I’ve been enjoying my Jalup for 9 days now and even though my schedule is currently in a busy mode, I still see fast progress! (I’m honestly amazed.) I thought I was able to skip Beginner, but I actually still learn some interesting stuff from your materials. Glad to choose Jalup Max!

  8. The tadoku contest at http://readmod.com/ is a great way for people to get motivated to read. This past tadoku in January I read my first book, and just finished my second yesterday. There is a short tadoku coming up on March 14-31, I’m planning to finish my 3rd book by the end of that. The whole point of the contest, where you are really only competing against yourself, is to set a goal and then keep track of how much you read while you build up a reading habit.

    • Yeah, I think that’s a great motivating challenge for a lot of people.

      Though, I’m the type of person that when I decide I goal, I must absolutely start it right now, and unfortunately the world doesn’t match my timeline.

      • I feel the same way. If I don’t start today – right now – I probably never will. Also some of the excitement about a new and interesting goal will wear off quickly and something else is new and exciting the next day.

  9. When you say you do all of your reading on Kindle, are you referring to Amazon.com or Amazon.jp? I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that Amazon.com’s selection of Japanese-language books was not very good.

  10. Hi Adam,
    First of all, thank you for a great website, which is a huge source of information and inspiration for me!

    I am wondering about the massive consumption of books that you discuss in this article. During this fast reading process, do you ever sentence pick, or mark new words etc? Perhaps in your advanced case you rarely find new words, but for those learners that still encounter a new word or two on each page, would you recommend sentence picking? This would definitely slow the process down and perhaps ruin the benefits of consuming huge amounts of text over a month, but you would gradually increase your vocabulary this way. I am slightly confused about this aspect, especially with regard to this article.

    • Hello Ean,

      With this challenge, I didn’t sentence pick or mark new words. It was just pure reading. Even at a fluent level, I will of course come across words I’m unfamiliar with (especially going through about 10 books in the month). But as I was reading for enjoyment, I didn’t interrupt myself to learn anything.

      Here I talk about at my current level when I’ll stop to add stuff:

      http://japaneselevelup.com/stop-adding-new-cards-anki/

      I think it’s good to separate this type of “study reading” and “enjoyment reading,” otherwise it always feels like you are studying. Especially if you engage in a challenge like this.

  11. Hi Adam-

    Thank you for your reply and link- I will take a look. I assume that the enjoyment reading will still have positive learning effects along the lines of “getting used to the language”, reinforcing knowledge you already have and allowing a little passive learning of vocab and grammar. For some reason I feel more “immersed” in the language when I’m reading a book (and am enjoying the story) as compared to watching a movie, some of which can wash over you when you lose focus. Its as if your mind is forced to concentrate on and adapt to the patterns and logic of the language in the book, more so than when you watch TV etc. I always come away from a reading session feeling slightly more “locked into” the language and a bit more fluent! After reading this article, I’m encouraged to try to up my slow reading pace and get through at least two books per month for a while!

    Thanks and best regards.

    • Yes, enjoyment reading has many positive effects, so don’t ever think of it as something inferior.

      2 books for the month sounds like a great goal. Best of luck!

  12. Thank you for your awesome posts. I want to learn Japanese someday, your posts kind of motivated me, for now I’m learning Swedish and reading a lot in english, it’s not my first language so i gotta improve.

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