Jalup Group Challenge 4: Novel Blast (Update) — 42 Comments

  1. Would light novels count towards this?
    That is all I really have access to right now, and I really want to try this out!

  2. I am totally up for the challenge! There are 2 novels I was hoping to have finished before the year was over. Now I can actually make it a goal to finish them!
    1. Love Initiation
    2. Flowers for Algernon

  3. I’ll do this. Even though I’ve been reading for a while now and am some thousands of cards deep into J-J, I haven’t even made it halfway through a Japanese novel. I don’t know which ones I plan to do yet, though.

  4. Hi! I’m joining this challenge partly because I have a backlog of novels I’d like to get through, so this can help push me to get more reading done. Also, the Order of the Phoenix is my least favourite Harry Potter novel, so I’d like to plow through that to get to my favourite of the series, the Half-Blood Prince.

    I think I’m around level 70 now. I’ve read a little over a couple dozen distinct novels (sometimes I’ve reread some two or three times), so I have a bit of experience with them.

    The two novels I’ve decided to read are:
    ハリー・ポッターと不死鳥の騎士団 5-4
    ハリー・ポッターと謎のプリンス 6-1

    As for strategy, I like setting a minimum number of pages I need to read per day, that way I don’t risk falling behind. So for these two books, I will need to read at least 23 pages a day to stay on top of it.

    • Finally managed to finish reading the first part of Half-Blood Prince today, so this challenge is now complete!

      There were days where I didn’t bother to read anything from these novels, and some days where I read 100 pages or more. I probably could have finished the challenge a number of days ago, but I got sucked into other things, like reading the manga that had arrived a couple of weeks ago in the mail. :D

  5. This sounds like a fun challenge! =)

    I’ll be on vacation for half of December, and still have a way-too-thick pile of (text-heavy) JP games to get through, so I’m afraid I have to pass on this one. Good luck to everyone who’s taking on the challenge!

  6. – Your level
    20~ ( I really should check this out :o )

    – Do you have experience with J-novels?
    Nope, I haven’t read any novels! Just manga and subtitle files really!
    This will be my first step into novels of any kind in Japanese!
    – What 2 novels are you choosing?

    – Briefly explain why you are joining this challenge (ex. this can be as simple as “I want to kick some J-novel ass.”
    Lately, I’ve been getting onto a slower lull in terms of sentence mining, Not to mention University is taking up a lot of immersion time, This will give me a little push to try and actually read something, and interact with Japanese more than I currently am!

    – Briefly explain any game plan/strategy you may have
    I really don’t know how deep into this I can get, considering I have exams after December, but my game plan is to just read these in my down time between studying, That gives me a few hours a day at least to just try and read as much as I can.
    Their relatively short light novels, so it is possible!

    • Finished off オレのラブコメヘロインはパンツがはけない yesterday! Which concludes this challenge! Didn’t think I’d be able to finish with exams but I did! :D
      I was told that was a comedy light novel, but it was quite different to what I expected…

      Anyways! I still finished it :D
      Thank you, JALUP, for the excuse to read more and study for university less! It was a blast, a novel blast ;D

  7. My level – I am not exactly sure, but I would imagine around 35-40 or so. In native material, I am working at about a 小学二年生 level.

    I have been very slowly working through the Japanese translation of the Little House on the Prairie series. I started about a year ago, and I have just started the third book, プラム川の土手で. I have also been working my way through 10分で読める books. I am now reading one for 三年生, very slowly.

    I am choosing:


    I have only recently gotten to the point where I can read and comprehend at a reasonable pace, so it seems good keep up the momentum. I also plan on entering the Tadoku competition in January, so this will be a good warmup, I think.

    For personal reasons, I am planning to keep things simple this coming holiday season. Last year, I did a lot of listening and anime watching while preparing for the holidays. This year, spending some time reading novels feels just right.


    • Well, I did my holiday decorating today, so that is finished. I pulled ハイジ off the bookshelf to start tomorrow.

      Sadly, I have heard rumors that Tadoku will not be happening next month, so I guess that this will have to be the challenge for me to get started on serious reading.

    • So far, I am on track. ハイジ has 14 chapters, so I have been reading a chapter a day, so I should be finished with the first book in plenty of time to start the second. The second book seems to be much shorter, but I have watched the Anime for ハイジ which from what I have seen so far in my reading, followed the book pretty closely. Because of this, I already knew the story which has helped a lot. The second book is completely new to me!

    • Good news! The Tadoku site seems to be back online so that may have been a false alarm.

      I am currently reading four novels at once in my haphazard way. It was five until I finished one. Then I started another and put it back to five, then finished another so now it is four again. I am going to try not to be tempted by anything else until I have finished at least one or two of these. And Christmas is coming, so I’d better hurry. I know I will be tempted to start a Christmas present book! So I’ll probably have read at least two novels’s worth this month (because I’ll still be reading the others). But it’s too haphazard to enter for this challenge!

      I have become a bit of a bookoholic I am afraid, which is odd because I had/have no interest in novels in English.

    • ぎりぎりセーフ!

      I just finished 動物記. This one was a bit harder than ハイジ, not so much in terms of difficulty, but because I did not like it as much. Also, family obligations made it difficult to read in an orderly manner like I did with ハイジ. But…I managed to finish with a day to spare!

      Reading at a reasonable pace was a lot different than what I had been doing before, and it made it a lot easier to get into the story. As a result of this, I have decided to read the rest of the Little House series as wide reading, so I plan on starting from where I left off on ブラム川の土手で and just keep going.

      Thank you for this challenge!

  8. イリヤの空、UFOの夏 Vol. 1-2

    I have the first two light novels of this in digital form. Thing is, they’re on the Nintendo DS and the’ve been touched up with the addition of music and artwork to enhance the experience. So it’s like a visual novel, to an extent, but the text is presented just as it was in the novel (from what I understand), though there is the option to have the text be displayed vertically or horizontally. Hope it still counts.

    I don’t know what level I’m at. I’m 150 cards into Jalup intermediate. I don’t expect to understand much.

    My game plan really is just to read what I can, look up anything that keeps turning up or seems interesting, and ignore most of what I don’t understand in order to keep my sanity. I intend to read late at night, after work, until I’m tired. Before work in the evening, I’ll be studying/reviewing via anki, and gaming.

    I figure this challenge would be a good excuse to stay immersed in the language and practice reading, so I wish to participate. :)

    • I kinda read like a 100 pages before bailing. It was too hard for my level and I wasn’t enjoying it. My journey doesn’t stop here though. I shall march forth with my studies, and challenge this novel another time.

  9. Level: 30+
    Experience with J-novels: I have read exactly 1. It was a novel that been turned into a manga, so I read the manga first, and then bought the novel to see if I could handle the challenge. Reading the manga first was helpful because it gave me a structure of events of sorts, and understanding context and special vocabulary for scenes was easier. The novel was about 200 pages.
    Also, I tried to read ハリーポッターと賢者の石 one time, but only got 15 pages in.
    Novels I am choosing: No.6 vol. 2 and 3 by あさのあつこ
    Why am I doing this challenge: I was already planning on reading these novels, so why not?
    Game plan: Each novel is slightly over 200 pages, which gives me a total of 400 pages to read in 30 days. 400/30= slightly over 13. I’ll read at least 15 pages a day. I won’t bother looking up unknown words unless they really start to bug me, but grammar I’ll look up if I feel I need to.

    • I’ve read the first novel and am 75 pages away from finishing the second one. If I can finish those 75 pages by the end of the day, then I will have completed this challenge. I’ll post later today with an update.

  10. Level 60ish.
    Have read a few novels – some Murakami, and one of the Harry Potter books. Have been stuck on Kokoro for the past couple of months, so want to give myself a push to finish that and Botchan by the end of the year. My strategy will be to read 30 pages a day, sometimes reading along with the audio book.

  11. – Your level
    – Do you have experience with J-novels?
    I have read 2 J-novels.
    – What 2 novels are you choosing?
    Initiation Loveイニシエーション・ラブ
    Flowers for Algernon アルジャーノンに花束を
    – Briefly explain why you are joining this challenge (ex. this can be as simple as “I want to kick some J-novel ass.”
    I need the extra motivation to finish a few novels that have been sitting on my bookshelf and have been wanting to read.
    – Briefly explain any game plan/strategy you may have
    I will try split my reading into two sessions of 15 pages. From there I will figure out what times of the day I am able to focus on reading.

  12. 1) Your level
    Haven’t checked in a while but I think I’m somewhere in the 60s.

    2) Do you have experience with J-novels?
    I have read three novels and two short story collections but it’s just not enough. I should be reading a lot more especially since one of the reasons I started learning Japanese was so that I could read my favorite authors in their original language.

    3) What 2 novels are you choosing?
    Kawakami Hiroki’s センセイの鞄
    Haruki Murakami’s 女のいない男たち

    The first is a novel, the second is a collection of short stories.

    4) Briefly explain why you are joining this challenge (ex. this can be as simple as “I want to kick some J-novel ass.”

    As I mentioned before, I need to get back into novel reading because that was my original goal.

    5) Briefly explain any game plan/strategy you may have
    Subtracting Friday and Saturday(since I’m never home on the weekends) and the last three days of December as that is the end of the year and there will be many festivities, that leaves me with 19 days to read 2 novels. Wow, looking at it that way it seems like very little time! The Murakami is 284 pages (6 short stories) and the Kawakami is 277 pages. That would put me at about 30 pages a day. That seems manageable. Or, read one short story per day for the first 6 days, then use the remaining 13 days to read the Kawakami. Hmm… looks like 30 pages a day is the safer bet for completing this challenge so that is what I will aim for. I can do that.

    Alright, let’s do this!!!!

    • I have read 20 pages so far this month. This isn’t looking so good. But at the same time, figured this would happen. Busy month, lots happening (more so even than planned) and a lack of reading desire.

      • Nope, nope, nope.

        Nothing happened this month. I also only read one manga this month. One!
        So let’s just retire December and move on to January! Positive thoughts!

  13. Perfect timing on this one for me. Not sure I can do it, but count me in anyway!


    I read “The Little Prince”, which baaaarely counts as a novel. (Though it was excellent, of course.) So far that’s it.

    – “Kitchen” by Yoshimoto Banana
    – “Hear the Wind Sing” by Murakami Haruki

    It’s pretty much been my goal (dream?) to be able to read some of my favorite novels in the original Japanese. I keep getting scared off though, saying things like, “just a few more manga first,” etc. This challenge is just the push I needed.

    First part of my strategy is to choose two very short novels, both of which I’ve read before in English. (Cheating?!) Second part of my strategy is to just take it a day at a time, and read as much as I can!

    Small caveat: I’m slightly ahead of the game, as I actually already started reading “Kitchen”. Couldn’t wait! That said, I can keep track of how many pages I’ve already read once December starts and make those up in a third novel if/when I finish the other two. (Probably “Pinball, 1979”, also by Murakami.)

    • Little over the halfway point and not looking too promising. I finished Kitchen, although technically the novel consists of the Kitchen novella itself plus another 50-ish page story called “Moonlight Shadow” which I have not yet read.

      Was trying to decide whether I should count just the Kitchen portion… but that seems shady :D

      Honestly, even if I finish a single Japanese novel in a month (or ever?) I will be totally stoked and feel like I’ve broken a serious barrier in my studies, so I’m not getting too worked up about it.

      Hope everyone else is making good progress!

    • Bah, didn’t quite make it! I finished Kitchen/Moonlight Shadow (then took a small One Piece break) but I’ve only made it about halfway through Hear the Wind Sing so far. I’ll finish it soon, though.

      Still, I’m pretty amped to have gone from “hoping to read a Japanese novel someday” to “finishing up my second Japanese novel, eyeballing a third” over the course of a month.

      Excellent challenge! Many thanks to Adam and all who participated.

      Some random “reflections” on the challenge:
      * Even though Kitchen was technically easier, I was able to read the Murakami book way faster… I think I just like it better, honestly.
      * Hear the Wind Sing has so many kanji I’ve never run across, and also uses kanji for words I’ve never seen written in kanji, like 何故(なぜ). Really opened my eyes to the insufficiency of the 常用 list!
      * My JP reading pace is still pretty slow, but it’s gotten noticeably faster even after only one novel.
      * After having read a Japanese novel, which has been one of my ultimate goals since day one, I seriously feel like I can do anything :D

      • I’m really happy the challenge made a difference even if you couldn’t finish it. I expect many more Japanese novels read from you in 2016!

        And you can take a break from One Piece for 10 years and still come back to find the show not even halfway finished.

  14. – Your level
    Around 55, I guess.

    – Do you have experience with J-novels?
    I have read exactly one so far.

    – What 2 novels are you choosing?
    1Q84 (book 1, 前編) by Murakami Haruki (who seems to be a very popular author for this challenge).
    アリス殺し by Kobayashi Yasumi (because I like everything that is related to Alice
    in Wonderland)

    – Briefly explain why you are joining this challenge (ex. this can be as simple as “I want to kick some J-novel ass.”
    Well, I am attempting N1 in a bit less than two weeks, so I figured reading some Japanese wouldn’t hurt. I actually read a lot of manga and blogs on a daily basis, but this also means I never see most of the formal side of the language.
    Anyway, I thought I could just keep going afterwards, so it makes sense to join this challenge.

    – Briefly explain any game plan/strategy you may have
    I have more than two hours of commute every day, that’s pretty much all I need.

    • Murakami is really easy to read so he’s good for these fast reading challenges. His books are at about a low N2 level so at N1 you should breeze through the book.

    • – Whether you were able to complete those 2 novels, or how far you got.
      I did it! Just finished アリス殺し, and I was done with 1Q84 (only the first book, though, but it is my understanding that it’s ok by the rules) around the middle of the month.

      – Reflect on your experience (issues, struggle, discoveries, etc)
      Well, I guess the biggest discovery was how fluid reading in Japanese has become.
      Although, as kure mentioned, Murakami is easy to read, that was (and is still) an awesome feeling.
      The other book would be much harder to read without previous knowledge of Alice in wonderland, mostly due to the invented words, like “frumious” = 燻り狂える. I also learned that “off with their heads!!” is 「首をちょん切っておしまい!!」

      About the whole experience, I was a first fairly reluctant and instead spent most time reviewing for the N1. Once that was out of the way, well, my commute trip is also the time where I review my anki cards, so I wasn’t making much progress. Also, my past experience with Japanese novels dates from when I was at N3, and reading was an excruciating process.

      What really helped, in the end, was a 12h flight to go see family. With nothing else to do, I read a huge chunk of 1Q84 at once, which changed completely my view of learning Japanese. As Adam said, it is pretty much a race to immersion. I feel like I had really settled in a kind of routine with anki, and I wasn’t making much progress anymore. So, I decided to stop anki for a while, and instead focus on reading. And voila, challenge complete, and massive confidence boost.

      From now on, I guess I will try to keep reading, while introducing back a lighter anki routine. We’ll see.

  15. Current Level: around 25-30

    Do you have experience with J-novels?
    Not really. I’ve tried a few times to start 魔女の宅急便, but will rarely make it past the first couple pages without burnout. Other than that, no.

    What 2 novels are you choosing?

    Briefly explain why you are joining this challenge.
    This is hands down going to be the hardest thing I’ve done so far with Japanese. Even more so than diving into J-J honestly. Not only am I scared of the burn out, but the sheer amount of unknown words I’m bound to encounter. I just want to improve my reading (as that’s one of my main goals with Japanese).

    Briefly explain any game plan/strategy you may have.
    I think going into it, I’m not going to ‘think too much’. Just focus on getting the reading done. Going to take a highlighter and highlight all the unknown words as I read through. I’ve kinda always been against doing it, but the book is used anyway. I also made a blog for the challenge where I’m going to record my progress and sorta use as a way to hold myself accountable.

  16. I wonder if VN count as novels?

    – Your level : ~55 (reading only)
    – Do you have experience with J-novels? Nope. Although I’ve read some Visual Novels.
    – What 2 novels are you choosing? Gyakuten Saiban 2 and Narcissu.
    ーGS could easily take up to 3 weeks to complete (if I don’t take any breaks). I am hoping that I’ll be able to complete Narcissu in 7 days though. Anyways, you’ll never know until you try it. The god news is that I am at a point where I don’t face many unknown words in Gyakuten Saiban, like 1 every 2 minutes.

    • Ok. Change of plans. I played half of first Gyakuten Saiban 1 and half of 2 so it makes a full game, right? haha. Anyways, I’ve started playing Steins;Gate 0. I can understand 80% with known vocabulary, another 10% from “derivation” (同室 means being in same room, because 同居 means in the same house…). It psychically hurts to know that I don’t know that 10%, but I think I should stop “adding everything” and tone down a bit.

      • Finished Completely Steins;Gate Zero. WOW. I learned a lot and, I feel that my reading skills have increased (a little). The story was really interesting too. It is the longest reading project I’ve ever tackled. It would probably be listed as 30-50,if not 50, hours visual Novel.

  17. Sign me up. Im around level 45 and have read one novel before, not sure what novels im gonna read yet, but two novels should be doable.

  18. Congratulations to all who finished the challenge. Another step on your Japanese journeys… also well done to those who participated and did at least some reading. Those are still small steps in the right direction, keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>