What I’m reading today

So while I have a physical book to read in convenient locations around the house (such as certain locations where I get to sit undisturbed for a few minutes *ahem*), I like to have something online to read as well in case I don’t happen to have a book on me. I figured it was finally time to start reading some of the more famous Japanese literature works. I tried to read 「こころ」 before but it was too depressing for me to get very far. Now, I am reading 「吾輩は猫である」 and I’m enjoying it a lot more.

I also got the Android app to get these ebooks from 「青空文庫」. Unfortunately, the mobile version doesn’t seem to have the handy furigana text, which is too bad because this is fairly challenging reading even with the modern kana and kanji conversions (such as いう instead of いふ). There’s tons of Kanji I’m not familiar with, too many to list here but here’s an interesting sentence:


Apparently, 言っておらるる is the equivalent to 言っておられる. I’m not too far into the story yet but I’m enjoying it so far. I like cats and this book doesn’t seem as depressing as 「こころ」. I’ve got a couple novels I’m going through now so this will probably be my last blog post on what I’m reading for a while. But I think I’ve introduced a number of resources with tons of reading material so please share interesting things you’ve read or are reading in the comments!

Difficult: 4.5/5 (with 新字新仮名)
My Rating: Will update later

5 thoughts on “What I’m reading today

  1. Hi Tae,
    I noticed these posts recently about reading (and watching anime, too), and I was just wondering: is that your recommended study method? Intensive reading (with a dictionary and grammar guide in hand, I assume)?
    I also noticed you often recommend NOT using flash-card programs (and paper?)… is that because simply reading habitually has the same effect as flash-cards (common words popping up all the time), as well as other benefits (grammar, context, and such)?
    However, you do list new words you learned recently in these posts… do you keep track of these somehow? Or make your own flashcards to refresh your memory of these new words later?
    Sorry for the odd questions, I’m just doubting my study methods recently (which includes reading / writing down stories and news articles, and taking notes while watching movies and such, then later entering said notes into Anki).
    What’s the best way you’ve found for yourself? Any advice on ‘how to learn’?
    Perhaps your head is more iron-clad; I often feel mine a sieve. 🙁
    (Sorry if you’ve answered this before and I haven’t found it).

    • Hi Larka,

      I don’t keep track of new words I learn. I have a few core beliefs:
      1. Learning language should be fun
      2. You should be doing what you want to get good at (practice makes perfect)
      3. Quantity over quality.

      So you should ask yourself: do you have fun using Anki? I know some people do enjoy making stats and tracking their progress. It’s really boring for me so it doesn’t work. Also, what are you trying to improve? If you want to improve reading comprehension or understanding movies without subtitles, you should be reading and watching movies instead of using some program. If you want to improve conversation skills, you should be spending your time having conversations.

      I am currently trying to improve my writing skills and so I’m doing a lot of reading to increase my vocabulary and expressive power and trying to write more.

      Lastly, forgetting things is actually a good thing! If you learn 100 new words and forget 80, it’s better than perfectly memorizing 10. Even for the ones you forget, you didn’t completely “forget it” if you remember enough of it to recognize that you’ve forgotten it and that’s progress. So when it comes to memorizing vocab, it’s definitely quantity over quality.

      • Thank for the reply Tae,

        Without getting too personal, I don’t really know what ‘fun’ is for myself. It can’t be simply doing whatever you feel like, right? I can watch an anime/movie/drama without subtitles (or taking notes) and enjoy it by simply glossing over the parts I don’t understand. Perhaps I’ve subconsciously picked up a few subtleties or words from context, but I’m fairly confident I haven’t learned anything substantial.

        I’ve found that, for myself, reading articles and writing them down in whole, on paper, really helps me pick up new words and kanji well. It’s really not ‘fun’ at all, but I can tell I’m actually learning the most this way (writing things down on paper seems very beneficial to remembering for me; though, I must say, that because it’s a bit more laborious, I don’t do it as often as I should.)

        But, I just find by reading alone (sans writing) at this point in my learning, isn’t very beneficial. It just turns into ‘skimming’ by using Rikaichan or pasting unknown words into a dictionary. At the end, if I tried to read it again, I find myself looking up the same words I just did 10 minutes ago.

        I’ve never actually used the statistics in Anki, but simply use it as more of a place to put all my notes (words, phrases, etc.) I took while talking with people, watching movies, or reading, for later review (with the same context / example sentence I found it in). Even when coming across new and interesting words in English I want to understand, I find it helpful for myself to make a text document, add the word, definition, context, etc. for later reference. The act of building the cards myself (or my English word lists) aids in remembering, I think. Though, it is indeed quite time-consuming.

        I don’t know… It just seems like you can’t be having ‘fun’ all the time. Obviously you want to choose interesting and enjoyable reading materials, but at some point you always have to (at the very least) sit down with a dictionary to know what you’re reading. I’d consider that more ‘necessary’ than ‘fun’, personally. Of course the overall study of language I find enjoyable, but in a way that isn’t ‘fun’. The rewards of learning are immensely satisfying for myself, but ‘fun’ doesn’t enter into it for me. Perhaps we differ in our learning styles, or perhaps I’m just wrong (I’m not the fluent one here). 😛

        Anyway, I’ll get back to my reading. I suppose this may be another form of procrastination (another demon forever on my shoulder). 😛
        Thanks for all your insights!

        • Maybe my definition of “fun” was not clear. Like many other hobbies such as gardening or preparing for a marathon, learning a language is a lot of work but that’s part of the “fun”. I use a dictionary constantly and write things down too occasionally. Writing things down is definitely a good way to boost memory. I used just a plain notebook for my notes. I also suggest finding other example sentences or words that share the same Kanji. You don’t want to just skim through, you should actually look at the word and Kanji think about it for a little bit. One possible problem is that your reading material is too advanced. If so, I would slow down and work on a few sentences at a time.

          • I think that may indeed be part of my problem—I tend to jump ahead and choose material that’s too advanced for my current level. Reading children’s books still seems to be the best for me now. Actually, while I was in Japan, I’d pick up a freely-published (every two months) children’s comic from 7-11 called ‘Bonolon’. Re-writing these (while looking up kanji and phrases) in my notebook then translating into English helped a lot. They’ve actually recently (the last two issues) started publishing an ebook online complete with professional voice-actor narration. Might be worth a mention to other non-advanced learners on your blog, if you care to take a look 🙂


            The first (previous) ebook doesn’t seem to have a direct link from their site, but it’s still up here:

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