I started a reading group with JETAA Chicago back in 2014, and we had moderate success. Unfortunately, our members moved away one by one, and we had less success with a virtual format.
But that was in the Before Times. Say what you will about the pandemic (and I’ve likely said it over on Twitter), it has made us all more open to getting some social interaction on our medium screens.
You can see all our previous readings here. I’ve maintained the spirit of the group by reading a new piece on my own each month and listing it in case anyone ever needs a repository of vetted public domain literature. I really enjoyed the story I found for January.
For February we’re reading the first night of Natsume Soseki’s 夢十夜. This is a classic. Almost everyone reads it in Japanese class at some point, so it felt like a great place to start.
Because y’all are subscribers, I’ll give you a sneak peak of the readings for the whole year. I still need to fill in two months. Do you have any suggestions? I’d love to hear them.
My goal is to include six men and six women writers, but Aozora’s main weakness is that it significantly under-represents women. The volunteers uploading works just don’t upload many works by women, for whatever reason.
The goal of the reading group is to “be helpful.” Reading Japanese isn’t easy, and senpai have a responsibility to help others. I benefited from a few particular senpai, which I’ve written about on the JT, and I love to pay it forward when I can. We’ll read the works sentence by sentence. The goal isn’t translation as much as it is to understand how the Japanese is working.
Hope to see you there!