Once upon a time in March 2020 I arrived safely in Japan to travel around before my exchange year would start 3 weeks later. Those three weeks did not play out as planned. Although, lucky as I was, I had arrived at my destination before Japan famously closed the borders on exchange students, my year in Japan was overshadowed by the corona pandemic.
Classes were cancelled and campus closed but I had great teachers at Ferris University in Kanagawa Prefecture. They cooperated on online classes and send me and my dormitory mates two heavy packages filled to the brim with books to read. Not text books, mind you. But books written for learners just like me taking the leap from text book Japanese to actual real life literature.
In an accompanying online class called 多読（たどく）I read my first fairy tale, my first short story, my first manga and eventually my first novel in Japanese. I had so much fun enjoying the texts, I didn’t even notice at first how my vocabulary expanded and how I struggled less and less with reading even longer and more complex stories. At the end of my exchange year in december 2020 I passed the JLPT N2 with my best score in reading comprehension.
Already during those last months in Japan, I thought about bringing this method of learning by reading to my university in Germany. So when I returned in February 2021 I began planning my own little book club, called 読書-AG（どくしょ-AG).
It started in April 2021 online with 30 students on the clubs discord server and 4-6 regulars at the reading sessions. October 2021 those numbers doubled with 60 students on the server and 8-12 regulars for the reading sessions. It proved to be a major success!
Dokusho book club – both during my exchange year and now at my university in Germany – has been a huge learning opportunity and an incredibly rewarding experience to me. The feedback I receive from the participating students is so overwhelmingly positive, that I’m excited to take the book club further with this blog.
Feel free to browse the free reading resources by JLPT level I collected over the last year. If you would like some recommendations on stories, articles and texts to read, I also publish some reviews every week here.
Welcome to the dokusho club. Let’s start reading in Japanese!