Learning to read Japanese is the most daunting part of studying the language. It's helpful to have a 先輩 (senpai, older student) or a teacher to walk you through some of your first few texts.

The online literature repository 青空 文庫 (Aozora Bunko, Blue Sky Books) is a different sort of ally in the battle for Japanese literacy. Aozora is a インターネットの電子 図書館 (Intānetto no denshi toshokan, electronic internet library) that contains works of literature in the public domain. These are works by authors who have died and the 70-year posthumous period of their copyright passed. Volunteers transcribe the texts and upload the files to make them available on the internet.

There is a huge range of literature from well-known authors suitable for readers at different levels. It's fun to browse, but the site can sometimes be intimidating and frustrating; you can spend more time looking for something to read than you do actually reading. Allow me to provide a few suggestions.