Category: Lesson Books

Japanese Essential Edition by Living Language

Score: 6 / 10 Pros: full introductory conversational course; audio CDs let you listen to most every Japanese word, sentence & dialogue in the book; each unit builds up from vocabulary words to phrases to sentences to dialogues; deals with quite a bit of beginner Japanese grammar; appendix includes vocabulary glossary & lengthy grammar summary; […]

Friday July 30th, 2010 in Audio Courses, Lesson Books | Comments Off on Japanese Essential Edition by Living Language

Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese

The Japan Times’ Genki is among the most popular Japanese language courses for older students and adults. It’s also a common recommendation for self-study. The Genki materials include a course book, a workbook and audio CDs. The lessons come in two phases: Genki I and Genki II. You may also purchase the answer key books […]

Monday February 8th, 2010 in Lesson Books | Comments Off on Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese

Zakennayo! by Philip Cunningham

Score: 4 / 10 Pros: dialogues cover real (but rarely polite), believable social situations; the tone and commentary are often funny and over-the-top; has no shame in its coverage of the dirty, gritty aspects of Japanese; focus on conversation and vocab building; tackles a range of seedy topics; cultural notes explain the shady side of […]

Thursday January 28th, 2010 in Lesson Books, Phrase books | Comments Off on Zakennayo! by Philip Cunningham

Japanese Step by Step by Gene Nishi

Score: 8 / 10 Pros: good pacing and organization between chapters and sections; great use of and number of examples; all examples in full Japanese script as well as romaji with intonation; wonderfully focused explanations attuned to the needs of busy adult learners looking to understand grammar; decent extra material; great for adult learners looking […]

Wednesday December 30th, 2009 in Grammar Guides, Lesson Books | Comments Off on Japanese Step by Step by Gene Nishi

An Introduction to Modern Japanese (Book 2) by Bowring & Laurie

An Introduction to Modern Japanese is a challenging, rewarding year-long course that recieved an extremely high rating on this site. Book 2 offers a textbook full of practice exercises that complement every chapter of Book 1. (Don’t let the name fool you – this is a companion, NOT a sequel!) The activities do a thorough […]

Thursday December 24th, 2009 in Lesson Books | Comments Off on An Introduction to Modern Japanese (Book 2) by Bowring & Laurie

Teach Yourself Japanese by Gilhooly & Mikiko Kurose

Score: 5 / 10 Pros: plenty of material covered (grammar and language structure); dialogues and examples introduce a lot of standard, polite Japanese conversation skills; variety of exercises and challenges keeps the course helpful and – sometimes – engaging; audio CD good for pronunciation practice Cons: poor treatment of writing (nearly all romaji); author’s explanations […]

Tuesday December 22nd, 2009 in Audio Courses, Lesson Books | Comments Off on Teach Yourself Japanese by Gilhooly & Mikiko Kurose

Speak Japanese: A Textbook for Young Students, Book 1, by Kiyo Saka and Hisako Yoshiki

Score: 6 / 10 Pros: overall good pacing; lots of useful Japanese words and phrases for absolute beginners; manages to cover some grammar without tedious explanations; consistent use of kana; lots of exercises; drawings help visual learners Cons: intro to hiragana and katakana is too quick for first-timers; exercise drills are repetitive and intended for […]

Thursday December 17th, 2009 in Lesson Books | Comments Off on Speak Japanese: A Textbook for Young Students, Book 1, by Kiyo Saka and Hisako Yoshiki

Japanese All the Way by Hiroko Storm

The book & cassette tape (!) lesson course known as Japanese All the Way is now published as Living Language’s Ultimate Japanese. I don’t notice a difference between the two besides the updated cover and CDs, and I have reviewed the newer version (follow link above).

Thursday December 17th, 2009 in Audio Courses, Lesson Books | Comments Off on Japanese All the Way by Hiroko Storm

An Introduction to Modern Japanese by Richard Bowring & Haruko Uryu Laurie

Score: 10 / 10 Pros: very thorough presentation of beginner’s Japanese; will last a good year and still be a great reference afterward; does it all – writing, conversation, grammar, sentence structure, and plenty of activities (in book 2); introduces writing and uses the script immediately; covers kana and kanji; lots of examples, conversations and […]

Wednesday October 14th, 2009 in Lesson Books | 2 Comments »

Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basics by Marc Bernabe

Score: 8 / 10 Pros: attractive presentation; explanations are informal and engaging; solid coverage of beginner language topics; nice vocabulary index; lots of manga panels as examples; good connection between the Japanese manga and the Japanese language functions learned in each chapter; great use of Japanese script alongside Romanization everywhere in the book Cons: material […]

Wednesday October 7th, 2009 in Lesson Books | Comments Off on Japanese in Mangaland: Learning the Basics by Marc Bernabe