Category: Reference Materials

Oxford Picture Dictionary English/Japanese

Score: 5 / 10 Pros: loads of Japanese language vocabulary sorted by topic; glossy, colorful pages full of pictures; each picture corresponds immediately to vocab words on the page; thematic arrangement into categories and subcategories works wonderfully; solid, well thought out choice of vocab words; questions & even activities on many pages; index reference page […]

Wednesday June 9th, 2010 in Dictionaries | Comments Off on Oxford Picture Dictionary English/Japanese

Jimi’s Book of Japanese by Takahashi & Toka

Score: 9 / 10 Pros: designed for children but useful to adults as well; colorful presentation of all the kana in two small, thin volumes; every character printed large with written strokes counted and stroke direction indicated; strong way to visualize the basic syllabaries of the written language; sample vocabulary words using each character; a […]

Wednesday April 14th, 2010 in Script and Writing | Comments Off on Jimi’s Book of Japanese by Takahashi & Toka

Making Sense of Japanese by Jay Rubin

Score: 8 / 10 Pros: short & medium-length essays ease your concerns about the toughest aspects of Japanese grammar; puts conversational spoken & colloquial written Japanese in context through numerous insights; filled with the author’s personality and literary touches; makes some very tricky aspects of the language accessible Cons: more of a pleasure read than […]

Wednesday March 10th, 2010 in Reference Materials | Comments Off on Making Sense of Japanese by Jay Rubin

Japanese Street Slang, by Peter Constantine

Score: 7 / 10 Pros: exposés explain the use, context & local meaning of lots of Japanese slang; culturally relevant; slang words put into context with phrases and alternate options; everything flows within author’s informative musings; good introduction & index Cons: takes an experienced student or casual reader to get something out of this; some […]

Monday March 1st, 2010 in Phrase books | 2 Comments »

Japanese Kanji Flashcards (White Rabbit Press)

Hodges’ & Okazaki’s Japanese Kanji Flashcards provide a systematic way to learn over 1000 kanji characters by studying hundreds of flashcards. Cards are color coded to three levels of proficiency as measured by the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (levels 4 through 2 – it counts down in difficulty). Although I have yet to write a […]

Monday February 22nd, 2010 in Script and Writing | Comments Off on Japanese Kanji Flashcards (White Rabbit Press)

Kanji Cards, Vol. 1-4 by Tuttle

Score: 9 / 10 Pros: includes all the basic information about kanji on each card; one card tests your knowledge of one character; composition on one side, meaning and reading on the other; reference numbers for each kanji link this resource to any dictionary or kanji reference guide; over 1000 characters throughout all four sets; […]

Monday February 22nd, 2010 in Script and Writing | Comments Off on Kanji Cards, Vol. 1-4 by Tuttle

Ultimate Japanese Phrasebook by Nagamura & Tsuchiya

Score: 9 / 10 Pros: great range of phrases for travelers to Japan or Japanese language enthusiasts; audio CD reads phrases aloud to you; clean layout; easy to spot and read each phrase; good organization of topics, chapters & phrases; romaji and Japanese script for every phrase; 1800 phrases, quality print & paper Cons: vocabulary […]

Thursday February 4th, 2010 in Phrase books | Comments Off on Ultimate Japanese Phrasebook by Nagamura & Tsuchiya

3 Kanji Workbooks: Mastering Japanese Kanji, Kanji Power, First 100 Japanese Kanji

Score: 7 / 10 Pros: space to practice writing each of 200+ characters; stroke-by-stroke demonstration of how to write kanji; kanji readings & meanings for each character; sample words/phrases using each character; Kanji Power & Mastering the Kanji have extra practice exercises, while First and Second 100 Kanji offer larger, better spaces to practice writing […]

Monday February 1st, 2010 in Script and Writing | Comments Off on 3 Kanji Workbooks: Mastering Japanese Kanji, Kanji Power, First 100 Japanese Kanji

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

Beyond Polite Japanese by Akihiko Yonekawa

Score: 7 / 10 Pros: lots of real, spoken Japanese words & phrases; kana, kanji & romaji examples of each phrase; good index lists all slang & colloquial terms covered in the book; terms chosen are great for anyone looking to expand understanding of informal, slang or even naughty Japanese; further explanations of why expressions […]

Thursday January 28th, 2010 in Dictionaries, Phrase books | Comments Off on Beyond Polite Japanese by Akihiko Yonekawa