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Customer Review

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but seriously flawed, November 11, 2005
This review is from: Japanese for Busy People I: Text (Japanese for Busy People Series) (Paperback)
I'm enrolled in a Japanese college class and this is the book we use. While its lessons are effective, it has a lot of organization problems. Vocabulary is just strewn across the book and it's introduced at an inconsistent pace. Some sections include a lot of vocabulary that take a substantial amount of time to memorize, and others include very little vocabulary.

It also has a few annoying quirks, such as the way it writes numbers. It'll write "5-ji" to say "5 o'clock," and while this is the way 5 o'clock would be written in Japanese, I would have prefered for it to say "go-ji" instead. That would have further helped me grasp the numbering system. Although numbers 1-10 are extremely easy to memorize, making their use of "5-ji" not too bothersome, it continues doing it with the higher numbers, like "1999-nen" to say the year 1999.

Finally, the tests are far too short. There are some painfully easy particle placement questions, and about 4 sentences to translate on each test, and that's all. I seldom do the chapter exams because they hardly help.

Now that I'm done badmouthing the book, I'll polish it up a bit and make it reach the 3-star rating I gave it.

One positive thing is it doesn't make huge difficulty jumps between lessons. Unlike certain text books I've experienced that introduce completely new and hard-to-accept concepts out of the blue, this one teaches at a steady pace, which makes it easier to grasp the material.

Second, it focuses on the right stuff. I can see myself using everything this textbook has taught me.

I would recommend this book to people who have fully-packed schedules and can only learn a little at a time (who woulda thought by the name of the title). I do often think it drags a bit, but I'm a dedicated Japanese student aiming for fluency. If you asked me which book you should use to study Japanese for the purpose of a business trip or vacation to Japan, I would tell you to look no further than this one. However, if you asked me the same question, but told me you wanted to spend the rest of your life in Japan, I'd tell you to find something else.
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