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Showing 1-10 of 38 reviews(5 star, Verified Purchases). See all 80 reviews
on May 9, 2014
Learning Japanese is hard, especially when you are trying to do it alone. Maybe you are going on a trip and don't want to be pointing wildly at a phrasebook. Maybe you like anime and want to know what they're saying without relying on terrible localized subtitles. Maybe you are a Japanese student and particles are getting you down.

You want romaji? Check.
Prefer Kanji? Check.
Don't know a single thing about Japanese or maybe you do but need to know the why/how of the complex Japanese language?

This book is for you.

Yes, it's exactly what you hope it to be, written in well-explained English. There is nothing cutesy about this book. There are no cartoons, no pictures, and it doesn't try to be funny. It's a language instructional, and it's very good at what it does. I am currently halfway through this 496 page book (Kindle doesn't seem to keep track of the page count, it's got its own counting thing, 11974 if you go by that).

In addition, because this is an instructional *workbook,* it comes with self-tests, quizzes, and practice areas to show you where you need more work. There are cross-referenced links for each quiz to the answers (and back again). The multi-chapter review areas are great for going back later to make sure that you remember what you learned. Previous concepts are built upon by each successive chapter.


Vocabulary is gradually added, but it's up to the reader to look up the words you don't know.
I am using a companion book for the verb conjugation and some adjective behavior. I don't think it's this book's fault, as conjugating Japanese is almost as hard as particles. You will quickly forget which group a verb is in, or which group an adjective is in, and the book will not remind you.
Every once in a while, you see some grammatical behavior that looks strange. These look like occasional oversights or perhaps trying to get you familiar with grammatical constructs. They are very infrequent, but in the spirit of an honest review, there you go.

As great as this book is, and I'm giving it five stars, it should be only part of your learning strategy.

Here is how I study with this book:
* Get a digital flash card program.
* 600 Basic Japanese Verbs: The Essential Reference Guide [Kindle Edition]
You need to learn how to conjugate verbs, and this book gives many examples and instructions. At the time of this review, it's available on Amazon.
* Online translator.
Please note that the online translator doesn't work well. So what you will need to do is break things down into the smallest, most simple predicates possible. Common phrases show up well; the things that you think up yourself with your English-speaking brain, probably not.
* Japanese Microsoft IME
You will need to get away from romaji eventually. This is how you add the ability to type in Japanese on your Windows computer..
* When all else fails, the Internet.

After 19 days of owning these books and working hard, I am 40% through and having understandable (if slightly grammatically incorrect) conversations with my Japanese friends. It's a joy to discover even more ways of communicating and not relying on Google or a phrasebook. This book is wonderful and worth the money. If you put in the time, you will reap great rewards.

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on May 23, 2011
This book is probably the best book on Japanese grammar. It is by the author of Japanese for Dummies and it alos explains the honorific form and the plain/informal verb forms.

In my opinion you should have a seperate book for conversational Japanese to use with this book either Japanese for Dummies or The Complete Idiots Guide to Conversational Japanese are two of my favorites and I own them both.

For writen Japanese I recomend Kana and Kanji Revised Edition (TUTTLE).

Wonderful book on Japanese grammar.
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on January 6, 2013
I had study Japanese in a regular course and I dropped because I felt that the timing wasn't right, so I decided to give a few books a chance.
I must tell, most of the Japanese books out there disappointed me except for this one. It gives you the right knowledge no more and no less. With this book you have all you need at least till you get out of medium level.

You're not going to speak Japanese fluently with this book only, but I guaranteed that you're going to have a really good material to study at least for a year.

Of course you must take your time to practice Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji, because otherwise you could feel no progress at all. Try to drop romaji as soon as possible.

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on May 9, 2013
Great book for beginner and intermediate learners! Granted, you will need additional books if you are just getting started, but this book does a great job of breaking down different concepts and areas of grammar. I still use use this as a review/reference book and browse through it when I feel like reinforcing or learning something new, so it really comes in handy because it explains things in simple terms. Also, there's a well compiled index, so you don't need to go searching through the whole book if you just want to go over one thing.

If I were to have any complaints, it would be the presence of the Romaji--as a native English speaker, my eyes are (almost always) drawn to the romaji below example sentences, which is sometimes a bother when you're trying to adjust to reading completely in Japanese. Of course, it doesn't take much effort to cover it up as you're reading, so it's not a big deal; just make sure not to use it as a crutch.
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on July 6, 2013
Easy to follow. Fair amount of examples. Good coverage of grammar, but not much in terms of Kanji and vocabulary coverage. It's a good thing for me though, since I can focus my study on grammar first before jumping into other things. Lot of vocabularies are repeated throughout the book, so you can memorize them along with their Kanji as you follow through the examples. Practice questions and answers are provided every now and then to make sure you have correct understanding on the topic discussed.

As a beginner, I found this book very useful as a grammar introduction and reference. I will definitely still want to improve my Kanji and vocabulary after finishing this book, but it's a good kick-start for my study.
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on December 17, 2011
I am a student who recently picked up Japanese, so I am still a beginner. To compare, I knew the first 4 of the 20 chapters. I read these chapters anyway, and they are brilliant. They did a great job of breaking everything down into an order that is easy to understand. If you've never studied Japanese, they start at the beginning with the kana. However, if you don't memorize the kana, that's no problem! They use romaji the entire book (yes, even getting into the nitty gritty of it)! I wish that my textbook had been put in this easy order. In addition to teaching in a great way, they also give you little tidbits of how the Japanese speak, or how you should respond. They constantly quiz you, so you're not just reading a hundred pages and never practicing.

I do have some complaints about this book. Some things they really breeze through that really need to be more in depth. They also don't introduce vocabulary very well. A sentence might pop up that includes a word I have never seen or heard before. It's not a big issue, as it takes little time to use other resources to look it up, but still a little bit of a nuisance.

If you're thinking about buying this book, don't hesitant any longer! You will love it.
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on March 14, 2011
I've studied Japanese at University for three years using the Genkii series. This book is so much easier to follow and so much more practical. The explanations give the proper linguistic terms for features, so if you have a background in Linguistics you will appreciate that, however if you are unfamiliar with any terms the explanations are written clearly enough to still be accessible. Truly a well made introduction to the Japanese Language.
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on August 31, 2011
I will preface by saying that this book is not for the absolute beginner. It is not anything like a Dummies or 24 Hour book. I would say this is for late beginner to intermediate users only, and it's primary function is as a study tool. I began the book already having learned hiragana, katakana, beginner level kanji, several audio lesson CDs, and a few beginner books.

The exact reasons that I love it may be a boon to others, but I find this book was exactly what I was looking for. The lessons are concise, to the point, and contain no fluff. They tell you precisely how grammatical rules work, why they work, offer examples, then quiz your understanding. This isn't a fun read for a casual learner, it's for someone who is serious about studying Japanese. The thing that surprised me the most was the broad reach of the book, and how it taught me things I had never seen anywhere else before. Explanations are minimal, but clear. Eriko Sato is a very good instructor and skilled at explaining things in a way that just "clicks".

One thing I will warn readers about: The author gives you the kana and kanji for everything you are asked to learn; however, not much explanation on the characters themselves is given other than to memorize the tables given in the first chapter. It teaches nothing about stroke order, stroke count, kanji meanings/pronunciations, radicals, etc. You will need supplemental books to learn that. This book is mainly for learning how to put the language together including verb and adjective conjugation, levels of politeness, useful words, particles, and modifiers. However, I wouldn't be surprised if you walked away recognizing some kanji based on repetition alone.

This is the perfect book to challenge a 1st year student of Japanese grammar, but should be used in tandem with supplemental books, audio, and flashcards.
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on October 17, 2009
After facing the horror of "Minna no Nihongo" (sorry fans of the book, but it proved not to be my cup of tea), I discovered that "Japanese demystified" made far more sense to me; it's friendly, you learn at your own pace, and it's not intimidating at all so buy it already! However, I strongly suggest that before you dive into it, (or any other Japanese learning books, by the way) you invest a few weeks into learning your hiragana, katakana, and a few hundred kanji as well, now that you are into it. It sounds like too much work but believe me, it will make your learning experience a more enjoyable one. Books from James W. Heisig (Remembering the kana, Remembering the kanji) can be of vast help to achieve this. Also, and to help "Japanize" your mind, Boye Lafayette De Mente`s "The Japanese have a word for it" can provide a rich cultural background, with dozens of words and terms that simply don't have a direct translation into western languages, and will help you "feel" the language from a native's perspective. I'm not going to lie to you; it's not going to be easy, it's not going to be fast, but... what the heck, it makes your brain a better one.
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on June 27, 2011
I bought this for my 10 year old daughter who is fascinated with Japanese. She loves it, uses it every day, usually on her own so it's definitely easy to understand. She also has My Japanese Coach for the DSi and uses them in conjunction with one another. The upside to the book is that she has the list of characters at her fingertips and the pronounciation is pretty easy to understand but she's still unsure if she's pronouncing the words as she should be as we know from a few Spanish books that the pronounciations can be off, we just don't have a native Japanese speaker we can confer with. Still, I would recommend this book for beginning Japanese.
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