My Japanese Coach - Nintendo DS

4.3 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews
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Rated: Everyone
Metascore: 59 / 100
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Platform: Nintendo DS
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About the Product

  • Explore Japan as you learn Japanese from your own personal teacher, or sensei
  • Compare your pronunciation of the sounds unique to Japanese with native speakers
  • Learn and practice writing Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji characters using the DS stylus
  • Play 12 different types of mini-games that test your grasp of the structured lessons
  • Built-in dictionary and phrase book with over 12,000 words and hundreds of useful phrases

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Product Description

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Thanks to UbiSoft's My Japanese Coach for the Nintendo DS, you can carry a tutor in your pocket that lets you learn a new language in as little as 15 minutes a day. With plenty of entertaining lessons, loads of fun-to-play mini-games, and a host of helpful features, this unique language coach will have you not only speaking like a native in no time, but reading and writing like on as well!



Carry a tutor in your pocket with My Japanese Coach. View larger.
Learn in Fun and Interactive Ways
My Japanese Coach is an installment in the My Coach series from UbiSoft series that teaches the basic pronunciations unique to the Japanese language. This convenient and easy-to-use tutor allows users to compare their pronunciation to that of native speakers via the Nintendo DS's microphone. It also lets you use the DS stylus to practice writing Japanese Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji characters.

My Japanese Coach takes you on a virtual tour of Japan while you're learning the language. Lesson plans take place in a wide array of Japanese locations, from the densest of population centers like Tokyo, to the idyllic Japanese country side. You actually get to explore Japan while you learn new vocabulary as you open each point of interest.

Learn From a Master
Meet Haruka, the in-game digital sensei, or teacher, that exists solely for the purpose of teaching you Japanese. After giving you a small placement-style test, Haruka will get you started working through the various stages of your lessons. Gaining mastery points by playing the various learning games allow you to clear each level. Once you master all the words given in a specific level, you move on to the next level.

As you work your way through over a 1,000 lessons, your language skills are constantly tested and sharpened by various mini games. My Japanese Coach includes 12 types of mini games, ranging from Flash Cards, in which you hear a word and have seconds to choose the correct English translation, to Bridge Builder, where you are required to string words together in the correct order to create a complete sentence. And with mini-games that add a clever twist to classic favorites--like Memory that forces you to match the same words in two different languages--you will be sure to have fun while you learn.

My Japanese Coach also features a built-in dictionary and phrase book that includes over 12,000 words and hundreds of useful everyday phrases.



Meet Haruka, the in-game digital sensei, or teacher. View larger.


Sharpen and test your language skills with mini games. View larger.


Use the DS stylus to practice writing Japanese characters. View larger.

Product Information

ASIN B001BZ8EX8
Release date October 14, 2008
Customer Reviews
4.3 out of 5 stars 145 customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Best Sellers Rank #12,745 in videogames
#394 in Video Games > Nintendo DS > Games
Pricing The strikethrough price is the List Price. Savings represents a discount off the List Price.
Product Dimensions 5 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
Media: Video Game
Domestic Shipping This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
International Shipping This item is not eligible for international shipping. Learn More

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By M. Saunders on October 18, 2008
Let me start by saying that I have been studying Japanese off and on for many years now. I learned some of the basic words and simple sentence structures as well as to read and write Katakana. However, I've never made a serious attempt to go beyond that, until now.

I have used many computer Japanese learning programs and found all of them to be totally inadequate. I was cautiously optimistic about this DS title, but for under $[...] I decided to give it a try. Wow, I am impressed! The lessons are well structured and introduce around 10 words per lesson (from what I've seen so far), unlike books which want you to remember dozens and dozens of words right from the start. The voice quality is superb and (unlike most other recordings I have heard) does not speak so fast that you can't follow it. I love the feature where you can record your voice and compare it to the native speaker's, including comparing the wave forms. This helps you learn the correct timing and pace when speaking. The games are fun, but you need pretty fast reflexes for the whack-a-mole game unless you set it on easy.

This program does have a few flaws. The stroke order for a few of the kanas is off (stroke order is VERY important in writing Japanese correctly). Also, hiragana is introduced too slowly in my opinion, but this is probably intentional as to not scare off people who have never written in Japenese. That being said, if you are serious about learning Japanese this shouldn't be your only resource anyways. I highly recommend
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I can tell that a lot of people are in the same boat as me. They've been waiting for a DS program that teaches Japanese (with an English-language interface) for so long. They had such high hopes! It has a cute sensei! Whack-a-mole! A thousand lessons! Yeah, lots of romaji... but we can get past that!

Unfortunately, it also has some serious errors in the writing training. Specifically:

Incorrect hiragana: na mo ya yo
Incorrect katakana: e ka chi ne no hi me ya wa wo

In other words, about 15% of the basic kana characters are taught and/or graded wrong in this program. Count 'em, 14 kana have either wrong stroke order, wrong stroke direction, or wrong stroke count. AAAAAGHHHH! How could they?

No, really... seriously, how COULD they? The correct stroke order for kana is in any number of reference books. You could choose from a dozen or more on Amazon. It's not some arcane 18-stroke kanji--we're talking about characters with four, three, two.. even, for pete's sake, ONE stroke. (Katakana "no" should be drawn north-to-south, not the other way.)

The worst thing is, lots of people using this program are going to be brand-new to Japanese and won't even know they're being taught wrong.

Writing Japanese is not like writing English. You can write a "t" with the vertical line first or the cross stroke first, and nobody cares. But Japanese is not like that. Stroke order matters. Ironically, the animated Haruku-sensei harps on that point a lot.

Ya know, I read the reviews that said there were a few problems with stroke order, and I still bought MJC. I figured, what the heck, it's probably just one or two things, they're probably low-usage characters, whatever. Ack, wrong.
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Do you want to learn how to write several Japanese characters incorrectly? Do you enjoy trying to distinguish difficult grammar from actual typos? Perhaps you like the same 3 or 4 quick recall games in order to teach yourself a complex language? Well then, this is the game for you!

However, if you want correct stroke orders, accurate (and natural) example sentences, and good learning exercises, definitely avoid this game. It was not made by native Japanese designers (or at least educated ones). It is rife with mistakes and shows an inherent misunderstanding of the language in general. As a Japanese-English bilingual, I would highly recommend avoiding this game if you're serious about learning the language.
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First of all, a little background so you know where this review is coming from: I currently live in Japan and have been studying the language off and on for the past 8 years. That said, I still have a lot to learn and while I can engage in basic everyday conversation, I am far from being fluent. I have many years experience both teaching and learning foreign languages in academic and professional environments.

This piece of software seems to be quite popular with folks who have never tried to study Japanese before, but if you have any sort of training in the language it is a waste of time. If you can read and understand the following sentence, I'd definitely recommend that you save your time and money and don't bother with this piece of software:

watashi wa nihongo wo benkyou shimasu.

I can overlook the minor flaws in kana stroke order, but what is ridiculous is the fact that even if you ace the beginning level placement test with a 50/50 (100%) score, you only get placed up to lesson 11 -- learning overly simplistic vocabulary words like man, woman, and cat. The developers should have made the level placement test more diagnostic so that it could actually accurately assess ones true level. As it is, people with any sort of prior training in Japanese will have spend several days muddling through dozens of boring and useless lessons/minigames in order to unlock the higher levels which may be of actual use.
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