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Tobira (Japanese and English Edition) (Japanese) Paperback – July 15, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 403 pages
  • Publisher: Kuroshioshuppan; a edition (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: Japanese, English
  • ISBN-10: 4874244475
  • ISBN-13: 978-4874244470
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Peter A. Prahar on September 27, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a review of Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese Learning through Content and Multimedia by Mayumi Oka, Michio Tsutsui, Junko Kondo, Shoko Emori, Yoshiro Hanai, and Satoru Ishikawa (2009).

Tobira would be an excellent backbone textbook for a serious third-year college-level course in Japanese. The authors expect the students to have completed one of several widely-used introductory/intermediate series (Genki, Yookoso, or Nakama) in preparation for work at this level. I'd imagine that many instructors would want to introduce some material to bridge from these to Tobira. I'd estimate that students who master the Tobira material would test up to a "B2" on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages scale; have a shot at a S2+/R2+ on the Interagency Language Roundtable scale; and do very well on the N3 level of the new Japanese Language Proficiency Test. More importantly, they would have a solid foundation for further study using unedited materials.

The intermediate-to-advanced level is hard for everyone. Students, after several years of study, naturally want to begin using the language to pursue their individual interests. Unfortunately, students of Japanese, unlike students of commonly studied "Western" languages, are not quite at that point yet; frustration is not unusual. Teachers, on the other hand, are often faced with a classroom of students with widely different interests - ranging from manga to a job with the Bank of Japan - and with different introductory/intermediate experiences, including some who have lived in Japan. Realizing this, I think Tobira does a pretty good job of providing at least something for everyone while continuing to develop students' overall reading, speaking, and listening skills.
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Format: Paperback
I used Tobira for a third-year (accelerated) Japanese course and found it to be extremely useful. Tobira introduces grammar and kanji via short expository articles (typically two pages in length) that focus on particular aspects of Japanese culture and society (i.e. religion, manga, robotics, and even the ubiquitous "combini"). Surprisingly, these were very interesting and informative articles. I would say that these articles are akin to brochure-type articles designed by travel agencies or culture centers looking to promote Japan to foreigners. In any case, I didn't find myself lulled to sleep.

Kanji:
- As far as kanji goes, Tobira users are "assumed to have learned the 290 kanji introduced in most major beginning level Japanese textbooks" (the Tobira website has these kanji listed). Prior to your course's start, I would recommend looking over this list to assure that these kanji are familiar because there tends to be little conformity in terms of introducing kanji among the popular beginner texts. In total, Tobira covers 503 new kanji (based on JLPT level 2 kanji) with 35 kanji introduced in each chapter, and this number is subdivided into kanji that a student must learn to read and write (RW Kanji) and those that one need only know how to read. In practice, though, a bunch of kanji that do not necessarily require your attention are interspersed so you can learn these at your own discretion (which you should). Beginners may find it jarring that the textbook makes no effort to formally teach kanji so know that you will have to develop your own kanji learning method (at this level a kanji dictionary should always be nearby).

Grammar:
- Grammar points are given brief explanations at the end of each chapter.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first got this book and looked at it, I thought "No way can I work my way through this." Coming from books like Genki, Tobira is rather intimidating. However, it's actually just the right level for me! One gains a lot of confidence from realizing that those giant walls of text are understandable. The book is well organized and provides many activities to do as well, online and in the classroom. Highly recommended.
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By walker on June 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great text book for the intermediate level. It is hard to use at first because of all the kanji. If it is a kanji learned in the text or beginner texts like the genkii series, there will be no small furigana. So you really have to brush up on your kanji/reading skills before using and spend more time with them during use.
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I am actually an advanced level learner and I bought this textbook on a whim as self-study review material. The material within is very serious; this is not like Genki where they practically hold your hand the entire time, it truly is an intermediate/advanced level textbook that expects you to be able to read, write, and understand Japanese at a proficient level right from page 1. There is some furigana over unusual words, but there is NO romaji or any kind of other "training wheels" that you will find in beginner level textbooks.

I am only 2-3 chapters into it but I love it already, the material provided is very approachable while remaining highly practical. I self-study by myself most of the time so I skip most of the "roleplay" sections, and put a heavier emphasis on doing the worksheets, etc. Tobira provides an online tool you can use to "roleplay" out the dialogues as well, without needing another person to do it with.

It is absolutely essential you sign up on the Tobira website and download their supplemental learning materials to get the maximum effect out of this textbook; Tobira provides tons of worksheets and other study materials for every chapter absolutely free.

I have NOT bought the accompanying grammar or kanji workbooks so I cannot comment on their usefulness, but the worksheets they provide on the site for grammar and kanji exercises are excellent.
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