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View Full Version : Book recomendation/review superthread



UPGRAYEDD
April 23rd, 2009, 11:55
Review books you have used to study Japanese here.

Please give

1. Title
2. Rough guesstimate of Japanese level (lower/upper beginner-intermediate-advanced)
3. Price and availibility

AliDimayev
April 23rd, 2009, 11:57
1. Genji no Monogatari
2. Advanced
3. Available everywhere. Many prices on accounta there are many editions.

PS> Written by a woman.

UPGRAYEDD
April 23rd, 2009, 12:07
There you go Ali being a dick again.

AliDimayev
April 23rd, 2009, 12:08
There you go Ali being a dick again.
Don't be jealous that I've read it in the Japanese.

Virus FM
April 23rd, 2009, 12:40
Yookoso, An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese
Beginner
Pricey ($80?), but it comes with 4 CD's

I liked it a lot, but one of the department professors said when it was brought up in another class not related to language, with a big grin, "Yookoso? That book damaged students."

Yookoso: Continuing with Contemporary Japanese
Intermediate
Pricey (doesn't have CDs though)

Genki
Beginner to Early Advanced?
As far as I know, it's modular (a few smallish books rather than one text like Yookoso [which really isn't just a text, Yookoso also comes with workbooks and stuff]), so you can pick what you want and save money. The basic text is like $30 I think, but it's softcover. Yookoso is hardcover.

I didn't use it but it's the standard text at my school as well as the standard text at Kansai Gaidai, a pretty huge study abroad college.

Minna no Nihongo
Beginnger to Intermediate
Modular like Genki

I used this at the school I went to in Japan, and it's a pretty unthreatening series of texts. Cons are that it's all in Japanese (the intermediate at least) and you have to buy the corresponding English texts if you need them. Softcover.

UPGRAYEDD
April 23rd, 2009, 13:01
Don't be jealous that I've read it in the Japanese.

Why don't you do me a favor and play along here. This is a thread for Japanese study books. Not a thread to post up Japanese literature you read unless you can connect through a review how it helped you specifically learn Japanese and how it can help others... don't troll here.

Eira
April 23rd, 2009, 13:09
窓際のトットちゃん
Mid to high intermediate
About 500y, available most everywhere.

It's a cute story about an elementary school girl during WW2. It's at least partially based on a true story (the author's childhood), and it's pretty easy to read if you can get by in day-to-day Japanese conversations. It's not too long, probably a couple hundred pages, and it's divided into short episodes.


未来のイーソップ (I think? Don't have it on hand at the moment)
Mid to high intermediate
About 500y, available most anywhere

This book spoofs most of the Aesop's fables. I think that knowing the stories made understanding it easier, even though they were altered to make them more amusing. Another suggestion from another teacher.

katsudon
April 23rd, 2009, 13:31
Doraemon Gakushuu Manga series
ドラえもんの学習シリーズ

Level - Mid to upper intermediate, but useful for all

760 yen a piece, available readily at Japanese bookstores in the Children's Gakushuu Manga section

These books are manga-ized children's educational books intended for upper-level elementary students. So, they cover school topics (social studies, science, etc) as well as language topics (proverbs/ことわざ, phrases/方言, etc) and even have some geared towards passing junior high school admissions tests.

Pros - you can work on your Japanese while learning something non-language related (general studies books), or you can learn the proper way to use a Japanese proverb and impress your friends by pulling out 急がば回れ at the proper time.

Cons - tend to reinforce 'we Japanese' gung-ho 'four seasons' crap, and may contain childish/weird language in them.

AliDimayev
April 23rd, 2009, 14:55
Why don't you do me a favor and play along here. This is a thread for Japanese study books. Not a thread to post up Japanese literature you read unless you can connect through a review how it helped you specifically learn Japanese and how it can help others... don't troll here.
Oops. I honestly read it as Japanese books you've read. Honest. My bad.

Eira
April 24th, 2009, 01:33
Well, reading books in Japanese is good study in my opinion. I didn't see anything wrong with what you said even when I thought it was a suggestion.

SarahJ27
April 25th, 2009, 01:05
I'm going to agree and say that reading regular books in Japanese is actually really good.

The books I've used to study are a bit controversial since they follow some unconventional rules that some people don't really like.

For speaking/pronunciation/spoken grammar in general, I used:

1. Japanese: The Spoken Language series (1-3)
2. For keigo, it's the best, hands down. Period. It's also just amazingly well-structured and the grammar explanations are so indepth. It's meant to be used with the sound files (which can be downloaded for free off a certain website), as it's not meant to be practice in reading Japanese at all (it's in romaji). The vocab is really limited but it's very good for incorporating lots of grammar structures into your natural speaking ability ( particularly for keigo, like I said). It also deals with a lot of real-life situations in the workplace and such as it was aimed at diplomats/business people apparently. I will say though, that I did this in a class, for which there's a certain structure that makes the books more effective. However, I do find the drills and core conversations great practice.

Like I said though, it's a bit controversial and some people will damn it to hell. (The fact that it's a bit outdated doesn't help...)
3. Really cheap for a textbook I'd say. The books are around 28 US dollars each and the sound/video files are available for free off the Ohio State University website.

Other than that I did the first Heisig book for kanji. It worked really well for me, but it doesn't work for everyone. Using the Reviewing the Kanji website helped loads.

Virus FM
April 25th, 2009, 01:22
I would have to disagree that books (literature) are a good way to learn Japanese. Like in English, the Japanese used in writing is different from how people actually speak. You'll end up spending a lot of time breaking down vocabulary, tone, and grammar that people don't use in real conversation. I've translated a good deal of Japanese literature and it hasn't been worth a damn in using Japanese.

If you want to be good at writing in Japanese, read books. Otherwise, you are probably wasting an incredible amount of energy, energy that could be used practicing forms you pick up through language texts, television, and conversation.

Really, if you want to learn, you have to put yourself in the vulnerable and embarrassing position of engaging in conversation. You have to make mistakes to learn they're wrong. There's a linguistic theory called fossilization which says that if you don't learn from and outgrow your mistakes at a critical period, they become internalized and permanent. No book, especially a novel or, god forbid, manga, is going to help you there.

Wakatta
April 25th, 2009, 14:58
Really, if you want to learn, you have to put yourself in the vulnerable and embarrassing position of engaging in conversation. You have to make mistakes to learn they're wrong. There's a linguistic theory called fossilization which says that if you don't learn from and outgrow your mistakes at a critical period, they become internalized and permanent.

This sent a chill up my spine.

FiercestCalm
June 7th, 2009, 00:59
This isn't a Japanese study book/method by any means, but I wanted to mention something that's been fun for me - I've read all the volumes of a manga called 'Yotsuba to!"

It's a kid's manga about a 5 year old girl and her adventures around, but it is really genuinely funny and sweet to adults as well. The art's beautiful too.

I've taken a few years of Japanese in college, but my retention isn't so good. I can understand almost everything that's going on in the manga, even get punny jokes. Even if you can't catch what the adults are saying, the kids' Japanese is quite easy to understand.

So anyway, it's by DC publishing and there are 7 volumes so far and it's super good.