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Presents the fundamentals of the Japanese language through dialogs, examples, and exercises Excellent book written by a qualified Japanese person It provides an essential foundation for advanced study of the language This book will take you from nowhere to an intermediate level. Despite one reviewer only giving this book 2 stars I can heartily recommend this book to every beginner who wishes to take their Japanese to the next level, and though I wouldn t recommend it as a first book for the absolute beginner for that see my review of Berlitz Essential Japanese I would definitely recommend it for students who already have the basics and require to expand their vocabulary and reading ability.The book is very comprehensive and the learning curve can be steep at times as the author crams a lot into each chapter hence not a good choice for the absolute beginner unless they have a tutor For a starter it expects you to know the kanas as all the vocabulary is written using these Japanese alphabets, though for the first three chapters, transcripts using the roman alphabet is provided while you learn them It even introduces you to kanji the chinese characters right from the first lesson.I have read many of the advance beginner lower intermediate level textbooks but this one beats them all What the Genki series of books and the Japanese for Busy People series offers over several volumes this gives you in one place in fact it gives you a lot besides and in my opinion takes you to a higher level of proficiency So save your money and buy this one.If you are an absolute beginner I would start with Berlitz Essential Japanese by Lynne Strugnell to get the basic vocabulary, the two kana workbooks Let s Learn Hiragana , Let s Learn Katakana by Yasuko Kosaka Mitamura to learn the basic writing system which is very easy to pick up , and then move on to Japanese for Everyone. Learning Japanese As someone who s circumstances have meant for the time being only self study japanese is possible, I was happy to have this book recommended to me by other students of the language.At first glance, this could be construed as a very scary book, particularly if you don t have a teacher over your shoulder.However, I definitely recommend taking the second and the third glance The script all being in kana from the off is actually a positive in my view, not a negative, because it forces your brain to recall the characters much quickly when you can associate them with words The book seems to assume that users will be comfortable with hiragana over katakana at the beginning also, since many of the katakana written words biiru, menyuu, etc are written with hiragana as furigana over the top to indicate pronunciation If you are serious about learning proper Japanese rather than just a holidaymaker s guide in romaji, then you re going to have to learn kana sooner or laterand the jump right in attitude of the book makes you do it sooner One minor drawback and the 4 star rating is because of this is that the book doesn t really do much in the way of teaching you the Kana Although there is a guide on the inside cover, all that is really said is you should learn these asap There is no instruction on stroke pattern or anything of that nature, which I have had to locate through other sources.There are a lot of detailed and complex grammar notes in both the introduction and the back cover of the book and although it s worth reading these at the start, I would recommend going back to them once you ve begun since they often make sense in context Particularly in terms of things like sentence construction and the very complicated use of particles.Kanji characters are introduced occasionally although this is not a major resource for Kanji learning as far as I can see However, the method obviously works, since the ones I ve come across so far I ve remembered, recognised and been able to use in written work On the whole I really like this as a self study guide Even without the cassettes which seem to be impossible to find for love nor money the book is a solid foundation for Japanese learning although if you can supplement your learning with additional listening study materials, then so much to the good.