I’ve had this book lurking around for a while. I originally got it when I was going through my, ‘I need to learn all the basics in Japanese’ phase. It does have phrases that I don’t know, so I am happy with it. Top tip, if you haven’t realised by now, you cannot just learn words in Japanese and string them together, you have to learn phrases. I wish I had been told that when I first started learning.
How I use the book
I started off by going through the 覚えましょう section. I would either use their example sentence, one from Apple dictionary or Google Dictionary. If these options didn’t have the word or have sentences that I liked or thought I would remember easily, I just google the phrase + 英語で (e.g. 電車を降りる 英語で). I then find my sentence and put it in Anki.
I did try to do some of the exercises in the book, but I think N4/N3 would get far more out of them and it’s probably not worth it for N2/N1.
- The vocab lists that have a variety of phrases that use the keywords with the English equivalent which is usually very natural (I think sometimes it’s the difference between American and British English). Also, they aren’t ridiculously long!
- It goes over some of the transitive and intransitive pairs which I’m not sure how other people feel, but it has taken me a long time to get comfortable with them. Even now, still in speaking, I catch myself not being consistent at times.
- It has furigana above a lot of words, so if you struggle with kanji, you aren’t having to look things up every two minutes which can get very boring when that’s not what’s being tested.
- The variety of question types, keeps it more interesting.
- The answer key at the back. I like answer keys when they can be pulled out and consulted more easily as you go along. I find it a bit clunky and not spaced out enough.
Overall, I think this is a good book if you are around perhaps N4/N3 – it says it’s for N3 I think, but N4 could benefit. If you are N2/N1, the questions will be too easy but if you want to acquire some firm, natural phrases there might be some that you haven’t come across before. Having said that, I’m not sure if I would recommend you to buy the book, I personally think you probably wouldn’t get your money’s worth.
Have you used this book? What did you think?