As a native-speaking Japanese teacher, I use this book in my courses for beginners. It beings the students right to the point, into realistic situations they will encounter in Japan, without dithering too much with "This-is-a-pen". One of the few drawbacks is that the book, with its wide scope, may seem a little scattered and confusing for the more "structured" learner. But such is life; it doesn't all come in neat, bite-sized sushi! Another possible stumbling stone is the book's rather hasty approach to reading comprehension. My students find it hard to cope with exercises written in kana only from Lesson 1. But this can be overcome by careful classroom instruction. This is definitely my favourite Japanese textbook.