NOTE: This is a "reprint" *NOT* a the claimed 2nd Edition. The "2nd Edition" is apparently a marketing ploy.
1) Expressions are written in *real Japanese*: All the Japanese expressions in the book are presented in real Japanese (kanji and all). ** pronunciation is given in romji (western alphabet used to represent Japanese), which I think leads to bad Japanese pronunciation, but the author uses a special, codified form of romaji to try to convey the Japanese "tonal accent". ** I get the author's plan, but think it is counter productive as tonal accent isn't that important (different regions of Japan have different tonal patterns anyhow). Monotone is just fine as, due to the utterly massive number of homonyms in Japanese, context is usually what determines what meaning a sound-pattern is representing anyhow. Ditching Romaji completely and instead including an Audio CD would have been *much* better.
2) Conjugations: Japanese is *all* about verbs; a verb all by itself can be a complete sentence. You modify verbs to add "nuance".
For example: tabeRU: eat, tabeNAI: don't eat, tabeTAI: want to eat, tabeTAKUNAI: don't want to eat, ETC.
This book presents a lot of this verb modifications clearly, with several examples, and in a compact location.
3) Flow charts: I imagine that the usefulness of these will vary from person to person. Personally, I don't think that they are remotely critical, but they are interesting and could help certain types of learners.
1) BIG CON - no casual speech!!! This book is all about semi-formal business speech. Most books start with this (in my opinion this is a flawed) approach of presenting semi-formal Japanese first and then later covering more casual Japanese -- however this book never covers casual Japanese.
This is big problem for several reasons:
A) 85%+ of real Japanese (what you'll hear on the street, TV, Movies, around the house, during after-work drinks, etc) will be casual Japanese.
B) Advanced Japanese is based on the building blocks of casual Japanese - this applies even to advanced semi-formal Japanese. Example structure of an advance Japanese statement: casual-phrase + link + casual phrase + link + semi-formal ending. So *MOST* Japanese actual requires knowledge of casual speech.
C) If you can only speak semi-formal Japanese, people will feel that you are stiff... and eventually might actually come to view you as rude. They will ultimately expect you to speak with them more casually, in order to show that you are feeling closer kinship to them.
Bottom line: Casual Speech is extremely important to both "getting along" in Japan, and to being able to progress to advanced Japanese.
2) No Audio - Listening to a foreign language is the key to learning how to properly speak a foreign language. And while the author has come up with a clever modified-romaji system to try and visualize the pronunciation, it forces the brain to have to try to digest Japanese, translate the modified-romaji system into some sort of sound structure, comprehend the grammar, etc - all simultaneously. Brains don't tend to like that much processing. I simple audio CD would have been a better, and more accurate way to address the issue that the author was trying to solve.
How I would use this book:
I wouldn't use this as your sole study source. I would use this as a secondary text to help learn more complex verb-form combinations.