Shop now Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Amazon Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Voyage Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

16
3.6 out of 5 stars
Kana Pict-o-Graphix: Mnemonics for Japanese Hiragana and Katakana
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£3.82+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2006
When taking a Japanese class, you're presented with a table of Kana, and the teacher expects you to just learn it by studying the grid of basically meaningless characters, and writing them over and over to drill it into your memory. If like me you've tried this 'traditional' way and failed, then this little book is just for you.

Now, I'm from the UK, and keep in mind that the author of this book is American. Thus I can relate to what my fellow reviewer "J. Q. W. Bayes" is saying, mnemonics such as "sob" relating to the kana "sa" doesn't make sense unless you pronounce "sob" as an american would ("saab"). But I found that even seeing the author's picture of a sobbing face made me remember "sa" when I saw it printed in a book.

However, not all the author's mnemonics suited me, some were very obscure such as "cock-a-doodle do" relating to the kana "ka" (and a picture of a rooster's head). In that case, I looked at the kana for a while and made my own mnemonic "CAtapult". Personally this book encouraged me to be creative in remembering the kana - if you don't like his, make your own!

This book isn't perfect, it also doesn't include stroke orders for kana - even though its only meant to aid reading, it doesn't take much effort on the author's part to put a few numbers beside the kana tables to indicate order. That, and the americanised mnemonics forces me to give this book 4 stars.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This book relies totally on a broad american accent to make kana sounds relate to english words and sounds, and as such I can't use it. I am not american, and I refuse to pretend to be in order to learn Japanese. It's probably quite effective if you do actually talk and think with an american accent, however.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 14 September 2001
Although I speak no Japanese, about a year ago I decided to try to learn the Japanese Kana syllabaries as a prelude to starting to learn the language. I got about 80% through them before reaching saturation, where I was forgetting as many characters as I was learning and so gave up.
I then came across Michael Rowley's book. This offers the chance to learn the Hiragana and Katakana syllabaries by associating each character with an image that acts as a mnemonic. Bizarre as it may seem to those who know Kanji, it hadn't occurred to me to learn kana in this way - I had been trying to learn the raw characters.
Physically, the book is small in size, light, and conveniently fits in any pocket making it ideal to carry around while learning. It's remarkably cheap as well.
As for the content, I have to say that I have only had the book a month or so, but can now reliably recall ALL 92 characters (Yeah OK some of them I still have to think about :-). Most of the images are very intuitive and easy to remember. I don't use all the images in the book, as some characters are innately memorable from the first time I tried to learn (don't know why, but Ka and No just stick in my mind without any need for mnemonics).
Where the mnemonics really come into their own however is in remembering the distinctions between the similar looking letters such as Nu/Me, Ne/Re/Wa even Shi/Tsu. I had great trouble with this the first time around.
If I were to have any criticisms, it would be that several of the mnemonics are a bit skewed. For example, the mnemonic for both Ra characters is actually a word starting Ro, and this happens with a few other characters as well. I don't know the nationality of the author, but this kind of vowel pronounciation seems American, maybe Australasian and doesn't work quite so well with a UK accent.
This however is a small point and I have no doubt that without this book I would still be at the given-up-after-80% stage. As it is, I now have the confidence to tackle Kanji next (although I expect this to take more than a month :-) :-)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 19 January 2010
This method does work, although I have to admit some of the pictures of association are a little abstract and stretch the concept a little too far and some seem 'wrong' (katakana 'I' shows an Eagle! I and E?), but the point is you DO remember the shape and the sound of the character. Its pocket-sized so you can carry it around and revise while commuting or sitting in the park. This has accelerated my learning greatly and now I can read the hiragana/katakana with confidence and quite quickly. Brush-stroke order arrows would've been a nice addition. For this price, I'd recommend it unreservedly.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 28 October 2013
If like me you are a little daunted by the tables of Kana that your teacher laid out on the table and asked you to memorise, then this little gem is for you. Whilst it is written by an American author (and yes this is pointed out by every review) so some pronunciations are off. It has the ability to make you see the unrecognisable shapes on the paper and turn them into something fun you may be able to match with a sound.

You'll find this a useful AID, so use it alongside whatever materials you are given. About 80% will fit and the other 20% you'll make up mnemonics of your own. There are only 5 sounds to each 'letter' a(ah)I(ee)u(uh)e(eh)o(oh) so as you keep practising you'll remember what goes next to each other in the table and will have it in no time.

A downside to this book is that it doesn't include stroke order, so that's why it only gets 4 stars from me.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 24 August 2011
This little book is ok if you learn things best with mnemonics however I don't use the ones shown in the book at all, infact I haven't looked in it for months now. I find that it's better to come up with your own mnemonics; with the character 'tsu' I see it like a wave and associate it with 'tsunami' if i'm really stuck.
If you're learning Japanese for fun then this book is ok for you however if you want to learn it properly then it's better to get the Let's Learn Hiragana: First Book of Japanese Writing which explains how to write the kana and provides excercises to help remember them without having to rely on mnemonics.

Overall you could be spending your money on something useful if you're serious about learning Japanese unless you just want to be able to recognise the kana only.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 29 June 2013
I thought it worth a try but this just doesn't work at all for me.

Firstly, the images it suggests for many of the characters are really a stretch too far of the imagination - so not something I'll easily recall when I see the letter on its own. And some are too similar to each other, which doesn't help.

And the words themselves seem based on an American pronunciation, so some work OK for British accent but some are really just not good.

All together, it would take me more study and effort trying to remember the odd pictorial sketches for each letter and then remember what words they might represent and then remember which letter the words are for than it would to just memorise the letters the hard way.

I'm usually very visual but this just doesn't work for me.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 31 May 2011
This book along with the website read the kanji has helped me learn the Hiragana and Katakana symbols in less than a month. I'm not a visual learner, and before receiving this book, I really struggled to recall even 3 or 4 of the symbols. Michael Rowley presents the symbols in a fun easily memorable way that got me looking and thinking of the symbols in a new way. Some of the pictures don't work for the British accent but only a few and using the author's cartoons I was able to think of my own alternatives ("Haht peppers" becomes "ha ha ha, hot peppers!".) If you are someone who uses visualisation, easily this book may not be necessary; but for me it was a completely new way of learning and someone had already done the hard work!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 3 November 2012
Hey people, I am dyslexic and I have trouble getting information into my long term memory, perhaps I am a more visual learner, but I have to say this book works! first you associate the idea with the image,then you can remember and distinguish which character is which. I have been testing my memory every day with this and writhing down each nemonic and now I am beginning to write the Gana out. So I would recommend this book to anyone. It works but you have to put in the effort.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 21 January 2015
I browsed through half of this book, I will be using this as a reference as it is good for that and translating hirigana into romanji if you struggle with reading...but the sound examples used through the book are AWFUL has this person ever been to japan? they would not understand him if he used half of his examples in the book. for example how does HO sound like HA ?... and catch mo' fish...lol? either way good reference NOT a good teaching tool
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed


Learning Japanese Hiragana & Katakana Flash Cards Kit
Learning Japanese Hiragana & Katakana Flash Cards Kit by Emiko Konomi (Paperback - 15 Jun. 2012)
£9.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.