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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful companion to learning Japanese
I studied Japanese and lived there many years ago and have been trying to keep up with the language every since, with varying success. I've purchased some Japanese games for the DS recently, which have been useful for Kanji and Kana learning (Kanji Sonomama DS Rakubikjiten and Tadashii Kanji Kakitori kun - both available from Amazon Japan).

I think this is the...
Published on 16 Dec 2008 by S. Wilson

versus
31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good
Got this game a few days ago and finding it hard to put down. Much as I've wanted to learn Japanese over the previous years, I'm not one to sit down with books. This being a game which also teaches is ideal. Overall very good. You begin with single words, but are introduced to sentence structure as you progress.
When you first switch on, you make a profile where you...
Published on 14 Dec 2008 by kafleen


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58 of 58 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A useful companion to learning Japanese, 16 Dec 2008
By 
S. Wilson "slw34229" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I studied Japanese and lived there many years ago and have been trying to keep up with the language every since, with varying success. I've purchased some Japanese games for the DS recently, which have been useful for Kanji and Kana learning (Kanji Sonomama DS Rakubikjiten and Tadashii Kanji Kakitori kun - both available from Amazon Japan).

I think this is the first game released for the DS that takes English speakers through the basics of the Japanese language. English learning games for the DS at all levels are very common in Japan, so this is well overdue. The Japanese games for learning English often don't have enough Japanese in them of the right level to be useful to English speakers, so this is a really interesting development.

Unlike books, this is very interactive and the games are very effective for testing your memory and learning. They allow you to practice and learn very efficiently if you are short of time. I don't think you can learn to speak Japanese fluently just on the strength of this game alone, but as a companion to a good teacher or textbook such as Japanese for College Students: Basic Vol 1 (Japanese for College Students Vol. 1), it is very useful. For me, as a revision aid, I have found it very helpful.

The main gripe is, as others have noted, the errors in the stroke order for the Kanji and Kana. You can work round this, but I suggest using a textbook, or Kakitorikun if it is important to you to learn these correctly.

The grammar explanations are complicated, because Japanese grammar is actually quite complicated in places and its difficult to condense into a DS screen. Again, I'd suggest A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar or equivalent here.

I find the bridge builder game and the flash card game on Audio only (you hear the word spoken in Japanese and choose the English option) to be the most useful so far. The write card game is also useful, but spoiled a little by the dodgy stroke order on a few of the characters. The microphone play-back function where you can compare your pronunciation to the game's voice is also very useful indeed, particularly if you are new to Japanese.

I think the built-in dictionary and phrase book would be very useful too, although I use Kanji Sonomama's dictionary now.

If you already have a DS and are serious about learning Japanese, you should get this game to help along your study, particularly if you are not fortunate enough to have a Japanese speaker giving you regular lessons.

I intend to buy My Chinese Coach when it becomes available in the UK, and I'm also looking forward to the DS Mind Your Language Japanese game, to see how they compare.
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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good, 14 Dec 2008
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Got this game a few days ago and finding it hard to put down. Much as I've wanted to learn Japanese over the previous years, I'm not one to sit down with books. This being a game which also teaches is ideal. Overall very good. You begin with single words, but are introduced to sentence structure as you progress.
When you first switch on, you make a profile where you are given a test of your Japanese knowledge. This then determines which lesson you are started at. But its easy enough to review any previous lessons.
One gripe would be the kana (hiragana and katakana). Having some knowledge of these I was surprised that a few were shown with incorrect stroke order. No big deal you may think but this would make me wary of any kanji that are taught. Especially as the stroke order is a major factor in finding any kanji in dictionaries.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!, 14 Oct 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Having been to Japan two years ago I fell in love with the place. It is without doubt one of the few places you must visit before your heart stops beating. I used to download my Japanese lessons from ITunes and whilst in Tokyo it proved quite invaluable - one of the locals even asked me if I studied the language (we were in a pub at the time so perhaps the alcohol was the cause of flattery?) made me smile though!

This game arrived yesterday (just missed the pesky postal strikes - hurrah) and I must say that I am simply blown away! The learning curve is just right and it allows you to go at your own pace. Fun games and the prospect of 'mastery points' keep you coming back for more!

In less than a day I now know my colours, the days of the week and my numbers up to nineteen! (No need for the applause but thank you all the same heh heh)

What is really wonderful about this lil gem is that you can revisit all the lessons you've gone over and repeat them for all eternity! There is also a glossary of words and phrases that range from Entertainment to Conversational - you can tick your favourite words and phrases and they'll appear in your 'favourites' - you can then practice them until your pronunciation is spot on!

Another cool innovation is the 'mimicry feature' which allows you to record your pronunciation and play it in unison with a local, ensuring that you say the correct thing and not something rude by mistake!

I plan to return to Japan again before the year is out and will be taking this brilliant learning tool along with me (who knows I may just click the things I want to say n let the Dsi do all the work for me? : D )

No, no I won't do that especially seeing as I can now say:
"Sumimasen, nomimono wo oggotte mo ii?" (Excuse me, do you want a drink?)

I'm not psychic or anything but something tells me that that lil phrase with come in handy ; )

Get this game - you will love it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very satisfying, 13 Feb 2009
By 
B. Chave "xchaveyx" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I highly recommend this product to anyone who wants to learn Japanese, the exercises and games are a brilliant way to get it into your head. Although I found it difficult learning symbols, all you really need to do is go over it now and again and you will get it eventually.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great fun and educational for a wide age range, 1 Feb 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I am not going to repeat the comments from the other reviews. However, I would like to add to those reviews...

I bought this game for myself and my 12-year-old son to use. I studied spoken Japanese 20 years ago and wanted to brush up my Japanese, learn the kana and some kanji and expand my vocabulary. I am now on lesson 29 and my son is a few lessons behind me, and I have to say that so far the game has proved excellent for both of us. I have now learned the Hiragana and I am working on the katakana - thank you previous reviewers for the warning about stroke order as I had not realised there was a problem.

Overall I am very pleased with this game, although I would have a couple of suggestions for the developers if they plan to bring out a revised edition: (i) an expansion of the hiragana and katakana exercises would be good so that you could, for example, go into a game to test only your hiragana; (ii) what has sometimes happened is that I have supposedly 'mastered' a set of words but I really only know the romanized versions and I need more practice on the kana characters (I am not on to kanji yet) and at this point the game takes me on to the next set of words before I feel ready. This could be overcome if the games did not start testing you on new words until you had gone through the lesson in which the new words are introduced; and (iii) it would be good if in Options you could click a button to make all words shown in kana rather than in romaji (and change the option back as needed) to help with learning the kana in some of the games.

Sorry if all that sounds complicated. They are actually only small criticisms of an otherwise EXCELLENT and FUN piece of educational software.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FANTASTIC I love it !!!!, 5 Jan 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I love this so much! it's so much fun and somehow drills the language into you - ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT - would recommend to anyone, I will now be buying the French, Spanish and whatever other languages they make !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Japanese Coach, 28 Nov 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Having an existing interest in Japanese and Japan in general will probably give you a good head start in this game. The lessons are well-placed, and though learning a language through a game may seem unlikely, My Japanese Coach certainly prevails in teaching a thing or two. The lessons are well paced and in general, the whole package is easy to navigate. A great purchase!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great for learning vocabulary and kana...not so much for grammar, 24 Aug 2009
By 
S. M. Cameron "ssssssophie" (edinburgh) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
Unless you're some sort of freaky genius, studying Japanese is a challenge for English speakers - but at the risk of sounding like a Tomy advert, this game actually does make learning fun (and even slightly addictive). It's split up into lessons which teach you 10 to 15 words or symbols at a time; you then play a variety of games to earn points and 'master' the words, after which you can move onto the next lesson. There are 100 thematic lessons, and then 900+ "open plan" ones, each of which teaches you ten new words or kanji.

If you learn best aurally then this will be useful for you, as it comes with audio recordings of all the words and sentences covered. For me, this is the biggest advantage of the game as I find the words are much more likely to stick in my head if I hear them spoken aloud. You can also pinpoint specific words or phrases that you have difficulty with, which might be more difficult to do with a CD. The audio is also really helpful for pronunciation, obviously. The second big advantage is that the game gives you time to practice the hiragana and katakana (two of the Japanese writing systems), and after the 30th lesson it cuts down on the romaji so you're forced to read it and eventually pick it up, even if you don't put all that much effort into learning it. If you want to learn a lot of vocabulary quickly but don't have hours to dedicate to it, or are just a bit lazy, then this is a great way to do it.

The downside of the game is the grammar lessons, which are far too brief; after fifty lessons I knew about five hundred words but had no idea how to use them. There are also too few examples; you're hit with a list of ten verbs but only one or two sentences to illustrate how you put them into action. Obviously the DS screen is pretty small so there's a limit to how much text they can squeeze in there, but even so, some of Haruka sensei's explanations were dire. It's easy to keep moving through the lessons as you're only tested on vocabulary, not grammar, so if you want to learn Japanese properly you really need to supplement your learning with a grammar book; personally, I like 'Schaum's Outlines: Japanese Grammar' and 'Japanese for College Students'. (Note: you'll need to be pretty nifty with your kana if you want to get much out of those.) The explanations and reading of kanji are also a bit vague, so I'd recommend buying a kanji book.

All in all, this is definitely a worthwhile buy - I've only been learning for a few weeks but I've found I'm picking it up pretty easily. In the past, when I was trying to learn using books only, I found it all a bit overwhelming and didn't get very far, but I now feel like I'm making progress; at the same time, if didn't have a grammar book I wouldn't have a clue what was going on. This is a fun, useful addition to more traditional learning methods, but not good enough as a standalone product.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars learning a language the fun way!, 6 May 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
I got hooked the first time I played it. I'm an avid watcher of Japanese anime, and watching them subtitled rather than dubbed in english is an acquired habit of mine. I hope with this program I will be able to understand the shows without subtitles! (I'm way ahead of myself) I can now read a few Japanese words, which is amazing! Although I did find the lessons tougher as you go along. You can still review and go over the lessons again and again till you grasp the lessons. Great gift for anyone who wants to learn new languages. I like it that I get to WRITE Japanese Hiragana as part of a game! How cool is that!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mr C Stroud, 21 Mar 2009
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: My Japanese Coach (Nintendo DS) (Video Game)
This is a great little tool for those of you wanting to learn or brush up on your japanese.

The game starts by testing yuo on any existing knowledge you may already have then proceeds to teach you from that level onwards. Great if you already know bits and peices so you don't have to go over older stuff instead, though you can choose to if you like.

The in learning games anr fun and easy to get to grips with and each lesson is repaeted so that the knowledge really sets in. Plus with each lesson only being around about 20mins ong it's not to taxing as well.

I would highly recommend this as it's great fun and as i've found out, quite hard to put down.
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