5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
The Best Japanese Textbook for the Dedicated Self-Learner,
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This review is from: Japanese for Everyone: A Functional Approach to Daily Communication (Paperback)
Despite one reviewer only giving this book 2 stars I can heartily recommend this book to every beginner who wishes to take their Japanese to the next level, and though I wouldn't recommend it as a first book for the absolute beginner (for that see my review of "Berlitz Essential Japanese") I would definitely recommend it for students who already have the basics and require to expand their vocabulary and reading ability.
The book is very comprehensive and the learning curve can be steep at times as the author crams a lot into each chapter (hence not a good choice for the absolute beginner unless they have a tutor). For a starter it expects you to know the kanas as all the vocabulary is written using these Japanese "alphabets," though for the first three chapters, transcripts using the roman alphabet is provided while you learn them. It even introduces you to kanji - the chinese characters - right from the first lesson.
I have read many of the advance beginner/lower intermediate level textbooks but this one beats them all. What the "Genki" series of books and the "Japanese for Busy People" series offers over several volumes this gives you in one place - in fact it gives you a lot more besides and in my opinion takes you to a higher level of proficiency. So save your money and buy this one.
If you are an absolute beginner I would start with "Berlitz Essential Japanese" by Lynne Strugnell to get the basic vocabulary, the two kana workbooks "Let's Learn Hiragana", "Let's Learn Katakana" by Yasuko Kosaka Mitamura to learn the basic writing system (which is very easy to pick up), and then move on to "Japanese for Everyone."