4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Why did no-one tell me this existed sooner?!,
This review is from: Japanese the Manga Way: An Illustrated Guide to Grammar and Structure (Paperback)
I bought this on the strength of other amazon reviews, and I have to say that I was not in the least disappointed.
Although there aren't any exercises to consolidate what you've just learnt, I've found that watching Japanese TV is more than enough practice. Even after a few chapters, you could at least understand the structure of what's being said in a conversation, even if you didn't know all of the words themselves! The book also goes into great detail on particles and their usage in everyday conversation, and it really pays off. It's a great confidence booster - before I'd just been using Japanese for Busy People, and colloquial Japanese sounded like a completely different language - not so any more!
Each section of text is given first in kanji and kana (but no furigana), then in romaji, then in a word-for-word translation and finally in proper English. Personally, I don't like the omission of furigana, as although I can read the two kana alphabets I don't know many kanji. This means that you have to rely on the romaji translation, which is not as good for your learning as using kana.
The grammatical explanations (which are, for me, the main selling point) are second to none. After each piece of dialogue is a detailed analysis of each part of the sentence. This is especially useful further on in the book, when longer sentences with clauses and subclauses become confusing when you first come across them. Lammers clearly disects them, showing what parts could act as individual sentences, and then how they all fit back together.
I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone if they were just starting out in Japanese - the manga strips serve to illustrate grammatical points more than useful vocabulary, and, as said before, there are no exercises to practice. Japanese for Busy People is a great partner to this book however - although it teaches very formal Japanese, the sentence structure is the same whatever the register, and it provides plenty of useful vocabulary and exercises.
Lammers' book is perfect though for anyone who's got a good grounding in the language and who wants to learn *real* conversational Japanese, and there is nothing else to match it on the market. It should be a crime to study japanese and not have this book, so buy it now!