I had been gradually absorbing japanese for a few years from such sources as anime, and old samurai films. Six months ago, I decided to take the plunge and devote some time to learning Japanese, so I picked up this book. I was immediately impressed with the organization, and lucidity of the material.
Before, I was totally mystified by the Kanji. I thought I'd never be able to understand " all of that crazy chickenscratch", as I sometimes (jokingly) put it. I tought that I could get by understanding the Kana, or maybe just the Romaji. I was totally put off by the different readings of the Kanji. Now, I understand more kanji than kana (granted, I'm still pretty much the equivalent of a slow-witted japanese kindergartener). This book erased most of my initial apprehension over the subject.
The grammatical structure is handled, in my opinion, in the proper way. For the first few chapters, the reader is presented with a somewhat simplistic view, which must be learned by rote. As the reader progresses in the book, some of the earlier schemas are expanded, and elaborated, leaving the reader with an ever increasingly profound grasp on the language. The presentation and progression is in a logical order, allowing those with a scientist's (like me) or engineer's brain quick access to the language.
This is, of course, not to say that one can attain a complete mastery of the language by reading this one book. As I alluded in the title of this review, this is merely a good first step. It never pretends to be anything more. If one studies from this book with discipline and diligence, one should not have trouble making oneself understood in japanese.