This is a good book for linguists and students of Japanese philology who want to explore Japanese sounds in a more technical language of phonology. I do not think it would be useful for students of Japanese who are not interested in theoretical description. I would rate this book 4 stars but the CD that come with this book is totally useless, made by people who did not know what they were doing. There is no way someone could profit using this CD.
In this series, THE SOUNDS OF CHINESE by Yen-Hwei Lin, published in 2007, is beautifully prepared in terms of recorded sounds. There are sets of words and exercises that are intelligently divided into tracks. The tracks from the CD can be easily found in the book: they are numbered and marked by a small sign of headphones. The recordings are nicely done and very useful. There are small pauses between the pronounced words. On the other hand, the CD of THE SOUNDS OF JAPANESE was prepared by someone who has absolutely no skill and professional preparation to do such job. It is possible that the author of the book is to be blamed for that, to some degree. The tracks are not composed of a set of words but (!) each word is a single track with no (!) pauses at the beginnig and the end of the word. You just open the folder with words, English and Japanese, from, e.g., chapter two and they are alphabetically arranged. You must play each word separately because the CD (or Windows Media Player) will not play more than two or three. It stops. Moreover, the words are "cut" that is, you will not hear the beginning of many words because, as I have mentions, there are no pauses and each word is a separate track. In my opinion, this CD is a piece of junk. (It should be redone as soon as possible.) In addition, you will not find the recorded Japanese words nicely arranged in the book. They are there, somewhere, in the texts of a chapter. This is really poorly done. I do not know why SOUNDS OF CHINESE, published some time before this book, also by Cambridge University Press, is so well done in terms of editorial work, while this book and especially its CD leave much to be desired.