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9 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still remains the best audio learning course for Japanese
Having finished Japanese I, and just a few hours ago finished Japanese II, I feel that the course was well worth the price. Pimsleur is still the best audio learning technique out there, and the course reinforces that fact. It well serves its purpose. Together you get 900 total minutes, 15 total hours of audio. That's quite a bit of content to listen to, and you do...
Published on Oct. 23 2003 by James D.

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2.0 out of 5 stars Beware: Speakers on CDs are Not Native Speakers!
First off, I do not want to appear as a "Pimsleur Basher." I think their courses are the best, compared with all the others out there. The content structure of this course is excellent, as are all the Pimsleur courses. If you're buying this to learn the Japanese language, I would recommend this for the sentence patterns and linguistic information alone.
That aside,...
Published on April 21 2004


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2.0 out of 5 stars Beware: Speakers on CDs are Not Native Speakers!, April 21 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
First off, I do not want to appear as a "Pimsleur Basher." I think their courses are the best, compared with all the others out there. The content structure of this course is excellent, as are all the Pimsleur courses. If you're buying this to learn the Japanese language, I would recommend this for the sentence patterns and linguistic information alone.
That aside, you should know up front that the speakers in the Japanese 2 series, from which you will be modeling your speaking, are **not native speakers**. Ok, that may be a little harsh; the male speaker may **possibly** be a native speaker, but his accent is definitely non-standard -- and by standard, I mean the accepted Kanto dialect, which you will hear on NHK news broadcasts and just about any Japanese language audio program. My main criticism is with the female speaker (who according to the credits in the program book is one of the course's writers); her accent screams out at you as being not only non-standard, but non-native! I'm surprised at 1) Pimsleur's (i.e. Simon and Schuster) carelessness in not reviewing the quality of its speakers -- if the consumer is shelling out big bucks for this course, the very least Pimsleur should do is ensure that it uses standard accents to model; 2) the gall of the female speaker to pass herself off as a model speaker on a mass-distributed language program, especially one as popular as the Pimsleur program -- who the heck does she think she's fooling?! (Well, obviously she must have fooled the folks at Pimsleur!)
Here's an analogy: as fluent in the English language as Henry Kissinger is, would you recommend him as a model speaker on an English language learning audio program? Or put another way, as a learner of English, would you want to model your accent after Dr. Kissinger? How about learning English by modeling Arnold Schwarzenegger's accent? How would you like to shell out over $300 for the privilege, not knowing what you were getting? Many people unsuspectingly have...
Notes:
1)Just to show I'm not alone in these views, I played the CDs to 5 native speakers of Japanese; every listener singled out the female speaker on the CDs as glaringly non-native in her accent/intonation; very fluent perhaps, but definitely not a native speaker. The fact that the credits list her as having a Japanese maiden name only adds to the mystery.
2)The version I reviewed was copyrighted in 1996 and 1998. I have not yet reviewed courses 1 nor 3, but if they contain the same speakers -- BUYER BEWARE!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Still remains the best audio learning course for Japanese, Oct. 23 2003
This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
Having finished Japanese I, and just a few hours ago finished Japanese II, I feel that the course was well worth the price. Pimsleur is still the best audio learning technique out there, and the course reinforces that fact. It well serves its purpose. Together you get 900 total minutes, 15 total hours of audio. That's quite a bit of content to listen to, and you do learn quite a bit from it.
All you do is listen to the lessons, concentrate on them, and repeat it if you have trouble with something (Can't remember a word, grammar pattern, etc.). Yup, it's as simple as it sounds.
I (As many others seem to) study other material in addition to Japanese II. I don't know if one could survive in Japan solely on Pimsleur lessons, but the quality of Pimsleur Lessons is still unsurpassed. I would highly recommend that you do other studies in addition to the Pimsleur Lessons, if time allows.
Pimsleur is THE BEST audio language learning course out there, period. And with Pimsleur Japanese II, you get what you pay for, simple as that.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, Aug. 8 2002
By 
R. said "Ramsaid" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
I've finished both Pimsleur I and II and have just purchased III. I would recommend these for beginners who have the time to devote. My 30 minute drive commute makes them ideal. I and II took about five months of drivetime listening and review (60 lessons).
One note, Pimsleur suggests not using a textbook but I would highly recommend getting a small textbook such as Berlitz' Essential Japanese for two reasons. First you may not be hearing the work correctly on the Pimsleur CDs/tapes and secondly, it is mush easier to remember a word if you know how its spelled in English (Romanji). Otherwise you may have to resort to creating cumbersome mnemonics to remember a word or phrase.
One final note. You may find that after six months of study you are still utterly lost when watching some Japanese television shows. Take heart, many of those shows use informal language. Rent a movie like "Shall we Dance?" with its more formal politeness and you'll find your Pimsleur time and money investments paying off.
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5.0 out of 5 stars After Pimsleur, you can SPEAK..., Feb. 5 2002
By 
C. Fischer (Cambridge, MA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
not just string together (sometimes coherent) words into quasi-sentences.
I am currently using this product to learn Japanese while living in Tokyo. I have and continue to study in more traditional language classes, but there emphasis is more on understanding speech, and on writing. You may learn (and remember) a lot of grammar and vocabulary from these classes, but for me, it is not at instant recall. You always have to pause, for just a second or two, to think of this word, or how to conjugate that verb, which ruins the continuity of your speech and your conversation.
Pimsleur's method is highly effective at completely internalizing the basic structure of a language. You learn to say things and understand things at the speed of NORMAL SPEECH. In a traditional academic classroom, this is far from the case. Although I knew almost all the words and grammar presented in the Pimsleur course, I found that listening to the CDs was still immensely helpful just for internalization and "speedifying" purposes.
Pimsleur is an excellent complement to serious study of a language. It would also be excellent for travellers who want to actually interact and converse with Japanese in interesting (albeit extremely limited) ways.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Get this, May 28 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Pimsleur Language Program: Japanese Level II (Audio Cassette)
Ok. Pimsleur II won't get you very far, is expensive as hell, and is somewhat cumbersome to work with. So the rest of this review will be about how in hell did I get to giving it five stars. There are several ways to go about when wanting to learn a language in an audio-only manner. You can get the "Learn in your car" from Penton Overseas. You can get the audio-only course from Living Language. Or you can take Pimsleur. From the lot, Pimsleur would be the ONLY decent answer for the utter beginner, and Pimsleur II will advance you to an intermediate level in the best way. You'll simply remember everything you learned. With the other options, you will find yourself replaying the tapes a couple of times. Does any language course that is a self learning course worth this kind of money? No. That's why we have the next paragraph.
Money. First of all, by all means get it used. It is an audio course that I recommend going through only once. So if you're lucky enough to find a CD version used, it will be exactly the same (of course - assuming that the seller is decent enough to sell unscratched CD-s). As for used audio cassettes, well, as much as we want to hear the correct pronounciation, we have to remember - this is not Mozart, it is only recorded speech. However even if you don't find it used, you can buy it, and after completing the course, sell it as used. As this is suitable for first time learning, and is too much for review purposes (perhaps the other audio-only courses will be better for review).
One last thing. Usability. I'll talk technology, but it's essential here. When I bought the heavy package, the first thing I've done was to move it to MP3. So then I had the entire audio collection on a single CD. In such a way you take a single disc to your car, play it with a mobile MP3 player, and stock the valuable course in your closet for backup. In that way, when you finish with the course, the originals stay in a good enough state to be sold as used. However, if you won't convert to MP3, the need to each time take another cassette/CD to your car would be a serious drawback, since storing the entire course in your car doesn't sound as a sensible alternative to me.
To wrap it up, buy it, MP3 it, learn it, sell it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best language system for busy people, Sept. 10 2001
By 
Daniel J. Matyola (Somerville, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pimsleur Language Program: Japanese Level II (Audio Cassette)
I find this set of tapes to be an excellent way to learn Japanese, and an even better method of refreshing what you learned some time ago. Of course, if you are just starting out, you should start with Japanese I. Even better...you can buy a short introductory course, to see whether the system works for you. The price of the short court includes a discount in that amount against the price of the full course (or at least it did, when I first bought one years ago). I listen to the tapes in my car, and find the system very effective. I have also used Pimsleur tape courses in Russian and French, and found them to be equally good.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not native speakers, May 14 2004
By 
B. Sim "Lord Duallah" (Oort Cloud) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
The male speaker is passable, but the "native" female speaker is absolutely atrocious. All of my japanese friends have deemed her a fraud. She speaks with a weird accent that seems to be chinese in origin. I wouldn't be surprised if she's a native chinese speaker.
Unfortunately, this "native" speaker is the female voice for Pimsleur Japanese II and III. So much for truth in advertising.
While she is absolutely grating to the ears, I still find Pimsleur Japanese useful. Luckily, I received Japanese II and III as gifts. I would feel cheated if I had paid.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent audio method, April 15 2001
By 
This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
This is the best audio method I have been exposed to. It is interactive, very progressive and pedagogical. It requires no book and is perfect for commute. Set II contains 16 CDs that consist of a total of 30 lessons running 1/2 hour each. I covered the entire set II during my commute to work in a six-month period. I am now about to purchase the third and last set of this Japanese Pimsleur language program.
This really is a great course! I highly recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent audio method, April 15 2001
By 
This review is from: Japanese II - 1st Ed. (Audio CD)
This is the best audio method I have been exposed to. It is interactive, very progressive and pedagogical. It requires no book and is perfect for commute. Set II contains 16 CDs that consist of a total of 30 lessons running 1/2 hour each. I covered the entire set II during my commute to work in a six-month period. I am now about to purchase the third and last set of this Japanese Pimsleur language program.
This really is a great course! I highly recommend it.
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Pimsleur Language Program:  Japanese Level II
Pimsleur Language Program: Japanese Level II by Pimsleur (Audio Cassette - Oct. 1 1996)
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