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Japanese Busy People #1 Kana Paperback – Feb 28 1996

4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; 1 edition (Feb. 28 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770019874
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770019875
  • Product Dimensions: 25.7 x 1.5 x 18 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #907,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Association Japanese Language Teaching is a Kodansha author.

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
There are so many resources out there but if you are looking for one book to get you started, Japanese For Busy People 1 is it! All the grammar points will be understood after using all three books in the series. If you are not going to buy audio tapes with this book, go to, which is the official site of the Association For Japanese Language Teaching. There are lots of audio resources there for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners. After finishing Book 1, the learner will be able to introduce themselves, shop, tell the time, express preferences, etc. It also offers quizzes to test your level.
However, one negative is the lack of vocabulary. The learner has to go online and lookup news articles. Go to for articles with audio and fill in the blank quizzes.
Critics say this book tells you to memorize verb forms and adjectives but the patterns will be very obvious. As long as you are willing to put in the effort, this book will teach you everything you need to know to start.
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Format: Paperback
I just love this book. The lay out is simple and easy to follow. For best results, use a "Learn Hiragana" & "Katagana Book" and then get the JFBP Kana Version. That way one can avoid romangi (Japanese written with English letters) which only slows you down from learning real Japanese. Its best to use this book in combination with the workbook. I use the book on my own, but having someone to ask questions to is imperative.
The book does have some shortcomings. Other reviewers have pointed out that book does a poor job of explaining form constructions, instead, it directs one to memorize a list of verbs/adj/etc. I agree this is not the way to go. This deficiency is easily overcome by a class or tutor. My Sensei does a good job explaining how verb/adj/etc structures are formed... so the book's failure to do so is no big deal. If you are learning on your own... this could be a problem.
Having a teacher is a good idea in the beginning anyway as it will give you a chance to practice speaking and listening. I actually started using JFBP on my own because my class book (Japanese New College Text) is just awful.
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Format: Paperback
I feel like I'm going crazy or something because looking at these reviews and finding that the majority of them are 5 stars or 4 stars makes me wonder if I'm coming from the same planet as the other reviewers. I have probably 30 books on learning Japanese, and this is the only one I have ever simply thrown away. I didn't even give it away, or sell it because I didn't want people to learn Japanese the wrong way. Among talking to other people who had used this book, it turns out this book had a reputation, and had come to be known as "The Tome of Suck". First let me list some better books, and then I'll explain why this book is so bad:
1) Situational Functional Japanese I, II, III (the absolute best! But make sure you get the drill book AND the notes book)
2) Japanese: The Spoken Language 1, 2, 3. While this series is second best, it is absolutely the BEST in terms of grammar explanations. The weird roomaji system is frustrating, but it's worth it if you can digest the explanations.
3) Genki I, II. Rapidly surpassing Japanese for Busy People in terms of popularity. Simple to understand grammar exercises, great exercises, very useful vocabulary, immerses you in kana right off the board forcing you to abandon the harmful roomaji.
Okay, now why is JfBP so bad? Well, first of all, they get progressively better. So Book 2 is mediocre, and Book 3 is not too bad (#1 above is still better). But Book 1. Whew boy. First of all, it pretends Japanese is simple. Instead of actually _explaining_ things, it simply tells you to start memorizing everything under the sun.
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Format: Paperback
First off, this textbook is used by a lot of North American Japanese language courses. It's also used here in Toronto by some of the high-school language programs.
This review is of the Kana version of the book (note the different ISBN number).
Japanese has been increasingly popular over the last 2 decades. Initially, it was spurred by interest by business and trade... Remember the Japanese business fears of the 80's?
Nowadays, a second wave of interest in the Japanese language has been triggered by pop. culture. Children and young adults are being exposed to Japanese anime and popular culture resulting in a resurgence of interest in learning the language.
The AJALT wrote this series and there are actually 3 books in the series. Be careful though, this version is written in Kana... the Japanese alphabet with English notes and grammar tips....
There is a parallel version that is written in Romaji... Japanese in the English alphabet with phonetic pronounciation...
It is tempting to get the Romaji versions of the texts as you can save the time of learning Kana... However, I recommend this Kana version to anyone that is interested in learning the written as well as the spoken language. The Kana alphabet is easy to learn and just takes time... At the end of it, you will be MUCH better at Japanese than if you stick with the Romaji. In addition, the Romaji has some pronounciation slips and courses in Japanese are increasingly emphasizing the use of Kana only fromt he beginning.
The text's strengths focus around its well written and structured approach. Each chapter/lesson is written in small bites so that it can be easily digested.
This text makes self-study possible in that everything is really presented easily.
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