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"Yookoso!" textbook

Dan B

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Hello, everyone.

I just joined today and wanted to ask if anyone here had used or heard of the textbook I'll be using in my 'Elementary I' Japanese class which starts this Thursday. The class is offered by the Japan-America Society of Washington, DC and is small (only 8 people, which is nice).

book1b.jpg


The text is "Yookoso! An Invitation to Contemporary Japanese." I won't receive the text until the first night of class, but I was curious about it so I went to the text's homepage (the URL above) and also searched at Amazon.com to see what students had to say about it.

As you might imagine, some reviewers loved it and some didn't. But what stood out to me as being an excellent idea was the limited use of romaji. Apparently Hiragana is taught right up front and romaji is only used in the first major section of the book. From that point forward, there is no romaji and students are expected to really know Hiragana (and, later, Katakana and a limited amount of Kanji).

I think this sounds great! What do you all think? Do you have any suggestions for helping me make my study of Japanese as successful as possible? I haven't studied a foreign language since high school (though I'm a math teacher and my students sometimes make a very convincing argument that mathematics is a foreign language :emoji_wink: ).

I've already bought a couple of extra books (an extra workbook to practice Kana, a book about Japanese particles, and a few others) and plan on putting Japanese labels on common things around my house and classroom to help me learn some basic vocabulary and Hiragana. (I know, it sounds a bit silly...)

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Regards,

Dan
 

DoctorP

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Dan, I personally have never used that book, but it sounds great! I studied with the Unversity of Maryland while in the military in Okinawa. They use the "Japanese for Busy People" text books, and I am not a great fan of them. As for the labels, that is a very good idea. The first book I ever used suggested that, and I believe that helped me the most. Good luck with your studies and let me know how that book works out!
 

Dan B

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CC1,

Thanks! I appreciate the encouragement. My first class is tomorrow and I'll let you know how the book looks (but I'm sure it'll take a bit of time and experience to give it a proper review).

I've been practicing Hiragana in my Kana workbook and, in the introduction, I noticed that "Romaji" is spelled without an "n"... :p

Whoops. Sorry, everyone!

Dan
 

Elizabeth

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You'll have to give me a couple more days on the formal review, but I have actually used the second edition "Yookoso : Continuing with Contemporary Japanese" (Book 2) which may or may not be of much help. At any rate there shouldn't be too much disparity and my experience, albeit with self-study on a book strongly oriented towards structured classroom activities and interaction, has been extremely positive. It's unclear why there isn't more buzz surrounding it, but the dialogues are more natural and frequent than Japanese For Busy People, the layout is much more engaging with extensive cultural notes and vocab lists and a smoother, less stressful pacing (furigana alongside most kanji throughout which should aid tremendously with memorization), even a solid index in both English and Japanese. It's certainly one of the best intro texts I've come across, so hope your reaction is just as enthusiastic, Dan B. Look forward to your review. :)
 

Dan B

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Elizabeth,

I think that is of great help, thank you! Given that they're both written by the same author, it sounds like this will be a very good text and I'm looking forward to my first introduction to it this evening.

I'll post again tonight when I get back from class and give you my initial impressions.

Thanks!

Dan
 

Dan B

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Well, so far I really like the textbook. It comes with a workbook and a CD (4 CDs, actually), and there are many helpful cultural notes in the margins which comment on the dialogues and vocabulary.

I've also spent a good deal of extra time over the last two weeks learning Hiragana and I can comfortably say that I've pretty much got it down pat. I do have to think about some of the combination characters (like nya, etc.)--I'm still at the point where I have to deconstruct the sound into "ni" and "ya" in order to write it down.

Regardless, I've picked it up much faster than I'd hoped. For the benefit of anyone who might be having a hard time learning Hiragana, here's what I did:

1. I bought a supplementary practice workbook. (Mine is the "Easy Kana Workbook," by Lampkin & Hoshino--I bought it at Border's.) This gave me a lot of guided practice in both writing and reading the characters.

2. After practicing a new character in the workbook, I would write all of the characters that I'd learned so far on a separate sheet of paper. Then I'd practice the next new character in the workbook and again write all of the characters that I knew. I did this for every character in the basic Gojuuon chart.

2. I don't write anything in Romaji (except on the Web, since I don't yet have a program for writing Japanese characters). Anything that I write in Japanese is written in Hiragana. At first this can be tedious when copying down notes on vocabulary and so forth, but it seems to pay off in the long run. Not only has this helped me learn how to write Hiragana, it has forced me to learn to read it--and I'm getting a little bit faster at reading and "chunking" each day.

3. I practice writing every day, even if it's only for a few minutes.

Now onto Katakana!

Dan
 
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m477

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A couple of friends of mine have used that book in their Japanese classes. It's not a bad book, but I think Situational Functional Japanese is much better.
 

Dan B

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m477-san,

I haven't seen Situational Functional Japanese but I'm becoming more impressed with the Yookoso! text the more I read through it. Although the first section felt kind of slow, it seems to quickly to pick up the pace, building in reasonably logical steps, and expects students to actively learn Hiragana, Katakana, and a limited amount of Kanji early in their studies.

By the way, my "Beginning Japanese I" class would now appear to be half the size of what it was when we started about three weeks ago...is this typical, in everyone else's experience?

Is it normal for so many people to give up so easily? (Granted, I'm sure that some people may have found that they simply don't have the time to dedicate to study, etc...but still! It just seems odd.)

Regards,

Dan
 

Dan B

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While visiting my friends, Greg and Yuko, in Okayama over the last couple of weeks, I noted that Greg had a copy of "Japanese for Busy People" ("JBP"), which I used to help me study for a little bit each day during my trip to Japan.

I found that I liked it much better than the "Yookoso!" text and decided to buy all three volumes of the Kana Versions of "JBP," along with their accompanying workbooks, at a Maruzen in Okayama. I decided to start at the beginning of the first volume and have found the first six lessons to be excellent.

My Kana-reading and writing speed seemed to improve somewhat during my trip (although I doubt that I yet have the reading speed of a 1st-grader 😌) and I hope to get through all three texts before heading back to Japan in December.

Does anyone have any other suggestions for me?

Dan
 
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