This book is designed for beginners and students who are planning to take JLPT N4 and N5, enabling them to efficiently master 1,800 basic vocabulary words.
Example sentences and illustrations are included for vocabulary which has more than one meaning or which has a meaning that's hard to grasp.
Also, the included CDs allow you to study vocabulary wherever and whenever. In addition, it comes with a red plastic filter which lets you hide the answers and test yourself easily.
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It is a good selection of vocabulary for N4 and N5, however the translation of some of the words is really bad... (フォーク-folk(it's fork).
Good vocabulary book
Even though the book says it's for the JLPT, this book is great for anyone who wants a knowledge of basic Japanese vocabulary.
I was looking for a single book that would help me review and study vocabulary, regardless of the JLPT (I don't really plan to take it). This book is good, I like that it is organized by subject. There are 50 units in total, composed of subjects such as time, clothes, body, town, feelings, work, etc.
Moreover, what I have found to be particularly helpful is that vocabulary is presented in kanji, with furigana and English (also Chinese and Korean I believe) shown in smaller red text. As mentioned in the description, there is a red opaque bookmark that can be used to "hide" the red text, allowing only the Japanese to show through. On top of that, later when the same kanji is presented in this text, furigana is not included -- thereby forcing you to learn the reading. This emphasis on kanji, and not just the hiragana (or even worse, romanji) for vocabulary has been amazing. I really have moved ahead significantly in reading and comprehending kanji as a result of this book.
I do have a few negative comments related to this book. As another reviewer noted, the text is very small. In addition to that, the red text (which again is the furigana and translation in English, etc.) is difficult, if not impossible, to read in lower light. I study a lot in the evening, and this book is really hard to see in an environment where I normally have no trouble reading. Honestly, I would rather have a easier reading experience than the novelty of the red text that can be shown or hidden using the bookmark (really not something I use that much).
Another thing is that I already knew about two-thirds of the vocabulary in this book, having finished Minna No Nihongo textbook 1. Therefore, if you are a true beginner, at or below about half of that book or the Genki one, this book might be more helpful for you. But if you are finished with a beginner book, this might be more of a vocabulary review for you, or even not needed. However, overall I feel that the stress on kanji has been most beneficial, even in reviewing words that I knew before but did not study their kanji previously.
I love this book
I love this book. Vocabulary is where I'm struggling the most and this book groups the words in areas like Time, Numbers, Clothing, etc. The example sentences are a huge help as well. Finally, the english is written in red ink and the book comes with a red plastic bookmark - allowing you to cover the engish but still see the japanese - perfect for studying.
My only complaint is the print is a little small.
A welcome book for a beginner
By Jan De Bondt
A welcome book for a beginner. Especially if you like learning themed lists of vocabulary like me :) it's a good thing they didn't include romaji, so the focus remains on Kanji/Kana. I'm too often distracted by romaji, as it's still easier on the eyes for a western person.
As said already about the print: the furigana on kanji can be a little too small and hard to read when your eyes are tired or in low light. But that's only a minor complaint. I still love the book, because it's small enough to carry around (not that it's pocket sized).
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