First, you’re introduced to some full colour short comics about the teacher explaining the diverse amount of student learning Japanese at her language school. She talks about the strange questions that get asked to her as well as misunderstandings from language she would normally use on a daily basis.
Each comic is about 4-5 panels each in length and only the first sixteen pages are actually in colour. Making the more assessible to the learner. There are a bunch of essays and quizzes through the book as well. All of them relating to situations Japanese language learners encounter or a reason to learn Japanese. The comics do include furigana over the Kanji but keep in mind that there are many Kanji that don’t have furigana on them at all. Which means you will have to look up quite a bit of unfamiliar Kanji.
Who Is This Book Series Aimed Toward?
It’s written to give insight to Japanese who might be completely unaware of common mistakes they make as native speakers of Japanese. It even goes over loan words from different languages changing their pronunciation as they enter Japanese. As well as what to expect when teaching foreigners Japanese and the challenges that come with it.
How Can This Book Help Improve My Japanese
It can provide you with not only useful words, phrases and grammatical structures but also give you cultural insight into Japanese Culture. It will help your reading comprehension in more entertaining way. More or less anyway. Most Kanji do have furigana printed on the top of them so if you aren’t familiar with a certain word or character, you can look them up with ease. You can use the essay and quiz sections for understanding words in context.
It can also be useful if you’re learning to write an essay in Japanese and need an example of how it is constructed in Japanese.
Which Level of Japanese Should I Be At In Order To Understand These Books?
Between B2-C2 on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages which is refers to Higher Intermediate to Advance levels in Japanese. These comic-essays were written in a style meant for an adult audience and thus, the language used through of the books are going to be more difficult to a beginner to lower intermediate learner of the language. The images do give some visual context but not enough to make it comprehensible to a beginner.
Which Topics Do These Comics Discuss?
Chapter one goes over counter words, forbidden jobs for foreigners on a student or work visa, short explanations of words with similar meanings or that use the same Kanji, an essay on over the misconceptions of teaching foreigners in Japanese language school, issues about asking students to raise their hand if they don’t understand Japanese in Japanese, and a quiz where you match were and the answer key at the bottom explains why they go together.
Chapter two covers learning vocabulary and grammar through TV shows and movies, out-dated Japanese, an essay about learning Japanese through Manga, a quiz providing sample of what is on the level 1 the JPLT(Japanese Language Proficiency Test) with an answer key and explanation about the exam for native speakers, and a little bit of culture shock from on the students in the comic.
Chapter three covers using Keigo (Honorifics) correctly, native speakers using Keigo incorrectly, Baito Keigo used at a part-time job, an essay about Baito Keigo, a native speaker doing another a foreigner’s homework assignment only to get the answers wrong, and a quiz about using Keigo expressions correctly.
Chapter four goes over cultural differences when it comes to correcting assignments, how using flowery does not translate from one language to another, one of the students wrote a love letter to another student but doesn’t realise that the other student is only a beginner at Japanese, an essay on why being a Japanese teacher is difficult, and a multiple choice quiz.
Chapter five goes over archaic Hiragana that hasn’t been used for centuries that even Japanese would not be able to understand nowadays, Yakuza way of speaking, Katakana and loanwords being imported into Japanese, an essay about how Japanese became a foreign language, a quiz on decipering sloppy handwriting, and a common mistake regarding a specific phrase.
Chapter six covers the difficulties surrounding Kanji, other languages that use and used to use Kanji, how Kanji was imported into Japanese and why there are On (Chinese) and Kun (Japanese) readings of each character, an essay about Kanji that the Chinese also don’t know about and a Kanji quiz.
Chapter seven covers Standard Japanese, onomatopoeia, a little bit about dialects, an essay about how what comes to mind when foreigners think of Japan, and a quiz on Japanese loanwords and which languages they have originated from.
Chapter eight goes over the use of the “o” and “go’ prefix in polite Japanese, a little bit of history of language woman used in the past that had an influence on current use of certain words, sympathy rules and customs when visiting people in hospital, an essay on the rules of the Japanese language and a quiz on the correct usage of particles.
Chapter nine goes over why “o” and “wo” are pronounced the same but spelled differently, an essay discussing Keigo, a multiple choice quiz, and insight about the Star Festival in Japan.
Chapter ten is about the students perspective of Japan and why they like Japan.
Intermediate and Advanced Learners of Japanese.
Native speakers of Japanese who want more insight into their own language.
Fluent speakers who want something entertaining yet educational at the same time/review of what they already learned.
If you’re interested in purchasing this book series, you can do so on Amazon. (Affiliate link!)
What do you think? I would love to hear from you!