It is very difficult to answer what textbooks we recommend. This is because each textbook has its own characteristics, and the best textbook for each person is different.
When I am consulted by a client, I choose a textbook after asking at least the following questions
Learning objectives, learning method (self-study or taking lessons), current level, textbooks used in the past, and other materials and tools available.
If you know a professional Japanese teacher, it is best to consult him or her. However, you need to check how much textbooks he/she can handle. (Please assume that advice from someone with less than 10 textbooks will not be helpful.)
If there is no professional Japanese language teacher you know, you need to be able to judge for yourself. Therefore, we have listed some points that you should understand when choosing textbooks on your own, and we hope they will be helpful.
There are different types of textbooks.
The main types of textbooks for adult learners are as follows
(Comprehensive textbooks / for business people / for short-term residents / reading comprehension / grammar / pronunciation and listening comprehension / notation (kana and kanji) / composition / conversation / preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test)
The “List of Japanese Language Materials” published by Bonjinsha introduces approximately 4,000 Japanese language materials. It is possible to search by the types listed above. Moreover, it can be downloaded free of charge, so if you are interested, please take a look.
Amazon reviews are not helpful.
I often use Amazon for online shopping. However, reviews about Japanese textbooks will not be helpful. This is because most of the people who write reviews are Japanese language learners, and they do not compare the textbooks with other textbooks.
Textbook introduction sites are also not very helpful.
Many textbook introduction sites are affiliate sites. Check if the writers are reliable.
The official websites of publishers may be helpful, but they naturally introduce only their own textbooks, which has the disadvantage of limiting the range of textbooks they cover.
Clerks at general bookstores know very little about Japanese textbooks.
General bookstores sell very few Japanese language textbooks. For this reason, it would be difficult for the clerks working there to compare and introduce Japanese textbooks.
On the other hand, you can trust the staff at stores specializing in Japanese language textbooks because they are very knowledgeable. Bookstores specializing in Japanese language materials include the following bookstores
*Please check the official websites of the companies for the latest information as it may not be possible to enter due to covid-19.
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- Are there any good writing materials for business Japanese? (Three keys to developing business Japanese writing skills.)
- Are there any free materials available for studying business Japanese reading?
- Should I read newspapers for reading practice in business Japanese?
- Are there any good business magazines to practice reading business Japanese?
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