I relied on these books for a long time. I used to study by myself at home after work and sometimes on weekends. They’ve been a great help!
These were the books I started learning with. What I did was, I outlined all these textbooks in separate notebooks, that way I practiced writing the sentences, too. Then I looked up the vocabulary in the English Translation Book, then outlined those, too. Then, I answered all the questions in my notebook. I compared my answers to the examples in the textbook to double-check. If I was in the mood, I’d read the sentences aloud.
This set of books was basically written by for Engineering Trainees. The book is based on the Japanese adventures of a group of trainees. Students learn basic grammar patterns beginning with self-introductions and moving on to simple day-to-day conversations, then to letter writing, and so on. I found the lessons to be extremely helpful, especially when I just got to Japan. The entire textbook is written in Japanese. You can purchase an accompanying workbook, a Kanji book, listening CDs and cassettes, and most importantly a translation book in English, all separately. There are translation books in other languages, as well. I’ve seen German, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Korean and even Bahasa Indonesian.
Similar to the Minna no Nihongo Series, the lessons are almost all in the same order. I really liked this series, which talked about Rao（ラオさん), an Indian Engineering trainee in Japan. He had friends from many other countries, and he went to a Language Center somewhere in the Tokyo Area. Actually, I did Book I of this series and Book II of Minna no Nihongo. I didn’t have any problems jumping from one textbook to the other. Both textbook sets have additional study materials so I didn’t have to look for any other textbooks.
This series is a continuation of the Shin no Nihongo Kiso Series. This time the focus is on Lee (リーさん), a Chinese trainee in Japan. A lot of new patterns are introduced, and many of the basic patterns from Books I and II are reviewed. This textbook also comes with an English translation book and a grammatical notes book. A lot of the basic conversation situations in this book were great. If you master them, you’ll wow all your Japanese friends and colleagues.
I haven’t finished this series, yet. I’m half-way done though. I’ve been studying the same way I did with the Beginner I and II books. To most people I’ve recommended these methods to, I’ve only heard one excuse: “I’m too lazy to try.” Well, I don’t have anything to say to that…
To the rest of you, Good Luck studying!
For Kanji (漢字, Chinese characters used in Japanese), I used additional textbooks. I will talk about that in another post.