Cheapest Physical Japanese Language-Learning Resources?

Hey guys, I just found out I could be without internet most of the summer, so I’m trying to find an inexpensive physical textbook I could use to self-study. I’ve heard lots of good things about Genki, but they’re kind of pricey, especially if you also buy the answer key (yeah, I need answer keys to learn, and yeah, I do think Genki is sorta pricey…that’s my financial situation right now :sweat_smile:)

I’m an absolute beginner when it comes to Japanese grammar, so I don’t need anything super detailed. Do you know any cheap (ish) physical textbooks I could buy to keep learning over the summer? Especially ones with answer keys and that don’t rely on audio CDs, since I won’t have the ability to play those except on weekends?


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How about the PDF version of Tae Kim? You can print only the chapters you’ll read and hopefully it won’t be more expensive than Genki.


On a budget, I would get Human Japanese on Android, iOS, or PC. Works offline and costs less than ten bucks. Great book on grammar. Can’t go wrong.
Also Tae Kim is also free on those platforms. Alternatively, you could print out pages from Tae Kim so it’s literally “physical”, if you prefer. Won’t cost much.

EDIT: I just got @plantron - ed


I printed the whole book and it costed me like $10. I did have it printed in a very cheap place (for University students).


That might work. I could put it in a binder or something.

How is the book version? The paperback is not quite as expensive as Genki, and it has the advantage of being bound…is that the only advantage to it?

Yeah, from what I read, that’s pretty much it. I could get the same done cheaper, so that’s what I went for. Printing it is also totally okay. The Guide doesn’t have any copyright problems. The PDF exists with the consent of Tae Kim himself.

A good article in your situation could be this one:

There’s a comparision on prices as well :+1:

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That’s really helpful; thanks!

If you’re an absolute beginner, it may be more advanced than what you’re looking for, but I won’t be the one to judge your level.

I have a spare copy of Genki Vol. 2 (1st edition) which I can part with for relatively inexpensively (I somehow managed to get two copies). Let me know if this interests you.

Maybe not quite as helpful to people without access to Amazon (should be carried by them in every region, not just those below), but you can get a real copy of the book and support its author for not much more than what you paid to reproduce it.

Just noticed there was already a link to a page that linked to these. Leaving the post here for convenience, though.

And the print quality is pretty nice. I find my copy handy for periodic random grammar-point review.

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Seriously. Human Japanese.


Japanese Ammo with Misa.

I can’t recommend her channel enough. She has enough lessons to cover the entirety of N5 and then some more, it’s free since it’s YouTube, and she’s a native japanese speaker who speaks english very fluently.

Grab a notebook, follow her lessons playlist, and get ready to learn!

I also really like Misas explanations, but Youtube videos aren’t really an offline resource, which is what this thread is about.

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You can also use Anki offline if you have an Android phone (OS app costs money). Just download Hine’s anki decks:

There are also various tools online that let you download YouTube videos. I am not a lawyer but my impression was that as long as you do this for personal use and don’t reshare them then this is not illegal. Slighly immoral probably but not more than using an ad blocker.

I’ll keep her in mind, but we’re not allowed devices, so that wouldn’t really help. (I’m gonna be a camp counselor. It’ll be awesome experience working with kids, since I wanna be an ALT, but the camp has a pretty strict “since they aren’t allowed devices, you aren’t either” policy.)

@patrickayoup That does interest me! I doubt I could use it now, but I could definitely save it for later. How do you want to communicate about it?

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There is that possibility, for sure, I just assumed spurofthemoment was looking for a simpler approach.

But really, nevermind. I’m not sure why I felt like I had to post that argument in the first place.

And still: Plus one for Japanese Ammo in general! Definitely a useful resource to know about.

It might be worth checking the used book market. I just looked and found Genki I for about $15 USD including delivery (assuming that’s where you are).

Ah, man…I already bought two textbooks… :slightly_frowning_face: I got Japanese for Everyone for only $6, but then I bought a Japanese Verbs dictionary for around $16. I guess they aren’t the worst prices in the world.

Well that’s fine too. I actually have an old copy of Japanese for Everyone that I used when I took a course around 2001. I think it’s not bad. I looked at it recently and found it a bit sexist in an old-fashioned way by today’s standards (it follows the adventures of an American businessman who has been transferred to a Japanese office and his wife who loves mainly to shop), but apart from that quibble, I think you can get a lot out of it. In general the book isn’t too dry, and I do appreciate that. Since it was written in I think the early 1990s, it’s probably the perfect accompaniment to a summer with no Internet.

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