What's the best textbook for self-study?

Hello! I really “Japanese from zero” series. I have found it really good for self-study! for reading and writing it has what is a "progressive method"
to help you learn how to read characters slowly. Genki is a good textbook series.but there are alot of exersizes that require another person ( I didn’t use until I started taking Japanese classes)
It has long vocalburary lists, but the dialouge is very interesting!

I really hope this helps!:slight_smile: がんばってください。

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I assume it doesn’t focus on classroom/work situations either? I was browsing through Genki and Minna no Nihongo and they seemed to be heavily aimed towards those. I don’t plan to study or work in Japan so I’m not super stoked about buying either of those.

I’m glad you asked this question actually @ughitssophie, I’m using TextFugu right now and really like the anki decks that it has, but yeah, I see why it’s not really recommended anymore, it’s a little technologically outdated (i.e. can’t fill in the worksheets on the computer at all). I’m trying out renshuu.org, and it does do that stuff pretty well, but it basically has no lessons, just quizzes. I’m king of trying to use them together, and it’s sort of working, though I feel like renshuu.org is designed for extra practice outside of textbooks (I see it has quizzes designed around Genki I). I also kind of prefer physical books, at least for learning (I don’t mind doing quizzing online).

Sorry I don’t really have any recommendations, though, but I think I’m in a similar boat as you!

I’ve heard that Japanese for Everyone is good for self-study. It’s also much cheaper than Genki. I only got it recently, so can’t really tell you much about the contents, but it might be worth looking into. Good luck with your studies!

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Genki, definitely. I’ve studied all the way to Chapter 6 with no issues.

If you’re self-studying (like I am), Genki has a self-study material section on their webpage, it has all sorts of resources to study stuff on your own. It’s kind of weird to understand the flow of the book, but once you understand it, it´s really good for practice. You don’t really need the workbook, it’s mostly used in classrooms with actual teachers.

Genki’s excercises might feel a bit daunting, but if you push through them you really learn the material. One downside is the amount of pair exercises there are. You can create an imaginary friend, or find someone who’s willing to study with you. Also, for some reason, a lot of people miss the practice sections Genki has in the end, they’re awesome.

TLDR: Genki is amazing but a bit slow. Really thorough. I recommend it.

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No it doesn’t. For every grammar lesson there are one or more panels from from a manga to go along with it, which help illustrate the grammar point. In total there are about 25 mangas that are used so you end up with a lot of unique characters / worlds / artwork etc. Some are about animals, some about kids, some about the typical Japanese salaryman etc.

You also get a lot of exposure to colloquialisms, contractions, interjections etc, that don’t get as much attention in usual textbooks.

Here’s an example:

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Thanks @Daru I’m bookmarking that self-study page!

Kind of surprised no one has mentioned the Genki Study Buddies thread here yet, for those who are studying with Genki on their own.

Japanese from zero books and video series are awesome

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I second Japanese for Everyone. I’ve never seen it mentioned on here before and I have no idea why. I’m pretty sure it covers most of Genki I and II in one volume, doesn’t needs any separate workbook and is far cheaper. It’s a little old and the audio is now hard to find, but there’s so much free listening available on the interwebs these days that’s not much of a drawback. It moves quite quickly but it is absolutely packed with material and - what makes it different from a lot of other books - has loads of practice exercises to do, making it great for self learners.

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I think a long time ago it used to be a free website that I had barely started. When it became an actual text book and the free site closed down I wasn’t* kicking myself that I hadn’t used it more. (Might’ve been on Angelfire or Tripod, or Geocities… Way back in those days… Gut says Angelfire - if it was the same thing.) I’ve always really liked this idea, although now that I’ve got Genki, Genki is pretty good and works just fine (so far).

*EDIT: Did I mean to say “was”? I feel like that makes more sense, but I’m not sure anymore, as I wrote this post a while ago. I was way lax in my Japanese studies then, so “wasn’t” still makes sense, too… Hrmm… weird.

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I bought it the other day! Should be coming next week, very excited now I’ve heard so much good stuff about it!

I keep seeing that series recommended to me on Amazon but I’ve never heard anything about it but I’ll check them out, thank you so much for your help!

I heard only good things about “A dictionary of basic Japanese grammar”. I’m gonna ask my Japanese friend to bring it for me when coming to my country, since it’s hard to buy it in some countries. But if you read some reviews… seems you don’t really need anything else than this book up to very high levels.

Good to know I’m not alone in this boat! It seemed like everyone was in their own little corners with Genki but the price is way out of my league right now. I’ve been (trying) to use TF but just can’t get into the swing of it/get into it even there’s quite a lot of interesting information there. I’ll have a look at renshuu.com, thank you!

A few people recommended Japanese The Manga Way to me which I bought and now waiting for it to arrive, I’ll let you know how I get on with it!

Oooh I’ll check out JFE, thank you! I saw it’s got mixed reviews on Amazon but I’ll give it a second chance haha

It’s actually really good to know about the workbook not being necessary, thanks for letting me know, I was on the edge of ordering both which would have cost me £££. I think I’ll see if I can get it secondhand somewhere, thanks so much for your help![quote=“lucianoctrl, post:15, topic:18451, full:true”]
Japanese from zero books and video series are awesome
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Ooooh another vote for series makes me intrigued, I’ll have a look at their books, thank you![quote=“riccyjay, post:16, topic:18451, full:true”]
I second Japanese for Everyone. I’ve never seen it mentioned on here before and I have no idea why. I’m pretty sure it covers most of Genki I and II in one volume, doesn’t needs any separate workbook and is far cheaper. It’s a little old and the audio is now hard to find, but there’s so much free listening available on the interwebs these days that’s not much of a drawback. It moves quite quickly but it is absolutely packed with material and - what makes it different from a lot of other books - has loads of practice exercises to do, making it great for self learners.
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In that case I’ll definitely have a look at JFE, I saw it on Amazon but having no one mentioning it here put me off a bit. I’ll definitely consider it. thank you!

I’ve not heard of that one but I’ll check it out, thanks!

Haven’t seen anyone mention it yet but Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide guide is really good and it’s free (online) They also have a physical copy which is cheap if I remember correctly

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I’m reading it now and I love it. Now i love it. I tried 15 levels ago. That was hard. I made anki decks so i could cram the vocabs i needed but still…

I also recommend the Japanese From Zero series. Keep in mind that it introduces kana in each chapter and uses romaji for “unlearned” kana, so it might be a bit weird for you if you already know them. I thought the first two books were fantastic, but the third dragged a bit.

Yes, I was just going to mention as seanblue said - while the Japanese From Zero books are good the first one teaches about 5 hiragana characters each chapter and then integrates them (along with grammar). The second book does the same with katakana. The third and fourth does that with kanji.

Japanese From Zero 1-4 cover about all the same beginner grammar points Japanese the Manga Way covers. And from what I’ve gathered JFZ is roughly equivalent to Genki 1&2. So make sure you aren’t getting too much redundant material.
(I did JFZ 1-4)

I would stick with maybe one book at first and something to cross reference it like a free online site or dictionary of basic japanese grammar (strictly a grammar reference book)

If you decide to go for Genki try Abebooks.com. I got a Genki textbook off there for $20 including shipping and duty.

Throwing in my vote for Genki btw :slight_smile: Very well-rounded textbook. I looked through Japanese the Manga Way while doing Genki, and love it as a resource to give some extra insight into some grammar points, but I wouldn’t have replaced Genki with it as a main textbook.

I haven’t tried other textbooks though so I’m Genki biased =P

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Searching for Genki II that way it’s not nearly that cheap… $30-35 before another $5 for shipping, depending if it’s the first or second edition textbook. [On Abebooks]

How long ago did you purchase it for that price? Did you mean both I and II for $20 (which would be an even better deal)?

It was about a year ago, just Genki II. Both copes for $20 would have been a true steal!

I see a Genki II on there for $29 shipping and exchange included, which is the cheapest… but yeah, the offerings definitely vary from month to month! There was an even cheaper copy a couple weeks before I bought mine but it got snapped up.