Looking for a reader of some sort

Have a textbook or grammar book that you find particularly helpful? What about a learning tip to share with others?
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Looking for a reader of some sort

Post by Triddy » Wed 05.27.2009 12:55 am

So as I thumb through the last couple of chapters of "Japanese for Everyone" (What a long journey that's been...), I realize that I can't stick to textbook Japanese forever. So while I still intend to work through 'An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese', I figure I'm going to need some actual material.

So, I'm looking for a reader, preferably lower-intermediate in level. I looked through 'Breaking into Japanese Literature,' but I don't think I am a fan. It seems similar to trying to teach someone English by giving them Charles Dickens. Of course, I can really be no judge, but that is the general vibe I got off of it. Yet aside from knowing only like 1/4 of the vocab, the grammar was straightforward and easy, so something on that level would be nice.

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Re: Looking for a reader of some sort

Post by welldone101 » Wed 05.27.2009 1:51 am

http://www.amazon.com/Read-Real-Japanes ... 4770029365
Has good stuff.

Banana Yoshimoto is well translated into English so you can read her books and then read them in Japanese afterwards. It helps a lot. Her sentences are difficult but she prefers not to use kanji.

I think the best route is to buy books you recently read and liked a lot in Japanese and start going through them. It's a lot of fun especially if you just promise never to touch the dictionary. Words keep popping up and write them in the margins. Go back and look at them when you get to a new copy of it and eventually you'll figure out what it is from context. Only the important words keep coming back so just skip the rest till the next time through. Read it enough times and you'll have all the words! The nice thing about novels too is that they mostly furigana the first time you run into the kanji, and that's it. So it's like a constant quiz for those tough vocab words (just make sure you mark the first page they showed up on or you'll spend lots of time hunting).

Fun suggestions: any manga, read the English online free.
Golden compass
Harry potter
handwriting book

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Re: Looking for a reader of some sort

Post by wccrawford » Wed 05.27.2009 6:37 am

I think the most important thing is to find things you like, no matter the source. Personally, for me, that's usually manga. I'm not quite up to reading an actual novel, though I do already have several sitting on my shelf that I desperately want to read, including the first Harry Potter, the Read Or Die light novels, and the Dennou Coil light novels. (That helps a lot with motivation, too!)

For now, I read manga. I started with the simplest I could find, Yotsuba&. It's childish, but it's really easy to read. I had trouble with it at first, but by the end of the 8th volume (and studying at the same time), I can read them easily. I moved up to harder ones and can read them fairly easily now, too.

If I was picking things that other people told me to read, I know I'd have lost motivation long ago. In fact, I've got several books on my shelf that came from a 'book club' for manga and I really don't care about them at all... They are work, rather than fun.

In short: Make sure you're reading for fun, rather than for learning! Learning should just be a side-effect.

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Re: Looking for a reader of some sort

Post by clay » Wed 05.27.2009 9:02 am

There weren't many good book readers out there just a few years ago, but recently there has been an explosion of good stuff.

You may want a second look at Giles Murray's books (Breaking into and Exploring Japanese Literature), and as mentioned above, the two Read Real Japanese books are excellent. All available at our store--and I think, cheaper than Amazon. :)
Yomu Training (at the bottom of that page) is also popular, but it doesn't come with a CD.

Recently, perhaps the most popular reader series (with CDs too!) are the Japanese Graded Readers:

The naming convention of the books is confusing, but there are four levels:
Beginner - Around a 350 Word Vocabulary; Each story has 400-1,500 characters
Upper Beginner - Around a 500 Word Vocabulary; Each story has 1,500-2,500 characters
Pre-Intermediate - Around a 800 Word Vocabulary; Each story has 2,500-5,000 characters
Intermediate - Around a 1300 Word Vocabulary; Each story has 5,000-10,000 characters
TheJapanShop.com- Japanese language learning materials
Checkout our iPhone apps: TheJapanesePage.com/iPhone

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Re: Looking for a reader of some sort

Post by yukamina » Wed 05.27.2009 12:41 pm

welldone101 wrote: Fun suggestions: any manga, read the English online free.
Golden compass
Harry potter
handwriting book
Have you read or look at the Golden Compass in Japanese? I was rereading it in English a little while ago, and I noticed it's full of difficult words, place names, made up words, long descriptions, etc. I just read past a lot of in in English, but I feel it would be really difficult and time consuming to read in Japanese. For some reason it's easier to ignore unknown words in English than in Japanese. But maybe the Japanese version is easier?

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