Language in Review - A Japanese-language-learning website with lots of resources.
Anki - Intelligent flashcards that increase your studying efficiency.
All Japanese All The Time - Blog about an aggressive immersion technique for learning foreign languages.
A bilingual monthly magazine (each paragraph is written in English and Japanese) with articles about Japanese culture and people, plus some 'international' items. All Japanese characters have furigana (hiragana superscripts) for easy reading. The Hiragana Times
Japanese for Busy People
Author: Association for Japanese Language Teaching
Highly recommended by many people, especially for those starting from scratch. This comprises a set of three books, plus optional cassettes/CDs/workbooks, etc. After completing them you will be ready for the Level 3 exam. We recommend the kana version of the textbook, which facilitates reading and writing in kana (and later kanji) from the onset. Good for people who want to dive in immediately, but not grammar oriented and perhaps not as good for those who want to go beyond beginner level. Amazon
Author:Yukiko Abe Hatasa, Kazumi Hatasa, and Seiichi Makino. Amazon
Solid university-level textbook.
Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese
Author: Eri Banno, Yutaka Ohno, Yoko Sakane, Chikako Shinagawa. Amazon
University textbook often used for self-study.
Minna no Nihongo
Author:3A Network. Amazon This textbook is entirely in Japanese, but it is possible to buy an English translation.
Let's Learn Katakana & Let's Learn Hiragana
Author: Yasuko K. Mitamura
These are excellent books for learning the two scripts. They have effective drills, exercises etc.
Easy Kana Workbook
Author: Rita Lampkin
Remembering the Kanji
Author: James W. Heisig
Publisher: Japan Publications
This is one of the best books on the market for learning kanji. Unique method.
Basic Kanji Book (Vol.1&2)
Author: Chieko Kano
This is a well-organized textbook for those wanting to begin learning kanji. It is divided into lessons of about a dozen kanji, usually with some sort of common thread. It includes reading, writing, and comprehension exercises. You must know hiragana and katakana to make the most of it. Volume 1 is red and has the first 250 kanji, and volume 2 is light blue and has another 250.
Kodansha's Basic English-Japanese Dictionary
Author: Makino, Nakada & Ohso
Publisher: Kodansha International
Packed with lots of example sentences, and is very good at showing how and in what contexts certain words are used. All words and example sentences are written in kanji/kana and romaji.
Kenkyusha's Furigana English-Japanese Dictionary
Highly recommended English to Japanese dictionary. Intended for English speakers learning Japanese, so it provides excellent explanations of Japanese words, including their multiple meanings and kanji with furigana. Japanese words listed in kana, English words in English, thus avoiding many complications other dictionaries run into. It has over 40,000 entries, so is large enough to cover all the words your find yourself needing to look up on a day-to-day basis, including English slang and specialized terms. It has a green cover, and is strongly recommended.
The Kanji Dictionary
Author: Spahn & Hadamitzky
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
By far the best kanji dictionary on the market. They use a unique classification system for kanji radicals (only 79 radicals as opposed to the standard 214), but once you get the hang of it, it is very quick and easy to look up characters. The best part of this dictionary is that it lists all of the most common compounds that each kanji is found in, regardless of where the kanji appears in a given word. This is especially useful when you are faced with a long string of kanji and are not sure where word boundaries are located. Some other kanji dictionaries (e.g. the Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary) only list compounds that include a given character in the first position.
The New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary
Has a blue cover and is about seven centimeters thick. It replaces the original red Nelson as one of the best reference books for the serious kanji student.
There are a number of electronic dictionaries out there and their prices vary. While these electronic marvels are convenient and useful, they are designed with the Japanese user in mind, and all except Canon Wordtanks use Japanese script exclusively, so you will have to understand hiragana and katakana for them to be useful. The Canon Wordtank, thanks to its bilingual set-up, is by far the most popular electronic dictionary among Japanese language learners. It is also very sturdy and reliable, which is something that you may want to keep in mind.
A Dictionary of Beginning (Intermediate) Japanese Grammar
Author: Seichi Makino & Michio Tsutsui
Publisher: The Japan Times
A very useful and comprehensive grammar reference book produced by the Japan Times. Grammar structure explanations are made quite clear with lots of examples. It is organized alphabetically. It has a yellow-ish cover with red title. The next book in the series is A Dictionary of Intermediate Grammar, which has a blue cover.
The Complete Japanese Verb Guide
Author: Hiroo Japanese Center
This is a very useful and easy to use book. Verbs are listed in alphabetic order with all of their conjugations, plus examples. The entire book is in romaji. It has a yellow cover.
Handbook of Japanese Grammar
Author: Masahiro Tanimori
This is another easy to use book that is extremely useful. Grammar points are listed in alphabetical order. There are lots of example sentences in Hiragana and Romaji. It has a grey cover.
Japanese Words & Their Uses (Vol. I & II)
Author: Akira Miura
Goes over commonly misused words in Japanese, especially Japanese's easy-to-cofuse word pairs (e.g. hajimaru vs. hajimeru).
Japanese Beyond Words: How to Walk and Talk Like a Native Speaker
Author: Amdrew Horvat
Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
Author: DC Patter & Kaoru Slotsve
Covers the group of Japanese dialects found in the Kinki region (e.g Kansai-ben, Osaka-ben, etc.) This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand what the hell the locals are actually saying.
See this article on Tajima Ben
The Languages of Japan
Author: Masayoshi Shibatani
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
An extremely thorough look at the Japanese language, including dialectial differences and Ainu language.
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