Language Learning Course: Take Off in Japanese

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

This week is Japan Week on Wandering Educators! We'll have giveaways, recipes, stories, and more!

 

I've learned several languages over the course of my lifetime - and always hope to learn more. I think next up on the list is Italian. However, I feel very lucky to have had 5 years of Latin in school (and one year of Spanish), followed by 2 years of Japanese at college before I headed to Japan.   I often wish that I'd grown up in a multi-lingual family, so that I could have an easier time of it. To that end, we're teaching our 6-year old daughter to speak both Spanish and now Japanese (and starting numbers and greetings in Chinese and French)...Life is an adventure!

 

 

I recently had the extreme good luck to receive a review copy of Take Off in Japanese, by Oxford University Press. Billed as the 'complete language learning kit', it includes a compact workbook, audio cds, and mp3 downloads.  Oxford University Press has generously donated a complete set of the Take Off in Japanese, to be given to one randomly drawn, lucky reader of this article! Please leave a comment at the end of the article to be eligible.

 

Take off in Japanese is the perfect Japanese language learning course for those wishing to learn conversational Japanese, or to brush up on their Japanese (like me).  It won't provide you with learning to write all three alphabets, although two of the alphabets  (Hiragana and Katakana) are in the workbook. I learned to write all three Japanese alphabets, but to truly get along in Japan, you need to know how to speak it. I was glad to see the characters I knew on the train, and for my stations, but I wasn't able to read Japanese newspapers.

 

The first lesson in Take Off in Japanese introduces you to the phonetic sounds of the language, and then jumps right in with saying hello! There are three ways to say hello, depending on the time of day. Ohayo GOzaimasu is good morning, Konnichiwa is good day, and Konbanwa is good evening. The speakers on the cds speak so very clearly and give a bit of space in between, so that you can say it back to them. Our 6 year old daughter worked through the first lesson quite easily. She could already count to 100 in Japanese,  so she was very happy to learn more words, and to hear Japanese people speaking!

 

The course is composed of 14 chapters based on conversational Japanese, from opening gambits and weather, to ordering in restaurants, to highly detailed conversations and information about taking the train, holidays, working, playtime, and more.  Within each chapter is a crucial section called Culture, which explains different Japanese cultures. Having lived there, I can attest to the importance of knowing about trains, holidays, bank and post office schedules, stores, addresses (or lack thereof, in Western terms), weather, the all important concept of honorifics, and more.

 

Each chapter ends with a self-test, and several concepts that you can go over again and again. There are also vocabulary lists, transcripts of the audio conversations (good for us visual learners), as well as complete learning of honorifics and the different forms and tenses of verbs. Each chapter builds on the previous ones, so it is critical to learn it well before moving on. Luckily for us language learners, repetition seems to help acquisition.

 

I am excited about picking up on my Japanese language skills again - it made me miss Japan all the more. The more I get into this course, the more I want to keep working at it. It is focused on living and doing business in Japan, and can make any time you spend there - or work with Japanese people - much more fluid and effective. I highly recommend this language learning course!

 

Oxford University Press has generously donated one copy of Take Off in Japanese, to be awarded to one randomly chosen commenter on this article.  To comment, you must be a member of Wandering Educators (free), and reside in the U.S.. The contest will run from October 27, 2008, until 11:59pm, November 6th. Any comments left on the article within that time are eligible for the drawing.

 

This week, we'll be giving away a travel guide book, the Oxford University Press Take Off in Japanese, sharing recipes, and more. Check back at Wandering Educators daily!

 

 

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Comments (18)

  • TheJoyfulMom

    10 years 8 months ago

    This sounds like an interesting languauge program.  Japanese has always scared me a little, but al 3 of my kids are into it.  Maybe its because they read a lot of Teen Titan comics!

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    you know, there are many ways to learn a language. i find that a combination of many methods can help kids learn!

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Gill Webster

    10 years 8 months ago

    Japanese is a language that sounds complicated to learn but maybe that is because I have never tried.  It is good for the brain to learn a new language - so you never know.

    Gill Webster, Publisher
    http://www.womenhealthdirect.org
    A global community for the wellbeing of women

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    Gill - you're right - it keeps us sharp! i don't think Japanese is that difficult, but i am RElearning it, so...

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • familyadventure...

    10 years 8 months ago

     

     The best job that I ever had was working as an ESL teacher to Japanese Exchange Students.  I always said that would be my next language.

    One of my dreams for creating a successful home business is to do ghostwriting and proofreading for Japanese professionals here in the US. Maybe it's time to give this product a try!

    -Bridget

    Bridget Smith

    Founder Family Adventure Guidebooks

    Author, The Unauthorized Guide to Legoland, California

    www.familyadventureguidebooks.com

  • Jentifa

    10 years 8 months ago

    Being that I homeschool my kids this would be something I would very much like to have. Thank you for the chnace to win it.

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    We homeschool our daughter, too, and she is really enjoying the language learning. good luck!

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Ed Forteau

    10 years 8 months ago

    The beauty of the Oxford University Press is that the whole family can get involved.

    Ed Forteau

    Publisher, WanderingEducators.com

  • icusmiling

    10 years 8 months ago

    My kids and I have picked up a bit of Japanese from watching anime. This sounds like something that would be more child friendly as a learning tool.

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    our daughter is enjoying learning with take off in japanese, and she's 6. i thinkit would be great for your family!

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • Sam Pounder

    10 years 8 months ago

    I tried learning Japanese before, and at the time it seemed very difficult.  This is a course I am interested in.  From your review it seems like it might make learning this difficult language much easier.

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    Sam - I was very impressed with this course. I am sure that you can try again, with great success!

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • wandermom

    10 years 8 months ago

    I would love to be able to use this to start learning Japanese with my kids!

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    yes, it is a great learning course. we supplement with more kid things - esp youtube videos, books, and counting things! 

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

  • monacake

    10 years 8 months ago

    excellent review, jessie. it sounds like a great way to learn a language - logical and challenging! i'll have to see if they have a french version...

  • mtnjyoti

    10 years 8 months ago

    Thank you for the review.  I am looking right now for something to use for Japanese instruction to work on with my son who is amost 13 and very interested in learning Japanese.  Need go go with it! :)

    My own experience is limited to what I call *sushi vocabulary* that I learned while in college and waitressing at a Japanese restaurant in PA.  Also some exposure while living in Hawaii for three years.

     

  • AndreaMeyers

    10 years 8 months ago

    I took a conversational Japanese course at a community college one summer while living abroad, and having a native speaker leading the class was tremendously helpful for getting the phonetics correct. One tip she gave us was to speak through the top of our mouth and the front of our face. Sounds strange, but it was very helpful. I don't remember as much as I would like, but I do remember Watashi no Nihongo wa dame desu, "My Japanese is very bad.":-)

    ~Andrea,
    Teaching Abroad Editor

  • Dr. Jessie Voigts

    10 years 8 months ago

    Congrats to our winner, Wandermom! Thank you all for commenting!

     

    Jessie Voigts

    Publisher, wanderingeducators.com

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