Minna no nihongo 1 textbook treats you like an adult who needs to speak in Japan. Each lesson introduces a few sentence patterns (i.e. grammar), gives relevant vocabulary, shows how to use it in useful situations, and provides lots of opportunity for practice.
The vocabulary is excellent. It is aggressive: it requires us to learn about 50 new words per lesson, and reuses the vocab from previous lessons. It is also well chosen: the vocab logically matches the sentence patterns for that lesson so that we can learn and practice them together. But it doesn’t ask us to memorize exhaustive themed categories (animals, etc…). It recognizes that many adults need to talk about “reports” more often than “horses”.
Minna No Nihongo uses a lot of pairwork, and I have found it most effective studying in a class with a teacher or at least with a dedicated partner.
The book itself is unique. I’ve never seen another like it. It is written for foreigners in Japan so it is written completely in japanese. Then students can buy the accompanying translation and grammatical notes (recommended) in the language of their choice.
Download Minna no Nihongo 1 Textbook + Workbook +Audio CDs
1. Minna no Nihongo I Textbook
2. Minna no Nihongo I Audio
3. Minna no nihongo I Workbook (Mondai)
4. Minna no nihongo I Answerbook (Choudai)
5. Minna no nihongo I Answerbook Audio: CD1 + CD2
Minna no Nihongo II is good at packing a lot of Japanese into a small space! If possible, you should get both the English and Japanese versions, however, since they both depend on each other. It’s not the most fantastic Japanese book ever, but it’s great for a class, or for some other guided instruction. Much better than any American textbooks I’ve seen.
Every chapter starts with vocabulary, then a skit using the new words, as well as some good examples and exercises. The illustrations are cute. Also, the appendices are very useful in a pinch.
Then read this book. For those in the know, this book series are used at actual Japanese universities for a reason: they work. When I went to Okinawa Japan, I studied from this 25-lesson book and the English translation piece. If you want something that will give you a solid commmand of the language, then get this, the Minna no Nihongo worksheets and the translations. I would just go through this book with a Japanese friend to supplement the CDs (warning they’re expensive).
You will be exploring life through the eyes of Mike Smith as he continues to work for his Japanese company and continues to make friends. There is a lot a humor in the lessons that make this an interesting self study piece. It is probably better for a class room, but I would use this to review what I know from time to time. It will go over high beginner to low intermediate Japanese grammatical forms and introduce you to about a thousand new vocabulary words. From there you are expected to be able to command the language at a conversational level.
Download Minna no Nihongo II Textbook + Workbook +Audio CDs
1. Minna no Nihongo II Textbook
2. Minna no Nihongo II Audio
3. Minna no nihongo II Workbook (Mondai)
4. Minna no nihongo II Answerbook (Choudai)
5. Minna no nihongo II Answerbook Audio: CD1 + CD2 +CD3
Bonus book: Basic Kanji Book Vol 1+ Vol 2