So many characters! Even in the last chapters, there were new names I didn't recognise. Also I think I'll have to consult a map (laptop required thoug...moreSo many characters! Even in the last chapters, there were new names I didn't recognise. Also I think I'll have to consult a map (laptop required though since I'm reading on a kindle) more often next time, very easy to lose perspective. Anyway, onwards! Still a lot of content to go until I'm past the TV coverage.(less)
Great book for getting an insight as to what it is like working as a foreigner for a traditional Japanese company. It's mixed in with an autobiography...moreGreat book for getting an insight as to what it is like working as a foreigner for a traditional Japanese company. It's mixed in with an autobiography although he is light on the personal stuff and generally only presents it when it ties in with what's going on in the company. He is quite humorous and his Irish thinking is a fun contrast to the conservative world he is presenting. He often quotes conversations and situations near-verbatim, although I did wonder how many of these may have been skewed by interpretation and memory, or altered to better illustrate a point.
His tone gets increasingly frustrated towards the last few chapters and there isn't really much of an ending to the tale, it feels like he just stopped writing one day. Maybe he quit just after that to set up the consultancy company he started in 2005? Regardless it was a quick and interesting read of relevance to anybody interested in working in Japan or with Japanese companies.(less)
Meh. I gave up after the first chapter. Too dull. I think the reason I didn't get on with this book is because I'm not the target audience. Yes, I was...moreMeh. I gave up after the first chapter. Too dull. I think the reason I didn't get on with this book is because I'm not the target audience. Yes, I was busy, but I wanted to learn the language to fluency, not at a passable beginner level. I'd rather take the (long) time to build solid foundations than start どうもうありがとうございますing in a thick accent and not being able to understand the reply. I also value more casual ability over the business-speak which is the focus here. I started my studies with Remembering The Kanji so the lack of kanji in this book is glaring. Once you know some kanji, reading sentences with them is easier than kana-only. I struggled to read sentences in this book that I would have read naturally if they had kanji in them. I've flipped through some of the later chapters and found that I can understand everything (after mentally putting the kanji back in), even if I wouldn't be able to say those things myself yet.
The textbook I actually used was Assimil's Japanese With Ease, which I much preferred. If I was to start again I'd probably go with Genki I and II along with the techniques described here: http://japaneselevelup.com/how-to-use.... I did follow those guidelines, but I used the Assimil textbook which is a bit more haphazard in its introduction of grammar concepts.
So if you're just needing some basic Japanese to survive business trips to Japan / hosting Japanese colleagues, this book is probably fine. But if you actually want to get to know the language in an enjoyable way, there are better beginner options.(less)