I found this book invaluable when I first began learning Japanese; I read it cover to cover. A book covering all of the necessary basic grammer you need for simple conversation, with lots of good usable examples. The examples are given in not only Japanese (using the hiragana katakana and begineer level Chinese kanji characters) but with the romanised alphabet readings too, making it easy for the beginner to practice their reading skills. The English translations are good and for a Japanese text surprisingly natural in style. The easy to follow explanations of each grammer point are fantastic and fully explain the nuances between grammer usage.
知的な理解が外国語習得に役に立つ学習者にとって日本語の基礎が簡潔にうまくまとまっている。また漢字かな混じり文にローマ字表記、日本語の特性を理解しやすくするための逐語訳とそれに伴う自然な英語も併記されているため、日本語表記法の学習意欲を高めつつ自主的に学習を進められる。学習者が使うだけでなく、教師自身の理解のためにも学習者に説明をする際にも役に立つ。特にAppendixes、その中でもAppendix 4 のConnection Forms of Important Expressionsは教師が学習者に明確に基礎段階のゴールを示し、学習者の自律学習を喚起できる。
I've lived in Japan for over 20 years and the foundation of everything I know in the language comes from this book. Essentially, it's a model of the language with structural examples of model sentences that you'll use every day for the rest of your life here. Spend your first 2 or 3 months writing out the sentences, stick them on a flash card, and study the patterns and you'll be able to speak and write (now with 'henkan' doing the kanji work for you) comprehensible Japanese. Add a decent vocabulary knowledge plus listening (different skills) and you'll grasp the language. Even now I go back to this book. It's that good.