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Kanji Power: A Workbook for Mastering Japanese Characters (Tuttle Language Library) ペーパーバック – 1993/5/15
He is currently employed as a teacher at Seikei Gakuen in Tokyo, Japan, and has recently worked as a co-translator on Mizue Sasaki's The Complete Japanese Expression Guide, also published by Tuttle.
- 出版社 : Tuttle Pub (1993/5/15)
- 発売日 : 1993/5/15
- 言語 : 英語
- ペーパーバック : 184ページ
- ISBN-10 : 0804817251
- ISBN-13 : 978-0804817257
- 寸法 : 19.05 x 1.91 x 26.04 cm
The publisher put too much effort into saving paper.
I mean, it's great that they didn't put a whole page of practice grids for each kanji (that's way too much for the simpler kanji, and you can use your own paper if you need that much). In fact, they could reduce the three 3 lines of calligraphy practice to 2. But the workbook is undersized, for one thing. It's only 7" by 11" by 1/2" thick, and excluding the answer key, only registers 175 pages!
To do this, they made the Japanese text really small! I can barely read the furigana in sentences, and have a hard time even with some of the sentence kanji. It's okay for the English to be on the small side, but then you need the kanji to be larger than the English.
Also, in trying to cram a lot into a small spot (1/2 undersized page per kanji), they don't define some compunds used in the sentences, while putting just a few other compounds on the right. This makes it hard to understand the structure of the sentence -- not that I expect it to be a grammar book -- but for some of the phrases and sentences a "literal translation" in parenthesis is needed. Otherwise, the sentence is totally useless, since you can't understand it and therefore remember the phraseology for future reference. Anything you put in the book, if it isn't self-explanatory, explain it.
My real beef (besides the size) is the quizzes. There are a few kanji combinations not in the lessons, which you are expected to be able to "sound out" in hiragana.
The main problem with the quizzes is the lines are very small and you have to write TINY! The quizzes (which cover 6 kanji and their uses and compounds) are only given 1/2 page! Every quiz should be a full page.
When you do a quiz, you can barely read your own writing -- especially if you do it in pencil (the paper is the poor kind where pencil doesn't show well). Of course, you want to use pencil so you can erase and repeat the lessons after a little time.
And each group of questions should be ordered easy-to-hard. For example, for numbers, count different types of things, then do the things like place names, colliquialisms, and so forth. As it is, they often start by giving you compounds with other kanji and having you write the hiragana for them, which goes against the natural inclination to focus on the target kanji first.
It would be better to first give the hiragana and ask for the definition, which helps you remember the kanji, then ask for the hiragana for some compound kanji later in the quiz. The quizzes should be expanded and include all the compounds demonstrated in the lesson.
I would also say each kanji entry should have its own page, but if the book was a larger size (like 8.5" x 11" or 8.5" x 12"), that wouldn't even be necessary. The listings are arranged well enough. But it definitely needs a full page per quiz!
The whole point of a "workbook" is to give a place to do WORK!
Also the lack of an index can be rather frustrating.
The presentation is fairly rote, like how it's taught in the schools, which will prove more effective for some than others. I personally need mnemonics and am interested in how the kanjis came to be, but I have Kanji Pictographix and Read Japanese Today for this purpose.