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Recommended Resources

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Beginner

Genki I & II - Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese- Pretty good introductory college level textbook currently used by many institutions. It introduces Japanese grammar in a reasonable order and combined with Genki II it will get you up to intermediate level.

Don't forget to put a lot of time listening to the CDs and working on your listening comprehension even if the content of the actual conversations is rather dull (Unfortunately true of all introductory textbooks).


A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar - Great resource for clear, in depth descriptions of Japanese Grammar points. This is the type of resource you can revisit over and over again during your studies and each time gain a deeper understanding of the different subtleties.

The entries are literally organized alphabetically like a dictionary so you will still need another source such as Genki to introduce you to Japanese grammar in a systematic way that makes sense.
Let's Learn Kanji- Good starting point for learning Kanji with coverage of the first 250. Covers stroke order, readings and Kanji radicals.

This book starts off by covering the Kanji radicals before getting into the actual Kanji which slows you down at first. However it is really crucial going forward so you can look at Kanji you haven't even seen yet and still have some idea about what they might mean and allows you to learn the new Kanji as combinations of simpler elements that you already know.


All About Particles - Covers all the particles you need to know at the Beginner/Intermediate level.


Intermediate
Japanese Core Words and Phrases- This book is less about grammar and more about the words/phrases you hear all the time in Japanese but which are usually only covered in passing by textbooks.


Remembering the Kanji, Vol. 1- This is the first book in the popular Heisig method. This first book concentrates on teaching you the meaning of the Kanji. The actual pronunciation is covered in the second book.


Dictionary of Intermediate Japanese Grammar- Combined with the Basic dictionary this will cover most grammar you will come across during the first couple years of your study.

Like the Basic dictionary most of the entries are presented alphabetically so you really need another resource to give you some direction; however this volume also has "Special Topics" and appendices that are readable by themselves and cover some nice topics in depth.


Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics- This collection has 7 stories from well known authors. The book alternates between a page of Japanese and a page of vocab/grammar notes.

Includes downloadable MP3s of all texts.


Advanced
Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories by Contemporary Writers- This collection has 6 short stories (each about 10 pages long) from some well known authors. Japanese text is accompanied by grammar and vocab notes.

Includes downloadable MP3s of all texts.