Most formal, classroom-based courses will provide their own textbooks, so you may not need to search for a basic textbook on your own.
However, if you’re studying on your own or if you want to supplement classroom material, you’ll have some decisions to make. Textbooks are great general, all-around learning resources. These types of books tend to focus on major lessons, which divide up the material into topics such as greetings, asking for directions or going to the grocery store. These lessons are introduced complete with practice exercises, vocabulary lists, grammar tables and (sometimes) even audio, video and games as well. Some will even have an online component where you can ask questions, interact with other learners, take test and keep track of your progress.
“Japanese from Zero!” | Trombley
This is one of the most popular textbook series available. It’s relatively new but approachable and easy to use.
Ideal for beginners and intermediate students.
Follows a lesson-based structure that covers grammar, vocabulary, writing, pronunciation and more.
For students interested in extra practice, the series includes workbooks that are sold separately and can work as companion books.
“Living Language Japanese” | Living Language Method
Living Language is an established language teaching company that’s been around for years. You can find books specific to your level or purchase a complete package that includes books for all levels.
Textbooks include CD’s for speaking and listening practice.
Price is reasonable considering the amount of material.
Works well as a stand-alone course for those not enrolled in a formal class.
“Japanese, Comprehensive” | Pimsleur
Pimsleur is another well-respected language company that’s been around for years. Their method focuses on speaking and listening through audio, so it’s ideal for students who want to supplement other textbooks or course work with extra listening and speaking practice.
Excellent source of speaking and listening material for those who don’t have native Japanese speakers to practice with.
Students quickly gain confidence through speaking and comprehension exercises.
Level-specific packages or comprehensive sets are available.
For those who want to excel and really understand the language in-depth, a grammar book is essential. There are two basic types of grammar books: reference books, designed to provide big-picture information when students need it, and practice-based books, which teach grammar through exercises.
“Practice Makes Perfect” | Sato
As the name suggests, this is a practice-based book. Students learn grammar through a series of lessons that teach all the essentials.
Suitable for beginners, easy to get yourself started and easy to understand.
Exercises also cover phonetics, writing and other often-neglected areas of language learning.
Usage dictionary included.
Exercise-based approach helps students internalize grammar.
“A Guide to Japanese Grammar” | Tae Kim
Tae Kim runs a popular blog about Japanese, Chinese and “a dash of Korean.” He has published his own grammar book through Amazon’s self-publishing platform, for those who want a physical copy of his blog’s content.
Extremely detailed and comprehensive: covers grammar, writing, phonetics and more.
Useful as a reference.
Includes examples and vocabulary used by Japanese in the real world today, such as casual speech and slang.
Recommended for long-term students who want a systematic, thorough approach and who don’t mind starting with the “hard stuff.”
“Japanese Verbs & Essentials of Grammar” | Rita Lampkin
This book covers all the essentials in 160 pages. It’s organized logically for easy reference and offers a good way for beginners to get up and running quickly.
Short yet comprehensive: all major grammatical concepts are included and explained, without the fluff.
Suitable as a reference and includes tables that aid quick assimilation.
Bonus audio material online.
Has section with cultural information.
Learning vocabulary is a slow and steady process. There are a number of vocabulary books that are designed to help students learn the words they need to become more fluent. Keep in mind that a vocabulary book is not the same as a dictionary. Understanding when and how to write, spell and speak Japanese vocabulary is a complex thing, so vocabulary books exist to hold your hand a bit more than a dictionary would while learning.
“The Handbook of Japanese Verbs” | Taeko Kamiya
This book is focused on verbs and their usage. The book explains how verbs work and how they conjugate. It relies heavily on exercises to ensure that students understand the material as they progress.
Excellent for beginners and intermediate students who want a solid understanding of verbs.
Exercise-oriented approach makes it ideal for self-study or students who want hands-on practice.
Book includes several appendices and methods for looking up verbs.
“Japanese Vocabulary” (Barron’s Vocabulary) | Carol and Nobuo Akiyama
This book organizes thousands of common Japanese words into categories. It’s excellent for beginner and intermediate students who wish to focus on specific areas or supplement their own studies with vocabulary.
Very reasonable price at less than $10.
Small yet comprehensive.
Romaji makes it easy for beginners and topical organization lets students emphasize particular areas as needed.
“Modern Japanese Vocabulary: A Guide for 21st Century Students” | Edward P. Trimnell
Here’s another vocabulary builder that organizes terms by topic. Words cover a variety of subjects such as law, the Internet, dentistry, culture, history and more.
Useful for beginner and intermediate students who want to supplement studies with vocabulary.
Kanji and kana included with easy-to-read fonts.
Topics can be very detailed, so this is helpful for students who want to expand their vocabulary.
Not all bilingual dictionaries are created equal. Some are better than others and some are more suitable for certain types of students.
“Random House Japanese-English English-Japanese Dictionary” | Random House
This is a reasonably priced dictionary with tens of thousands of entries, ideal for beginner and intermediate students. The dictionary is divided into two sections, a Japanese-English section and an English-Japanese section.
The Japanese-English portion orders entries by the English alphabet, so it’s quite easy to find words.
Entries include Japanese kana.
The number of entries makes it suitable for long-term use.
“Kodansha’s Furigana Dictionary” | Kodansha
This dictionary includes furigana — smallhiragana written above kanji — to help students know how to pronounce words. Like the Random House dictionary, it’s divided into a Japanese-English and an English-Japanese section. The Japanese-English section is written in Japanesekana, not romanji.
The Japanese-English section, ordered bykana, helps students learn the native Japanese kana order.
Suitable for beginner and intermediate students.
Example sentences included with each entry.
Compact and portable.
“Kenkyusha’s New Japanese-English Dictionary” | Kenkyusha
This heavy duty dictionary is the most thorough, in-depth dictionary on the market. Many entries have multiple sub-entries. This is the dictionary used by translators and professionals.
The go-to dictionary for students who plan to study Japanese for many years to come.
Suitable for intermediate students, advanced students and translators.
Note that the latest edition (5th at the time of this writing) includes more entries and more modernized terms than previous editions.
Kanji books are another essential asset for any student of Japanese. Some are designed to help students learn Japanese characters and some are designed to act as references. Both are useful for any student who plans to become fluent.
“New Nelson Japanese-English Character Dictionary” | Nelson
This dictionary has been the industry standardkanji dictionary for years. The Nelson dictionaries, both the compact and standard versions, include enough characters for most students. Kanji can be looked up by radical, pronunciation, stroke count and more.
Each kanji includes a long list of vocabulary words.
A variety of appendices and indexes for additional look-up methods.
“A Guide to Remembering Japanese Characters” | Kenneth G. Henshall
This book is designed to help students master kanji. It contains of all the General Use Characters and has extremely detailed etymology for each one, including historical character forms and previous meanings.
Suitable for intermediate to advanced students.
Entries include meaning, pronunciation and vocabulary words.
Ideal as a supplement to other studies.
“Remembering the Kanji” | James W. Heisig
This book offers a different, story-based approach to learning the kanji. Each kanjielement is associated with a story element, which is then used as a mnemonic device to aid memorization.
Ideal for students who want a unique, systematic way to remember kanji and their meanings.
Focused exclusively on memorizing meaning, as opposed to pronunciation, vocabulary and so forth.
Suitable as a supplement to other course work or studies.
There are certainly more books out there, but this list includes some of the most authoritative, popular and effective titles and publishers in the industry. If you’re a serious student of Japanese, you’ll definitely want to have a few of these on your bookshelf.
Introduction to Public Health, Fifth Edition offers a thorough, accessible overview of the expanding field of public health for students new to its concepts and actors. Written in engaging, nontechnical language, this best-selling text explains in clear terms the multi-disciplinary strategies and methods used for measuring, assessing, and promoting public health. Packed with illustrative real-world examples, this updated edition provides students with informative discussions of the current technical issues and practical obstacles facing public health practitioners and policymakers alike. In her unique style, author Mary Jane Schneider goes beyond the science of Public Health with a hard look at the politics that put these topics in the headlines. Readers will come away with a broad-reaching, practical framework for understanding the multifaceted forces and organizations of today’s public health enterprise. Key Features: - Up-to-date coverage of the newest developments in infectious disease, injury control, environmental health controversies, the reform of the American healthcare system, and more - Vivid presentation of Public Health principles through current stories in the news, such as Ebola in the United States, e-cigarettes, eating disorders, the California Measles outbreak, and traumatic brain injury in the NFL - Extensive discussion of current topics including population growth and climate change as contributors to drought, wars, and migrations in the Middle East; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in the United States.
If there’s a perfect K-drama, then this is it for me! The best thing that ever happened in K-dramaland. The drama that started my obsession with Kim Sun-Ah, Korean dramas, Korean language and Korean culture. Very special, meaningful and closest to my heart. Wonderful characterization. Funny yet heart-warming and realistic. A drama that taught me a lot of things. Of course Kim Sun-Ah is the BEST!
I guess no matter how many good dramas come in the future, My Name Is Kim Sam Soon would remain as my top drama – now and forever. It paid enough rent in my heart to last a lifetime. But seriously, it was Sam Soon’s character that made this drama extra EXTRA special. And so far I haven’t met a drama character as wonderful and as real as her! Sam Soon rocks!
2. Sand Glass (무래시계)
Need I say more? It wouldn’t be one of the highest-rated TV series in Korean broadcasting history for no reasons. It’s a masterpiece!
3. Alice in Cheongdamdong (청담동 앨리스)
Well and bravely written realistic drama. Touches issues that are not usually addressed in Kdramaland. Not to mention Moon Geun Young is awesome – as always! L’effort est ma force.
4. City Hall (시티홀)
Love, LOVE and more LOVE! Although I found a great love story in Scent Of A Woman, I still believe that there is nothing sweeter and more romantic than this one. A drama that taught me to be courageous and not to give up. Also a drama that raised my standards in men a hundred and ninety-nine notches up. Wonderful story! Wonderful chemistry between Kim Sun-Ah and Cha Seung-Won! Wonderful OST! Oh, and did I say it’s wonderful?
5. Rooftop Prince (옥탑방 왕세자)
A really fun and funny drama! One of the best time warps drama in my book! I also love the twist! Also heart-wrenching! Oh my 저하!!!
6. A Gentleman’s Dignity (신사의 품격)
It’s written by K-drama goddess Kim Eun Seok, so what else do you expect? Romance, one-sided love, ahjussis, Jang Dong Gun – I’m totally sold!
7. Scent Of A Woman (여인의 향기)
Bravely written. Wonderful execution. Kept me at the edge of my seat from the get go. Impossible not to be emotionally attached to the characters. A drama that can make me cry by the mere thought of it – not because it is sad but because it pulls a dozen heartstrings. A drama that taught me a dozen and two life lessons. A drama that is a bit difficult to let go of. If dramas can be hugged, then this is the drama I want to hug forever. 토닥 토닥.
8. H.I.T. (히트)
Beautifully written. Not a single boring part. Can’t stop watching (and re-watching it). Ms. Go is simply awesome here!
9. On Air (온에어)
Beautifully and carefully written story! I can totally relate to the tv production storyline. Good chemistry among the 4 cast. Lee Bum-Soo is really great! Park Yong-Ha is really handsome. I realized Kim Ha-Neul is good. And Song Yoon-Ah is lovable!
10. Flowers For My Life (꽃 찾으러 왔단다)
A brave drama that tackles death in a very frank yet heartwarming way. Unusual plot with unusual characters played well by excellent actors. I’m just so glad to have watched this. It’s just that it can’t capture my attention like other dramas when I can’t help but watch episode after episode. But nonetheless it is, and will remain as one of the best Korean dramas ever!
MY OTHER FAVORITES
I Do I Do (아이두 아이두) – An unusual drama with your not-so-usual female lead character and not-so-usual male lead character. A drama that deals with the struggles of an powerful woman. I love the brave and mature attack of this dramas to different issues. Has taught me a thing or two about the future.
The Women Who Still Wants to Marry (아직도 결혼 못하는 여자) – Goes straight to your heart! Jung Da-Jung is sooo cute, and I want to be like Boo Gi-Woogie!
Tree With Deep Roots (뿌리 깊은 나무) –Wow! A wonderful 사극 fiction about The Great King Sejong and Hangeul! How can I not love this?
49 Days (49 일) – Wonderful concept. And finally we have a lead guy that is smart – thank goodness! It kept me engaged. Wonderful message. But the ending ruined everything. Actually it was okay for me, but after watching Scent Of A Woman I realized how lousy 49 Days’ ending was.
What’s Up Fox? (여우야 뭐하니?) – Kim Do-Wo is really a poignant writer. A fun fun fun drama. An unusual love story done in a very realistic way. A totally different Ms. Go.
Secret Garden (시크릿 가든) – I love it. I hate it. I hate to love it. I love to hate it. The drama that makes me so confused whether I like it or not. Overall, it is a good one. I enjoyed watching it. I even can’t stop watching it. Writer Kim Eun Sook is really the best when it comes to romance. However, me being a great My Name Is Kim Sam Soon fan, I get pretty annoyed at times.
Bad Couple (불량커플) – I watched this because of Kim Hyang-Ki, but got hooked to it in no time. I love the characters. Can relate to Dang-Ja and I wish Ki-Chan does exist! He’s the most IDEAL guy character among all the K-dramas that I’ve seen. Wonderful OST too!!! (Of course, Noh Young-Shim is really the best!). But after watching Scent Of A Woman, I just had to take this down my top 10 list.
When It’s At Night (밤이면 밤아다) – It’s not that bad… Really, it’s not THAT bad! And Kim Sun-Ah is very pretty here… And I still believe she and Lee Dong-Gun has a good chemistry… Writing and directing is not so good, but it’s a Kim Sun-Ah drama, so it should be on my top 10 list! hahaha.
Dal Ja’s Spring (달자의 봄) – Woman Power at it’s best!
Drunken To Love You (醉後決定愛上你) – My first Taiwanese drama and I haven’t felt this way in watching a drama for a long time. I so love it.
Housekeeper Mita (家政婦のミタ) – The first Japanese drama that I loved so much! It’s difficult not to get attached to Mita and the rest of the Asuda family.