Learn in Your Car Japanese / Levels 1-3 : 4 of 5
Way back when I was first starting to get interested in Japanese, I used to buy a lot of beginner study aids. One of these was the first volume in this series, and now that I've been studying for a few years, I can definitely see that this series of CDs is pretty good, and actually still really helpful now (which is why I'm glad I got Volume 3 for Christmas from my parents!). Each volume contains three CDs, and each CD is divided into several lessons that generally present a single concept (although there's lots of cross-over vocabulary). The English voice (male) will say a sentence, then there is a long pause for you to respond with the Japanese (if you already know it), then the Japanese voice (female) will say the Japanese phrase, pause, and say it again. So, you have three chances to say each phrase, and it's really nice to see if you can say it correctly before the Japanese voice comes in. The lessons definitely increase in difficulty, and the Japanese voice speaks much more quickly on Volume 3! I've actually learned quite a bit by listening to these, especially when the sentence structure corresponds to something I'm learning with my tutor Kazki. The only negative with these is they introduce a few vocabulary words that are rarely used in actual conversation (according to Kazki) - for example, they like to say jidousha for car, rather than the more common kuruma. Each volume also comes with a book of all the phrases on the CDs, which is great for in-depth study. I definitely recommend this inexpensive series for Japanese language enthusiasts!