The Genki Serie
Most Popular Genki Books
All About Genki
A two-volume Japanese textbook, Genki was first published by The Japan Times in 1999. It was later revised and updated in 2011. Since it was released, the Genki textbooks are widely used in Japanese university classes in North America.
It is intended to help learners fully understand Japanese by using a sensible approach to four language skills, namely speaking, listening, writing, and reading. So, if you are trying to learn a few basic Japanese expressions, this book will not teach you that.
The two books in the series contain 23 lessons covering a wide range of elementary grammar points; around 300 kanji and 1,100 vocabulary terms.
The key as to why Genki has been a popular choice for studying Japanese is that it presents lessons in settings that are very familiar with the students. This way, they can quickly identify with the situation so they can easily remember frequently used vocabulary words, expressions, and grammar rules. On the other hand, the sections on reading and writing use letters, e-mail, diary entries, and other commonly used materials.
It presents grammar lessons in fun ways. The aim is to stimulate students. Thus, different activities are integrated into each exercise, such as illustrations, dialogues, role-playing, games, and other activities that are meant to be done in pairs or groups.
The book also contains many notes and discussion points out that the students can read on their own before each class. By doing so, more time may be devoted to lessons and exercises because the students can do advanced readings.
Overall, the hype about the Genki textbooks is justified by the way lessons are meticulously and thoughtfully presented. It is still a perfect choice of a book for those who are just in the primary stage of learning the Japanese language. What you will learn will be there with you for your entire lifetime. Remember that having the right materials for learning Japanese is crucial. The right ones will motivate you to learn while the wrong ones will not teach you the right way, and you will only end up disappointed with yourself.
Expression Notes are among the breakout boxes not mentioned in the Table of Contents. They are inserted in the lesson to provide clarification or for additional information to support the teaching. The Expression Notes can anticipate questions from the students and help clear things out.
As the name suggests, these are lists of vocabulary and set phrases used in daily life. Aside from that, it also offers clarification on some things which are not visible, at first. These expressions are beneficial, especially for those who might take a short visit to Japan and needed to equip themselves with some basic phrases to help them survive and enjoy the trip.
Just like what has been previously mentioned, the Culture Notes provides some information about the Japanese culture that is related to the lesson. Unlike the Expression Notes, the Culture Notes are listed in the Table of Contents.
It is good news that the companion CD is now bundled with the purchase of the textbook. The Genki audio files are definitely of good quality and perfectly complement those lessons in the books.