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Anyone familiar with Strategies for Reading Japanese?

#1
I saw a copy of this at a local HPB today and the premise looked interesting -- from what I could tell, going through sentences/passages and giving in-depth breakdowns of the structure of said text and approaches on how to decode them accurately as a kind of stepping stone to fluent reading -- but I couldn't really get a feel for what level the book was on (ie, I read DoBJG/DoIJG a lot, and couldn't tell if SfRJ covered similar ground), and I also noticed that there was way, way more English text than Japanese, which makes me think it may have been lacking in the breadth department.

Anyone have experience with this? Or alternative recommendations?
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#2
(2016-07-04, 12:05 am)Saginaim Wrote: I saw a copy of this at a local HPB today and the premise looked interesting -- from what I could tell, going through sentences/passages and giving in-depth breakdowns of the structure of said text and approaches on how to decode them accurately as a kind of stepping stone to fluent reading -- but I couldn't really get a feel for what level the book was on (ie, I read DoBJG/DoIJG a lot, and couldn't tell if SfRJ covered similar ground), and I also noticed that there was way, way more English text than Japanese, which makes me think it may have been lacking in the breadth department.

Anyone have experience with this? Or alternative recommendations?

Yes. This is the only book I have found that goes into great detail over how a Japanese sentence is put together. It will make learning to read the Japanese written language so much easier. Don't be put off by the amount of English. The level of Japanese is difficult for a reason -- if you can read these sentences, you can read anything. Just get it and go through it. You won't regret it.
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#3
(2016-07-04, 12:05 am)Saginaim Wrote: I saw a copy of this at a local HPB today and the premise looked interesting -- from what I could tell, going through sentences/passages and giving in-depth breakdowns of the structure of said text and approaches on how to decode them accurately as a kind of stepping stone to fluent reading -- but I couldn't really get a feel for what level the book was on (ie, I read DoBJG/DoIJG a lot, and couldn't tell if SfRJ covered similar ground), and I also noticed that there was way, way more English text than Japanese, which makes me think it may have been lacking in the breadth department.

Anyone have experience with this? Or alternative recommendations?

I have this book, and I have read the first chapter, but got sidetracked by verbs and lack of grammar knowledge.

From what I did read, I really enjoyed and like the setup. Also, the reason that there is more English than Japanese text was "to focus on structure of the Japanese sentence without getting lost in the complexities of the writing system." That comes from the pamphlet that was about the book and came with my copy.

From what I did, I saw that build stuff progressively and that it doesn't teach grammar rather focusing on how sentences work. It does have a summary of grammar at back. I do plan on continuing it, but that will not be for awhile.
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#4
I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

I can't support it enough. I did a year intensive program in Kyoto for Japanese and for whatever it's worth, this book has been the best money I've ever spent on a reading. A friend of a friend of mine got the illegal pdf. But because of the constant flipping back and forth to the glossary and even more in-depth sentence explanations in the back I strongly suggest getting the physical book on this one. I'm super impressed at the guy who translated it. There's the Japanese on the right hand side page, and then a quick and very informative explanation of each sentence on the left. There's a dictionary in the back for all words that appear in the book. I've had a penguin-published parallel text for German in the past and thought I knew what to expect but it seems Penguin has been outdone with this one. If the quick explanation on the left page isn't enough there's an even further explanation of the translation and Japanese in the back, right before the glossary. There's also a cd so that you can listen. The cd is at normal speed, in a cool audio-book style. Not those staged minna no nihongo or genki ones. 

I actually look forward to reading it even though it's actually pretty tough for me. I bought the "short essay" book as well. Other than the "Shadowing Japanese" series I bought in Japan, I'm just amazed at the quality. I hope the author sells a lot because it really shows in the book itself.
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#5
(2016-07-09, 6:32 am)Ben_JP Wrote: I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

+1. The footnotes in particular were illuminating to me when I was trying to start cracking into reading novels. 

FWIW, this series is actually a predecessor to an older book of the same title that was a collection of essays. You can still find it used: https://www.amazon.com/Read-Real-Japanes...l+japanese

If you're looking for similar material, READING JAPANESE WITH A SMILE (https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Japanese-...th+a+smile) gives the same treatment to a series of comical newspaper essays. 

I wish there were more books like this. They really help cross that weird boundary where you're well past beginner materials but can't quite seem to sink your teeth fully into native materials in the wild.
Edited: 2016-07-09, 11:29 am
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#6
(2016-07-09, 6:32 am)Ben_JP Wrote: I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

I asked about this previously in another thread, but I would like to ask you if the stories are really scary.
How does this series compare to [url=https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1468083045&sr=8-9&keywords=japanese+reader][/url]Breaking into Japanese Literature?
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#7
(2016-07-09, 11:51 am)Meriden Wrote:
(2016-07-09, 6:32 am)Ben_JP Wrote: I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

I asked about this previously in another thread, but I would like to ask you if the stories are really scary.
How does this series compare to [url=https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1468083045&sr=8-9&keywords=japanese+reader][/url]Breaking into Japanese Literature?

It depends on your tolerance for creepiness. The only one that's kinda creepy IMO is the story by Otsuichi, which is par for the course with his work.

BREAKING is more about introducing you to early 20th century literature (Souseki, et. al.), so the kanji used can be slightly different (the 常用漢字表 was only introduced in 1923). So you'll tend to learn things like 瞳 can also be spelled 眸. The literary style of that era also tends to be more formal compared to what you read today. READ REAL JAPANESE introduces you to contemporary 20th and 21st century authors, so the kanji and language are much more in line with what you'll read from works published in the last 50 years.
Edited: 2016-07-09, 3:47 pm
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#8
(2016-07-09, 3:17 pm)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2016-07-09, 11:51 am)Meriden Wrote:
(2016-07-09, 6:32 am)Ben_JP Wrote: I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

I asked about this previously in another thread, but I would like to ask you if the stories are really scary.
How does this series compare to [url=https://www.amazon.com/Breaking-into-Japanese-Literature-Classics/dp/1568364156/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1468083045&sr=8-9&keywords=japanese+reader][/url]Breaking into Japanese Literature?

It depends on your tolerance for creepiness. The only one that's kinda creepy IMO is the story by Otsuichi, which is par for the course with his work.
...

I'd have to agree. I haven't gotten far enough to really be able to access it for this particular book; but, in my reading classes in Kyoto we read some weird stories lol. They are fine for me, sometimes a little unsettling. Other times they were just too weird to be scary haha.
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#9
(2016-07-09, 11:29 am)gaiaslastlaugh Wrote:
(2016-07-09, 6:32 am)Ben_JP Wrote: I haven't seen the Strategies for Reading Japanese book yet, but, after much deliberation, I did just buy the Read Real Japanese Fiction: Short Stories and it. is. AWESOME.

+1. The footnotes in particular were illuminating to me when I was trying to start cracking into reading novels. 

FWIW, this series is actually a predecessor to an older book of the same title that was a collection of essays. You can still find it used: https://www.amazon.com/Read-Real-Japanes...l+japanese

That's exactly where I'm at, albeit a bit late. I should've done this ages ago, but at the time was focusing on conversation above reading and writing.

Thanks for the tip about it being a predecessor. I didn't know. I'll definitely need to look at the book you listed!
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#10
(2016-07-04, 10:37 am)duckfan Wrote:
(2016-07-04, 12:05 am)Saginaim Wrote: I saw a copy of this at a local HPB today and the premise looked interesting -- from what I could tell, going through sentences/passages and giving in-depth breakdowns of the structure of said text and approaches on how to decode them accurately as a kind of stepping stone to fluent reading -- but I couldn't really get a feel for what level the book was on (ie, I read DoBJG/DoIJG a lot, and couldn't tell if SfRJ covered similar ground), and I also noticed that there was way, way more English text than Japanese, which makes me think it may have been lacking in the breadth department.

Anyone have experience with this? Or alternative recommendations?

Yes. This is the only book I have found that goes into great detail over how a Japanese sentence is put together. It will make learning to read the Japanese written language so much easier. Don't be put off by the amount of English. The level of Japanese is difficult for a reason -- if you can read these sentences, you can read anything. Just get it and go through it. You won't regret it.

Thanks for this thread, it convinced me to buy "Strategies for reading Japanese" off eBay. I'm 20 pages in and already some things are becoming clearer. I will post my feedback again when I'm deeper into the book.

Special thanks to duckfan.
Edited: 2017-07-09, 1:46 am
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#11
I too have a copy of Strategies for Reading Japanese.  I haven't gone through it yet though.  I bought it at a local public library discarded book sale for only $1.  A plus:  the library had had it perma-bound so it's like a hardcover book.  (I also bought for $1 a book called Advanced Turkish Reader by Andreas Tietze which sells for a ton of money on the internet.  I have dabbled in Turkish in the past and who knows...I may go back to it someday.  Some of the features of Japanese remind me of Turkish, i.e., agglutination:

taberareru:  I am eaten

tabesaseru:  I make someone eat

tabesaserareru:  I am made to eat

tabetai:  I want to eat

tabesaseraretai:  I want to be made to eat)
Edited: 2017-07-08, 6:54 pm
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#12
(2017-07-08, 6:48 pm)phil321 Wrote: tabesaseru:  I make someone eat

Finally, this is what I was looking for all around! Let me try: If I want to say "How to make you fall in love with me?", will it be "Anata wa boku wo aisaseru dou suru?"?
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#13
Does anybody want to sell his copy? I'd be interested. I can't find it anywhere for a reasonable price.
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#14
(2017-07-14, 6:00 pm)thedoc Wrote: Does anybody want to sell his copy? I'd be interested. I can't find it anywhere for a reasonable price.

You're right...look at these prices:

http://tinyurl.com/y7khwmsy
Edited: 2017-07-14, 6:28 pm
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#15
I got my copy off eBay for $10-ish recently... guess I was lucky, I don't see any more copies. Keep an eye out (saved search) you might get lucky.
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#16
(2017-07-14, 6:00 pm)thedoc Wrote: Does anybody want to sell his copy? I'd be interested. I can't find it anywhere for a reasonable price.

I got a copy when this thread first showed up, I like the book a lot so far.  When I'm done I'd be willing to sell it or maybe I'll cut the binding off and digitally preserve it since it's so hard to get a hold of.  That wouldn't be super soon though but I'll mention it if I do.  Uh discreetly of course.
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#17
If it makes people who wish they had a copy of Strategies For Reading Japanese feel better, I've flipped through it and it doesn't look like something most people would want to use very early in their studies.  it doesn't look like the most user friendly book. 

Remember, I picked up my copy at my local reference library's continuous book sale of books they are continuously purging from their shelves.  They throw out the books which no one is using.  My copy is in mint condition, which implies that all the years it sat on the library shelf no one ever used it.  

I think the high price is just hype or something.  If you don't have a copy I wouldn't sit there thinking you're missing out on anything great.
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#18
I don't get why the price took a jump. A year ago, I bought my copy for about $8 if I remember correctly, and it was very good to near mint. The original sales price for the book was $43, or $37 according to sales phamplet I have, for those who are wondering.

Also, the 'about the book' section is not even in the book, it is in the sales phamplet.

I still haven't resumed reading my copy. Also, if anyone wants I would be willing to scan 'about the book' section in the sales phamplet for Strategies for Reading Japanese.
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#19
Incidentally, the author of "Remembering the Kanji" played a role in this book. From the Introduction of "Strategies for Reading Japanese":

"James Heisig, Director of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, serenely assumed what turned out to be the enormous burden of designing and typesetting the entire book, Without this help and the encouragement afforded by his energetic wit and humor, this text would probably never have seen the light of day."

Also my copy of Remembering the Kanji III had an advert for it in the back as follows:

Strategies for reading Japanese

A Rational Approach to the Japanese Sentence
by Setsuko Aihara & Graham Parkes    US$43.00

400 pages / 7-1/4x9-3/4" / paperback / ISBN 0-82040-894-1

For those who already know (or are learning) the relevant vocabulary and kanji, this book will teach you just about everything else you need to know in order to read Japanese.

# Whatever your interest – newspapers, business reports, technical manuals, legal documents, literature, philosophy – you are sure to benefit from the rational approach to "decoding" Japanese sentence structure explained in this book.
1. The method begins with an overview of the minimum grammar, organized with a view to reading comprehension.
2. Next come strategy exercises aimed at teaching you the knack of determining the underlying structure of the Japanese sentence with its multiple subordinate clauses.
3. Special attention is then given to difficult sentences that expose you to virtually every kind of sentence pattern you can meet in modern Japanese.
4. The book closes with two valuable reference chapters: a comprehensive reference grammar and an itemized list of useful idiomatic constructions.
# For relative beginners or more advanced students of Japanese, Strategies for Reading Japanese will prove an invaluable tool for acquiring the grammatical skills necessary for reading comprehension.
# Used either as a textbook for classroom instruction or as a manual for private study, this book wiII open your eyes to rational structures that make learning easier and faster.

JAPAN PUBLICATIONS
Edited: 2017-07-15, 8:53 pm
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#20
The book focuses on learning how to read sentences by explaining various types of clauses (restrictive, non-restrictive; complementary; modifier; single modifier, and so on). It also has exercises that walk you through the analysis of difficult (complex) sentences. There is a nice concise grammar reference at the end of the book but this is really about sentence grammar.

It is not Genki-easy for sure, and requires focus and concentration to get through it. I am currently working through it 2-3 pages at a time, but already I am able to "read" sentences. That is, even if I don't know the vocabulary, I'm able to figure out which part of a sentence is a modifier clause and that the word following it as a noun, etc.

Don't spend so much dough on it but don't rule it out either - wait for one of us to scan it.
Edited: 2017-07-15, 10:01 pm
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#21
I remember reading an explanation for the crazy prices on Amazon that might be relevant to this. If I remember correctly people often set bots with no Human oversight to offer products for slightly more than their competitors. They do this because they don't actually have the product but if someone happens to order from them they can simply buy the cheaper version from their competitor and take the price difference as their cut. The inflation comes from multiple bots all acting under similar intructions.

A similar thing happens with low prices. If a person or company wants to buy something they can first offer to sell it themselves at a lower price and wait for the bots to automatically lower the prices before they buy. Companies that do have a product to sell want to undercut their competitors so they often have bots set to respond to the lowest available price. This is actually sometimes very helpful to know because if a product you are watching suddenly drops in price it's likely the cheapest offering will be a lie and if you want to take advantage of the opportunity you need to buy a different one.
Edited: 2017-07-16, 5:34 am
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#22
(2017-07-15, 8:36 pm)Katsuo Wrote: Incidentally, the author of "Remembering the Kanji" played a role in this book. From the Introduction of "Strategies for Reading Japanese":

"James Heisig, Director of the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, serenely assumed what turned out to be the enormous burden of designing and typesetting the entire book, Without this help and the encouragement afforded by his energetic wit and humor, this text would probably never have seen the light of day."
I am not surprised since the mention of "Remembering of the Kanji" in the introduction, and there are also advertisements for RTK series on the sales pamphlet. Also, here is the scan of the side of sales pamphlet that talked about the book, which was new at time according to the pamphlet.
[Image: HBxZ1mq0wWdiTZ8BQ2UzAxoQqADJknjRdOHspEew...w1174-h517]
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