I put off my Japanese studies for the past year while I finished up my new C# and Visual Basic textbooks. But last week I started again in earnest, in yet another desperate attempt to break through the wall of my rudimentary knowledge of the language. As they say, the twenty-seventh time’s the charm.
This time around, I’ll be using a new resource to help build up my core vocabulary. The book has a decidedly Japanese-language title on the cover: 日本語単語スペード・マスター. The transliteration is “Nihongo Tango Speed Master,” but this isn’t your mother’s tango dance, especially since “tango” means “word” in Japanese.
Embellished with the English subtitle “Quick Mastery of Vocabulary,” the book is part of a series that assists language students trying to pass the various levels of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test. This volume is the “Standard 2400” edition for those taking the N3 version of the exam. While the book is at its core a list of 2,400 essential vocabulary words, each page includes ample examples of the words in context, plus translations of those words and sentences into English, Korean, and Chinese.
I just started the book two days ago, and have yet to pass page three. But already the book has me seeing red. That’s thanks to the red-colored plastic sheet that covers up the non-Japanese content. It’s supposed to prevent cheating, and it’s surprisingly effective. Each of the book’s fifty-four sections covers a specific category of words, including time, weather, money, and society. It’s a lot of reading and memorization, but the text also includes a CD that helps reinforce the book’s content through listening comprehension exercises.
If you have reached an intermediate level of Japanese language proficiency and are looking to enhance the number of core words stuck in your brain, click the button below to get a copy of the book.