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Step-7: Is Rocket Japanese Actually Good!???

Posted by J. Pierre on August 22, 2011

I’ve heard a lot of talk about Rocket Japanese — so what’s with all the hype surrounding the program!!??? Is it actually even half as good as people say!???

I finally decided to give Rocket Japanese a trial-run. As expected, they start with the basics. That means: greetings such as Konnichiwa!

They’re direct and to the point; there’s no fooling around with Rocket Japanese!

I especially love that they get you to participate by speaking Japanese right from lesson #1, and I agree when they say that the best way to learn a laguage isn’t just to listen — but to use it yourself!

The conversational lessons are very effective, well explained and the voice actors do an amazing job! The conversational aspect is taught by both a Westerner from the U.K., and by a native speaker from Japan.

In previous experiences I didn’t much care for the Westerners’ accent while speaking Japanese, but in this case Kenny speaks with such a refined and crystal clear-cut Japanese accent, that it’s actually not only relevent to real-world international Japanese, but enjoyable to listen as well!

If you had a business meeting in to the Land of the Rising Sun, he’s the kind of guy you’d want on your team!

I’m a bit embarassed to admit that Rocket Japanese is the program I wish I had started with in high school, because I actually thought all those textbooks would do a much better job!

You begin the lesson by moving through your daily segment of conversational lessons. Once completed, you’re given the transcript in romaji (that means: Japanese language written in our alphabet).

Bellow that, you can view the transcript in hiragana(ひらがな) and katakana(カタカナ). Finally the transcript is copied a third and final time into its’ English translation. My thoughts: SUPERB!!!! AMAZING!!!!
But there’s just one little problem . . .

The main thing that I think that could be improved, is a word-for-word literal translation to help the newcomer understand the correct word order when speaking Japanese. An even bigger issue with this course, is that the transcripts aren’t given with kanji — which is usually considered the hardest aspect of the language to learn!

Having been a teacher in the private sector, I can’t help but wonder if they’re attempting to make the language appear a little easier than it really is, by omitting the kanji!
(Just in case you didn’t know, kanji(漢字) are the Chinese characters used in the Japanese language.)

That aside the lesson is grasped quickly and intuitively — and quite frankly I’ll say it again: it’s better than any textbook I’ve ever used as a teacher or as a student of a foreign language!

Once you’re done viewing the transcripts you can then quickly move over to the quiz section of your daily lesson, where you review the short dialog you just learnt to understand (and speak!).

When your self-testing is complete (which takes less than 10 minutes!), you’re given a section where you can quickly scribble down some notes about the lesson, before saving your progress and moving onto another lesson, or other projects in your busy life!

As far as “small chunking” the Japanese Language into manageable parts on a day-to-day basis goes, I have to say that this system is actually extremely effective at achieving the desired goals! I’m convinced that anyone who uses Rocket Japanese is getting one of the best possible deals on the market! And here’s why . . :

Even if you’re not completely 100% dead-serious about learning the language, you’ll always get something out of it every single time you do a lesson! You also get to move at your own pace; if you’re a hardcore language-enthusiast or preparing to go to Japan, you’ll progress fast! If you’re a language-hobbiest, you’ll move at a reasonably fast pace — and if you only want to learn the language as a casual pass time, you’ll be sure to get value out of every minute that you spend on the site!

In any case you can always try it out for yourself for a full 6-day trial period.

Software Box

Comment if you enjoyed this article! :)

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  1. James August 24, 2011

    Nice. I’m gonna have to give that a try. I’m working my way through Heisig’s “Remembering the Kanji: Vol. 1″ at the moment, but I’ll be sure to pick this up. Great review and excellent writing.


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