English books for learning Japanese: let’s awkward sentences!

English teaching’s a massive industry in Japan. Without it, most of the foreigners here would have to get married, give up day drinking, or go home. (We lucked out with some sweet marketing and customer service jobs instead. See you guys in the park for some chu-hais.)

People who wanna look like they’re really studying hard get English textbooks from Book Off, or Kotobukiya, or wherever. Learners out in the inaka who live, like, an hour away from everything, buy their English and Japanese books online.

Some basic English language books work in reverse. You can get some weird, passable Japanese words out of them – with a little work.

You’ll need katakana and hiragana down as a starting point. The first 100 or so kanji are useful when you’re reading full sentences, but don’t sweat it. The point’s to learn stuff, right? Get your stroke order down as you go along.

Let’s studying with Hello Kitty!

We can’t imagine a world without Kitty-chan English textbooks. We think that’d be illegal.

Hello Kitty is a globe-trotting, passport-carrying tourist. And she knows a whole bunch of English for a cat with no mouth. She’ll be your guide through the crazy world of beginner-level Japanese words.

The vocab you’ll learn from Kitty-chan’s helpful English is super basic. No point in a Hello Kitty book that doesn’t teach you how to say ‘hello’. On a first read, you should also pick up ‘thanks’ and ‘goodbye’. That’s enough to handle a trip to the conbini.

Fun with the ‘F’ word (and more fun words)

The best bit about learning a new language is knowing how to swear.

Lay down some seriously impolite Japanese – and English – with The Right Way To Use ‘Fuck’. And the companion guide, The Right Way To Use ‘Bitch’.

Both books come with CDs – and 99 examples of sweary sentences. The Right Way To Use ‘Fuck’ also teaches phrases with ‘damn’, ‘shit’, ‘crap’, ‘ass’, and ‘hell’ in them.

We admit, when you look at the Japanese phrases they’re not as strong. Adding the swear words in English ups the intensity. In Japanese, it’s all about how you say something. Emphasis (and a raised eyebrow) work wonders.

English you won’t see on English tests

Proving once and for all it’s worth studying stuff that won’t be on the final exam.

‘English that doesn’t show up on tests’ is a textbook series with style. It covers ‘non-essential’ topics, words and phrases the TOEIC can’t touch. Like… ‘pervert’. One of the first Japanese words weebs learn, after all.

The heavy emphasis on loan words, katakana and short sentences means it’s easy to pick up new vocab. Some stuff’s for advanced learners, like… ‘caustic lime’. Try dropping that into a conversation.

Bilingual support for baseball fans

Can you root for the Hanshin Tigers in English? That’s the name of the book.

Learn what you should yell across the stadium during every inning. And yell you will. Even though it’s on the cover, you don’t get a megaphone with this book. Vuvuzelas sold separately.

This book truly has a sentence for every occasion, from hyped to… kinda depressed. That’s baseball fandom in a nutshell, huh? The ‘if the Tigers lose the game’ section gets pretty deep. Knowing how to talk about drinking comes in handy on holidays to Japan.

Laugh your way through serious convos

Classes aren’t fun. Homework isn’t fun. Pop quizzes aren’t fun. ‘English Conversation To Laugh At’ is so much fun. Does it hurt when you pee? Does your best friend suck at karate? Now, you can tell everyone… in Japanese!

All the phrases are ‘taken’ from other English language books, and illustrated. At least with this 1 book you aren’t filling a whole shelf. The choices are weird, like ‘impossible to use in a chat about the weather’ weird – that’s satire for you.

And this is super tongue in cheek. (Our advice is not to talk with your tongue in your cheek.) The… less nice… online reviews are mostly people who assumed they’d bought a serious study guide. This isn’t ‘Remembering The Kanji’, not even close, so no pressure.

You’re gonna need a Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen

Go from “oh, hey, your Japanese ain’t bad” to “…where the hell did you learn to say that?” in a few clicks. Discover the world of English textbooks from Japan on DEJAPAN.

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