Textfugu offers users a way to ‘Learn Japanese The Hard Way’. While the catchphrase may seem quite off-putting, Textfugu is a great site that I’ve wanted to review because the creator Koichi is an industrious promoter of Japanese linguistics. He has excelled in the marketing sector and has a great attitude towards helping you succeed in Japanese. What to make of the site, then? Like all others there are positives and negatives of the setup, but I’ll give my opinion right now- happy I purchased it! Textfugu sure has some downfalls, which I will discuss further now. Keep in mind that the site doesn’t provide courses for the level of Japanese I currently am working at, so this is kind of a ‘new customer’ review and may not fully highlight the advantages of the site.textfugu

The site operates like a textbook, but is tailored mainly for the individual at home learner. The information guides are presented as ‘seasons’ with a number of lessons in each. Form what I understand, one season is equivalent to one month’s studying. Kanji is in a section of its own. The developer gives learners lots of useful vocabulary and grammar at the beginning of the course, and after offers advice on how and why you feel the way you do about the experience so far. Tips and motivational words of encouragement are given to help learners stay on course, a much-needed boost in these chapters that no other learning experience offers (that I’ve seen anyway). AJATT teaches in a similar way, but comparison cannot be drawn between the two as AJATT is for learning Japanese, not teaching it to you. Textfugu gets a big thumbs up for this- keep going students!

Textfugu also teaches kanji decently. I shied away from kanji for years but ended up using the ‘Remembering the Kanji’ section. I cant really change techniques right now, but it can be said that Koichi has done a good job here. It is akin to Heisig’s because the kanji is built up over periods. A simple way to remember the sometimes difficult kanji, and a positive rhythm is found when learning in this way. It’s great because textbooks tend to show you hundreds of kanji for revision, but will not offer any manner in which to learn or recall them later on. They also seems to be in a strange order in many textbooks, so Textfugu keeps it simple with handy tips on remembering.

I personally enjoyed how the lessons gel together and enhance each other, you really get the feel that your moving forward in different areas of the language. Textbooks can be too rigid and break the steps down too much, and your left wondering how much you’ve actually learned at the end. On top of this, Koichi has a fascinating back story that conventional books don’t. You’re bound to have greatly enhanced writing abilities in the Japanese language, a thing many at-home learners often fall down on.


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