Reference books for Speaking & Listening

This book is very useful for those who will travel Japan but can not speak Japanese.

In Japan, not many people speak good English. So you might be troubled if you do not speak Japanese at all. So how do you communicate with Japanese?

Last time, when I travelled on the periphery of India, no one outside the hotel spoke English, so I used body language to convey my message. It was really tough (but it was fun).

I recommend 旅の指さし会話帳日本 'POINT-AND-SPEAK PHRASEBOOK'. This book contains lots of pictures and useful pharases in English and Japanese in lots of situation. You can just point out and show the picture to Japanese and they will understand what you want to say.

The pictures in this book capture attention in a good way and Japanse will be interested in helping you! This is the book I recommend for anyone who needs a quick and easy method of communication while in Japan.

This book is really useful for traveller! And it might be a good present for someone you know who is going to Japan and can't speak Japanese =)

I recommend しごとの日本語―電話応対 基礎編 for phone calls in business situations.  We use some special expressions on phone conversations. For example, when we cannot hear the voice on the other end of line, we say 'ちょっとお電話が遠いようなのですが...' 

Even for me, as a Japanese, it's a bit stressful to answer the phone in office, especially if he/she is a fresh recruit. But when you have learned some expressions, you won't feel any stress at all. This book is titled as basic, but the standard is very high. There is no furigana for most of the Chinese characters. And you have to have some knowledge of keigo before you try this book. But if you need or want to be able to talk on a phone in a business setting or formal situation, this book is worth trying.

If you are working in a Japanese company or with Japanese clients, then you might need to learn some business Japanese. Of course in business situations too, we use same Japanese. And it's true that there are some expressions that are common in business situation.

If you would like to learn those expressions in a short time, then Business Nihongo Drills is ideal. You can finish this book in one month if you spend just one hour a few days each week to read it.

You can use this book after you've passed JLPT N2.

Some of my students who are advanced Japanese learners need to know special business terms for more fluent communication for business in their Japanese office or communicating with Japanese clients.


'ビジネス日本語用例辞典' might be of help. This book contains 3000 Japanese words that are often used in business. English and Chinese translations are available.

I recommend this book only for people who need to communicate Japanese for business and have passed at least JLPT N2.

In your advanced class, what kind of textbook do you use? Most school adopts (unexciting and outdated) textbooks for reading with some questions about context of passages and grammar.

It's difficult to improve speaking skill by such textbooks because you need more communication and interactive practices in class. 

「ブラッシュアップ日本語会話 」is an ideal textbook for advanced level students (those who have passed JLPT N1) to improve speaking skill. If you have a good friend to practise Japanese with, this textbook is a good choice.

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