Life In 19x19

Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter)
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Author:  CDavis7M [ Wed Mar 24, 2021 10:32 am ]
Post subject:  Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter)

Richard Hunter has written a series of 3 books called "Just Enough Japanese." Labeled with ①, ②, and ③ . There is also a more advanced book that was recently released called "The Road to Understanding Japanese ② " (but where is volume 1?).

Just Enough Japanese does not teach you Japanese but it is the best resource I've found for learning Japanese Go terms. Hunter starts backwards, teaching you the important kanji (the hieroglyph-like characters) first, and then slowly introducing a few words written in hiragana and katakana (simplified characters, like an alphabet, but syllabic). Normal (textbook) Japanese language study would have you learning hiragana and the sounds first, and then slowly or never introduce Go terms. Trying to actually learn Japanese first would take a lot of time. I like Hunter's method.

Just Enough Japanese 1 is like a casual stroll through kanji that could otherwise be learned on But JEJ1 is much more friendly, it shows you a large picture of the kanji, it introduces the terms in an organized and meaningful way, and it provides a few diagrams of where the terms would appear in Japanese Go books. There is a bit of fluff. I don't care when Japanese kids learn a kanji in school. But this thing only costs $2.99. If you are curious about Japanese Go books, start with this book and see if your interest is kindled or if it has died. I can tell you that Sensei's Library/JapaneseGoTerms did not kindle my interest but JEJ1 did. If you already own a Japanese Go book or two, consider skipping this book. JEJ2 contains a really short review of JEJ1.

Just Enough Japanese 2 has A LOT more words in it. So many that you feel like you would need to study but that takes too much time and so you just read it and the Japanese just flows by you. But you really can just read this without waiting for understanding because somewhere your brain stores recognition and familiarity. I read this book and I can't write the numbers past 3, but I can guess that a character might be a number. And I am starting to recognize more and more kanji learned from this book as I "read" my Japanese go books. I can say that JEJ2 has got me pretty far in Tsumego books. Even JEJ1 can do that. But I have only been able to pick out a few words here and there in my japanese tesuji and proverbs books. Still, I like having this book on my phone so easily use as a reference along with the Google picture-translate app. Having read JEJ2 I can understand many of the translation mistakes that Google makes. Though I am still trying to figure out what "flutter" means. And JEJ2 has the large kanji pictures like in JEJ1. Those really help me. If you already own Japanese Go books, I recommend buying this book. It added a lot for me beyond SL and Google Translate. But if you have already begun learning Japanese and can already recognize characters, this book might be too simple for you. Maybe JEJ3 is better.

Just Enough Japanese 3 is for people that actually want to read Japanese. You actually have to learn hiragana and katakana. You are going to learn grammar and sentence structure. If you are going to read this book it will probably be as a supplement to other actual Japanese language learning. I am not there yet, so I did not actually read this book. I only skimmed a few sections. Do not buy this book if you have not started learning Japanese. Get JEJ2 instead.

Here is a picture of the sample of JEJ1. This is from my computer but it reads better on my android phone using the "Reasily" application.


Author:  CDavis7M [ Sun Sep 26, 2021 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter

Well, this review was written about 6 months ago. In the mean time I've kept playing Go and collected a lot of Japanese Go books and magazines. I have been reading Japanese using computer translation with OCR (Google Translate). Recently I changed to using DeepL for translating.

Anyway, I have been pretty good at reading tsumego prompts, though not the statements. And I could recognize most game record information. So these books helped me along well enough.

But after picking up so many Japanese books I decided to finally learn hiragana and katakana so that I wouldn't have to rely on recognizing the shapes for Go vocabulary. I started studying about 3 weeks ago and had decent recognition of every kana about a week ago. So it took me 2 weeks of 10-40 minutes of studying each day. I used Duolingo which done prior hate for learning Japanese but I think most people acknowledge that it works well for learning kana.

I'm still studying to improve my recognition and reading but I went back and read JEJ1 and JEJ2 again and I have even more appreciation for them.

By the way, is anyone else studying Japanese? Anyone else reading these books? I'd be happy to hear about your studies.

Back to JEJ. I really like how volume 1 provides hyperlinks to websites to view the stroke order and the pronunciation. Having spent so much time copying kanji and loading a dictionary website, pasting, searching, etc etc... it was just nice to have someone do the work for me.

For JEJ2, there really is a lot more to pick up once you read kana. You can practice as you read along. Which helped me relearn kana that I had focused on long ago. And while JEJ2 was written so that you don't need to know Japanese, there's just so much to help you if you do. Most all of the words come with the Japanese pronunciation (in kana) and English spelling. There's an excellent vocabulary section in Chapter 3-12. It's more focused and coherent then the SL list. I should make flash cards (digital) from it. Though I really just need to dig through the whole book because but all teens make it into the list. At this point, I feel like reading JEJ2 was better for studying compared to my beginner lessons in Duolingo. It was good!

I actually order a copy Genki1 to study beginners Japanese. But now I am dreading learning more よろしくstatements or another はじめまして situation. I'm not even going to spell check these. The issue is that I am never going to meet a Japanese person unless I go to Mitsuwa (guess I know how to pronounce this now) and even if I do I'm definitely not going to drop an awkward こにちは so it's just really inefficient to learn Japanese with the usual school curriculum.

I already own a copy of JEJ3 and so I'm just going to continue with that and see if it's actually possible to learn from Richard Hunter. I'll see how it goes. ッ


By the way, do Kanji have mostly consistent readings when used as the first character, and consistent readings when used as a second character? Or do you really just need to learn the underlying words?

Author:  Rowen [ Mon Sep 27, 2021 7:55 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter

I will look into this further. They seem like rather interesting books. As for learning Japanese, well, that's a never ending journey.

Also wait untill you get into ーます and -ません ending, it can quickly become quite confusing.

Author:  Harleqin [ Thu Sep 30, 2021 8:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter

CDavis7M wrote:
By the way, do Kanji have mostly consistent readings when used as the first character, and consistent readings when used as a second character? Or do you really just need to learn the underlying words?

No real consistency here. You need to learn the words.

Author:  CDavis7M [ Wed Aug 17, 2022 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Review of "Just Enough Japanese" 1 and 2 (Richard Hunter

Today I had my first thought about tsumego in Japanese. It wasn't a complete sentence but 眼形の急所 jumped into my mind before I started reading my first guess. The word in Japanese makes more sense -- vital point of eye shape. In English the play is often referred to by the result (killing move, lives, correct, etc), rather than emphasizing the relationship between the point on the board and the shape of the stones.

I first made this review post about a year and a half ago. I can't say that I've been very studious in Japanese or in Go but there any many fun things in life and I also have kids that like to have their own fun. But I'm happy to see progress in a real application (rather than just recognizing the コーヒー sign in the hotel pre-game interview).

I guess I never made a post about Just Enough Japanese 3 but I am reading that for the second time now. JEJ3 teaches grammar and is comparative to an introductory textbook (think げんき GENKI or みんなの日本語Minna no Nihongo). I've been going through JEJ3, Genki, and other resources together. I think the different perspectives helps.

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