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Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't Tell You (Power Japanese Series) (Kodansha's Children's Classics) [Paperback]

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Item description for Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't Tell You (Power Japanese Series) (Kodansha's Children's Classics) by Jay Rubin...

Making Sense of Japanese is the fruit of one foolhardy American's thirty-year struggle to learn and teach the Language of the Infinite. Previously known as Gone Fishin', this book has brought Jay Rubin more feedback than any of his literary translations or scholarly tomes, "even if," he says, "you discount the hate mail from spin-casters and the stray gill-netter."
To convey his conviction that "the Japanese language is not vague," Rubin has dared to explain how some of the most challenging Japanese grammatical forms work in terms of everyday English. Reached recently at a recuperative center in the hills north of Kyoto, Rubin declared, "I'm still pretty sure that Japanese is not vague. Or at least, it's not as vague as it used to be. Probably."
The notorious "subjectless sentence" of Japanese comes under close scrutiny in Part One. A sentence can't be a sentence without a subject, so even in cases where the subject seems to be lost or hiding, the author provides the tools to help you find it. Some attention is paid as well to the rest of the sentence, known technically to grammarians as "the rest of the sentence."
Part Two tackles a number of expressions that have baffled students of Japanese over the decades, and concludes with Rubin's patented technique of analyzing upside-down Japanese sentences right-side up, which, he claims, is "far more restful" than the traditional way, inside-out.
"The scholar," according to the great Japanese novelist Soseki Natsume, is "one who specializes in making the comprehensible incomprehensible." Despite his best scholarly efforts, Rubin seems to have done just the opposite.
Previously published in the Power Japanese series under the same title and originally as Gone Fishin' in the same series.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   144
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 7.25"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Mar 1, 2002
Publisher   Kodansha International
ISBN  4770028024  
ISBN13  9784770028020  

Availability  0 units.

More About Jay Rubin

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! JAY RUBIN is a professor of Japanese literature at Harvard University, where he has employed the pedagogical techniques contained in Making Sense of Japanese "as infrequently as possible." He has authored Injurious to Public Morals: Writers and the Meiji State and Haruki Murakami and the Music of
Words, edited Modern Japanese Writers, and translated Soseki Natsume's Sanshiro and The Miner and Haruki Murakami's The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood, and After the Quake (Knopf and Harvill, 2002).

Jay Rubin was born in 1941.

Jay Rubin has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Vintage International

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Reference > Dictionaries & Thesauruses > Foreign Language > Dictionaries & Thesauruses
2Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > General
3Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > General
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Foreign Languages > Instruction > Instruction
5Books > Subjects > Reference > General
6Books > Subjects > Reference > Words & Language > Vocabulary
7Books > Subjects > Reference > Writing > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Making Sense of Japanese: What the Textbooks Don't Tell You (Power Japanese Series) (Kodansha's Children's Classics)?

How did I miss this the first time?  Apr 15, 2008
I picked this up some time ago, and let it lie in the 'incoming' stack for far too long.
I now consider this to be one of the best pocket-sized books on Japanese.
In particular, the coverage of 'pronouns', as well as 'wa vs. ga' is the best I have read anywhere.

If you have ever paused while deciding whether to say or in a particular situation, buy this book and wonder no more.

If you have read a textbook that called Japanese 'vague', sell it and use the money to buy this.
Making Sense of Japanese  Mar 9, 2008
This book had many interesting and useful information, however, as for ease of use, I found it to be too chaotic. It may help to put it into another format.
Greasing the transition from intermediate to advanced...  Oct 28, 2007
This book is lots of fun. Rubin is witty, his turns of phrase are memorable, and overall the book will certainly put a smile on your face.

It's only useful once you've been studying Japanese for a couple of years, though.

Before then, it'll go over your head.

I mean, I can only wish for the day when figuring out the passive-causative is the biggest problem I have in Japanese. I bet this book will be all kinds of useful that day, but I'm sure not there yet.
Good information and a good read  Apr 24, 2007
This book is exactly as advertised; complete, concise information about Japanese grammar. It really fills in the holes in my college Japanese textbook. The auther has a way with words, he had me laughing and remembering language structures I had been struggling with
Such an awesome book for third-years  Mar 31, 2007
I've been studying Japanese for three years now and I've been hitting real walls to my understanding. Jay Rubin is awesome! I had the worst trouble understanding giving and receiving verbs, but he explains them in a way that I can finally understand. The same goes for his section on causatives and passives.
If you are an intermediate Japanese student, BUY THIS BOOK!!! I was blown away.

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