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Issue 19: J-Book Review

June 15, 2010


Start writing in Japanese using sentence patterns and expressions!


explanation-3awhite‘d say you’d agree with me when I say, writing is a good way to practise your Japanese. After all, being able to communicate is what it’s all about. You could have memorized your whole grammar book inside and out, bringing it all together and creating a perfectly correct sentence can be a bit of a problem sometimes.

Copying and using sentence patterns from either your textbook, reading material or a chat session with a Japanese friend, is a good way to understand how to use and construct a sentence. I often like to write, but I also often struggle how to form a (correct) sentence and expressing myself. I really outta use Lang-8 more often since it’s, imo, really one of the most useful sites out there. You simply just learn a lot by writing.

explanation-3aWrite a little every day
Because I like to write and wanted to learn how to write CORRECT Japanese, I searched for a book doing just that, rather than learning (only) from trial-by-error on sites like Lang-8. I recommend『にほんご日記ノート』, which teaches you how to improve your writing skills by using sentence patterns and expressions.

The book is divided into 30 short lessons each covering a sentence pattern (grammar). Each lesson begins with a to learn sentence pattern with 3 main examples followed by a short overview on how to construct the pattern. The next page has an in-depth explanation, explaining usage, what to pay attention to, grammar etc. Then follows a whole page of sample patterns using different expressions (a lot of examples = very handy). The book encourages you to write yourself too and the last page of each lesson let’s you do so. It first gives you (again) a sample dairy entry along with footnotes that need attention. Finally, you then can write your own entry in the book using patterns learned in that lesson at the end of each chapter. I think this is pretty effective because you need to actually implement what you’ve learned previously and therefore reinforcing it.


explanation-3aExpressions galore
I love that the book uses a whole variety of practical and frequently used expression and is often very generous in doing so. There are hundreds of expressions for you to learn (copy) from and there’s even a wordlist with popular and handy words in the front of the book. This is particulary useful since Japanese often uses different wordsets when expressing certain things. By using these expressions in your diary, your Japanese writing skills will go up!


Starting to write in Japanese can be tricky if you don’t know where to start. You’ve learned the grammar, memorized the words, but putting it together in a natural way can be difficult, especially for beginners. 『にほんご日記ノート』is a great way to get into Japanese writing using easy to learn sentence patterns. Then, spice up your writing using the many expressions and useful words presented. The book is set up very easy and comfortable to read. I personally like the layout and design of the book, and even though it’s all in a darkbrown mono-color, it just looks good. All explanation is given in English, Chinese and Korean (love that!), and actually, every book SHOULD include multiple languages. Sometimes an explanation just makes more sense in another language.

I have to admit that I haven’t used the book yet (ohh, shocking! if you could only see my bookshelf!) but I’m really eager to get started (*taking a pledge: I will write more!). I do have to mention that the book doesn’t teaches very complex stuff, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We often try to create too complex sentences when in fact there’s an easier and more effective way of expressing it. And that’s what『にほんご日記ノート』teaches you. Recommended for upper beginners 〜 intermediates.

Book Info
title: にほんご日記ノート
pages: 143
dimensions: 25.7 x 18.5 cm
extra: n/a
language: Japanese – English – Chinese – Korean
publisher: ALC (
ISBN: 978-4-7574-1555-3
special Chokochoko rating: 85%

11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010 5:00 pm


    • June 16, 2010 5:42 pm


      • June 24, 2010 3:22 pm

        Hi Starsquid-san,
        I have sent an e-mail to you. Please check it later ! 🙂

  2. アヤナ permalink
    June 16, 2010 11:39 pm

    I agree with you on Lang-8. I started writing blogs then stopped abruptly because I really didn’t know how to make sentences like that. Mind you I started learning by myself in January so I really didn’t know. Now that its June I can understand some things that i hear but still writing is hard. I can do simple sentences but every time I want to write something I think of complex english words. Soon enough I’ll write on Lang-8 again but this book sounds very interesting but for now I will stick with my text book Japanese For Everyone

  3. June 24, 2010 8:26 pm


  4. October 24, 2010 3:38 am

    May I ask what you mean by upper beginner :3 Like how many years of Japanese do you have to study to be considered beginner, intermediate, etc.? Thanks!

    • October 24, 2010 10:53 am

      Upper beginner is somebody who’s not totally a new beginner. I think the (JLPT) N4 level would be a good way to describe upper beginner. How many years of Japanese study to be considered a beginner/intermediate is subjective to how fast your learn ofcourse. Some people can learn for four years and still don’t reach intermediate level, while some take two.

  5. Nick permalink
    January 3, 2011 4:44 am

    I was wondering if you have found anyother decent writing books out there? I studied Japanese at university so I was looking for something N2 or N3 to begin my re-learning of Japanese writing.

    • Squire Starsquid permalink*
      January 3, 2011 11:02 am

      Hi Nick! I’d actually still recommend this book, because, even though you might know the stuff(or some of it) written in this book, it’s about learning how to employ it thats key. The following book is also quite popular and is a writing book for Japanese people. It’s more advanced and since its written for Japanese people, it assumes you know Japanese (grammar and all). You can find it at Amazon Japan or White Rabbit Press,「文章力の基本」.文章力の基本-阿部-紘久/dp/4534045883/ref=pd_sim_b_1
      *You can read people’s reviews at Amazon

  6. j4ko permalink
    April 22, 2012 9:35 pm

    When writing I often have problems with the Kanji, as I don’t remember every stroke.
    Recently I found a website for Kanji learning which is pretty useful, so I hope it’ll get better soon. It’s still in beta stages, though. (If you want, you can participate in beta by using my invite link:


  1. Japanese Writing Practice: Nihongo Nikki Note « Studying Japanese

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