Point-And-Speak Japanese Phrasebook

Japanese Point-and-speak book cover

During our recent road trip we were able to meet with a wonderful Japanese girl from Shizuoka (near Tokyo). I even had a chance to try out my limited Japanese words. She said I came across very polite, so I guess that’s good :)

While we we’re visiting she brought out a Japanese point-and-speak phrasebook and gave it to us a gift. The book is a great reference and it covers a lot of situations a first time traveler may run into.

What I like about the book

I own a lot of phrase books and most of them are very similar in content and style. Point-and-speak does a few things differently, however. Here’s what I like about it:

  • Lots of pictures and drawings. Most phrases books are page after page of boring text. This book combines very simple text with drawings and pictures. I particularly liked the photos of the Japanese convenience stores as you could now identify them by their building styles if you can’t read the kanji.
  • Plenty of extra information. While the book is only around 125 pages, it contains some helpful information and words that I haven’t seen in other phrase books. For example, it tells you how to give your opinion beyond just good and bad. So you can say the food was “not bad”,”different” or “not for you.” Simple phrases, but it adds some nice subtlety to your vocabulary.
  • Point-and-speak format. I kind of like the point-and-speak format. If you’re not feeling up to trying your hand at some words, the book is designed to be shown quickly to any Japanese speaker to make a simple sentence. For example, you can start at the top of the page by pointing at “I want to drink” and then point at “Please (give me)” and finally point to the many drinks that are listed bellow. Pretty handy.
  • Lots of cute drawings. The book is filled with tons of cute little drawings. Each word will usually have a corresponding drawing for it. It think the Japanese would get a kick out of it when you open it up.

The book is constructed well and is made to stand up to folding and general wear and tear. They’ve even made the back cover into a dry-erase section with room for writing down directions, phone numbers, or anything else you may need.

It’s a little bit bigger than your average pocket phrase book, but the extra size makes for larger text and easy reading. At the back you’ll find 2000 common English words and their Japanese translation.

I guess my biggest concern is that the book doesn’t look like it’s readily available in North America. I’ve found it used over at Amazon but it may take a little digging to find it new.

4 Responses to “Point-And-Speak Japanese Phrasebook”

  1. Darren  on October 8th, 2010

    They have it at YesAsia.com. That’s where I go to find Japanese books and cds. Thanks for the tip, I might get a copy.

  2. Travis  on October 8th, 2010

    Good stuff Darren. I’ll have to check out that site. I’m always looking to add to my already out of control Japanese library :)

  3. sebboh  on December 10th, 2010

    i bought mine (but the spanish version, you have the english edition if you like) here http://www.conbinijapan.com/proddesc.php?cat=6&prod=373

  4. pixipatrin  on October 20th, 2011

    LOVED this book when I first started learning Japanese and went to Japan the first few times. It’ll get you and your Japanese friends chatting about all kinds of things… too easy now, but valuable for beginning-to-low intermediate and provides cultural information and phrases as well!

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