I bought some old cassette tapes from a yard sale a few weeks ago. The tapes were one of the best-selling Japanese language courses from about ten years ago.
I put them in my cassette player and tried to listen to them, but couldn’t get through the whole program. The course was actually pretty decent, so it wasn’t a matter of quality. I kind of just got bored since I wasn’t really learning anything new; my Japanese was already more advanced than the course’s curriculum.
A beginner could pick up some basic Japanese phrases and vocabulary by listening to those tapes, but they would probably learn just as much or more from a cheaper Japanese beginner’s book. The real value of those tapes comes from the ability to actually hear the correct pronunciations.
I’ve studied Japanese since high school, back before the internet was around. Since then, technology has revolutionized education and the process of learning. But a lot of the glut of high-tech language learning tapes, videos and software just rehashes the same stuff over and over again.
I’ve gone through several Japanese language programs and courses. Some are tolerable, some are pretty bad. I was just about to finally come out and subscribe to the belief that the only way anyone could ever truly become fluent in Japanese was by living abroad in a Japanese speaking country and being fully immersed in the language.
That is, until I discovered something truly ground-breaking; something that completely shattered everything I thought I knew about the most effective way to learn to speak Japanese -- Rocket Japanese.
Now, I know that sounds pretty crazy. If I would have heard someone say something like that about a Japanese language course, I would have had some trouble taking them seriously. But in my honest opinion, the creators of Rocket Japanese are not joking when they say their course will help you "learn Japanese like a ROCKET!"
So, what is Rocket Japanese all about?
In a nutshell, it’s a large collection of Japanese language learning tools that you can download and start using immediately. You also have the option of getting the physical CDs and books shipped to you by mail. But the download will save you a lot of money, so it’s probably the better choice.
The backbone of the Rocket Japanese course is an interactive audio course designed to get you speaking useful conversational Japanese quickly. The audio course consists of 4 parts that include grammar and vocabulary exercises.
The audio course is designed to be interactive, and I find it to be a lot more fun than other similarly designed courses. The interactive course makes you feel comfortable and at ease while going through the exercises, which makes time fly. You’ll find yourself having so much fun through positive reinforcement that you’ll be pretty surprised when you realize you are actually learning a lot of practical Japanese.
After finishing an audio lesson, you can study that particular chapter in the conversational books included in the course.
The audio and book lessons are just the tip of the iceberg though. You’ll also get MegaJapanese -- a software platform for games that you can play to greatly increase your Japanese language skills.
The games are fun and engaging. But the best part about it is the ability to change the vocabulary you want to focus on. That way, you are able to learn what you want to learn.
Rocket Japanese covers a lot of material, enough to take you from a beginner to a fluent Japanese speaker. The course is very comprehensive, but at the same time flexible enough to allow you to learn Japanese in whatever manner you prefer.
It’s also important to note the overall high quality production of the Rocket Japanese package. Take a look at some of the screenshots here.
There is one thing I am a bit skeptical about though. The Rocket Japanese course claims to make its users fluent in Japanese in three months.
Now, that certainly will be possible for a small number of people blessed with a natural affinity for learning languages. In fact, I know a guy who speaks 7 languages fluently; he is able to learn languages well enough to talk to native speakers in about 2 to 3 months.
But for people like you and me, results like that aren’t going to be handed to us on a silver platter! If I wanted to achieve fluency in a foreign language like that, I’d have to work consistently every day over a period of months. But if you are willing to do that and seek out other Japanese speakers to practice with, I am pretty confident the average person could achieve fluency in about six months with the Rocket Japanese course. Of course it could take longer or shorter, depending on your level of commitment and access to other Japanese speakers.
One thing I am sure of though is that this Japanese language program will help you learn Japanese faster and more effectively than any other course on the market. It’s probably the most entertaining one as well.
There’s something else I should mention. The folks over at the Rocket Japanese website are offering 6 free lessons that will give you a taste of what’s to come in the full package. It would be nice if other language courses caught on and let their potential customers sample their product before purchasing.
As for the makers of Rocket Japanese, the author, Sayaka Matsuura, is a native Japanese who comes across as a nice lady. You really get the feeling she enjoys sharing aspects of her culture and language. The editor, Kenny Squire, is a fluent Japanese speaker who used to live and work in Japan. He is the brains behind the interactive audio course concept.
I went to Japan to study Japanese a few years ago, and I wish I would have had access to this course or something like it before going. I would have had a much easier time in the beginning, and probably would have come away learning a lot more Japanese, and having a much richer experience.
So, I’ll end the review here! My recommendation is that if you are looking for a course that will really make it easy to learn Japanese at home quickly, go and take a look at the Rocket Japanese website.
Right now, they are offering the full downloadable course at half price. I’m not sure how long this discount will last, so take advantage of it while you can.
Click the image below to access the Rocket Japanese homepage: