There are many intentions why you wish to speak Japanese. You may be transferred to Japan as per your boss’s instructions, or you may be joining in an exchange program to Japan. You may have a Japanese speaking partner or you may be falling in love with a Japanese speaker and want to dazzle her with your willingness to master her language and identify with her better. Or you just wish to learn Japanese for the sake of communicating with it.
Whatever your reasons for wishing to speak Japanese may be, Rocket Japanese Premium is what you need in achieving your goal.
The company behind the Product
In 2004, a group of language acquisition enthusiasts founded Rocket Languages in Los Angeles, California. The then-budding company’s goal was to help make second language acquisition much quicker and cheaper for all students.
Since their inception, Rocket Languages has created digital courses for people who want to converse in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Spanish, and American sign language, besides Japanese. Rocket Japanese was designed under the auspices of Sayaka Matsuura.
How does Rocket Japanese stack up?
Rocket Japanese is a self-study course. To this extent, it gives you the flexibility to learn Japanese anywhere and at any time. The implication of this is that you have to have a fair degree of self-discipline to actually use it often enough to make real progress.
Rocket Japanese is a decent course but it won’t help you learn Japanese if you don’t use it. Get into a routine and stick to it.
When you buy Rocket Japanese you are given a login ID for what is called the learning lounge. This is basically the hub of the Rocket Languages program. Here you can access all the components of the course.
The components of the course include :
1. The 31 audio lessons
31 audio/mp3 lessons. To me, this is the most important element of the course. It will teach you comprehension or listening skills. It will teach you how to speak Japanese. It will give you the confidence to speak to real Japanese people.
Once you get past the basics of a new language, speaking to real people is the best way to move your skills forward.
The 31 audio lessons deal with the absolute basics in the first lessons and cover advanced topics as they progress. These topics involve everyday activities that might go on in current Japanese society. There are also cultural aspects to some lessons.
The lessons last around 20-30 minutes and feature a native English speaking host or narrator, Kenny and a native Japanese speaking co-host, Sayaka.
Kenny generally starts the lesson, introduces the topic of the lesson, and asks questions. Sayaka does much of the Japanese speaking but also speaks English. You are advised to repeat sentences and words aloud after her. If a question is asked, there will be a pause, which allows you to speak out the answer aloud, then Sayaka will give the correct answer.
2. A written guide that follows along with the audio lessons
This deals with Japanese grammar, the Japanese writing system and many cultural aspects of Japanese society. It formalizes much of the detail that is covered in the audio lessons.
There are also embedded audio and video in the guide. This is like a traditional language textbook with multimedia capabilities added to it.
- The Rocket Mega games: You actually download these to your desktop and can play them whenever you like. They include Megaaudio which is a game where you hear a word spoken and try to match one of 6 pictures to the word. You get asked 25 questions on a set topic and there are plenty of topics ranging from colors, foods to activities.
- The other game is Megavocab. Here you see a picture and have to match one of 4 words, written in Rōmajiis script. Again, there are 25 questions and many topics to play with.
- The last game is called MegaHiragana. This teaches you the Japanese symbol for various combinations of Rōmajiis words. This is a way to learn the basic elements of the Hiragana Japanese writing system.
Throughout the audio and written guide, whenever Japanese is written down, it takes two forms. The Rōmajiis form is Japanese written using the Latin alphabet. This is the most accessible to western language students.
The other form is in the unique Japanese symbols which are a combination of Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji (which have their foundation in Chinese writing).
There are many multiple-choice tests that can be taken at any point in the course. This is an effective way to see if you are making progress.
Another useful part of the course that can be accessed through the learning lounge is the Rocket Japanese forum. This forum is fairly active and has moderators, including Sayaka, to answer the question you may have about the rocket Japanese course of learning Japanese in general.
Another plus point with the premium membership of this course is that you will receive lifetime updates. The company Rocket Languages have a track record of constantly trying to make their products better so expect to see the odd update from time to time.
All Rocket Languages programs are eligible for an eight-week no-risk money-back guarantee. This means that if you find any reason to be discontented with the course, you can contact the company for full repayment of your purchase.
What I Like About It
After looking up the Web for other learn-Japanese online courses similar to this, we discovered what makes Rocket Japanese unique and more superior than others.
First, Rocket Japanese is the only online learners’ program that uses two-way techniques of instruction more than anything else. This is because the designers of the program assert that the easiest way to help a person to talk in a foreign language is to let him talk in it. By the end of the first session, you will be able to speak in simple Japanese to render a self-introduction and give your background.
Second, unlike other digital learning programs, Rocket Japanese is the only course that includes games and reviews to make learning exciting, even for teenagers.
What I Don’t Like
Rocket Japanese, like all other Rocket Languages programs, puts emphasis on everyday Japanese. before else, you will swiftly and easily learn how to effortlessly use Japanese that is used in normal, day-to-day contexts.
However, if your aim is to be proficient in using the Japanese writing system or acquire a certificate in Japanese studies, though this course is filled with pointers on grammar and culture, then it might not work for you.
Do I Recommend It?
Yes. Don’t buy Rocket Japanese if you only wish to complete a degree in Japanese cultural studies. But if you to become articulate in communicating in the language and be able to interact with native Japanese speakers, then this program might just be made for you.