I Have Enjoyed Pimsleur Japanese Immensely
I have used the Pimsleur Japanese language course and I have enjoyed using it immensely. I have used it alone (not in a group) and without a teacher, so I needed a lot of comprehension practice.
I believe it provides a lot of the basic language skills you will need on your trip or while communicating with Japanese people and allows you to gain a firm starter kit from which you can continue to learn and expand your vocabulary and grammar. The upside of the course is that it provides a lot of practice for understanding heard language, which is what you will need while actually communicating.
The downside is that it doesn't teach you writing at all, and since Japanese writing is very complicated, you will need a separate language learning aid (such as a textbook) to learn it.
I especially loved the language which teaches you how to order beer and invite a girl for cup of coffee in Japanese. It's very useful and I have actually used it with Japanese speakers. Japanese people are usually very supportive of people who are trying to use their language, so even one or two phrases in Japanese can make them happy and much more helpful. I hope that helps and good luck with learning the language!
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