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<I>Pacific Bridge</I>:The <i>Kakahashi</i> Series: A New Way of Learning Japanese from a Former CIR

Kakehashi books

Through my experiences, I realized that language is a tool for communication and that this tool is born out of a given culture over time. When building the curriculum for my own classes, I realized further that one major oversight in the current language teaching regime is that most courses and materials focus on teaching words and grammar as if they had any meaning in a vacuum. I decided that I wanted to train my students to think like native speakers of Japanese, so that when formulating speech in their minds, they would not ask, “How do I say this in Japanese?” but, “How would a Japanese person express this concept?” When looking around for suitable materials, I found that none of the Japanese learning series had such a focus, so I set out to create my own. The result is the Kakehashi series of materials.

The Kakehashi textbook and accompanying workbook are designed to take readers from knowing nothing about Japan to being functionally fluent by training readers to understand how Japanese people talk with one another. Readers will be introduced to the written alphabets, basic kanji, targeted vocabulary, and the fundamental grammatical forms necessary to express most ideas. The textbook will be useful for beginners and more advanced students alike since much of its content is not taught in most other books. The content of the workbook mirrors the textbook and reinforces the goal of actual understanding, as opposed to rote memorization by providing problems that force the reader to reflect upon the cultural issues affecting usage that are presented in the textbook.

Further materials are on the way! An advanced textbook and workbook will be available soon, as well as a reader and several mobile apps, so please check back periodically.

Barrett Balvanz, Fukuoka, 2006-09 Professor of Japanese and Comparative Culture at the University of the Pacific

For a print version of this article, click here.

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