Why Rocket Japanese Might be One of the Best Courses to Learn Japanese – Live Fluent

Why Rocket Japanese Might be One of the Best Courses to Learn Japanese

Japanese is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn for native English speakers (especially those from the US). Only Spanish and French command greater interest. 

You'd think with such a high demand for Japanese learning resources, there would be an abundance of quality courses out there for language learners. Sadly the truth is, there just aren't. 

That's why I'm excited about today's post. We're going to look at one of the best options for a stand alone Japanese course: Rocket Japanese.

Rocket Japanese accomplishes what so few Japanese courses do: it provides an effective and efficient way to learn Japanese.

In this article we'll talk about the specific strengths of the course, and we'll also point out some of its shortcomings (no course is perfect afterall). 

Enjoy! 

If you want to check out our most thorough and intense review of the method behind Rocket Languages courses you can check out our general review here.

Review of: Rocket Japanese

Use: Japanese learning course

Effectiveness

Learn to read, write, speak, and understand Japanese

Price

 An affordable Japanese course

Time Commitment

Lesson take about 30 minutes

Ease of Use

Overall course is straight forward and simple to use

Structure

You're not likely to find a more comprehensive Japanese course

I Like

  • check
    Teaches grammar well
  • check
    Teaches writing
  • check
    Covers politeness levels

I Don't Like

  • Lessons can get dull after awhile

Summary:  

At its best Rocket Japanese is a thorough stand alone Japanese course that helps you learn all aspects of the Japanese language, in way that boosts your conversational skills and help you become familiar with grammar. 


The course is effective for both beginners and intermediate students. 


You will learn Japanese if you work through this course. The one flaw this course does have is that after awhile the material can seem a little dull or repetitive. 


Still if you're serious about learning Japanese, and you want a comprehensive course, you'll be hard pressed to find a better option than Rocket Japanese.

A single level starts at $99.95

Is Rocket Japanese the right course for you?

Yes

If you're a beginner to intermediate learner

Barring the most advanced Japanese learners, this course is thorough enough to be helpful to all students of Japanese. Beginners stand the most to gain, as the course is designed to take you from a beginning level of Japanese to an upper intermediate level. 

The material in the later levels cater to the needs of many intermediate students as well. 

If you're looking for a comprehensive course

This course thoroughly covers all aspects of the Japanese language including: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. It also helps you improve your conversational ability, while learning grammar as well.

No

If you're looking for a supplemental tool 

For most people this course is too thorough and expensive to be a simple Japanese learning tool you use on the side. If you're looking for a supplementary learning tool, this way not be the best resource for you. 

If you're an advanced student

Advanced students will probably benefit more from immersion in the Japanese language and through conversations with native speakers, than they would from this course. 

What makes this course so valuable 

It does justice to Japanese grammar

Japanese is consistently ranked as one of the most difficult languages to learn for native English speakers. This is due to the fact that the two languages share little to no similarities in grammar or vocabulary. 

The difference in word order is just one of the many significant differences of Japanese gramamr

We won't get into the finer details of Japanese grammar here. Suffice to say in many ways Japanese and English are worlds apart linguistically.

Unfortunately many language learning companies take a best selling Spanish or French course, and swap out the material for basic Japanese.

The problem is that a method or system that works well for a language closely related to English (like Spanish or French), doesn't necessarily work for teaching Japanese. Often times some of the most significant aspects of Japanese grammar aren't even explained in these types of courses!

Here's a snapshot of the grammar based lessons for level 1

Not so with Rocket Japanese. Rocket lessons are divided into one of two categories: audio lessons and language and culture lessons.

The audio lessons are great for learning practical Japanese vocabulary, but it's the language and culture lessons I want to talk about.

The language and culture lessons essentially break down and explain an individual aspect of Japanese grammar and teach you how to use it. 

These lessons cover an array of grammar based topics such as using honorific language, mimetic expressions, verb pairing, and many other topics. This course does not shy away from the nitty gritty of the Japanese language!

It teaches the Japanese writing system

The Japanese writing system is one of the most complex in the modern world. It's actually made up of a combination of two writing systems: the logographic kanji, and syllabic kana

A brief introduction to the Japanese writing system

Do to the complexity of written Japanese, this important aspect of language is often conveniently overlooked by Japanese courses. At best kanji and kana are only minimally covered. 

Rocket Japanese includes writing lessons which even feature how to videos

It distinguishes between politeness levels

Like some other Asian languages (most notably Korean), the Japanese language uses varying levels of politeness. This means that the grammar and words forms you use often changed based on your relationship to the person you're talking to or about. 

A brief introduction for politeness levels in Japanese

In just about every language, courses often err on the side of more formal or polite language. This is also the case with Rocket Japanese. 

However many Japanese courses don't make a differentiation between the most formal Japanese and some of the less formal levels of politeness. Often times a student to not even be exposed to less formal Japanese at all. 

Rocket Japanese makes the important distinction between politeness levels. Though the course does focus more on being polite, you will be exposed to less formal uses of the language, and you will also be conscious of how polite the phrases you're using are. 

Some challenges with Rocket Japanese

There's a lot of praise for Rocket Japanese in this review, however the course isn't with out its downsides. 

It's not particularly entertaining

This course is an effective way to learn Japanese, but to be honest it's not always the most engaging. The material is covered thoroughly and represented well, but if you're looking for a novel and engaging way to learn Japanese this course might not cut it. 

In the end you will half to apply yourself and work through the material if you want results. Sometimes after a lot of work, the audio lessons and grammar explanations can get dull. 

It's best to use this course in conjunction with some supplemental resources, in order to spice things up once in awhile. 

It's a great primary resource, but the best supplementary resource

This course is designed to be a comprehensive stand alone course for learning Japanese.

If you're looking for a supplemental resource, tool or app, the offerings of Rocket Language will probably feel like overkill. Also the price tag is a little high to justify this course as a mere learning tool.

What other people are saying about Rocket Japanese

Donovan Nagel

Rocket Japanese is arguably one of the most comprehensive audio courses for Japanese available (in terms of its sheer volume of material).

In other words, there’s a tonne of content in all 3 levels of the program combined....


...With the possible exception of JapanesePod101 (which is a less comprehensive, podcast-style audio course), Rocket Japanese stands out as one of the only worthy contenders for online course options.

If learning Japanese is a goal of yours, then I definitely think Rocket Japanese is a worthwhile investment. It my experience it gives the most bang for your buck in terms of all the learn at home courses that are on the market. Backed by the money-back guarantee and excellent customer service, you really can’t get much better.

Alternatives to Rocket Japanese

Price

From $4+ per month

Time commitment

15+ minutes a day 

Summary:

Japanesepod101 features audio lessons in a podcast format. Lessons are great for grammar and vocabulary. Each lesson is designed around a Japanese conversation between native speakers, and the teachers do a great job of keeping things engaging. 

 While it's not as structured as Rosetta Stone it's still a substantial Japanese learning tool (it's also much cheaper too). The site features transcripts, an in-site flashcard system, and many other useful features.

Price

$150

Time commitment

30 minutes a day 

Summary:

Pimsleur is probably the second most popular language course behind Rosetta Stone. Pimsleur is entirely audio based and is specifically designed to develop your conversational skills.

They use a unique and effective question/recall/respond technique to get you on your feet in your new foreign language. With Pimsleur You'll learn a limited but functional vocabulary and have a good sense of pronunciation.

Price

$6+ per hour (varies between teachers)

Time commitment

30 minute or 1 hour lessons 

An intro video from one of Italki's Japanese teachers. 

Summary:

Italki is an online market place that connects language learners with language teachers for one-on-one language classes via video or audio chat.

You can connect with language speakers from around the world and practice your speaking skills. There are over 200+ Japanese teachers and tutors on Italki. 

*with a purchase of $10 or more. After you complete your first lesson a credit of $10 will be added to your account

Conclusion

Rocket Japanese is an excellent option for serious learners who are looking for a stand alone course for learning a foreign language. 

Yes the course can seem dry after awhile, and it's a bit too thorough and expensive to be used as a learning tool on the side. However this course is easily one of the most effective and comprehensive Japanese courses on the market. 

Rocket Languages offers a few lessons from their courses for free. If you're interested in their Japanese course I recommend checking out the free lessons and deciding for yourself if the course is right for you! 

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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