101 Japanese Idioms
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  • 101 Japanese Idioms
  • Michael I. Maynard, Senko K. Maynard
  • Published by: Passport Books
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 1994

This flexible book and audio program features 101 Japanese idiomatic and proverbial expressions that enrich students knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.

REVIEW BY Chris Saldana Book EXPERT
Review posted: 18/12/2013
Have you used this book?

One fun part about learning a language is learning the creative language, phrases, and idioms. Every language has its idioms and they’re all very diverse and,at times, farfetched. Japanese is certainly no exception and 101 Japanese Idioms is a nice book that will teach some useful and almost poetic idioms to enhance your understanding of the language.


Each unit begins with a simple illustration relating to a specific Japanese idiom, followed by an explanation of that idiom. Various examples are provided for example: Takane No Hana/Flower on a High Peak- unrealizable desire, an unobtainable object, something out of one’s reach. The example is then followed by a brief cultural notes as well as a dialogue providing examples of formal and casual ways the idiom can be used. The same flow is kept throughout each unit even up to the end of the book. I believe that the book as a whole is very simple to use lesson after lesson.

"101 Idioms is great to work with because it teaches some useful expressions that are used in conversational Japanese, which may not be found in typical grammar books."

101 Japanese Idioms is pretty simple as far as the layout goes. Out of the 101 idioms, there are two pages for each idiom, each including a cute drawing and the meaning of the idiom. There is also an explanation/history, a sample text in both Romanji (Japanese written using the alphabet) and Japanese, and a translation in English. The idioms touch on different themes like nature, animals, the body, culture and more. 101 Idioms is great to work with because it teaches some useful expressions that are used in conversational Japanese, which may not be found in typical grammar books. Some of the idioms may seem a little strange when translated literally (ex. Cat’s Forehead, a girl that’s kept in a box) but they are supposedly prominent in Japanese culture and may even provide students with a deeper understanding of the Japanese language and people.


· Provides an in-depth look at some useful language as well as interesting cultural notes.

· It is a simple book that follows a specific flow for each unit.

· There is an appropriate amount of information in each unit which will not overwhelm the student.

· Easy to understand examples of the idioms using simple dialogues.


· Just one example is provided for each idiom.

· Examples are sometimes too vague and students might find it difficult to understand the idiom.

Recommended For:

· Students who are at a good Japanese level and can understand the usage of each idiom.

· Students who want both a language lesson as well as a cultural lesson.

Overall, 101 Japanese Idioms provides some good phrases, clean presentation and some nice pictures to visually complement the information in the book. It’s best to use this book if you already have some knowledge and understanding of Japanese, but for beginner students it’s still nice to read and enlighten yourself on the poetic way the Japanese language expresses some common conversational phrases.



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