Here’s my Shin Nihongo 500 Mon series review. Another helpful series for increasing your Japanese knowledge! These books are perfect for someone aiming for the JLPT and need something small to carry around. The books are designed so that you only have to work a few pages each day, which is perfect for those that are at work or somewhere with not a lot of free time.
The Shin Nihongo 500 Mon series
This series was originally much bigger and had only three books for the different difficulties.
New (left) and old design (right) comparison:
As of April 2015, the series has been redesigned to match the cover designs of the Nihongo Sou Matome series of books and there are now four books instead of three:
N5-N4 for beginners.
N3 for upper beginner to intermediate.
N2 for intermediate to advanced.
N1 for advanced super humans.
The reason I love these books is because they are so portable and easy to start and finish wherever I go. Sometimes I just don’t have the space, time, or motivation to pull out a very bulky or wide-sized learning book when I’m at work or out somewhere.
With the Shin Nihongo 500 Mon series, I can pace myself and feel good that I have at least done some reading and grammar practice for the day. Of course, these books will not guarantee that you will pass the JLPT, but they are fantastic supplements for helping you keep up your daily goal for studying and always keeping Japanese on your mind. If you do the daily section each day, you will finish in 4 weeks.
Using Shin Nihongo 500 Mon
Notice that there are three checkboxes under each problem in the book. This is used for when you check your answers. You can use this book three times (unlimited with a pencil) in order to see the progress of your studies.
For example, maybe I didn’t know a vocabulary word or grammar point when I did the book last year, so there are many X marks in the checkbox for the first time I did the book. However, now that I am doing the book again for a second time, I have more answers correct and check more boxes right. This indicates that I am progressing and becoming better at the material my second time around.
On the back of every problem page are answers written in English, Chinese, and Korean. Not all words used in the example sentences are defined, so there may be times where you need to look up words that you aren’t sure of the meaning.
There are three different sections that you must complete for each day’s assignments.
- Reading Kanji
- Vocabulary Knowledge
- Grammar knowledge
I don’t know about you, but the most difficult section for me is grammar. No matter what I do, I always seem to miss the grammar questions. After my second time of going through the book and after doing more intensive grammar study, I noticed I had better scores my second time. Don’t be intimidated if you miss many questions your first time through the book. Part of learning is making mistakes and learning from them.
Do you recommend the Shin Nihongo 500 Mon series?
I recommend it for anyone serious about studying Japanese, even if he or she is not taking the JLPT. A friend of mine (Japanese native) looked through the book and said that were many good points that people should know scattered throughout, which means it’s a book series worth your time.
I’ve spent so much time and money on many different Japanese learning materials, so take it from me that this is a nice little gem of a book to carry with you when you want to study Japanese but not crack open a massive textbook.
Where can I get Shin Nihongo 500 mon?
I recommend buying your Japanese study books from White Rabbit Press. They’re a really great store that has all sorts of stuff from Japan. I’ve bought several books from them as well as some high-quality flashcards. Please be aware that the N levels become harder the LOWER they go. N1 is the most difficult and N5 is the easiest.
Do you have any questions about these books or recommendations for something better? Let me know in the comments. Good luck with your studies!