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JAPANESE: Phrasebook. Lonely Planet, 255 pp., 2004 (Fourth edition), $7.99 (cloth).

For the complete beginner of Japanese, this tiny phrase book covers pronunciation, simple phrases, numbers (including some of the different ways to count in Japanese), times, dates, the usual tourist necessities and even sex talk.

Color-coded into different sections for easy reference — “Tools” for the basics of grammar; “Practical” for getting around; plus “Social,” “Food,” and “Safe Travel” — it is easy to use and self-explanatory. Japanese words are written in Japanese characters and romaji, although those not familiar with the Japanese alphabet may have a little trouble using the Japanese-to-English dictionary at the back.

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