TextFugu is a relatively new Japanese learning website that has dedicated itself to helping the many self-learners out there in the world. However, like with every product, there is a cost. I’m here to shed light on what you’ll really get for your money.
First things first, let’s go over the worst part about TextFugu first. Why first? Because once we’ve got that out of the way, you won’t keep thinking “..but what’s the catch?” the whole time I’m telling you about what TextFugu does/doesn’t offer.
The payment plans are really simple, which I love. I hate when places offer so many choices that it becomes a task just to decide how you’re going to buy the product. Essentially, you have one of three options:
I went with deal #3 right away, but my suggestion is that if you’re feeling really unsure about TextFugu, then simply buy one month first and if you like it, then pay the one time payment. But obviously, if you like TextFugu and you’re going to keep using the site, the best option is the one time payment. I know it’s a decent size chunk of money to some of you out there, especially for those that are use to free resources. However, I can assure you that TextFugu will most likely never offer a better deal than the one time payment. In fact, if it gets popular enough, it may get rid of the one time payment option!
The other thing to notice is that TextFugu actually lets you see around 8 of it’s articles to give you a preview of what you should expect.
… however, there is a secret you should know, that makes it currently inexcusable to not give TextFugu a shot, but… we’ll save that for later.. :halo:
Now we’re going to reveal what is truly beneath the skin to take a look at the real heart and soul of TextFugu.
Once you’re at TextFugu, you’ll see drop down menu’s along the top. These menu items are the way you’ll be navigating your way through the site. As you can see from the image above, when you hover over a “Season”, you’ll be able to see the lessons beneath that season. Season 1 is where you should begin, no matter what level you are in Japanese, because TextFugu’s lessons offer more than just language lessons, they offer life lessons.
Season 1 is where you get started. It may seem to run a little slow at first, but that’s because Season 1 is obsessed with creating an incredible Japanese learning foundation. We do a lot of little things to help you understand how the Japanese language works, come up with good habits, and most importantly, become comfortable with hiragana. Things are kept extra simple so you don’t get stuck, and by the end of it you’re ready to learn a lot more a lot quickly.
From what I understand, a Season will generally equate to about a month or so of work for those who are generally starting from scratch(or at least close to it). A Lesson is simply a stepping stone inside of a Season.
Every TextFugu lesson starts off with an inspirational quote at the top, which is something I personally love. Sometimes I just re-click through all the pages, reading the quotes because they motivate me so much. This was a great idea in my opinion.
Throughout some of the larger lessons, you’ll find these “Chapter Sub-Menu” boxes, that allow you to easily pan through the material by dropping you down to a specific section of text. You’d be surprised at how useful this really is. Why? Well, because a large majority of TextFugu’s posts are quite large! And I mean that in a good way. Too often topics are merely brushed over vaguely, but not with TextFugu!
The big advantage TextFugu has over traditional text books is that it can provide sample audio clips for you to easily hear. Does anyone actually listen to the CD provided with text books? I know I don’t, it’s too much hassle. But with TextFugu, it’s simply a click.
As most of you probably know, I’m currently on the Hesig – Remembering the Kanji path as the first part of my two year plan. I’ve taken a look at TextFugu’s method of learning Kanji and while I will still stay true to my Hesig method, I can definitely see how TextFugu’s Kanji learning methods would work quite well. The idea is that you learn the radicals first and then actual Kanji so that you’re remembering building blocks, not just strokes. To be honest, that part is actually a lot like how Heisig introduces radicals right before you learn a series of Kanji that use them.
After you’ve learned the radicals, you move on to learning actual Kanji. I think the Kanji that TextFugu teaches you in the beginning has the nice order of learning what’s used/seen the most in daily life. The one key difference is that TextFugu teaches you the readings and meanings together, whereas Heisig teaches just the meanings in the beginning.
I prefer Heisig myself, but I don’t think that means Heisig is any better. To me it’s simply two different paths to get you to the same point. It doesn’t matter which you take, as long as it works for you and gets you where you need to be. I have friends that don’t like the Heisig method, they’d rather accumulate a much smaller amount of Kanji per week but learn both the readings and the meanings at the same time. For those people, I’d say TextFugu does a hell of a job guiding you.
TextFugu honestly has so many bells and whistles that you’ll be able to utilize those features to spend a good deal more amount of time studying Japanese. What kind of features am I talking about? Well, currently here are some of the things you can expect:
It’s features like these that tend to make TextFugu a lot more interactive.
I guess you could say this is the Con portion of the article. TextFugu doesn’t necessarily have features that are bad, but rather there are things it doesn’t have that you’ll need to get elsewhere. The number one thing it doesn’t have is a community.
Yes, TextFugu has people subscribed and yes it does let you comment on blog posts, but it doesn’t have a real way for users to interact together. There is no forum or chat room, which basically says their is no communication going on between students. While TextFugu does a great job at presenting the right information in the right order to students, this is Sensei <-> Student communication. The Student <-> Student communication is left out, which I believe is just as important as the rest. Exposure to the language as well as an environment that you can play around in, is what is really needed.
However, you shouldn’t really weigh any of this against TextFugu. The fact is, TextFugu is merely a book in digital form that gets revised and expanded. You wouldn’t not buy a book because it didn’t include a community of students would you? All I’m saying is be aware that it isn’t a one solution fix, but then again for Japanese no solution is.
Update: Soon after posting this article, Koichi(creator of TextFugu) read this article and decided to do something about this issue. TextFugu now has a forum that is already quite active! The forum is for those who register for TextFugu, so what are you waiting for!? :love:
Okay, so it may not really be a super secret surprise, considering it’s actually on TextFugu’s home page but… it’s awesome nonetheless.
TextFugu actually comes with a complete guarantee! Not only that, but a 110% guarantee! Really, the key here isn’t even the 110%, it’s the fact that you’re fully able to get your money back if for some reason you don’t like TextFugu and think you’ve wasted your money. At this point, you have nothing to lose with TextFugu.
PS: Just remember, all of this info applies currently, but who knows when TextFugu may change. So if you want a 110% guarantee and the ability to make a one time purchase forever, you better do it now.