Dictionaries are like fibre – necessary, but not often consumed on their own. Why? Well dictionaries are boring. They have a set order, few if any pictures and they are written in school marmish seriousness.
But not the Kotoba Tsukaikata Ejiten ことばつかいかた絵じてん (Words in Use Picture Dictionary – my translation) by Sanseido – this guy is FUN. The first hint is the colorful cover – any book with a gorilla playing baseball and a pig eating ice cream gets my attention. Inside, with the exception of the Contents, Index and Kana Writing Guide the book is ALL pictures. Yes, it is a children’s dictionary but that’s what makes it perfect for people studying Japanese as a foreign language. Rather than explaining concepts the dictionary illustrates them. For example, the first chapter deals with all the activities associated with getting up and getting ready in the morning. Washing, getting dressed etc are all shown as pictures with kana describing the action:
The pictures are so simple and easy to follow that there is no need for an English explanation – context is king. No kanji either – hiragana the whole way. [courtesy of Nihongojouzu.com]