Japanese classes or study groups?

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Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby red spacesuit » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:26 am

Hey all :D

So, what's it like for studying Japanese in Japan? My university only had 4 very basic semesters of Japanese so my Japanese is quite poor and I'm definitely interested in learning more and improving while I'm there. From what I've read, JET has a correspondence type program you can do, but what other options are there (specifically in/near Kumamoto)! Are there ways or places to take something like a night class? Do JETs ever form study or practice groups? To those with experience, what did you find the most useful?
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby Cytrix » Tue Jun 21, 2011 6:24 am

I heard from one alumni over here (who spent about 4 years in Kumamoto) that 'Hanna Gakko' (or something along those lines) in Kumamoto city is the place to go. Any current Kumamoto's able to help decipher what the hell I just said there?
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby Zane » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:29 am

Everyone will have slightly different options regarding available classes, depending on where they live. That being said, if you want to study Japanese you will definitely be able to study Japanese. CLAIR runs a correspondence course for beginner / intermediate / advance levels of Japanese learners. They're not perfect, but they're free and I've always found them to be great for reviewing, or looking at certain grammar points in a different way. The YMCA in Kumamoto City runs Saturday morning classes geared toward studying for the JLPT, and I've heard there are classes for women at the YWCA (possibly the Hanna Gakko you're referring to, Cytrix, but I'm not sure). The International Center in the city also offers cheap classes, usually on Friday nights so they can be difficult to get to after work if you're a bit far from the city.

Barring all of that, you will probably be able to find a local willing to tutor you, either for pay or possibly in exchange for English conversation lessons. For self-study there are thousands for resources. I liked the Genki books when I first got here and I've heard good things about Japanese for Busy People books. There are also many books available for studying for all levels of the JLPT. Tae Kim's online grammar guide was my favorite resource for grammar and particles I was struggling with. I would recommend downloading the Anki spaced repetition program for learning vocabulary and kanji. For conversation, nothing beats finding Japanese friends that don't speak English. There are some great links in our helpful links section of the site.
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby ranpanchan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 11:47 am

Just to clarify, Hanna Gakkou is a privately owned 1-1 tutoring school near downtown Kumamoto city. Due to its location, it's a popular choice for many city ALTs. In my personal experience this school is exceptionally good at facilitating any level of Japanese. Classes mostly focus on the JLPT (i.e. learning Japanese in general) but you can also ask to focus lessons on other things, like conversational Japanese or the local dialect.

If anybody is interested, I can post the contact information.
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby umeboshi » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:35 pm

Yeah, I recommend ( 花スコール)Hana School . When I first arrived in Kumamoto, a fellow ALT took me to this school located in the downtown part of Kumamoto city and introduced me to Sakamoto sensei, who runs and teaches many of the classes. Typically, it's a one-on-one class and she can take people from beginner (no japanese character knowledge) until quite advanced. I think unless you are really low level she speaks to you completely in Japanese and you are expected to do the same. This may seem intimidating for beginner students but she is really good at knowing how to talk to her students. When I started I was somewhere around high-beginner and it was exactly what I needed to force me to communicate in Japanese.
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby umeboshi » Wed Jun 22, 2011 2:37 pm

She also is fun and puts work into planning every lesson!
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby red spacesuit » Thu Jun 23, 2011 5:30 am

Wowow, this is great news :)! Thanks for all the info guys. I suppose I should dig my genki books out of the rafters (put up there last summer laughing about how they'd be a good reminder of Uni someday but otherwise utterly useless for the rest of my life as I was less than optimistic about my chances with JET). Thanks Zane for the link to Tae Kim's site. I had seen it years ago but had forgotten the name and lost the link and was very sad since it's such a great resource.

ranpanchan wrote:Just to clarify, Hanna Gakkou is a privately owned 1-1 tutoring school near downtown Kumamoto city. Due to its location, it's a popular choice for many city ALTs. In my personal experience this school is exceptionally good at facilitating any level of Japanese. Classes mostly focus on the JLPT (i.e. learning Japanese in general) but you can also ask to focus lessons on other things, like conversational Japanese or the local dialect.

If anybody is interested, I can post the contact information.

Yes, please! That would be great.
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby saravbrown » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:44 am

I would also really appreciate her contact information! :rgrin:
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby ranpanchan » Thu Jun 23, 2011 4:54 pm

As umeboshi said, Maki Sakamoto is the duck loving leader of this school. You can contact her at duckymaki@hotmail.com.
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Re: Japanese classes or study groups?

Postby Remy » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:04 pm

At YMCA Kamitori you can also sign up for free one-on-one conversation classes. All you have to do is pay a one-time registration fee of 1,000 yens (well, it's actually yearly) and then you're good to go.

+
they find someone whose schedule fits yours
you can have several classes a week

-
you have to meet at Kamitori YMCA for the classes


I got super lucky with my conversation partner. She's 35ish and going to school to become a licensed teacher of Japanese so her classes are always very well prepared and I feel like I'm having a real hour of Japanese class every week virtually for free. If I were you, I would specify a certain age range while signing up cause you might end up with a 16-year old girl with whom it can be difficult to find topics to discuss -it happened to a friend of mine-.
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