Knowing Japanese can really affect your whole experience while living here, and you are strongly advised to study the language when you can. Whether you are content with just being able to read signs and labels or want to be able to carry on conversation with strangers, the advice and suggestions below will help you discover the best ways to achieve your goals for the language.
POSSIBLE STUDY ARRANGEMENTS
Classes: Highly recommended for beginners, as they provide a structured and systematic learning experience. Forming a group before enrolling in a class might be useful, but not necessary. Be flexible.
Private Lessons: As you progress in with your studies, you will probably want more individualized attention, since you’ll learn your own strengths and weaknesses as a learner of Japanese. At this point, you may prefer private one-on-one lessons with a tutor.
Intensive Immersion Courses: Many ALTs have found these really helpful. Given the school year, the only time that intensive courses are really possible is during the summer break (i.e. July or August). Before committing to one, talk to your supervisor beforehand as there may be some requirements. For example, the school may have to be nationally approved / recognized by the government. You may be able to get special leave…but don’t count on it.
Language Lesson Exchange: This approach requires a lot of discipline and a good match of personalities, goals, and commitment. Essentially, this is an agreement to teach your partner English as your partner teaches you Japanese. One way to find a language partner is to check the message board/post your own message at the Toyama International Center in Toyama City.
JET Programme Japanese Language Courses: CLAIR offers Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Japanese language Correspondence Course, as well as a Translation & Interpretation and Linguistics Course. These courses require a good deal of self-discipline, as the study plan recommends studying every day and gives you a workload that reflects this plan.