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Learn Japanese in Tokyo: Teaching

Hiragana Alphabet

All ability levels are accepted, from complete beginners to very advanced.
However please note we need students to memorize the HIRAGANA alphabet prior to arrival.
It should only take you a couple of days – the college asks that you can read it, not be able to write the letters.

Japanese Teachers

All teachers are fluent in English and, obviously, Japanese.
They are all Japanese nationals, who are professionally qualified to teach Japanese as a foreign language. They are graduates of a rigorous 420-hour Japanese teacher training course at recognized schools. The length and content of this course was originally specified by the Japanese Ministry of Education, but has now become the standard qualification for professional Japanese language school teachers. It is equivalent to a university minor, and the result is a very high standard of teaching.

Japanese Students

Students in Tokyo come from all over the world, most are beginner to intermediate level learners, some are advanced. Age wise students can be any age from 16 yrs + (if you’re younger than this the Fukuoka school takes students from 14 yrs of age). Generally speaking students are in their 20’s or early 30’s, but everyone who wants to learn Japanese is welcome.

Group course structure

The core Japanese Language course (the Standard Course) consists of two 50-minute grammar classes and two 50-minute conversation classes each day.
The Standard Course is offered over all ability levels. In general, you will study new grammar each afternoon, do related homework that night, then practice your new skills in the application class the next morning. English explanations will be given where absolutely necessary (and comparison’s between the two grammar methods will be made, which is particularly useful at lower ability levels). Practical application of the language is encouraged to aid vocabulary retention and real-life fluency. Topical materials are used; news, TV, movies in class to illustrate a point (and engage student interest) and local shops are used (with their permission!) for planned language activity sessions.

All classes are held on a rolling start basis. This means that you enter an ongoing class, partway through that class’s syllabus.
If your ability level is slightly below the level of that class, we provide free “catch-up classes” to raise you to the appropriate level.
The exception to this is complete beginners, who start from the first Monday of each month only. If you are the only student at your specific level when you arrive, a new class will be created for you.
As students can start any Monday, and you can study for as many weeks as you like, the students in your class can change from week to week.
New students may arrive on a Monday, and old students graduate on a Friday. We have a time-tested system in place to minimize disruption to the class.

Please note:
– If you are the only student at your ability level:
1) If there is a class at a close level, you will have 10 lessons per week with that class, and 5 private lessons focusing on your specific needs.
2) If there is no close level, you will have 10 private lessons per week to focus on just what you want to learn.

– If there are only two students at your ability level:
1) If there is a class at a close level, you will have 10 lessons per week with that class, and 10 semi-private lessons with just the two of you.
2) If there is no close level, the two of you will have 15 semi-private lessons per week.

This policy means you don’t need to worry about whether there will be other students at your ability level when you arrive – even if you’re the only one, we’ll make arrangements to take care of you!
(Note that the only exception to this is complete beginner students. Classes for complete beginners start on the first Monday of every month and the third Mondays in June, July and August. If complete beginner students start outside of these dates, there will not be a class available for you.)

Sample Timetable

Below is a sample schedule for a student taking the Japanese Plus Traditional Culture course.
The specific time of lessons may differ depending on class level and season, and your schedule may also differ from week to week.
Please note that in particular, at busy times you may have afternoon classes instead of morning classes.

*Sample schedule only.    Actual schedule may differ.

AM (9:30-11:20) PM (12:30-2:20)
Monday Level check test, orientation Grammar class
Tuesday 4-skills application class Grammar class
Wednesday 4-skills application class Grammar class
Thursday 4-skills application class Grammar class
Friday 4-skills application class Grammar class

Traditional Activities

 Activity 1  Activity 2 Activity 3
First week Indigo Dyeing Zojo-ji Buddhist Temple Shitamachi Museum
Second week Edomoji calligraphy Imperial Palace Edo-Tokyo Museum
Third week Tea Ceremony Meiji Shrine Kaminari-okoshi sweets
Fourth week Making wind chimes Making traditional paper Woodblock engraving for stamps

Class levels and progress structure

Complete beginner (1-1)
Class requirement: must be able to read hiragana characters
Objectives: Use basic verb sentences to hold simple conversations such as self-introductions and shopping.
Total time: 1.5 weeks (30 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 1
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 4

Beginner 1-2
Objectives: Use adjectives, past tense sentences and the “te” form to describe, explain and provide reasons.
Total time: 2.5 weeks (52 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 1
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 4

Beginner 1-3
Objectives: Use the short form to give opinions and pass on information.
Total time: 2 weeks (36 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 1
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 4

Beginner 1-4
Objectives: Use comparatives and supporting verbs to have more natural conversations.
Total time: 2.5 weeks (48 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 1
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 4

Beginner 2-1
Objectives: Use potential verbs, modals and volitional forms to hold more complex conversations.
Total time: 2.5 weeks (48 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 2
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 3

Beginner 2-2
Objectives: Use simple formal Japanese, as well as transitive and intransitive verbs, to describe complex situations and feelings.
Total time: 2.5 weeks (48 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 2
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 3

Beginner 2-3
Objectives: Use polite and formal Japanese to hold conversations with a range of people.
Total time: 2.5 weeks (52 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 2
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 3

Beginner 2-4
Objectives: Use the passive, causative, and passive causative to describe complex situations and emotions.
Total time: 2 weeks (36 class hours)
Textbook: An Integrated Japanese Course in Elementary Japanese, book 2
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 3

Pre-intermediate (3)
Objectives: Review and master the especially difficult beginner grammar, and prepare for the Intermediate Japanese courses.
Total time: 5 weeks
Textbook: Chukyu E Ikou
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 3

Intermediate (4)
Objectives: Learn intermediate grammar and practice it on longer reading passages, while improving speech ability.
Total time: 8 weeks
Textbooks: J.Bridge, Nihongo Chuukyuu kara no Skill Balance, Shin Nihongo no Chuukyuu
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 2

Upper intermediate (5)
Objectives: Speak to Japanese people with few communication problems, and read and understand simple newspaper articles.
Total time: as long as you have!
Textbooks: Depends on students
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 2

Advanced (6)
Objectives: Live and work alongside Japanese people with no communication problems.
Total time: 10 weeks
Textbooks: J.Bridge + School original materials
JLPT equivalent: studying for level 1

Total time from Beginner to Advanced level: about 50 weeks, or 11.5 months!
In reality CESA Languages students chose to attend a short course, according to their linguistic goals, personal wishes and time constraints.