Japanese Language Instruction in New York
July 17, 2007 9:10 PM   Subscribe

Has anyone taken the language courses offered by the Japan Society in New York?

My sisters and I would like to formalize our casual study of the Japanese language. We found out that the Japan Society offers classes in conjunction with the Toyota Language Center.

The price seems right, and we are going to see if we can look in on one of the classes that are currently taking place, but has anyone on Mefi taken classes there before?

So any positive or negative stories would be great or a suggestion for a better place to study?

Thanks for any help.
posted by Julnyes to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Although I have studied elsewhere, I have heard good things about the Japan Society.

I know this is a little off topic, but if you need online study related links and recommended resources, I've accumulated quite the folder of stuff.

Ki o tsukette! (put your spirit into it!)
posted by ilsa at 9:54 PM on July 17, 2007

I think you mean "ganbare!"

"Ki o tsukette" means "be careful"
posted by KokuRyu at 10:06 PM on July 17, 2007

^ or "take care", depending on the context.

and to answer the question, it wouldn't hurt to try them out.

I really don't know how I would design a curriculum in today's age. The two grammar guides from the Japan Times (1, 2) are the basic foundation any textbook or course of study is going to cover.

I found the best use I got out of my two years in college was just the very beginnings of listening comprehension, but these days with YouTube it's one helluva lot easier to get that (but not slow like you need it starting out).

Anyhoo, you didn't ask for advice so I guess I'll stop there. . . . ah, don't be afraid of the kanji . . . 500 of them are simple, 1000 more are built from these simple parts, and the rest you really don't need to sweat about. OK I'll stop now. . .
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:24 PM on July 17, 2007

To actually answer your question, I've taken Japanese classes there several years ago. I believe the texts we used were the "Japanese for Busy People" series, but that possibly could have changed by now. The classes were nice and small (max 7-8 people), it was a beautiful environment to study in, and the teachers were all extremely kind, professional and helpful. I highly recommend at least trying it out...
posted by lovejones at 10:28 PM on July 17, 2007

I've also heard that the Tenri Language School is quite good as well. It's on W13th street by 6th ave, I think...
posted by lovejones at 10:30 PM on July 17, 2007

I'm in Level 3 there right now. We use Japanese for Busy People as the text and my class covers chapter 18 - the end of the book. We haven't had any kanji introduced yet, but the kana are covered in Level 1 and used from that point forward.

I took Level 1 at the New School (same text, same course design, so it's possible to switch easily between the two programs) and loved it immensely. I took Level 2 as a two-weekend immersion at Japan Society and it kicked my ass five ways, was exhausting and fun, yet left me not-quite-prepared for Level 3. Everyone else in Level 3 reads kana much faster than I do and seems to catch more when it comes time for a listening exercise. So my advice would be to not use an immersion class except as a review!

As for the courses themselves, I've find that there's not quite enough opportunities for practice (worksheets, etc.) and less encouragement to come up with unique sentences than there was at the New School. Maybe this is necessary for them to keep all of their classes accomplishing tasks at the same rate, but for me it's been a little frustrating because it's not ideal for my style of learning. But the teachers are very dedicated, and are native speakers, and the classes are small.

I can tell you lots more if you wish, so feel free to email me via my profile.
posted by xo at 12:09 AM on July 18, 2007

Thanks for the encouragement and the information - both are greatly appreciated. All the answers were helpful, so I just marked the most specific ones as best.
posted by Julnyes at 8:46 AM on July 18, 2007

doh! stupid mistake!

I have used Japanese for Busy People but found Genki to be a better series. I'll be posting my links over at my site within a day or so....
posted by ilsa at 9:39 AM on July 18, 2007

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