Japanese Classes with Native Japanese Tutors

Want to visit Japan, meet new friends and enjoy your favourite anime in the original language? If so, you should learn Japanese, a fascinating language that will open up plenty of new opportunities for you in the UK and abroad. Japanese is among the top ten languages with most native speakers in the world, so it comes as no surprise that there are thousands of people living in Britain that speak it. This means that once you become bilingual, you’ll be able to put your conversational skills to the test at the many events that celebrate Japanese culture in the UK, and make wonderful friendships with members of the foreign-born community. In addition to that, you’ll become more employable, and will be able to apply for well-paid corporate positions in multinationals, so if you’re currently unemployed, learning Japanese can be a great way to finally land your dream job.

As you might have heard, learning Japanese takes time, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the learning process. With the help of a qualified language trainer, and some hard work on your part, you’ll achieve all your goals and reach fluency in close to no time! To help you get started as fast as possible, here’s a guide on how to learn Japanese that’s filled with tips and recommendations that will come in handy in your journey to becoming bilingual.

1. Why Learn Japanese Today

Before you sign up for a language course, you should take a look at some of the advantages of mastering Japanese, as this will give you the motivation you need to put in the work and get started!

To Take Your Career To The Next Level

The reason why learning Japanese can be so beneficial for your career is that once you have it on your CV, you’ll be able to stand out in most job interviews in the UK, even if the job you’re applying for doesn’t require you to be bilingual, as most employers will be impressed by your language skills and consider you an asset for their company or business. On the other hand, if you already have a job you like, becoming a fluent Japanese speaker will increase your chances of getting a promotion, as you’ll be able to help the people you work for improve their business relationships abroad, and attract new customers that are part of the immigrant community, so if you’re looking for a way to take your career to the next level, and expand your horizons at the same time, start learning Japanese today!

To Visit Japan

Travelling to Japan can be one of the most fulfilling experiences of your life, especially if you speak Japanese, as this will ensure you can socialise with locals and truly get to know the way people live, their traditions and their customs. This will completely change the way you experience big cities like Tokyo or Kyoto, since you’ll be able to make friends in pubs or attend language exchange events there. On top of that, you’ll be able to move around the country freely, and visit locations that most tourists don’t even know about, like Takachiho, a scenic spot located in the northern part of the Miyazaki prefecture, or Shodoshima, a small island where many locals go to relax in nature.

To Enjoy Japanese Pop Culture Much More

If, like many others, you became fascinated with the Japanese language by watching anime, reading manga, or listening to J-pop, you should consider becoming bilingual, as this will allow you to enjoy Japanese pop culture in a whole new way. If you’re an anime fan, you’ll no longer have to wait until shows get dubbed into English, and you’ll finally be able to understand all the jokes and cultural references made by characters. When it comes to music, you’ll no longer have to look for bad translations of your favourite songs in Japanese, and you’ll be able to memorise lyrics effortlessly. Finally, if you are a big manga reader, having the experience of reading any comic you want in its original language will help you find a newly found appreciation for Japanese fiction, as you’ll be able to understand nuances of the plot that get usually lost in translation.

2. Is Japanese Hard to Learn?

Japanese is considered by many to be a challenging language to learn, especially for Westerners, mainly because of how different it is from English. However, this shouldn’t discourage you, as all these differences make it all the more fascinating to learn! Unlike other languages like French or Spanish, you won’t really find a lot of difficulties when it comes to its pronunciation, but you will have to learn not one but three different writing systems, and a new way of structuring sentences that doesn’t follow the subject-verb-object order which we are used to in English. Another thing that makes Japanese unique is that it’s an honorific language, which means you’ll have to learn different ways of talking to people depending on if they are a friend, a colleague, a superior or a family member. As hard as all these things may sound like, with a bit of persistence on your part and the help of a language professional, you’ll be able to reach fluency in close to no time!

3. Tips to Learn Japanese More Effectively

If your goal is to save so time and achieve all your learning goals as fast as possible, take a look at some of the following recommendations and start putting them into practice now!

Find a Language Trainer

Most people that attempt to study a challenging language like Japanese alone end up feeling frustrated because they realize that they don’t know how to plan a learning programme, and lose their motivation pretty fast. To avoid making the same mistake, you should find the help of a language professional, which will ensure you have someone create lessons using updated materials that allow you to reach your goals fast. What’s more, if you have a teacher, you’ll get a lot more of exposure to the language from day one, you’ll get tons of hours to practice your conversational skills, and you’ll be able to ask all the questions you want about the Japanese language and culture, so as you can see, if you want to become bilingual quickly, finding a tutor is your best choice.

Use Mnemonics to Master Hiragana

Out of the three writing systems that are used in Japanese, you should learn hiragana first. The 46 hiragana symbols are used to represent the sounds of the Japanese language, so as you can see, it’s essential to learn them if you want to sound like a native. They’re also used to show the pronunciation of kanjis, one of the most important groups of Japanese characters, and they are commonly found in most learning materials for beginners. Although they might seem daunting at first, most learners are able to learn them in around a month. In addition to paying attention to the stroke order, a useful tool you can use to memorise them is to use mnemonics. In case you don’t know what they are, mnemonics are learning techniques that allow you to remember information more easily. There are many different kinds you can try, but the easiest consist of making associations, so for example while you’re writing your first hiragana character, you link it with a mental image or a sound that helps you remember it. Can’t think of anything? Check out this hiragana mnemonic chart to find some inspiration.

Practise Your Skills with Native Speakers

Want to make progress fast? If so, you should put your skills to the test as often as possible. There are plenty of ways of doing this, but one of the most entertaining ones is to attend a language exchange event near you. If you live in a big city like London, Edinburgh or Dublin, you’ll find plenty of conversation groups near you where you can meet Japanese speakers, so don’t miss on the opportunity to improve your conversational skills. On the other hand, if you live in a small town and are finding it hard to find other language enthusiasts, you can always join an online community of language learners in free websites like Interpals or Meetup, where you’ll find people from all around the world who share your passion for the Japanese language and culture.

Take Language Level Tests

If you want to track your progress in the following months, you should take a language level test now to measure your language skills. To do this, you should use our FREE Japanese Level Test, which has 70 questions that you can answer in just a few minutes to assess if you have a beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate, upper-intermediate, advanced or proficiency level. Knowing this before you sign up for a language course is very important, as it will easier for your teacher to find the right resources for you, so whenever you have some free time, take our free test and find out exactly how good your skills are!

Immerse in Japanese Culture from Day One

There’s no point in waiting until you have the opportunity to travel to Japan to immerse in its wonderful culture, as nowadays there are plenty of ways you can do this from the comfort of your own home. To start with, you should watch some of the many Japanese shows and films that are available on streaming services like Netflix, which can be really helpful to expand your vocabulary and get used to the beautiful sounds of the Japanese language. You can also listen to podcasts in Japanese, as even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll find that there are plenty of great shows that use simple words you’ll be able to understand. Whenever you have some free time, you should also watch some of the many videos available on YouTube that are made by Japanese teachers from different parts of the world, and learn about the different aspects of the language for free. Lastly, you should become familiarised with Japanese music, and listen to it whenever you have the chance, as in addition to helping you improve your listening skills, it will make you fall in love with the language.

4. Useful Resources to Learn Japanese on Your Own

As you now know, one of the key ways of improving your Japanese skills is to immerse yourself in the language as much as you can. To help you do this, here are some resources you can start using on your own right now.

Podcasts in Japanese

Listening to podcasts will boost your listening skills effortlessly, and it will allow you to pick up new words and expressions that native speakers use, so choose some of these shows and check out their wonderful episodes.

  • If you’re looking for a podcast that has a relaxed, conversational style, you should listen to Learn Japanese Pod. It’s hosted by Alex and Ami-sensi, who discuss plenty of different topics in Japanese in an informal way, and then translate what they talked about into English. The great thing about this podcast is that it will give you the opportunity to listen to two native speakers talking in a very natural way about different aspects of the language, and this can be really helpful if you’re getting ready to have your first conversation in Japanese, as you’ll get a lot of tips on how to people actually use the language that are not usually found in coursebooks.

  • Want to listen to the news in Japanese? If so, you should start with News in Slower Japanese, a podcast that, as it name suggests, has a host that reads the news really slowly. This show is particularly good for those that still struggle to understand native speakers when they talk, and want to improve their listening skills. There are episodes at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, so you can listen to it even if you’re starting from scratch.

  • Uncanny Japan is an amazing podcast that you shouldn’t miss, especially if you are interested in the different aspects of Japanese culture like its folklore, its history and the way of life there. It’s hosted by an American writer who’s living in a rural area of Japan who wants to share the side of the country that most people don’t know about.

YouTube Channels to Learn Japanese

Nowadays, there are plenty of YouTube channels made by native teachers where you can find great videos that will help you boost your language skills. Don’t know any? Check out some of the following ones:

  • If you love anime, you can’t miss Learn Japanese with Anime, where you’ll find plenty of videos that will teach you new words and phrases by using clips of famous shows like One Punch Man and One Piece.

  • Do you enjoy interviews? If so, you should take a look at some of the content made by Ask Japanese, a channel that’s focused on making videos of Japanese locals answering questions about pop culture, Japanese traditions and their views on foreigners. The great thing about this channel is that it has English subtitles, so beginners can watch it too!

  • Complete beginners who want to start from the very basics should check out Learn Japanese from Zero, which is designed to ease you into the language using simple language and fun animations that will make speaking Japanese much less intimidating.

Apps to Learn Japanese

Even if you have a busy lifestyle, and you don’t have much time to watch films in Japanese or listen to podcasts, there’s something you can do which takes little time, and that’s to use language apps. Even if you just use them for five or ten minutes every day, you’ll be able to expand your vocabulary and learn basic grammar, so take a look at some of our top picks and start using whichever one you like!

  • Are you struggling to memorise katakana and hiragana characters? If so, you should try Obenkyo, an app that features a handwriting recogniser that you can use to learn how to write characters, as it will correct not only the form of your katakana and hiragana but also the stroke order.

  • If you’re looking for an app that resembles a language course and teaches you grammar in a very traditional way, you should try out LingoDeer, which offers lists of verbs and tenses that you can study, as well as videos of native speakers pronouncing the most common words and phrases.

  • Already learning kanji? Then you have to try Kanji Recognizer, an app that will help you know what a particular kanji character means, as well as help you memorise it by teaching you the right stroke order you should follow when you write it.

5. Key Words and Phrases in Japanese

If you still don’t speak a word of Japanese, and you’re planning on visiting the country in the next couple of weeks, you probably think there’s not much you can do to improve the way you communicate there. However, there is something you can do to get by more easily, and that’s to learn some of the following words and phrases in Japanese! It won’t take more than a couple of hours to do so, and using them will make a big difference during your trip, as locals will appreciate you making an effort to speak their language, and will feel more inclined to socialise with you.

English Version Rōmaji Japanese Version
Good morning Ohayō おはよう
Good afternoon Konnichiwa こんにちは
Good evening Konbanwa こんばんは
Good night Oyasumi おやすみ
How are you? Genki desu ka? 元気ですか
I’m fine Genki desu 元気です
Yes Hai はい
No Iie いいえ
Help me! Tasukete! 助けて
I’m lost Michinimayoimashita 道に迷いました
Are you OK? Daijōbudesuka? 大丈夫ですか
Thank you Arigatōgozaimashita ありがとうございました
You’re welcome Dōitashimashite どういたしまして
Excuse me Sumimasen すみません
Can you speak English? Anata wa eigo o hanasemasu ka? あなたは英語を話せますか
I don’t understand Rikaidekinai 理解できない
Please, speak slowly Yukkuri itte kudasai ゆっくり言ってください。(ゆっくりいってください
How much is this? O ikuradesu ka? おいくらですか
What time is it? Itsudesuka 何時ですか
How do you say___in Japanese? Nihongo-de___wa nan-to iimasu-ka? 日本語で〜は何と言いますか
Goodbye (informal) Matamata またまた
Goodbye (formal) Sayōnara さようなら

Memorising these phrases will help you have basic interactions with people you meet in Japan, and this will certainly make your trip more enjoyable. However, if you truly want to take your language skills to the next level, and communicate like a true native, the smartest thing you can do is sign up for a language course in Language Trainers! Whether you’re looking for face-to-face lessons at your house, or online classes using Skype, Zoom or Google Meet, contact us today, and we’ll match you with one of our excellent Japanese tutors! What makes our language courses stand out from the rest is that they’re completely flexible and personalised to our students interests and goals, so regardless of your requirements, we’ll have one of our trainers tailor a course to adapt to your every need!