- Q: I don’t know any Japanese, what do I do!?
A: It’s okay if you have no Japanese skills coming into JET, there are a number of resources here to make life livable. And while everyone here encourages you to pick up an interest in the language, you will be able to get by even if you never learn to write a single Kanji.
- Q: Okay, what if I want to learn Japanese while I’m here, what then?
A: Excellent question! While every town and village can be different, many offer local courses in Japanese for foreigners. In addition, there is a course for Japanese offered by CLAIR available to all JETs at no cost to you. Do recognize that your BOE will be paying for it if you do take it however. This is a self-study course however so you get out the same amount of effort you put into it. You will be told about this, and be required to accept or deny it. In addition, as a Tokushima ALT, you are offered classes at TOPIA, which is the International Office in Tokushima City. The classes are free, but you will have to buy the textbook. Also consider picking up some Japanese made textbooks after you arrive. There are many books for Children and Elementary students that will be perfect for helping learn the language after you can read the basic alphabet. Doreamon Teaches 100 Kanji is one example.
- Q: What is the JLPT?
A: The JLPT is the Japanese Language Proficiency Test, administered twice a year in both Japan, and in their consulates at partnering nations. The test has 5 levels, going from Level 5 (lowest) to Level 1 (highest).
- Q: When is the JLPT?
A: The exact date changes from year to year, but the test takes place in July and December, with registration opening up 3-4 months in advance. The test costs 5,500yen.
- Q: I already speak Japanese very well, what is there for me?
A: If you think you need more of a challenge, there is also the JET Program Translation and Interpretation Course available. This is much more advanced, especially in writing, so you should be at least a relative JLPT 2 level before trying this, though it is not a requirement for ALTs. There are also many opportunities to use your Japanese in Speeches and by helping with JET activities and groups, like AJET.
Yearly Japanese Language Events:
Tokushima Annual Japanese Speech Contest – Tokushima has a Japanese speech contest each year. You can give a speech on any topic, and even beginner levels of Japanese are okay. Details are posted by those related to the event.
Resources and Apps for beginners:
On the Web
Anki Flashcards (Multiple devices/systems)
Minna no Nihongo (Japanese produced,full immersion option)
Japanese the Spoken Language: Part 1
Minnano Nihongo II
日本語総まとめ JLPT N1 Study (Books for N2-N5 also)
Download the AJET iConnect App here:
Yasashii Nihongo (iOS/Android)
Google Translate (Android)
Furigana Injector/Inserter (Firefox)