When you decide which place you will settle down in Japan, what feature do you pursuit? If you want to experience Japanese latest culture, you might choose Tokyo. If you are interested in the Japanese history, you might choose Kyoto. And if you want to learn Japanese comedy, you will definitely choose Osaka. But why don’t you select Kobe in Hyogo Prefecture? If you want to learn Japanese language and share Japanese cultures with others, Kobe also is one of the choices you should have.
Kobe is the main city in Hyogo prefecture located in Kansai area, which is in western part of Japan. In Hyogo, there was a huge earthquake happened in 1995. After this big earthquake, there are a lot of groups established like NPO to support foreigners to learn. After there are many organizations started in Kobe, they have been exchanging their information and endeavouring to achieve their goal of creating a society for understanding a diversity. So there are many NPOs in Kobe, and you will expect lots of activities going on there. In the end, you will be able to find life-long friends there through NPO’s activities. From next sections, I will introduce some NPOs recommended to learn Japanese language and to expect the cultural exchange.
NPO Manabito is a NPO based in Sannomiya in Kobe. Their target covers not only for foreigners, but also for children or students in universities. They attempt to produce the opportunity for locals to learn. Especially, they support people who feel any hardness to study in a common way. They give you a new idea of how you learn, and make you more comfortable to study. And also, NPO Manabito has another purpose of their work, which is connecting an education system and a local society. They aim to let people stay connect with learning opportunities and to create the sustainability in the local education system. So people can access to learn when they need an education.
Japanese Language Class “Danran” is a part of the projects which NPO Manabito has. They support any Japanese learners through this class. You can expect to improve your grammar and conversation skill through it. They can follow your current level of Japanese, and make your original program just for you. You will have an individual lesson and a group lesson. So if you have any questions to ask someone, you can easily do when you have a private lesson. They can teach you Japanese in English, but sometimes they use Japanese as their strategy. You might be able to grow your skill in a high pace by leaning Japanese. They also focus on the outside activities, so you have a lot of opportunities to connect with others. The class is opened on Monday and Wednesday from 19:00 to 20:30. You will need to pay 500 yen as a fee.
Kobe International Community Center (KICC)
Kobe International Community Center (KICC) was launched to accomplish to make Kobe the international city and the comfortable place to live for foreigners. It supports your life in Japan through 6 available languages such as English, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Portuguese, and Spanish. You can expect to get any tips about the useful information like applications for immigration or residential status. In KICC, you can find some facilities that it has like any magazines and newspapers in Free Space. KICC also has a study area next to Free Space. So, visiting here will become an advantage for you to use any materials to study.
KICC has their original Japanese language class which is especially focused on conversations. Every person is welcomed by the volunteer working in this class. You will have 2 hours conversation time with them inside of KICC building. The class is held on every Tuesday from 13:00 to 15:00. You will need to pay 100 yen per class. You also have a cultural interaction. You can choose what you want to learn from Japanese language, Calligraphy, or Flower Arrangement. All classes are supported by volunteers. You will have a private lesson and you can make your own leaning plan with your supporter since KICC doesn’t provide you any curricula. The lesson keeps going on a 6 months period and it is 2 hours and it is held once a week. You will need to pay for your materials such as textbooks, papers for Japanese Calligraphy, flowers and so on. But, the class is held by volunteers, and you cannot expect to cover any technical subjects.
If you can use your local supports efficiently in Japan, you will get closer to achieve your goal. And Kobe is one of the places attempting to have a cultural diversity, and having any supports for foreigners. When you decide the place you stay in Japan before leaving your country, I hope Kobe will also be on your list.