If you’ve been looking for ways to practice your Japanese, you may have noticed that (especially if you don’t have a lot of time), it can be difficult to find decent options, and taking time to go to and from school for short classes can feel like both a waste of time and bus/train fare.
No time for school, and not many chances to make only-Japanese-speaking friends, if all your friends are international. At least for me, being immersed in Tokyo’s busy culture, I’ve struggled with finding options.
Since we can’t buy a portable teacher, the next best thing would be to be able to take classes from anywhere you’d like. What would be even better is if you could take them from anywhere AND for the times to be flexible. If you could spend a total of less than an hour of your day for taking a Japanese lesson, it could be an option for anyone, with any schedule. You could even take that class on your lunch break!
Actually, there is an option:
Try Taking Lessons Online!
ONER is an Online Japanese School which is offers all of the above.
I gave the ￥500 trial class a try, and from one Gaijin to another, this is actually a great option for practicing your Japanese! The lessons are all through Skype. All you need is an internet connection, Skype, and a PC. From their Facebook page, you can send them a message with any questions you have! Here’s how my experience went:
(You can find their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/oneronlinejapaneseschool/ )
They do offer a ￥500 trial Lesson, so if you’re interested, here’s what to do.
The initial process was surprisingly easy. From their Facebook page, send them a message, and you’ll need to connect through Skype to be able to carry out the Trial lesson. Simply send them your Skype info, and they’ll add you on Skype, where you can continue with the process. That’s all, super simple.
After connecting on Skype, you will have a counseling session with the principal. I was also asked a few questions about my Japanese learning experience, future goal, and hobby on Skype chat. Even if you don’t speak Japanese at all, don’t worry! In that case, you can use English. After the counseling session, she arranged my trial session based on it, which was great! The teacher she selected was so open-minded so it was very easy to talk to her. Surely the lesson itself was also nice since it was not too difficult/easy but suitable for me.
When it was time to start the class, I just opened my computer, received a confirmation message, and then the call. The Lesson was carried out via a Video Call.
Other than a sentence or two, the whole lesson was in Japanese. My Japanese level is pretty low, actually still below N5, so this was great practice. The beginning of the lesson, she double checked my Kanji reading skill, and we talked about how I usually learn Japanese and she corrected my grammar when there was an error. The teacher then sent me a link to a Japanese News website, which she had me read some sentences (don’t worry, there was hiragana, hiragana is usually written above Kanji) on the website.
When there was grammar or words that I didn’t understand, the teacher was very patient and took the time to explain what the sentence meant, which helped me improve my reading skill and also understand new grammar and vocabulary. She seemed to be good at adjusting her Japanese difficulty level so that I could understand, as I usually can only understand about 40-60% of a conversation.
The Lesson itself was only about 30 minutes, so if you wanted to, you could quite literally take the lesson on your hour lunch break at work. The lesson was very enjoyable, and a great experience.
According to the teacher, Ms. Kitagawa, if I take a regular course, she will use TV news programs and newspapers and teach me vocabularies, grammars, and Kanji because those kinds of stuff really interested me!
A Great Option For Busy People
Overall, I think using ONER is a good option for people who don’t have the time or funds to attend a traditional language school in Japan. Also, since it’s on Skype, you could even take the lesson from other countries(but keep the time zone difference in mind).
I took the class from the Guidable office, but you could take it anywhere, including parks, hotels, and, yes, at home. From the impression I got, you just tell them hours when you’re available, and they tell you which time works best for them.
Since they offer a ￥500 Trial Lesson, I think it’s definitely worth a try!
Good luck with your studies!