I Tried to Speak Japanese Every Day for a Month (Without Being in Japan)

 I Tried to Speak Japanese Every Day for a Month (Without Being in Japan)

Many people believe you need to live abroad to get speaking practice in a foreign language, but this isn’t true.

Similarly, people often assume that if you in Japan, like I did, you’ll pick up the language easily. But that’s not necessarily true either.

If you speak English, it’s possible - indeed easy - to live in another country for years and not become fluent in the language.

I didn't make any year-long New Years’ Resolutions this year. Instead, I decided to set myself some monthly language-related challenges. I’ll decide them as the year goes on, and I’ll probably do one every other month.

In January, I decided to speak Japanese every day for a month.

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A Visit to Yokohama's Unko Museum - GUEST POST from Step Up Japanese student Phil!

A Visit to Yokohama's Unko Museum - GUEST POST from Step Up Japanese student Phil!

I am delighted to introduce this guest post from Step Up Japanese student Philip Kinchington!

When I (Fran) heard that Phil was going to Yokohama's new poop museum on his recent trip to Japan, I knew there'd be some good photos in the pipeline...

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日本語教室で多読のコースを開いてみたイギリス人日本語教師の感想

日本語教室で多読のコースを開いてみたイギリス人日本語教師の感想

私はどっちかといえばもの静かなほうだと思いますが、日本語を教える時はうるさい時もあります。授業では歌を歌ったり、盆踊りを踊ったり、にぎやかなゲームをしたりしています。隣の部屋で会議を行おうとしていた人たちに「少し静かにしてくれませんか」と注意されたこともあります。 

でも、2018年に私はとても静かな日本語の授業を開きました。この授業では、生徒は主に一人で黙って勉強していました。 

私はその授業の「先生」だったけれど、私も一人で手作りの絵本を読んでいて、時々生徒が大丈夫かを確かめるために目を上げただけ。

これは「多読」です。普通の日本語の授業と全然違う読解の学習法です。

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'Tadoku': Here's What I Learned From Running a Japanese Silent Reading Course

'Tadoku': Here's What I Learned From Running a Japanese Silent Reading Course

I’m not a particularly loud person, but some parts of my Japanese classes are quite loud. We sing and dance, talk and play games. We’ve even been asked to keep the noise down before by a group in the next room who were having a meeting (sorry about that!)

But in summer 2018, I ran a very quiet course. Students worked alone, in a comfortable silence.

And I was the teacher, but I mostly sat reading a hand-stapled book, looking up only to check that students were happily entertaining themselves.

This was Tadoku - a reading class with a difference.

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What’s the difference between sensei and kyōshi?

What’s the difference between sensei and kyōshi?

The word "sensei" is pretty well-known even among people who don't speak Japanese, but did you know that you shouldn't use sensei about yourself?

Here's what the textbook has to say:

"Use 'kyōshi' for yourself and the respectful 'sensei' for another person."

That's a pretty good starting point. But there's a bit more to it than that.

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