Say Good Morning to the Room - The Importance of Aisatsu (Greetings) in Japan

Say Good Morning to the Room - The Importance of Aisatsu (Greetings) in Japan

By the entrance to the conference room, there was a flip chart with a message: “Please sign in here, and then go through the door and say good morning to the room”.

“OHAYO GOZAIMAAASU!” I yelled. (GOOD MORNING!)

We had practiced this yesterday. “In Japanese workplaces,” they told us, “you must greet the room enthusiastically when entering.”

As I took my seat, I noticed that some trainees had been given a piece of card by staff as they entered.

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How to Practice Japanese by Playing Video Games Every Day

How to Practice Japanese by Playing Video Games Every Day

Earlier this year, I was telling a friend about the various monthly challenges I set myself to practise Japanese.

“What are you going to do in July?”

“I might try writing every day, like a diary or something? Or I might watch Japanese TV every day…”

“Fran, watching TV every day doesn't really sound like a challenge.”

“…or I might play video games every day.”

“That definitely doesn't sound like a ‘challenge’ to me.”

“…all the more reason to do it, right?”

Who says challenges have to be challenging? I played Japanese video games for about 20 minutes a day for a month. Here’s what I learned: six reasons to play video games in a foreign language. 

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How to Read More in Japanese – I Tried Reading in Japanese Every Day for a Month

How to Read More in Japanese – I Tried Reading in Japanese Every Day for a Month

Every new year for about four years in a row, I have resolved to “read more”.

…and every year on about January 8th, I realise I have forgotten, and give up.

Have you heard of the S.M.A.R.T. acronym for setting “good goals"? SMART goals are objectives that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely.

Looking at the SMART criteria, it’s fairy obvious that “read more” is not a good goal…

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What is Shadowing and Can it Improve Your Spoken Japanese? I Tried Shadowing Every Day for a Month

What is Shadowing and Can it Improve Your Spoken Japanese? I Tried Shadowing Every Day for a Month

“I can read it and understand it, but I can’t speak like that!”

 …Does this sound familiar?

Almost all language learners feel that their production (speaking and writing) is not as strong as their comprehension (listening and reading). This is normal, but it’s still frustrating.

One method that is supposed to improve your listening and speaking is shadowing.

I’d heard of shadowing before, and I’d seen Japanese language learning resources devoted to it – but I’ve never tried it. I decided to try this every day for a month, and see what impact it had.

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ブライトンの日本語教室で手伝ってくれる素晴らしいボランティアの皆さん

ブライトンの日本語教室で手伝ってくれる素晴らしいボランティアの皆さん

ブライトン近郊に住んでいる日本人から「ステップアップジャパニーズでボランティアできますか?」というメールを時々いただきます。

こういうメールをいただいて、私は毎回とても嬉しく思います。近くに住んでいる日本人が私の日本語教室を見つけて、しかも手伝いに行きたいと思ってくださることは、とてもありがたいと思います。

今年度、日本人のボランティアは授業に手伝いに来てくださっただけではなく、イベントやワークショップも一緒に開くことができました。

イギリスのボランティア・ウィーク(Volunteers’ Week)をご存知ですか。

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Is it Shinbun or Shimbun?

Is it Shinbun or Shimbun?

It’s both. And it’s neither.

Beginner students often ask whether “shinbun” or “shimbun” (the word for “newspaper” in Japanese) is correct.

You’ll see both spellings...and books about the Japanese language don’t seem to be able to agree either.

If you look at the two most popular Japanese beginner textbooks, Genki has “shinbun”, whereas Japanese for Busy People has “shimbun” and also “kombanwa”.

But why?

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A Japan Pub Quiz!

A Japan Pub Quiz!

I wrote a little bit about my Japanese volunteers who come to help out at class and with events and workshops.

But I’m also helped enormously at Step Up Japanese by my students, who organise events, give me great ideas, and share helpful feedback on how to make class better.

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