Why learn Japanese?
When you speak another language, you truly enter into a different world. (I sometimes feel like a different person when I speak Japanese). And there is no better way to experience Japan, than by communicating in Japanese.
Discover the beauty and brilliance of this fascinating language - from the nuances of spoken Japanese to its beautiful writing system.
On my courses, we explore not only Japan's language, but also its culture. We discover Japan's festivals, music, traditional dancing, calligraphy, anime and manga, tea ceremony and Japanese sweets.
Learning Japanese isn't easy (nothing worth doing is easy, right?) but it is fascinating, and it should be really, really fun.
Start 2019 the right way - join a Japanese class in January
Find the right course for you at Step Up Japanese
Can you order confidently in a restaurant in Japanese? Ask for help? Introduce yourself and make friends?
Learn to speak and understand simple conversational Japanese on STEP 1, a Japanese course for beginners.
With my support and guidance, you’ll learn the language you need to get around in Japan.
We learn greetings and common phrases, focusing on useful, practical language: asking for help, ordering in a bar (a popular class!) and much, much more.
Last year, students made Japanese New Year cards for friends and family, threw beans at the oni demon at a Setsubun spring festival, learned to type in Japanese, and practiced Japanese calligraphy in a free workshop. And we ate a lot of Japanese snacks…
This 30-week course is based on Chapters 1-12 of 'Japanese for Busy People 1', the best beginner Japanese textbook. In January, we’ll start Chapter 5. Classes are not textbook-focused: it’s mostly there for your reference. We'll also learn hiragana and katakana, the two basic Japanese scripts.
STEP 1 is ideal for you if...
★ You have a little bit of experience (you’ll be joining students who’ve studied for 10 weeks)
★ You want to learn the basics in a fun, friendly environment
Important: Because you’ll be joining students who have studied for 10 weeks, January start is not suitable for absolute beginners. If you are an absolute beginner, please wait and join a new class in September. Thank you!
Are you a “not-quite-beginner”?
You’ve come out of the early stages and are ready to learn more. Or perhaps you learned some Japanese before, but are feeling a bit rusty?
In STEP 2, we move out of the beginner stage and into “upper beginner”.
We learn to use different sentence structures to express more complex ideas. This includes talking about likes and dislikes (can you say “hmm, it’s not really for me” in Japanese?), and giving reasons (“sorry, I’m allergic to prawns!”)
In last year’s course, students gave short presentations about their favourite kanji (Chinese characters). We read some short manga comics - and had a go at writing our own (I had a lot of fun reading those). We also played a lot of Japanese board games!
This 30-week course is based on Chapters 13-25 of 'Japanese for Busy People 1'. In January, we’ll start Chapter 18. We don’t spend a lot of time on the textbook in class: it’s mainly for self-study and as a reference guide.
We keep learning katakana, the second basic Japanese script, and start to learn some kanji (Chinese characters) and radicals.
Click here to view the STEP 2 Course Outline for Spring 2019!
STEP 2 is ideal for you if...
★ You have some experience of studying Japanese at the beginner level
★ You want to gain more speaking practice
Do you struggle to keep the conversation in Japanese? Perhaps you understand more than you can say, and find that frustrating?
On STEP 3, you’ll gain lots of speaking and listening practice. You’ll be talking about your experiences (and asking about other people’s); your hobbies and interests; your hopes and dreams. いいね！
With regular FREE TALK sessions, we practice keeping the conversation in Japanese and learn techniques for communicating when you get stuck or don’t know a word.
We also learn new kanji (Chinese characters) every week.
Last year’s STEP 3 students had a fantastic time teaching themselves the bon odori, a Japanese summer festival dance. We learned to type in Japanese and put our skills to the test with a series of challenges including a google treasure hunt. And we ate a lot of Japanese kit-kats.
This course covers the vocabulary, kanji and grammar from the first half of the textbook ‘Japanese for Busy People 2’. In January, we’ll start Chapter 4. All classes are focused on communication skills - gaining speaking and listening skills to help you speak Japanese in real life.
STEP 3 is ideal for you if...
★ You can read hiragana and katakana
★ You're comfortable with beginner material (e.g. have completed a beginner textbook such as 'Japanese for Busy People 1') and ready to take the next step!
One of the tricky things about the intermediate level in Japanese is: “how polite should I be?”
If you speak too casually with people you don’t know well, you risk offending people. But if you’re too formal with someone, you can create distance between the two of you!
These kind of questions are where language and culture meet. In order to understand Japanese language, we need to know its culture.
On STEP 4, you’ll move from lower-intermediate towards the intermediate level.
You’ll learn to say that things are possible (or not possible), that something might happen (or might not), and to make decisions (or politely defer making a decision!)
We’ll also learn about more Japanese festivals, workplace culture, share techniques for learning kanji (Chinese characters)… and maybe some sake tasting?
In FREE TALK time, you’ll practice chatting in Japanese, helping each other out and learning from each other.
By the end of the course, you'll be able to read and write 160 kanji.
This course covers the vocabulary, kanji and grammar from the second half of the textbook ‘Japanese for Busy People 2’. In January, we’ll start Chapter 11. All classes are focused on communication skills - gaining speaking and listening skills to help you speak Japanese in real life.
STEP 4 is ideal for you if...
★ You need speaking practice at a higher level
★ You can already read hiragana, katakana, and around 50 kanji
Term Dates 2018-19
Autumn Term: Tuesday 2nd Oct to Thursday 13th December 2018
Spring Term: Tuesday 15th Jan to Thursday 28th March 2019
Summer Term: Tuesday 23rd April to Thursday 4th July 2019
(In each term we take one week off for half term. In 2018-19 there are no classes 30th Oct / 1st Nov, 19th / 21st Feb, or 28th / 30th May.)
Courses are held at the Friends Centre at Brighton Junction, New England Street, Brighton - in beautiful rooms just 2 minutes from Brighton station.
Course fees for January 2019 start
20 weeks - £240
10 weeks - £150
Classes at Step Up Japanese are taught by me, Fran Wrigley. Konnichiwa!
I've been teaching Japanese in Brighton since 2014. I love the Japanese language, and sharing that with students is a privilege I don't take for granted.
My ambition is to make Step Up Japanese into Britain's best Japanese school, right here in sunny Brighton.
The truth is that learning a foreign language is not particularly easy, and it's not particularly quick. But it is hugely rewarding - and, if you get it right, it should be really fun.