Are you interested in all things in Japanese and the Japanese language? Would you like to learn more about Japanese to get a job, or are you studying for the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT)?
Japanese is often grouped with languages such as Arabic and Mandarin as ones that are really difficult to learn. Don’t give up the second you start looking at the Japanese writing systems!
Once you’ve got the basics down (Japanese kanji characters, hiragana, katakana, etc.) and learned a few Japanese words and phrases, you’ll start to see that Japanese isn’t as difficult as learn as you first thought. In some cases, Japanese grammar is easier than certain European languages like Spanish and French.
Whether you choose to take classes at middle school, high school, or college, or you get private tutorials at home, there are a number of options for any new learner who wants to learn to speak Japanese regardless of whether they are a beginner, intermediate, or advanced speaker.
So how can you learn Japanese in Los Angeles?
Learning Japanese throughout the U.S.A is possible. Here are some places where it’s not impossible to learn to read, write, and speak Japanese in the City of Angels. Let’s get to it...
Taking a Japanese Course at School in Los Angeles
There are many advantages of language learning from a young age. Generally speaking, the younger you learn a language, the more you’ll remember and the better you’ll be at it. However, Japanese isn’t a very popular language in public schools. In fact, it’s only the 10th most popular language in the American public school system.
While some children learn languages as early as elementary school, it’s rare that they’ll be taught Japanese. It’s far more likely that students will be begin by learning Spanish. While there are a few Japanese schools in the state, most of them are for Japanese families. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn Japanese, though.
There are two main options:
Learn Japanese outside of school in a language center.
Learn Japanese with the help of a private Japanese tutor.
If you choose the first option, the first thing you should do is look at some of the available language centers in the area offering Japanese language tuition. While this option is more economical, it isn’t necessarily the best option for those with busy schedules. If your schedule changes from week-to-week, you should consider getting a private tutor (which we’ll talk about later on).
Remember, you can find Japanese lessons in Dallas, San Diego, Washington, or any other large US city. You just need to know where to look.
While there are plenty of places to get Japanese lessons in the Los Angeles area, we’ve put together a sample of a few just to give you an idea of your options before you start learning Japanese.
Fuji School offers a wide variety of different of classes for different levels and different learning objectives.
There are traditional grammar courses, conversation classes, and even preparation classes for students getting ready to take the Japanese-Language proficiency test. The grammar classes cover four different levels: beginner, intermediate, pre-advanced, and advanced. Furthermore, all of the teachers are experienced Japanese natives, and experts in their mother tongue.
If you pay for one lesson per week, you can get 10 lessons for $350. Two lessons per week cost $650 for 10 weeks of tuition. A weekly semi-private course is $450 for 10 weeks, and additional private lessons cost $50 for 70 minutes. If you opt for private lessons outside of the courses offer, they’ll cost $60 for a 70-minute class.
Pasadena Language Center
In addition to Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Cantonese, and German classes (to name a few), you can also get Japanese classes from the Pasadena Language Center. There are classes for beginners and those of an intermediate level, as well as intensive classes for beginners.
Depending on the course you choose, you can expect to pay between $250 and $1,000.
Studying Japanese at College in Los Angeles
Living in Japan isn't an option for everyone, and if you’re really serious about learning Japanese, perhaps it’s worthwhile choosing to study it at college rather than just at language schools. Doing so will allow you to develop your language skills at a quicker face, which in turn will help your fluency improve.
You don't need to be rich or famous to learn Japanese in L.A. (Source: pixabay.com)
As there are a number of quality colleges in the area, you should look at some of the undergraduate programs where you can major in Japanese. The course will likely focus on Nihongo, the form of Japanese learnt by foreigners as a second language.
The University of California, Los Angeles’ (UCLA) Department of Asian Language & Cultures offers students the chance to major in Japanese or Asian Languages and Linguistics.
The University of Southern California also offers degrees in Japanese. There are 9 different courses offered and there are even study abroad programs for students who’d like to have the opportunity to learn more about the language, culture, and history of the Land of the Rising Sun as an international student in Japan.
Japanese courses are also available at Loyola Marymount University. In the beginners’ course, students will be introduced to the Japanese writing systems, they’ll learn around 30 kanji, and they’ll practice speaking with native Japanese speakers.
They’ll then learn more kanji and will be introduced to katakana as they build their vocabulary and develop Japanese communication skills. Students will later move on to improving oral proficiency, reading and writing skills using all three Japanese writing systems, and writing short essays.
By the time students take their fourth Japanese class, they should be able to have intermediate conversations and have a good understanding of advanced Japanese grammar. In their fifth Japanese class at LMU, students will be able to write longer essays, differentiate between formal and informal Japanese, and will have the opportunity to give a presentation in Japanese.
One great thing about American colleges is the diversity of subjects that you can study. Therefore you will find colleges that offer Japanese courses in New York, Boston, and Seattle, but to name a few.
Japanese Courses with Cultural Associations in Los Angeles
Whether you are learning Japanese in Houston, Kansas, or Los Angeles, you should consider looking for cultural associations, societies, or institutes. There are a number of options for those living in the City of Angels.
The Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute
For over 70 years, the Hollywood Japanese Cultural Institute has promoted Japanese and Japanese American culture and heritage through education, cultural programs, and events. They offer Japanese classes for adults and high school students on Saturday mornings at 8:45-10:30 (intermediate and over) and 10:45-12:15 (beginner). Classes cost $45 per month.
The classes are small and you get the opportunity to learn more about Japanese culture and history. Your Japanese teacher will likely be a native speaker who’ll be able to share his or her unique perspective on Japanese culture.
In addition to the Saturday classes, the institute’s language school offers classes for elementary school children. All the classes are taught by native Japanese speakers and there are discounts available for families.
Tuition is $75 per month and the children’s and teens’ classes are on Saturdays 8:45-12:15.
Don't Learn Japanese Online; Hire a Private Japanese Tutor
Learning Japanese online might seem like a convenient idea, but for a complete beginner it can be a little bit overwhelming. We know that school isn’t for everyone, and that the classroom environment doesn't suit everyone's learning style. Some students don’t really respond to traditional language classes.
Does that apply to you?
You should consider calling a private tutor to come to your house and give you private Japanese tutorials. This is a great option for anyone with a job that would otherwise stop them from taking a class at the same time every week. This is an option available across the country, so even if you want to study Japanese in Philadelphia, you can find a language teacher nearby too.
Learning any foreign language isn't easy, so your tutor will work out the best way to teach you Japanese by working with your strengths and weaknesses, helping you with your pronunciation, reading Japanese writing systems (kanji, hiragana, katakana), the history of Japan, vocabulary, introducing yourself, and counting in Japanese.
While private language tutorials can’t replace language immersion in Japan, they can give you the basics you’ll need to speak, read, and write Japanese once you get there. They can also prepare you for life in Japan, although not as effectively as by doing a language exchange program in Kyoto or Tokyo, for example.
The tutors will probably have the same passions and hobbies as you: Japanese culture and history. This means that you’ll be able to talk to them at length about your favorite things from Japan like manga, video games, anime, cuisine, or music. Having fun is the best way to study and memorize Japanese vocabulary and all the different characters you’ll need to know.
Have you considered looking for native Japanese tutors on Superprof? How do you find the perfect private tutor?
Superprof puts tutors and students in contact with one another. You just have to see which tutors are available near you for at-home private tutorials.
You can choose your tutor based on your level, what you want to learn, and how you want to learn.
Maybe you just need some basic Japanese lessons online. While learning Japanese on your own might seem difficult, if you’re motivated enough, it can be done. This is where a private tutor can come in really useful as they’ll be able to help you manage your time and push your to learn and keep you motivated when you feel like giving up. Think of them as a living reference to help you with any questions you may have about Japanese.
This alternative to traditional lessons might be one of the best decisions you make when it comes to learning Japanese both in terms of your time and your money. After all, you can choose how often you meet and you can also choose a tutor with a rate that suits you.
At Superprof, you’re free to browse the profiles of as many tutors as you’d like. Don’t forget that many of them offer free tutoring for the first hour so you can see if you like them. You should note that rates can vary wildly based on location, too.
Perhaps you want to learn Japanese in Chicago and are worrying that Superprof can't help you out. Well have no fear, Superprof has tutors across the country so check out the website to find a local Japanese instructor close to where you live.