There are plenty of great reasons to start taking Japanese language classes today.
Japanese is spoken by one of the world's top 5 economies. However, very few Americans are actually able to communicate in this ancient language. This means that speaking Nihongo (the form of Japanese learnt by foreigners) will open many doors professionally speaking.
The language and culture in Japan is fascinating for anyone who chooses to study them. The country has a rich and diverse history, and learning the language will give you more than just linguistic skills.
It is no surprise that you can now learn Japanese across America. And even though you wouldn't usually associate Philadelphia with Japanese language learning, by the end of this article you will see that there are plenty of ways to learn more about the Land of the Rising Sun in the City of Brotherly Love.
If you want to take an intensive Japanese course to increase your proficiency, or just get better at writing Japanese kanji characters, hiragana, and katakana, in order to hold a conversation, you’ll be happy to hear that we’ve put together a few of your options for you.
If you live in Philadelphia and are getting ready for a trip to Japan or looking for the best resources to learn Japanese, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s check out the best ways to learn Japanese in Philadelphia.
Japanese Courses at Colleges in Philadelphia
Let's face it, it's not always possible to drop everything in order to take an immersion course in Tokyo, Osaka, or Kyoto.
It can't be denied that your language skills as an international student in these cities will increase quickly, but with the time and financial investment that is required, it is not always an option.
Equally, you might have friends or family who are learning Japanese in Los Angeles, but perhaps you think that because Philadelphia isn't as big, you won't find the same options as they have on the West Coast. Well you are wrong.
The reality is that the Pennsylvania's largest city is pretty well equipped when it comes to teaching students how to speak Japanese.
Thanks to the number of quality colleges in the city, if you’re really serious about learning Japanese and making a career of it, you can major or minor in Japanese or East Asian Studies.
Just as people choose to learn Mandarin, Arabic, or even Korean, you could start your Japanese adventure with a class at college.
Study Japanese at the University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) is one of the top the universities in the country and offers students the opportunity to major in Japanese or enroll on an East Asian Languages program.
UPenn’s Japanese Language Program is part of the college’s East Asian Studies Languages and Civilizations Department. Students can study Japanese throughout the whole year as well as other subjects relating to the language and Japan itself.
There are specialized courses, too. You can study Japanese-English Translation, Readings in Classical Japanese, and Japanese for Sinologist.
You can also study Japanese at Temple. The four-year Japanese undergraduate program at Temple aims to teach students enough Japanese by the end of the program so that they can comfortably live in a Japanese-speaking environment as well as examine Japanese-language media.
If such options sound appealing, but you want to learn Japanese in Houston, San Diego, or Atlanta, then don't worry. Contact local colleges in your city and find out what language classes they have available.
Find a Japanese Course with Organizations and Institutes in Philadelphia
If you don’t feel like studying Japanese at college, don’t worry, there are plenty of other places you can learn the language. In the same way that Japanese learning in Chicago can be done in a number of different language schools, Philadelphia has similar options available to its inhabitants.
Options are available for everyone; from a brand new learner, to someone looking for a conversational level, all the way up to those who want to present the JLPT (Japanese Language Proficiency Test).
Different schools have different approaches to language training so be sure to find somewhere that suits your needs.
Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia
The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP) is a group whose goals are to foster relationships between Japanese people and their American counterparts by promoting a better understanding of Japanese business, education, politics, and culture.
The society was founded in 1994 and has since served the city of Philadelphia by brining Japanese and American communities in the area closer together. It hosts regular events and runs educational programs in the area.
The initiative that we’re most interested in is the Japanese Classroom. If you’re interested in learning more about the Japanese language, Japanese culture, and Japanese history, this is the place you should think about going to.
Registration for the JASGP’s Japanese Classroom costs $300 for non-members and $280 for members. You’ll also need to pick up the accompanying Japan Times Genki Textbook in order to follow the classes. Make sure you check which version you’ll need before starting your language course.
Classes take place at 6:00-7:30 on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (depending on the level you’re taking) and are taught by Japanese native speakers.
There are options for those just starting out and those with a more advanced level of Japanese.
There are organizations like this all over the country too, you should check them out!
Unlike Super Mario when he collects coins, there are a number of organizations around the country who aren’t in it for the money.
Like the JASPG, there are organizations whose main goal is to teach you more about the Japanese language, culture, and history. With that in mind, there’s one in particular that we’d like to mention.
Japanese Language School of Philadelphia
The Japanese Language School of Philadelphia is a non-profit organization that (as the name suggests) teaches Japanese to students in the Philadelphia area.
The Japanese As Second Language courses are available to adults, college students, and high school students aged over 14.
Their elementary lessons will take students through the basics of speaking. They’ll learn essential greetings as well as how to have basic conversations about their schedule, shopping, making arrangements with friends, and asking questions, etc in a way that makes for an enjoyable learning experience.
They’ll also learn the basics of reading and writing and will be introduced to the three Japanese writing systems; kanji, hiragana, and katakana. The beginners and intermediate Japanese courses follow the Genki textbooks. Tuition is $429.
The advanced classes are for students who’ve finished the intermediate classes offered by the school. If you’re not sure what your level in Japanese is, you can always ask at the school and they’ll be happy to help you choose the right level for you.
Courses start in the fall and the school doesn’t recommend that you start late, so be on the look out for their enrollment dates. Additionally, classes are limited to a maximum of 25 students so you should make sure that you enroll as soon as you can if you want to be guaranteed a place on the course.
Help! I Need Japanese Lessons Near Me: The Private Tutor Option
If your schedule means that you need to find Japanese lessons as close to home as possible, why not hire a private Japanese teacher?
This is a popular option for people studying Japanese in New York City, amongst other places, perhaps due to the quick pace of life in the Big Apple.
This is where Superprof comes into the equation.
Whether you opt for a Japanese native, a qualified professor, or retired teacher with experience in teaching Japanese privately, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to the type of tutors you can hire. In most cases, you’ll probably start with a few basic phrases in Japanese like how to say “hello” and “my name is”.
Whether you just want to learn One Piece or Naruto in Japanese, watch Makoto Shinkai’s animated film, Your Name, or just learn how to speak Japanese for business meetings, you’ll be able to find the right tutor for you.
Whether you’re in Philadelphia or in the surrounding areas, you no longer have any excuses for not learning Japanese. You can get excellent Japanese tutorials without ever having to go to Japan. Even if it’s too cold to go outside, that’s no excuse. Private tutors can come to your house or even give lessons online over Skype.
Rates for private tutors can vary wildly in terms of their experience, qualifications, availability, teaching methods, etc. There are some who charge as little as $10 per hour and others who can charge upwards of $50 per hour. That said, you always get what you pay for and those who charge more probably have much more experience in teaching.
Don’t forget that a lot of the tutors on Superprof also offer free tutoring for the first hour so you can see whether or not it’s going to work out. Additionally, tutors will offer discounted rates if you’re happy to pay for several lessons at once.
The advantage of having a language teacher who is of Japanese origin is that you can improve your listening skills and fluency with them.
At the end of the day, who has a better grasp of Japanese pronunciation than a Japanese native speaker.
So are you ready to embark on your Japanese language adventure?
Don’t listen to those who tell you that “Japanese is too difficult”, you’ll see that in some ways that Japanese can be much simpler than languages like Spanish, French, or Portuguese. Hajime! [ha.dʒi.me]
Tip: To make sure you choose the right private tutor, you should read the reviews like you would on any other website and see what their other students are saying about them.
Don’t forget that there are tutors all over the country, too. It doesn't matter if you would like to start Japanese classes in Dallas, or in a rural area, you can find a private Japanese tutor who can come to you house, or give private tutorials over skype.