While Japanese was largely ignored for a number of years, the United States is one of Japan’s favorite destinations. Just look at the number of Japanese tourists who visit the Big Apple every year...
Can the same be said for Americans?
A lot of young Americans are enamored with Japanese culture. With manga, video games, anime, and new technology, Japan’s cultural exports are increasingly popular. This is why Japanese is becoming increasingly popular for younger generations to learn.
How and where can you learn Japanese in the USA? Can you learn Japanese for free? What about learning Japanese online?
Taking a free course isn’t necessarily the best option when it comes to learning basic Japanese vocabulary and phrases. Especially once you’ve seen the other learning options available to you.
This is because Japanese is a complicated mix of Kanji characters (verbs, nouns, adjectives, pronouns etc), Romaji (Latin alphabet used to write foreign words), Hiragana, and Katakana.
If you are just starting your search for Japanese language lessons then these terms will be completely new to you, and to be honest the differences and uses of them requires some explaining.
Therefore, if you want to learn Japanese online, you need to be motivated and dedicated so as not to fall at the first hurdle.
What you will need to know is that almost all courses online or in the U.S.A focus on Nihongo, as opposed to Kokugo. Nihongo is the form of Japanese learnt by people as a second language, where as Kokugo has more political and colonial importance in Japan itself.
Here are some places where it’s possible to learn to read, write, and speak Japanese. The largest cities in America like New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Houston, have plenty of options for those wanting to learn Japanese.
Superprof has put together a few of their favorites for you.
Where Can You Learn Japanese in New York City
You don’t necessarily have to move to Japan in order to learn your first Japanese words and phrases. There are plenty of Japanese language courses in NYC, and around the country, from a variety of different organizations, centers, and websites and there's also plenty of Japanese people to practice with.
You can also learn the Japanese characters (kanji), and the Japanese syllabary kana (hiragana and katakana), grammar, pronunciation, verbs, and all the necessary skills for communicating with the Japanese in their own language. You’ll quickly fall in love with their mother tongue. You’ll quickly see that when it comes to language classes, New York City has it all.
Firstly, you can learn Japanese when you’re at school. While Japanese isn’t the most popular language being taught in public schools (it’s Spanish), there are a number of places you can learn the language while you’re there. This is really the time you should start learning a language since the sooner you start, the easier language learning is. Make sure to check with the schools themselves whether or not they still offer Japanese before applying.
Find out about high school Japanese lessons here.
If you’re thinking about a career related to the Japanese language or culture, you’ll have to continue your studies after you finish school, too. This is still more than possible in the Big Apple.
You could check out Japan Society, an organization that promotes Japanese culture, business, language, and education. Their language center has taught New Yorkers (and out-of-towners) Japanese since the early 1970s. You’ll soon know everything you need to know about the country and its language.
There’s nothing better than being able to perfectly speak to somebody in their language and Japanese is no exception. New York City’s a big place and this is obviously not the only place you can get Japanese lessons. You should also consider checking out the non-profit Tenri Cultural Institute in the Big Apple.
In addition to teaching the Japanese language, the institute also provides activities such as:
Japanese cultural events.
It should be noted that if you’d like to learn other languages like Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Arabic, etc., there are also organizations and centers that provide similar services for other languages and cultures.
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Chicago?
Of course, there’s so much more to the USA than just New York City... Let’s have a look at how you can learn Japanese in Chicago.
If you’re interested in speaking Japanese, or anything to do with Japan, you should consider checking out the Japanese Culture Center in Chicago.
It’s one of the city’s most highly-recommended centers. There are classes for beginners and those continuing their Japanese studies where you can learn:
to write in Japanese
to count in Japanese
to read Japanese
the Japanese writing systems (kanji and kana: hiragana and katakana)
Learning to communicate in the language is the order of the day. Of course, like learning any language, learning Japanese requires determination and motivation. Each of the courses lasts six weeks and you’ll need to complete one before moving onto the next.
However, you’ll also be expected to be studying at home. In order to better understand a language, you should also look into the cultures of the people who speak it as their mother tongue.
To do this, we’d recommend looking at the other services provided by the Japanese Culture Center.
There are a number of martial arts taught at the center as well as classes in Japanese cultural arts. Whether you feel like karate, kendo, calligraphy, flower arrangement, or learning more about a tea ceremony, this is the place to go in Chicago for all things Japan. Discover Japanese culture without even boarding a plane!
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Los Angeles?
Given the population of nearly 12 million (urban area), it’s hardly surprising that finding somewhere to learn Japanese in L.A is not a difficult task.
While many people are drawn in to taking online Japanese courses (which are free), these courses can’t offer a teacher to correct your mistakes and tell you if you’re doing it right. Even though you can’t beat a trip to Japan, and visiting cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka for learning more about the language and culture, getting a private tutor or attending Japanese classes is the next best thing.
As a new learner, you’ll still be able to learn some of the most important aspects of the language while broadening your understanding of the culture. Especially if your tutor or teacher happens to be a Japanese native, too.
Having a native speaker as a teacher will help you develop your ability to hold a conversation, as well as allowing you to improve your fluency and general proficiency in the language.
If you’re looking to learn Japanese in Los Angeles, then the first place you should start looking is Fuji School. This school offers a variety of different classes depending on your Japanese language learning objectives. You can learn the Japanese writing systems, Japanese grammar, or conversational Japanese.
If you’re interested in Japanese culture, you should also consider paying a visit to the Japanese Institute of Sawtelle in West Los Angeles. In addition to the language classes on offer, you can also learn martial arts such as judo and kendo.
It’s a great way to get involved in Japanese culture without having to travel!
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Philadelphia?
Japanese courses in Philadelphia are numerous due to the large number of places where you can learn about the Japanese culture as well as study the language. Whether you’re native to Philadelphia or have moved there for work or studies, don’t worry, you’ll easily be able to find Japanese classes that suit you.
Thanks to the language schools and cultural organizations, anyone in Philadelphia can start learning Japanese, or even continue their studies.
If you’re still at school, you can continue your studies at the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia’s Japanese Classroom.
There are a number of different classes on offer during the evenings. These classes are held in Center City at the Bellevue, Broad & Walnut Streets, Philadelphia. You'll learn how to use the Japanese kanji, hiragana, and katakana writing systems as well as how to speak this beautiful language.
These kinds of classes are a great way to improve your Japanese language skills. As these are regular language classes, you can’t procrastinate, either. When your teacher gives you homework or tells you to study something, you’ll have to do it in order to progress in your Japanese learning adventure!
The Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia isn’t your only option for learning Japanese in The City of Brotherly Love.
There are also Japanese classes available from the University of Pennsylvania if you’re really serious about learning the language. This would be the choice for anyone who’s desperate to have an international career using Japanese as their main foreign language. In any case, you’ll be ready for your first trip to Japan.
Of course, if you get nervous, need to learn a lot in a short amount of time, or have a schedule that doesn’t work with the classes on offer, you could always head to Superprof and look for private tutors who can provide one-on-one tutorials for you.
Tutors are often passionate about Japanese culture or are Japanese natives wanting to share their language and culture. It’s a fascinating and fun way to learn the language, and what better way to improve your listening skills than conversing with a native speakers.
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Dallas?
As the US’s 6th largest urban area, we couldn’t miss out DFW. While Spanish is by far the most popular foreign language in Texas, there are a surprising number of options for those wanting to learn Japanese in Dallas-Fort Worth.
You’re not the only person in the area who’s crazy about Japan and Japanese culture! Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced Japanese speaker, you’ll be able to find the means to study the language.
One way or another, you’ll be able to find a suitable Japanese teacher.
Which Japanese class should you choose?
There are several option if you want to learn the basics of Japanese including the Japanese writing systems and basic conversational Japanese. There are also options for those wanting to master the Japanese language in order to move to Japan. Finally, you can even learn a lot more about Japanese history and culture.
If this appeals to you, you might be thinking about studying Japanese at college in Dallas. There are a number of colleges offering you the chance to learn more about the language and the culture of Japan. Here are a few of them:
Dallas Baptist University (Minor in East Asian Studies)
Maybe you’re not old enough to go to college or just don’t feel like going back to college. Don’t worry! There are plenty of other options for those who’d like to learn Japanese in and around Dallas-Fort Worth.
There are associations like the Dallas Japanese Association and the Forth Worth Japanese Society which offer Japanese classes for a variety of levels.
Finally, if you’d like to get involved in Japanese cultural events in the DFW area, there’s the Japan America Society of Dallas Fort Worth.
Where Can You Learn Japanese in Houston?
Are you moving to Houston or are you a native?
Either way, you’re really lucky when it comes to Japanese classes. You’ll see that there is an abundance of Japanese courses in Houston.
You can walk around the Japanese Garden in Hermann Park (which is 25 years old) to get an idea of some of the most beautiful Japanese plants. Of course, plants won’t teach you Japanese. You’ll have to study in a language center or a cultural institute or enlist the help of a private tutor if you want to master Japanese.
Whether you’re a beginner, intermediate, or advanced speaker of Japanese, you’ll be able to find a way to improve your Japanese.
Here are a few places you should take a look at:
Japan America Society of Houston
Rice University (Foreign Language Program)
If you don’t feel comfortable in traditional language classes, there are always other options. You should think about getting private Japanese tutorials. You can work privately with a tutor who’ll adapt their lessons to suit how you learn.
Since you’re the only student, your tutor will have all the time in the world to help you with aspects you find difficult and to go back over something you mightn’t have understood. If you’re looking for private tutors, you’ve come to the right place.
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