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Good language school in Kyoto?

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  • Good language school in Kyoto?

    Hi everybody,

    I've been snooping around this forum for a while and there doesn't seem to be any new thread dealing with language schools in Kyoto, so here is one. I'm not adamant about studying in Kyoto, the school is more important than the location, but it sounds like just the kind of city I'd like to live in. Still, if you happen to have suggestions for language schools in other cities, you can rule out Tokyo. Seems too big and "westernized" for me.

    I'm interested in studying Japanese for at least a year, starting at beginner's level. I'm flexible about class sizes and so on, but I would only consider schools that offer homestays. That's crucial to me.

    Question: Most intensive, long-term language courses seem to be aimed at people who want to get into a Japanese university/college, but other people take them too, right?!

    As of now I've narrowed down my choices to these schools:

    1) Nihongo Center (http://www.nihongo-center.com/en/index.html) (Kyoto)
    2) ARC Academy (http://en.arc-academy.net/) (Kyoto)
    3) GenkiJACS (http://www.genkijacs.com/index.htm) (Fukuoka, so not in Kyoto, but a highly acclaimed school)

    Anyone who's heard of these schools or ever been to them? Know of any better schools, especially in Kyoto? Let me know! Thanks.

  • #2
    I'm curious about this too, but would hearing most people speak in kansai-ben all the time make it harder to learn standard Japanese?

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    • #3
      Good question, haven't thought about that, or the dialect in Fukuoka... I have sent an email to a Japanese friend of mine asking about this, but it may take a while before she gets back to me, perhaps someone else has an answer?

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      • #4
        I can recommend the Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language (http://www.kicl.ac.jp/index.php).
        I've been learning here since april and have a good impression of the teachers and the teaching system.
        However it is still focused on kanji, grammar and listening comprehension. Could be more dialog lessons.
        To catch up the speed during the lesson and to graduate is a lot of hard work, but I think it's worth. During study you also have the opportunity to make contact to japanese students from the nearby university.
        Homestay programs are also offered.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Smithereens View Post
          Good question, haven't thought about that, or the dialect in Fukuoka... I have sent an email to a Japanese friend of mine asking about this, but it may take a while before she gets back to me, perhaps someone else has an answer?
          I actually picked some Japanese friend's brains about this after I posted. One of my friends when she goes back to visit her family, she will come back with the dialect just from being there a few weeks, yet when she's here normally it doesn't come up unless she's talking to her parents. Part of the reason I was interested in Kyoto to study would be the fact of having less English speaking people, but if they are all mostly speaking a dialect I do not want to learn it would prove to be more difficult.
          In the end I actually decided on just going to Tokyo after all (I start in Oct.)

          Good luck in your search.
          BTW for what it's worth the research I did a little online for Nihongo Center, it looked really really good to me and the videos made me excited about it.

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          • #6
            @Sikbug: Thanks, good luck to you too. My friend hasn't gotten back to me yet, but I'll probably go to Fukuoka if the regional dialect in Kyoto is so strong. Nihongo Center does seem good though, the little I've found on them. They don't seem to be offering homestays, but perhaps I'll have to sort that out myself where I end up.

            @Hane: I did have a look at the website for KICL before I started this thread, I've heard good things about them. The regular course seems pretty much to be aimed at drilling students into becoming eligible for Japanese Universities though, or am I exaggerating things? Have you had any problems with kansai ben?
            Last edited by Smithereens; 2010-07-31, 07:57 PM.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Smithereens View Post
              @Hane: I did have a look at the website for KICL before I started this thread, I've heard good things about them. The regular course seems pretty much to be aimed at drilling students into becoming eligible for Japanese Universities though, or am I exaggerating things? Have you had any problems with kansai ben?
              No problems (so far..). My homestay mother spoke standart japanese. Very fast but at least standart.
              Fact is that almost all japanese can speak the standart language and you will only get hands on kyoto ben (which is quite beautiful) by getting close japanese friends.
              And yes: It's kind of a drill factory here and that's why i chose it because i need my 1 as soon as possibel. (Well, maybe it will take longer thant i expected)
              If you intend to enter the nearby university you have to pass a entry test. For this reason special preparing classes are offered. Business classes as well.
              In short: If you are looking for a busy, high speed daily life, Tokyo is your choice.
              When culture, customs and history is your focus, Kyoto is a must.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Hane View Post
                In short: If you are looking for a busy, high speed daily life, Tokyo is your choice.
                When culture, customs and history is your focus, Kyoto is a must.
                Yeah, I'm much more interested in Kyoto for those reasons. The pace at KICL may be too much for a beginner like me, but they sound like the most serious school (institute) I've come across so far, and I'd much rather go to a school where the teachers and the students are "too serious" than too laid-back. I wouldn't want to end up in a class full of ditzy kids learning Japanese on their holiday; KICL doesn't seem to attract that crowd. I'll have a closer look at it.

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                • #9
                  Thank you Davide (Rossi?). That site looks like it could be very useful, haven't heard about it before.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Smithereens View Post
                    Thank you Davide (Rossi?). That site looks like it could be very useful, haven't heard about it before.
                    Have you started yet? I ended up doing three months (just finished a few weeks ago) in Tokyo at Kai Japanese School and I loved it. Wish I could have afforded to go longer.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Sikbug View Post
                      Have you started yet? I ended up doing three months (just finished a few weeks ago) in Tokyo at Kai Japanese School and I loved it. Wish I could have afforded to go longer.
                      Glad you had fun. I don't want to go until I have enough money to stay at least 6 months, so it'll take quite a while before I can get started.
                      Last edited by Smithereens; 2011-01-14, 01:13 AM.

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                      • #12
                        May I also recommend Tengaku http://www.tg-group.ac.jp/~amr/e/top.html It is a school in Osaka and I've heard from native speakers were impressed with the results is had on their non-native friends.

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                        • #13
                          Thank you, I'm still sold on Kyoto but then again I'm (hopefully) not the only one reading this thread. Sounds like an interesting school.

                          I get an email everytime someone posts in this thread so keep posting, I still haven't gone to Japan but I've basically settled for one year of study at KICL, hopefully next year will be the year...

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                          • #14
                            Curious, did you go in the end and how was it? and i hope its not too rude but how much would you suggest saving before going?

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