Testimonials – 2016

Most of people decide to learn to read Japanese because of the culture or because they want to travel in Japan. For me it was purely because I found the language extremely weird and also because I though it will be cool to speak a language that for sure none of my friends talked. Well at least that how it started. At the point I decide to start studying the language I was living outside the UK and there were not many options for school or teachers so I decide to buys some self-teaching books and start teaching myself. This and the fact that my partner is a fluent Japanese speaker gave enough reason to focus on my studies. Sadly, I discovered I am a miserable teacher (I constantly cheated in all the tests hehehe) and after my first visit in Japan I decided that I would l really like to move there but first of all I have to get serious on my studies. That’s when we moved in London and I found out ITO Japanese school.

What made it stand out from the rest of the schools I found out is the fact that it gave me the feeling that first of all they do care and love a lot on what they are doing and also the fact that all the classes are done only in Japanese from start. And to be honest I could not be more right and lucky. ITO has helped me since the beginning to further a lot my knowledge in Japanese both in writing and speaking. I don’t just learn Japanese but I actual get immerse in the language and the best part of it is that our teacher always makes the best effort to make fun and easy to understand. All the teachers are always there to help you understand any questions you have and provide you with any additional help you might need. SO slowly and in a short period of time I have managed to start thinking Japanese – Which makes thing so much simpler.

I am happy to be part of this school and I would definitely recommend it for all that are interested and want to try out learning Japanese. I know for sure that every class for me is a fun 2 hours and I will continue furthering my studies with ITO in the future.

Ioannis 27/06/2016

After my wife and I enjoyed an amazing vacation in Japan, I decided to learn Japanese so that on out next visit, I could repay some of the wonderful hospitality we had experienced.

I investigated the courses available in other schools, but after a free trial lesson I quickly realised that ITO was the best out there.

The teaching employs a ‘direct’ method, where no English is spoken in classes or anywhere in the school – it’s daunting at first but you quickly assimilate and gain a much more intuitive understanding of Japanese as a result. I’d describe the way you learn as being ‘organic’ and it certainly payed dividends when I went back to Japan for a holiday this year! 

Because you work hard to try and express yourself in class, you become quite adept at explaining things simply when other teaching approaches tend to leave you bogged down trying to remember a specific word. Have to explain the difference between a Japanese pillow and a western one? Or to ask a hotel if you can leave your luggage there after checkout? It’s surprising how effectively you can communicate even before you’ve covered more advanced subjects.

The classes are very small and the other students are extremely friendly and supportive, especially when we’re trying to communicate in Japanese (no matter our level!) I’ve made wonderful friends in just the last year at ITO and I feel genuinely privileged to have them in my life.

Finally the teaching staff is wonderful, patient and great fun. There is a real sense of spirit in the school that’s hard to explain but easy to get used to.

John Louis 20/06/2016 (105 hours at ITO)

As a child of the 80s and 90’s I grew up during Japan’s boom and was constantly exposed to Japanese culture through media, tv and video games. I knew from an early age I wanted to learn the language but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it.

I started studying Japanese at another London based language school but because the teaching of the classes was in English, I was learning a lot of grammar but unfortunately I wasn’t getting used to hearing spoken Japanese. This meant I was finding it difficult to reach a point where I could actually have a basic conversation despite knowing a lot of vocabulary and grammar. The teacher in my previous school actually suggested ITO to me as she knew the classes were taught completely in Japanese. I started at ITO with private lessons but then I moved to a Saturday morning class which, with only 3 other students, is much smaller than at my previous school.

I have been very happy with my move to ITO as I have finally reached a point where I can contribute to conversations with Japanese friends. 

Christian 08/06/2016 (51 hours at ITO)

I have been interested in Japan ever since junior high school and I always wanted to study Japanese. I want to live in Japan in a next couple of years and I believe that studying the language is paramount to be able to live in any country. Classes consist of three elements – speaking practice, usually at the beginning, homework – which is both reading and listening practice and then grammar study, going through different syntax structures with the book to prepare us for the Japanese Proficiency exam. I try to spend 30 minutes daily with kanji studies – although that does not always happen. I also save myself 1 hour the day after classes to run through the new material and do my homework as soon as. I have always struggled with kanjis but lately, putting more effort into that, I have noticed that I understand more just from reading. I also found watching Japanese movies and TV series to be a great help with listening and speaking. The biggest advantage of this school, comparing to different ones that I have tried, is that it makes you use Japanese – in higher level classes you should not ever use English to explain any words. Instead you are to explain it in simpler terms or give examples, for the understanding of your classmates.

Magda 03/06/2016 (157.5 hours at ITO)

It has been approximately 7months since I started ITO Japanese lessons. During this time I have learned hiragana, katakana and some kanji. I understand and find myself ‘thinking’ in Japanese. Though I am still lacking confidence to speak in Japanese effectively because the more I study the more I realise that I still have a lot left to learn. However by regularly speaking in class in a ‘safe’ environment and building on my grammar, I believe I will continue to improve in this area. The classes are fun and interactive which makes the learning enjoyable.

Diane 24/05/2016 (99 hours at ITO)

I was originally from Hong Kong. After studying and working in London for about 10 years I would like to go back to Asia Pacific to work for long term. That’s why I believe learning Japanese will be a plus in my future career. Being able to achieve N1 in JLPT will be a basic criteria for me to work in Japan in order to gain Japanese customers confidence.  ITO lessons were well structured which include opportunities to practise speaking, listening as well as learning new 1-2 grammar patterns within each lesson. There is homework to complete after every lesson.  I usually did my revision when I was commuting to work as well as studying during weekends. I feel my Japanese improved after attending lesson, as speaking and listening used to be my weaknesses.

Jerome 20/05/2016 (42 hours at ITO)

If you’re keen to learn Japanese and wanting to be fluent, then this school has one of the best methods I’ve ever encountered. I would recommend it to anyone who has serious interest about Japan. I was lucky to have found this course by chance. English was not my first language and I have particulars in looking for similarities of tutor’s approach with regards to learning foreign languages.  I was nervous when I started the course in September, because of the “no English in class” rule. However, because our sensei is fun and relax, the class always enjoyable and full of laughter. Surprisingly, the materials are easy to pace with, only with little dedicated time for revisions outside the course. Other tutors at school have similar personalities, which motivate the students to come study and make progress. Our class almost finishes with the beginner term, and we all look forward to further our study into the next level.  I have been learning and understand Japanese a great deal so far through ITO, in comparison when I studied under school curriculum for 3 years.

For those who are thinking of joining us here, welcome *(^o^)/*

Airin 20/05/2016 (90 hours at ITO)

I’ve been interested in Japanese history and culture since I was young due to playing historical strategy video games. As I grew older I found myself enjoying Japanese cuisine in addition to film, music and TV which lead to me start learning Japanese in my spare time. I am currently studying with the aim of taking JLPTs (Japanese-Language Proficiency Tests) in the future. I have travelled to Japan only once and would love to travel there more as my Japanese continues to improve. 

The classes focus on pronunciation and speaking through conversation and reading aloud. Writing is generally practised through homework and reviewed during the next lesson and written assessments. The course aims to get you speaking and listening the moment you step through the door and eases you into new concepts, constantly revising and building upon previous lessons. The classes are small, ensuring everyone partakes in the lesson and receives a lot of attention from the teacher.

I generally do my homework and revise in the evenings. I have found that practising throughout the day (e.g. formulating sentences) especially when travelling helps with memorising vocabulary and has improved my conversational speed. Listening to the textbook audio files on my MP3 has improved my listening skills and helped to further reinforce vocabulary.

I find my Japanese improving every week, being able to more confidently converse in and after each lesson with the teacher and fellow students. Furthermore I have found myself understanding more and more Japanese when watching films and listening to music. I travelled to Japan (Tokyo and Kyoto) for the first time in May 2016 for a period of 8 days and, despite being relatively new to learning Japanese, found myself able to converse with those around me. It was especially useful when asking for directions and navigating the large variety of local dishes available. In addition to having a great time, I found that travelling to Japan helped improve my confidence speaking Japanese and taught me a range of new vocabulary.

Adam 18/05/2016 (93 hours at ITO)

I’ve been studying with ITO Japanese School since around November of last year and I couldn’t be happier with the classes and what I’ve learnt. I started out with only a few words to my vocabulary and no idea of sentence structure or how to write hiragana, kanji or katakana. Now I’m able to hold basic conversation, discussing what I’ve done between classes, what my interests are and describing things that need context in more detail. I can now write hiragana with ease and write and read over 20 kanji without any issue. We have just started learning katakana and it’s already much easier to adapt to the new form of writing.

The structure of classes and the work and textbooks are very well thought out, effectively supporting the all-Japanese environment of the lessons. Even though my knowledge of Japanese was so limited, I never felt like the classes have gone too fast or that I’ve completely misunderstood the subject of that lesson. Starting out with hiragana we were able to learn the fundamentals of speech as well as writing by getting used to the range of sounds and pronunciations that span Japanese, practicing how to change the way we speak to aid in correctly pronouncing words. Along side this we used flash cards to memorize hiragana and to expand our vocabulary with words and pictures that represent them. The cards provided a quick way to practice, even when we moved on to sentence structure. We started with the basics of saying what something was and then how to describe it: what colour was it? Was they all the same? What kind of object is it? Who’s using it? This progressed into slightly more complex and varied sentence structures. As we went further through the textbook we have been slowly able to improve on conversation and asking and answering questions during class. We’ve learnt about family, counting, telling time, verbs and how to conjugate them and many more things to help support these subjects. The textbook and workbook are very well laid out, using combinations of different teaching and practicing methods to support what we learn in class. Personally I like the scripts with different characters speaking to one another that we can practice together in class to help not only with the subject matter but speed and intonation as well. It’s also very easy to look back and find out things you’ve forgotten or struggled with. The workbook gives you questions to answer and answer that you need to figure out the question for, pages you can use to practice writing completely from scratch using what you know and also to practice kanji that you learn as it becomes more relevant. In every class all the students have the chance to go over their homework, helping each other in correcting mistakes or figuring out something they haven’t understood with the teachers help. I’ve learnt a lot from having to figure out how to explain an answer to someone else without saying it directly; it’s a good way to practice the variety of things you’ve learnt.

Overall, the combination of lessons and learning material provided by this school as well as the cheerful, encouraging teaching environment has been an amazing experience and taught me so much more than I had expected. I look forward to everything I still have to learn!

Kelly 10/05/2016 (93 hours at ITO)

I decided to learn Japanese as I had a big interest in Japanese culture and entertainment.  Anime, Manga, Games and Japanese TV comedy/drama shows helped me decide to learn Japanese as I wanted to understand the language without the aid of subtitles or translations.

I goal is to be able to sufficiently understand, read and talk in Japanese.

The class is structured with practical speaking at the beginning of the lesson where each person talks about their week where the teacher encourages students to ask questions in Japanese.  The class is completely in Japanese with no English which helps with the practicing.

ITO have their own individual textbook and study book to help me study the language.

I find the time to study after work due to the lack of time.  Revision will take place during my travels to work and like all languages, time is required to practice the language.

Recently I have travelled to Japan for 2 week vacation and I was able to have a conversation with Japanese friends.  In addition I am able to order food without the need of English unless it is a kanji word I don’t know.  I have brought manga and light novels in japan to aim to finish reading them.

Colin 04/05/2016 (127.5 hours at ITO)

I want to improve my Japanese in order to be able to converse about more topics when I visit my friends in Japan, and to be able to read Japanese newspapers and books. We have a small group lesson every Saturday and are studying N2 grammar – but in a fun way! It’s difficult to fit in homework and I’m often finishing it on the train on the way to my lesson. The other day I looked at an old textbook from a couple of years ago and realised how easy it seems now. We must be making some progress. I think expanding vocabulary is really important and at this stage learning the nuances of different words is very important to achieving fluency. Our teacher is very motivating and encouraging. I am enjoying the classes at Ito Japanese School.

Patricia 30/06/2016

I started wanting to learn Japanese after my first trip to Japan, 6 years ago. This trip was a confirmation that I really loved this country, its people, culture, landscapes, music and language. I now have quite a few Japanese friends, and I would like to be able to talk to them casually in Japanese (as well as understanding my favourite singer’s lyrics!). My goal is, in a few years’ time, to have a sufficient level in Japanese to work in Japan.

I think we learn a lot during the lesson, we talk a lot and thus we can improve a lot and learn vocabulary. We sometimes can have quite a lot of homework to do, but I think it helps improving faster, to get the most out of the hour and a half in the classroom. We also learn the polite and casual ways of talking, which I think is the “real”, natural Japanese, not only the theory that you can find in the books!

When I look back at when I started at ITO last year, I can see the difference in level. When I started, I already knew the basics (I learned in an association in France), but now I can understand and talk more easily to my friends, I don’t need to think as much in my mother tongue before talking. I can read and write more kanji’s now as well (even if it’s still not my forte x) ). I think that lessons twice a week, 1h30, in Japanese only, with a lot of talking is the best way to learn quickly and good Japanese. The teachers are really nice as well! It’s always cheering me up, knowing that I have my Japanese class after a long day at work. We always have a good laugh, I think it’s the best compromise between having too much fun and not learning, and being too serious, hard-working and not having fun at all. It’s all about having fun while working hard!  I really love it and I look forward to my 2nd year in ITO!

Sophie 01/03/2016 (118.5 hours at ITO)

I started learning Japanese because of anime. Growing up I was an enormous Ghibli fan – I adored their themes, the way they were drawn and the overriding bitter sweetness, and this grew into an appreciation of the Japanese aesthetic of simplicity, beauty, efficiency and wabi-sabi. My goal was at first to be able to watch anime without reading subtitles, but soon evolved into the aim of wanting to be fluent enough to live and work in Japan. I hope to be able to go there this or next year! 

I have private lessons at ITO and look forward to them every week. ITO teachers are caring, warm and really vested in your improvement, and they always challenge me to do better, and I find myself improving faster than ever before. At ITO, only Japanese is spoken in class, and teachers find creative ways of explaining the meaning of words in Japanese – this creates an organic learning environment which I find tremendously helpful. 

As my work involves late nights most of the time, I study Japanese at the weekends, and make grammar and vocabulary flash cards on an app called StudyBlue which I revise on my phone while on the tube or before I go to bed. It’s challenging (especially because I think my memory has gotten worse) but rewarding when I found that I could start reading Japanese short stories (very slowly). I took the N4 exam in June 2015, N3 in December 2015, and will be taking the N2 exam in July 2016. It’s thanks to the wonderful teachers at ITO that I have been able to progress according to my goals!  

Cherie 28/02/2016 (57 hours at ITO)

I started lessons at Ito in late 2014. My wife is from Japan, and whilst she is fluent in English having lived here for years, her family don’t speak much. I wanted to learn Japanese not only to communicate with them more, but also because I find the country and culture so fascinating.  

My goal is to get to a good level of speaking and reading to communicate well with my wife’s family. Since I began at Ito, we’ve also had a daughter who we’d love to be bilingual, so this has given me more motivation to learn.. I’m sure once she starts speaking she’ll catch me up quickly! 

The classes are twice weekly and are immersive, so are conducted entirely in Japanese. Initially, this takes some getting used to, but is definitely worthwhile as it forces you to think in Japanese.  The groups are a good size, which means you get plenty of opportunity to join in 

and there is lots of time for you to practice and ask questions – in Japanese of course!   

I’ve visited Japan 4 times now, and am due to go again this Spring. I love the country, the culture and of course the amazing food! I’d recommend anyone to visit, whether you’re learning the language or not, as it’s a beautiful country with great people! I would also recommend Ito – a friendly and safe learning environment which will really help you develop your skills. 

Dean 09/02/2016 (120 hours at ITO)

As an adult student I decided to learn Japanese because my children have a strong interest in Japanese manga, culture and language. My elder son is also interested in teaching English in Japan. So, I decided to take up Japanese lessons to support my children’s interests.

Also, my job deals directly with Japan and although my Japanese colleagues have excellent English and embrace the English/American corporate culture, it has been very helpful for me to learn and understand the Japanese culture which varies significantly in some areas. I now have a greater respect and awareness for my Japanese colleagues.

I honestly did not think I would last at my lessons because I am not naturally good at picking up languages plus due to a very busy work and home schedule, I do not have as much time as I would like to do my homework and consolidate my learning. However, I am still going and hope to progress to obtain a qualification at the end of it. I also watch the occasional J-drama to support my understanding of Japanese language and culture!

The course and classes are very structured building on foundational learning. They also use pictorial cards which I like as I am a visual learner. The classes are only in Japanese which means sometimes I do not understand everything. Though once I go home and go through the text book (which each class is centred on), then I understand and realise that it is better not to speak English in class because speaking only in Japanese supports faster learning, as not everything is directly translatable into English.

I genuinely believe that my Japanese has improved through the discussion within class and watching films/dramas. I feel I lack some confidence in speaking what I have learned though know that the more I continue with the classes and put in the effort required, I will continue to improve.

I recommend this style of learning to anyone who wants to really understand both the language and culture.

Diane 06/02/2016

It was Japanese Anime that brought me and Japanese together. I have always been fascinated about Japanese culture, and because it is beneficial to my current line of work, I have been presented with an opportunity to learn Japanese, and hopefully I can converse fluently in Japanese in 2 years. Ito has a very special teaching technique, we do not use any “direct translation” in the class, and instead, we learn it in a more “natural’ way, like how a baby learns how to talk. As this is how everyone learns a language from birth, this becomes a very natural method to apply as an adult. I do not actually have time to study (a lazy excuse, I know), but I watch a lot of anime in my free time and it helps. After 5 months of studying, I actually started picking up the simple conversational phrases from the Japanese anime and noticed I have been relying on subtitles less.

Chin 03/02/2016 (102 hours at ITO)

It’s been roughly two years since I started private lessons at the ITO Japanese School. When I first started, considering how slow my progress initially seemed to be, I didn’t think I’d have reached the level of proficiency I have in such a relatively short amount of time. Having few opportunities outside the weekly classes to practice with other people, I think it really speaks to the quality of the teaching that I’ve been able to come so far, so quickly. Recently, an average class for me starts with a short, casual chat with my teacher about current events in our lives; film’s we’ve seen, holiday plans, eating habits and so on. Then, before focussing on a new aspect of the language, we’ll go over the homework I’d been set the week before. At the moment I’m learning how to use Japanese more informally, while also delving into more complex grammar, and slowly but surely padding out my vocabulary and kanji. Even though I feel quite comfortable now using Japanese to talk about a wide range of topics, the lessons are still challenging, exhausting at times, and there’s so much more to learn. But given how fun and rewarding the classes are, and how much patience and skill the teachers have,

Faisal 02/02/2016 (126 hours at ITO)

I have always had an interest in Japan and knowing the language is essential to getting a better understanding of the country. My goal is to be able to communicate with Japanese people when I travel throughout the country. Classes are really interactive and carried out 100% in Japanese, which is the best way to improve. My class always starts with a bit of conversation, then we read out loud sentences we have written as homework and, finally, we study new grammar. Tons of new vocabulary comes up at every class naturally. I tend to do my homework for an hour during the weekends. Then I use anki type repetition apps, such as Wanikani, to learn kanji. These are really, really useful and you can study whilst you’re on the train or waiting in a queue.

If I’m preparing for the JLPT there will be lots more studying. I’d try to put in about 15 to 20 hours a week on top of lessons. But that’s only in the two months prior to the exam.

Whenever I watch Japanese films I’m definitely catching a more sentences. Before my understanding was zero!

The Japanese-only method at ITO is great and the teachers are really dedicated to helping students learn. Learning Japanese is never quick or easy but if you sign up to Ito and stick to it you will definitely see a marked improvement in your Japanese language skills.

Carlos 01/02/2016 (78 hours at ITO)

I have always wanted to be able to speak another language to better myself and have more opportunities in life. As I have an interest in Japanese culture and I like the sound of the language, I decided that this language was the one I wanted to learn.  In the long run, I’m hoping that I’ll become fluent in Japanese to achieve my career aspirations. However, as its going to take a long time,  my goal whilst studying at ITO is to get to a high enough level, so that when I go to Japan to study I will have the confidence to use and develop what I have already learned so far.  I had previously taken Japanese lessons and done a bit of self-study. Instead of starting at the beginning again, I was able to join a class that was halfway through their level. Their Japanese was a lot better than mine, but this helped me to push myself a bit more. I also took a few catch-up lessons so that I was closer to their level. It helped a lot. If there was an area that I had struggled with in class, there would be work prepared for me to do in that area.  The class I joined now has 4 students in it, including myself. Being in such a small class is perfect, you have no choice but to read aloud and answer questions as there’s no one to hide behind. It also makes it more comfortable to speak out if you don’t what something is each week; I have 2 lessons on a Saturday. We usually start off by talking about a topic, like what we did last week or about what we like. These are my favourite parts as you forget you’re in a lesson and it allows you to practice what you’ve learned previously without you realising it. After that we read through a text book, ask and answer questions about the section we just read and go through the homework.  Finding time for homework and further study can be a bit difficult, especially if you are also taking catch-up/private lessons as well as the group classes. I usually try to study each night after work, whether its reading, practising and learning how to write kanji or doing my homework. Sometimes I will even do a bit on my break a work or if I have a long journey to somewhere. I definitely feel as though my Japanese is improving. I can listen to a song or watch a programme in Japanese and understand a few odd words or phrases that I could before. I am looking forward to the day when I no longer need subtitles. I am so glad I decided to study at ITO, the total immersion method has made my Japanese progress quicker than the lessons I had previously taken and I come out of each lesson feeling great. You should give the lessons at ITO a try. I haven’t had a lesson yet that has been boring or hasn’t been full of laughter. You will be able to see your progress week after week and you goal get closer and closer.

Bryony 26/01/2016 (19.5 hours at ITO)

My first trip to Japan was awesome. I went in April last year and at the time had been learning Japanese at Ito for over a year already, still having not yet been myself – I think I felt that I would need more language than I did, though there were a couple of menus I looked at and literally had no idea what I was doing (some places have pictures though!) It felt good to be confident to try my Japanese with local people like train guards or shopkeepers to find out directions etc. and to see how much I could understand back. I can’t wait to go again. I feel like a lot has happened for my Japanese since then (last comment in Jan, 2015) though I can really put a finger exactly on what.. I think conversationally I feel more fluent though listening and understanding has really improved.

Laurence 25/01/2016 (238.5 hours at ITO)

I decided to start learning Japanese because I’ve always had an interest in anime, manga and Japanese culture. I wanted to be able to watch shows and read in the original form without the aid of subtitles and translation. Japanese is also the only language I’ve loved the sound of and been excited to learn, as I usually find learning languages very difficult. I want to be able to visit Japan and hold a conversation so I can learn more about the country. Our classes are structured so that every time you enter the classroom the language surrounds you. It’s very immersive and really encourages you to think about how to ask questions with what you’ve learned instead of default to English. The lessons start out simply, not focusing on grammar but the core basics of hiragana to help with reading a learning basic vocabulary. Once that’s been practiced we start to learn a variety of simple sentences that support basic conversation. Lesson’s that introduce new concepts also reinforce old ones as well by encouraging using a mixture of sentences to give more detail. The workbooks and homework are also very well set out. They keep the subjects simple and easy to understand and then push you to apply what you’ve learned in a variety of ways. Although I sometimes find it hard to study with a full time job, it does feel very rewarding and just doing an hour or so between lessons is enough for me to feel confident going into the next one. Listening to the CD provided can also be a great way to learn if you are quite busy and can really help with pronunciation. I’ve found as each week passes I’m able to start recognizing more words and even full sentences in the media I watch and can read hiragana and a handful of kanji with relative ease. It makes me really want to keep learning! I’m very grateful to my teachers and classmates, as they have been very kind and encouraging even when I’ve found things difficult and made mistakes. I look forward to continuing with ITO Japanese School.

Kelly 25/01/2016

First of all I decided to learn Japanese personally because I became interested in Japanese pop culture, such as Anime and Manga and I also love martial arts in general. I’m still a big fan of both Anime and Manga, especially the art style as I enjoy drawing and things of an artistic nature. As time went on I just had the feeling of wanting to understand the language I was listening to on such a regular basis. Therefore I decided to go ahead and find a place to start learning, nothing to strict or structured to formally, but in a relaxed and focused atmosphere. My main goals from wanting to learn Japanese are to just be able to fluently speak the language in a general friendly conversation, such as being in a shop or simply asking for help/directions etc. Japan is also at the top of my countries to visit, so being able to communicate myself without the help of others would be great and an awesome experience in itself.

The class was structured really well, especially as a beginner when you realize how much you really don’t know! You may think you know some ins and outs of the language your learning until you really go ahead and do it, at least which was my experience, so I took everything with a pinch of salt and just tried to stay open minded with the teaching. I just tried to concentrate and remember the details where I felt I could the most. Early on you may be confused with the pace or flow of the teaching, but after your class you may find yourself going over the pattern of the class and realizing that thing you didn’t understand, then realizing your error. I also found the language will string together in parts, so just keep your mind open to things and your imagination sharp!

With homework I didn’t have masses of time to complete it personally at home, because I do a lot of training in martial arts along with other hobbies, martial arts being the sole reason I decided to put learning Japanese on the back burner for the time being, as I feel I will definitely revisit it in the future! But I mainly did a lot of my homework the day before, on the train on the way to class or before classes. Sometimes reading/writing homework in the textbook/workbook can get confusing if I wasn’t sure what I did/covered last lesson, so make sure to pay attention to certain details in class! I would usually get kanji out of the way first as I always enjoy writing/drawing the characters, as it feels like more of an art to me personally. Vocabulary wasn’t something I felt I struggled with either, it was always understanding the context of what I was learning with which I had a harder time with.

My ability I felt started to improve once I could form proper and natural responses to questions or things I was asked about, whatever the conversation topic may be, also being able to include what I had learnt previously within my responses. When your responses/answers start to flow and become more natural that’s when I feel there has been progress made, as you’re not having to think about what you’re saying it just comes to you, also don’t ever try to translate things back to English or your native language too much, as it will either give you a mental block or completely confuse you, unless your brain works that way, but mine definitely didn’t! Constantly listening/watching/speaking Japanese when you’re at home, at work (if possible!), travelling etc. will obviously help as well, slowly but surely drilling it into your head, but do it because you want to, not because you feel you have to!

P.S. – Once again just keep an open mind, try not to relate back to your native language too much. Strictly keep your mind with Japanese while in class and studying, just keep your imagination sharp but don’t try too hard as might make it even harder! Sensei may say to you (at least she did to me..!) “イメージ イメージ!” just imagine what your trying to “think”!

Lloyd 25/01/2016 (144 hours at ITO)