7. The Nihongo 2017.04.08
Good morning Japan, this is Perry from Room 201. How genki are you today?
If you're new to Japan you'll quickly realise how much easier life is when you know a little Japanese. Sure you can get by with some english, but just how much are you missing out on by not speaking the language here? A lot.
There are a limited number of web pages from japanese companies/organisations and so on which have an english version. In many cases the english version of their site has very reduced content. Of course you can use google translate on the japanese web page but this will only give you a fraction of the pieces to the puzzle e.g. images with japanese text will not translate. Not ideal when doing something important.
As a little exercise, google search for something specific in english and then for the same thing written in japanese. Surprise! A whole other set of results will appear.
You have several options for studying Japanese during your time in Oakhouse which I will explain below. Note: cheap options explored only ;)
Self Study – My earliest attempts focused on lesson recordings, namely The Michel Thomas Method. Lesson 1 here: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcJ8KuuhvBw). This is an excellent resource for learning about sentence structure and pronunciation. I combined this with an app called Memrise which was great for building vocabulary and making sure it commits to long term memory. After completing the 3 stages you apparently have learnt 1399 words/things. If you can get your hands on a textbook, this will basically top off your study in a nice formal and staged way. Ask around your fellow Oakies and see whether they might have a pdf handy as I did.
One-on-One lessons – Oakhouse 3 is somehow apart of Mitaka city, which is good news for you. Hopefully you will/have heard of Mishop. Mishop is an organisation in Mitaka city which helps foreigners with every day life living in Mitaka city. They offer a service which pairs you with a native Japanese speaker for one on one time to study whichever aspect of Japanese you choose at a time that suits you. A bargain at only 1,000 yen with no more to pay. Let's not forget you are most likely living with approx. 20 Japanese people, many of which would be happy to exchange english/japanese with you, so don't be afraid to ask.
Classes – Many cities within Tokyo have Japanese language classes also run by volunteers. I've signed up for a twice a week, 2 hour class in Shinjuku. The cost is 2,000 yen (for once a week) or 4,000 yen (for twice a week), no more to pay drive away. Details here: (https://www.city.shinjuku.lg.jp/foreign/english/manabu/index_2.html)
Mishop also offer a similar arrangement although Saturday morning is currently the only option.
Meetups – A great option when lacking a room partner or looking to expand your social life. Download the meetup app and join the language exchange groups. I've frequented 'Welcome Tokyo's' language exchange events and made a few friends while managing to practice what I had learnt in the above methods.
The life and times of Room 201
Australian backpacker living in a Japanese share house - making friends, exploring Tokyo, learning Japanese language & customs and so on...