First of all it would be good to clarify why you would like to be able to communicate in Japanese. All of the reasons, be it an interest in Japanese culture, business, or traveling, have one thing common: the Japanese don’t speak English. The knowledge of the Japanese language opens doors to a completely different, exotic world, which you will never see without it. From my experience I can confirm that the behavior of the Japanese people towards foreigners who know or are willing to learn their language couldn’t be more different than towards those who are not willing to give a try. It’s sad to see how many people who are interested in the Japanese culture are not studying the language, and the doors remain closed for them. “It’s impossible to learn Japanese! How can I learn Japanese if I don’t live in Japan?” Everyone who finds the courage to give it a shot later regrets those years when they thought that Japanese couldn’t be learned. In fact, Japanese is not as difficult as it seems. It is a language with clear pronunciation and simple grammar. If your goal is basic communication, you will be able to achieve that level in as little as six months. This website describes several ways to start learning Japanese. It doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, how much free time you have or if you have no talent for languages at all. If you are interested, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Mattia

Many people think it is better to learn a language from a native speaker. In fact, when it comes to Japanese this is not true.

Two years ago I was going to move to Japan, and I asked Rene to teach me some Japanese before leaving. In a few lectures I learned the basics of Japanese, and once I arrived in Fukuoka I was able to ask for information at the railway station, at the supermarket and on the streets. This was very useful because it made it much easier for me to start a new life in Japan.

However, it was not enough: I had to improve my Japanese because nobody spoke English in Fukuoka. I tried several Japanese teachers in the city but it was a complete failure – after one year in Japan I was still unable to properly speak Japanese. Therefore, I decided to go back to Rene. Of course, I was in Japan and he was in Prague, so he taught me through Skype, but this was not a problem at all.

Believe it or not, by studying with Rene I managed to learn Japanese!

His method is much more effective: he knows how to explain things to a western mind, he is able to adapt the explanation to the needs of the student and he makes every possible effort to make you practice Japanese using sentences that you will actually use in your life. Moreover, he understands your questions because he learned Japanese as a foreign language as well, and most of the time he had encountered in the past the very same problem which you are facing now. That’s why he can explain the language to you better than native speakers!

Japanese teachers most of the time don’t even understand your problem, because everything is “natural” for them. Moreover, they simply repeat the very same lecture, almost like acting. They don’t make any effort to make the student understand.

While studying with Japanese teachers was boring and useless, learning from Rene was enjoyable and even funny.

Eventually, after one year of studying with Rene I am now able to speak Japanese in everyday situations: I can speak to my colleagues, I can hang out with my Japanese friends speaking Japanese, I can have a chat with strangers at izakaya (Japanese pub) or manage most of the bureaucracy by myself. Sure, I still have a lot of Japanese to learn, but when I think back to the moment when I was not even able to say “konnichiwa”, I must say it is impressive. In just one year I managed to learn to speak Japanese. One year! Do you still think it is impossible? With Rene it’s not!

Individual or group lessons? That can be the very question you are wondering about right now. Here are some reasons for choosing a private tutor. The greatest advantage of all is the speed of your progress. There is no comparison between the speed of your individual progress and your progress in a group lesson where a teacher must devote their time to ten other students, eight of which typically don’t even prepare for the lessons at all. Another advantage is the flexibility of the course. The intensity, frequency and duration can also be adjusted according to your needs. Not a single lesson is wasted. There is no big gap during which you forget everything. Every student has a different reason why they are studying. The Japanese language you need to communicate during your vacation is completely different from the Japanese that you need to communicate with a friend or a business partner. In a regular group class, it is not possible to satisfy all the needs of all of the students. But during a private lesson the tutor can focus just on the Japanese that you need. There is only one disadvantage. The price for private lessons is higher than for a group course. However, if you take into consideration how many lessons you miss if you get sick or take a vacation, and consider the level you reach during individual lessons in the same amount of time, you will conclude that even financially the individual lessons work out to your advantage. If you are interested, let me know and we can set up our very first lesson, the place and the price.

Anya

This year I have finally decided to start studying Japanese, something I have been planning to do for a long time. I have found Rene Ochiai’s classes just by simple internet search. I was really excited to start and really enjoy our lessons, they are fun and very informative, and the teaching methods Rene uses are perfect!

Rene’s knowledge of Japanese culture is impressive, not only does he know the language and is a great teacher who is very positive and motivational, but also takes a great interest in culture and arts, like mastering Japanese calligraphy. It is very motivational to see a teacher so passionate about his subject!

I can recommend Rene’s classes to anyone who wants to improve their Japanese or to a complete beginner, studying Japanese is really fun and you will learn a lot of new things about Japan!

Аня

В этом году я решила начать изучать японский язык и через интернет нашла преподавателя – Рене Скупи в Праге. Сейчас я уже несколько месяцев занимаюсь с Рене и уже могу поддержать простой разговор, могу писать по-японски, что я и представить себе не могла несколько месяцев назад!

Рене – очень внимательный преподаватель, на его уроках никогда не бывает скучно и можно узнать много интересного не только о языке, но и о японской культуре!  А еще меня очень привлекает его интерес и любовь к японской культуре и искусству, например, каллиграфии.

Могу порекомендовать уроки японского с Рене Скупи всем, кто хотел бы начать изучать язык или тем, кто уже изучал японский раньше и хотел бы усовершенствовать свои знания!

Refresher lessons Are you among those who would during their vacation rather not forget everything they learned? Do you need to to catch up with the lessons you missed in a group course, or would you like to catch up with a more advanced course? Perhaps you didn’t you understand some grammar at school and now you are not sure what to do? It might be a good idea to set up refresher lessons. The intensity is up to you. It could be one hour, or a few hours during the summer, or however many lessons you need. If you would like to meet and try it, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Agathe

I have been studying Japanese for a couple of years and started taking one on one lessons with Rene six months ago. Thanks to his personalized teaching and clear explanations, I can already see some progress. He also gave me some invaluable tips and vocabulary for my trip to Japan.

All in all, I would recommend classes with Rene to anybody who is interested in learning Japanese, whatever the level or area of interest.

J’étudie le japonais depuis deux ans et ai commencé à prendre des cours particuliers avec Rene il y a six mois. Grâce à ses cours personnalisés et ses explications claires, je remarque déjà du progrès. Il m’a également donné de précieux conseils et du vocabulaire utile pour mon voyage au Japon. Je recommande les cours de Rene aux personnes et tous niveaux et tous centres d’intérêt.

Maybe you are from a small city, or you don’t have much time to commute to a school, or you are very often often away on business. But you would like to learn something new? Lessons through Skype would be just perfect for you. You don’t need to attend a university or to live in Japan in order to be able to learn Japanese. The notion of learning through Skype may seem a bit strange at the beginning, but there is nothing to worry about. You can purchase just one lesson and try it out. You will see that the difference between a lesson at a school or a café, and a lesson through Skype is very small,and that you save yourself a lot of time. Nowadays the internet connection is virtually everywhere. It does not matter where you are. The quality of the video and the sound is the same. There is almost no time delay between you and a tutor who is on the other side of the earth. Using Skype is free. You can pay for lessons by PayPal or a direct deposit to my bank account. If you would like to meet and try it out, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Maria Rosa (a student through Skype)

I started studying Japanese with René two years ago. His expertise in teaching, his patience and kindness, and his knowledge acquired through a direct experience in Japan, make the classes new every time, very interesting and pleasant. I recommend to both beginners and more advanced people to learn from him and/or simply converse in Japanese, according to your level; even from countries that are far away. I can assure it works very well! (Italy)

If your child is interested in Japan, it would be a pity not to support him/her. As everybody knows, it is a lot easier to learn a foreign language when you are a child. Many adults regret that they didn’t study more foreign languages when they were children. We all know that learning a new language becomes harder as we get older. Japanese basic grammar is quite easy. The letters are pictograms, and kids love them. Not only kids like to show off when they know something that others don’t. And frankly, not many children can speak Japanese. Not that long ago, a trip to Japan was an exotic, almost unrealistic dream. Nowadays it is no problem to spend some time at a high school in Japan. Learning Japanese opens a door to a new fascinating world which the kids instantly fall in love with. If you would like to try it out, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Lukas

Konnnichiwa, my name is Lukas Adam and I am 13 years old. I have started with Japanese because of martial arts (Karate). Now I have been studying for more than two years and I still enjoy it. It is mainly because of Rene’s interesting and friendly approach. While learning Japanese we talk about life in Japan. We also listen to Japanese dialogs and watch Japanese videos. After two years of studying I can speak and write in Japanese, for which I am thankful to Rene. (translated from Czech original)

When we meet foreigners, and especially Asians, we realize how much of a cultural difference there is between us. We shake hands, the Japanese bow. We consider slurping to be disgusting, the Japanese take it as a sign of good appetite. We exchange business cards using one hand, the Japanese only using both. The list is infinite. For someone who comes into contact with the Japanese through business or traveling, even a slight knowledge of the language and customs comes in handy. Sometimes you only have to say hello or thank you in Japanese to break the ice. I am pretty sure that any businessman who has met with the Japanese can attest that business is not done in an office but in a pub with a jar of sake. Anyone who is planning to be in contact with the Japanese should know at least a few things about their culture. Communication on a basic level is not that difficult, and if you don’t exactly aim to become a translator, a few lessons should be enough. If you would like to meet and try it out, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Tomas

Without much exaggeration I can say that without my teacher Rene Ochiai I wouldn’t be able to speak Japanese. That’s right. I need Japanese for my work because I am in charge of projects in Asia and also in Japan,. And as we all know, we are pleased when a foreigner addresses us in our own language, even if they only speak it a little bit. It’s the same in Japan, where the knowledge I gained from my classes helps me a lot in the understanding of my business partners, but not only them; also the new friends I made during my many trips to Japan. I have never come to regret the choice of my teacher. Because I acquired basic orientation in grammar and the language itself, I am now able to express myself and ask for the everyday things in a restaurant, a hotel, when taking a taxi, or during an everyday polite conversation. The lessons are conducted in a friendly and entertaining atmosphere. Nobody is ever bored, and the lessons are always tailored to the student’s needs. It only remains to be said that I can recommend my teacher to anyone who wants to start learning this interesting language. (translated from Czech original)

Are you going to travel to Japan but you are worried that something could go wrong and you wouldn’t be able to understand and say what you want? You are right, you will not understand. You would like to ask for directions but when a Japanese person hears your “Excuse me” they just speed up and quickly disappear. It’s not that they don’t want to help you, they are just embarrassed. At the thought of having to communicate in English, the hair stands up at the back of their neck. On the other hand, when you exchange a few Japanese phrases, you will be surprised how friendly they are. It is not unusual for them to walk with you to your destination, even though they were headed in the other direction. Before a trip to a country like Japan, everybody should familiarize themselves with the basics of the language and a few cultural customs. Who knows, maybe thanks to your few Japanese phrases you might find a new friend. That kind of vacation would be unforgettable. If you would like to meet and try it out, let me know and we can set up the first lesson.

Carlos

I’ve been looking for a Japanese teacher who could teach me in English ever since I came to Prague and René was definitely a great find. His method is efficient and perfectly adapts to my needs. Moreover, his classes are dynamic and refreshing!

I’ve always had native Japanese teachers but I find no difference now with him. I really recommend René for any learning needs (grammar, conversation, even Japanese culture).

Estuve buscando un profesor de Japonés que pudiera enseñarme en inglés desde que llegué a Praga y René fue un gran hallazgo. Su método es eficiente y se adapta a la perfección a mis necesidades, además, sus clases son muy dinámicas y refrescantes.

Siempre tuve profesores nativos y con René no encuentro diferencia alguna con ellos. Realmente recomiendo a René para cualquier necesidad didáctica (gramática, conversación, incluso cultura).

Rene SkupyRene Ochiai (born in 1979) – tutor and interpreter

I first came into contact with the Japanese culture through my Karate lessons when I was six years old. At the age of 13 I replaced Karate with Aikido which I still practice to this day. A turning point in my life came in 1997 when I attended a course in calligraphy offered by the Japanese school in Prague. During my time there I got more acquainted with the Japanese people and their culture and behaviour which amazed me. For many years I believed that one can’t learn Japanese, until one day I decided to give it a shot and attended a course. After I graduated from high school I enrolled for a one year full-time program in Japanese studies. Upon successful completion of this course I accepted an offer from a Japanese company called Aoyama and became a full time interpreter –in my opinion, that was the best education. As a full time interpreter I worked in Japanese companies for four years until, after a few trips to Japan, I decided in 2008 to enrol for a language school “Topa 21” in Tokyo for advanced students, which I successfully completed. Upon my return to the Czech Republic I decided to become a tutor and later I became a full-time teacher of Japanese and calligraphy. Aside from the work of a teacher I work as a free lance interpreter and I am running an Aikido martial arts club at Charles University’s Faculty of physical education and sport.

Professional Education

2002 – 2003 Japanese courses at the Czech – Japanese association

2003 – 2004 one year intensive education of Japanese at Language center David Holis

2008 – 2009 one year intensive education of Japanese at Topa 21st Century’s Language school in Japan

Interpreting experiences

2004 – 2006 Aoyama Automotive Fasteners Czech, s.r.o.

(Japanese factory producing joining material)

Assistant of plant manager and interpreter (from/to Japanese)

2006 – 2008 Daiho Czech, s.r.o.

(Japanese factory producing TV cabinets for Panasonic)

Assistant of general director and interpreter (from/to Japanese)

Practical interpreting experiences

As an interpreter to and from English, Japanese and Czech languages. Interpreting of managers’ meetings, audits, sport events, lectures, at a production field, etc. Private interpreting for Japanese clients at different places, e.g. at hospitals, notaries, police stations, embassies, during parents visit at schools, etc.

Teaching experience

2007 –Japanese language courses for employees in Daiho co.

2008 – 2009 – courses of English at Smith Eikaiwa language school and in culture center of Suginami in Tokyo

2009 – teaching Japanese at Amazon high school

2010 – 20011 – teaching in Concur co.

2010 – 2011 – teaching in Unicontrols co.

2019 – 2013 – courses of Japanese and calligraphy at the Czech–Japanese association

2013 – teaching Japanese and calligraphy as a freelancer

Other Achievements

2006 – first place at the 30th year of Japanese speech contest „Nihongo benron taikai“ held in Prague

2008 – passed an examination for fourth Dan in martial art Aikido

2014 – passed an examination for eighth Dan in Japanese calligraphy

Japanese is an East Asian language spoken by about 130 million speakers, primarily in Japan, where it is the national language. It is a member of the Japonic (or Japanese-Ryukyuan) language family, whose relation to other language groups, particularly to Korean and the suggested Altaic language family, is debated. Little is known of the language’s prehistory, or when it first appeared in Japan. Chinese documents from the 3rd century recorded a few Japanese words, but substantial texts did not appear until the 8th century. During the Heian period (794–1185), Chinese had a considerable influence on the vocabulary and phonology of Old Japanese. Late Middle Japanese (1185–1600) saw changes in features that brought it closer to the modern language, as well the first appearance of European loanwords. The standard dialect moved from the Kansai region to the Edo (modern Tokyo) region in the Early Modern Japanese period. Following the end in 1853 of Japan’s self-imposed isolation, the flow of loanwords from European languages increased significantly. English loanwords in particular have become frequent, and Japanese words from English roots have proliferated.

Japanese has no genealogical relationship with Chinese, but it makes extensive use of Chinese characters, or kanji in its writing system, and a large portion of its vocabulary is borrowed from Chinese. Along with kanji, the Japanese writing system primarily uses two syllabic (or moraic) scripts, hiragana and katakana. Latin script is used in a limited way, such as for imported acronyms, and the numeral system uses mostly Arabic numerals, alongside traditional Chinese numerals. Japanese was little studied by non-Japanese before the Japanese economic bubble of the 1980s. Since then, along with the spread of Japanese popular culture, the number of students of Japanese has reached the millions.

(Japanese: Nippon or Nihon) is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south. The characters that make up Japan’s name mean “sun-origin”, which is why Japan is sometimes referred to as the “Land of the Rising Sun”.

Japan is an archipelago of 6,852 islands. The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, and Shikoku, which together comprise about ninety-seven percent of Japan’s land area. Japan has the world’s tenth-largest population, with over 126 million people. Honshū’s Greater Tokyo Area, which includes the de facto capital city of Tokyo and several surrounding prefectures, is the largest metropolitan area in the world, with over 30 million residents.

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Rene Ochiai

E-mail: rene.ochiai@icloud.com

Skype: rene.ochiai