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.
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!