(*English is below the Chinese text)
LH (Student Staff)
Learning Japanese Outside of the Classroom
Speaking of language, I think the essential value of it is to convey one’s thoughts to others.
That is to say, being good at letting others know what you want to say is more important
than knowing all the words in the dictionary.
I can remember very clearly that although I had learned Japanese for a year and a half
before coming to Waseda, I could barely speak any Japanese when I arrived here, which I
found really frustrating. I was turned down by the UFJ bank when I tried to open a new
account because my Japanese level was too low to understand the staff’s explanations.
I couldn’t have further conversations with Japanese friends after our self-introductions
even though I had over a thousand words I had learned in my head.
To solve these problems, I made several plans to improve my Japanese desperately as
quickly as possible in order to make my life in Japan smoother. Aside from exerting all
your efforts in Japanese classes, I recommend the following three methods which can help
you improve your spoken Japanese and even learn things that you will probably never
learn in class.
First, join a student club that you are interested in.
It is always easier for people who share mutual interests to become friends with each other.
By joining a student club, you can make Japanese friends of the same age and learn popular
Japanese phrases young people use frequently through casual conversations.
Second, find a part-time job.
Having a part-time job, you can learn how to speak correct “keigo”. Since Japan is a country
of politeness, knowing how to speak correct keigo is very important for Japanese learners.
However, it’s kind of difficult to learn just using books, but you can naturally remember
keigo through actually using it to communicate with customers so I think it’s easier to learn
Last but not least, come to ICC!
ICC holds various language-related events frequently and anyone, as long as you are
interested in ICC’s events, are always welcome to come. Sign up for the popular
Language and Culture Exchange Program to find a partner to practice Japanese with on a regular
basis. There is also the Japanese Chat Club where you can chat freely while practicing your Japanese. Also, if you don’t have much time,you can bring your own lunchbox and drop by
the weekly Language Lunches.
In my own case, I joined a dancing club called “SesSion” since I also like dancing. I learned
lots of phrases by reading the messages in the LINE group and during practice. Also, I
attended almost every ICC event for aimed at freshman and benefited a lot from them.
That’s the reason why I became a Student Staff Leader (SSL) at ICC and fulfilled my plan of
finding a part-time job.
To conclude, although the title for this article is about learning Japanese, these methods can
of course be used to learn any language. I hope you found the methods useful and I hope you
also liked my story. I am still learning too and hope to speak fluent Japanese in near future.
Let’s do our best! 頑張りましょう！
LH (Student Staff)