If culture was a house, then language was the key to the front door, to all the rooms inside.
~ Khaled Hosseini ~
Language and culture are inextricably intertwined — to truly understand one, you must be immersed in the other. This is true of all languages but particularly with Japanese where, according to Japanese linguist, Haruhiko Kindaichi, the national character is reflected in the written and spoken language. Japanese culture is a mix of traditional and modern practices which manifest in the way people speak, listen, read and write.
So, if you're already intrigued, where can you learn Japanese in Adelaide? And, more importantly, where can you take Japanese lessons in Adelaide that will be just as much about the language as they are about the true culture?
All Things Japanese in Adelaide: A Quick Tour
If you're keen to find out more about what's happening with regards to free, fun Japanese cultural events and classes in and around Adelaide, then you should head directly to the Japan Australia Friendship Association website or Facebook page where you'll find all the details.
The association was established in 1998 with the goal of promoting exchange and friendship between Japan and Australia and now caters for a large group of members who have varying interests in the culture of Japan, from kabuki to manga, and in learning Japanese and building their language skills for a range of purposes. The membership consists of native Japanese speakers, students, business owners and anybody with a general interest in the country.
Adelaide and Himeji have had a sister city relationship since 1982, and the Adelaide Himeji Garden is a must-visit to absorb a little sense of the tranquillity and calm that is the essence of Japan.
You can also find lots of shops selling Japanese products, from household items to furniture and authentic Japanese restaurants where you feel like you are in Japan as you dine.
There is much to find in Adelaide to motivate and inspire you as you study the language and join the largest Japanese learning student community in Australia.
Reasons for Studying Japanese
Perhaps you are already aware of the benefits of taking classes or working with tutors to study a foreign language — improved memory, attention span, decision-making skills, self expression and confidence etc. — but you may be wondering, 'Why Japanese?'
Students of Nihongo cite many reasons for why they choose to learn this language. Some decided to take lessons because they wanted to travel or live in Japan. Others began taking courses through their interest in manga or anime. Some may have been introduced to a penpal in primary school and wanted to learn to help with communication.
Taking the time to learn the Japanese language is worthwhile because:
- it's a great gateway to learning other Asian languages
- you'll have increased international work and business opportunities, such as teaching English
- it's the perfect introduction to Japanese pop-culture and technology
- there are opportunities to expand your friendships
- travel around Japan, especially in remote areas, is easier.
Japanese is thought to be one of the more difficult Asian languages to learn because of its three alphabets — hiragana, katakana and kanji — as well as its use of honorifics and different forms of speech and expression for different contexts. However, as any language student will tell you, every language has its difficulties and if you are motivated enough, and having fun, you will learn.
Learn Japanese in Adelaide with a Private Tutor
If you've been learning Japanese for a while and you've reached an intermediate level, hiring a private tutor to take you further or help you review and put your class lessons to practical use is highly recommended. Private tutors can not only help you revise for tests but they can also supplement your course by providing speaking and listening practice which will not only help with your fluency but also your confidence.
A private tutor can also be the perfect solution even when you're only beginning your learning journey. Often beginners' classes are so busy and full, students don't really have time to speak as much as they should — or they may feel silly asking questions when all the other students seem to understand. A private tutor, who will work with you either face to face or online, individually or in a small group, can help by giving you that valuable practice you need to consolidate and internalise the language patterns and vocabulary you are learning in your course.
Some tutors may be native Japanese, while others may be students or adults who have spent many years studying Japanese or living in Japan. Either way, good tutors should be able to correct expression, provide realistic speaking and listening opportunities, give you extra practice with grammar structures or anything else their students need.
Where can I find someone to tutor me in Japanese in Adelaide?
There is an ever-growing number of online tutor matching platforms where you can find tutors for every type of learning there is, including Japanese. Platforms such as Tutor Finder, Preply, Tutoroo, University Tutor, First Tutors and, of course, Superprof all list people who are offering lessons in Japanese, usually online. How do you know who is a good tutor and who isn't?
On the Superprof platform, each tutor has an online profile that details their experience (language level and teaching), qualifications, areas of study, skills, expertise and the type of lessons offered — face to face, online, individual or group. You can also see details such as their response time, fees and testimonials from past students. It is worth spending a little time browsing this information.
Other places where you can find tutors offering Japanese lessons in Adelaide include university and community noticeboards, which often have advertisements posted by students looking to earn some extra cash for tutoring services, as well as online noticeboards like Gumtree.
If you're at an intermediate or advanced level, you can often hook up with native Japanese speakers who are in Australia as university students and are likely to be looking to improve their English skills. A conversation exchange — chatting half the time in Japanese and half the time in English — can be a great way to get extra practice for free. And it's fun.
Take Japanese Classes with a Language School
Do you need to brush up on your language skills? Perhaps you studied Japanese in primary school or high school but didn't pursue further study at the time. Maybe you took a Japanese course at university but want more now that you've graduated. Or, you might have never had the opportunity to study Japanese and now you really want to.
In any of these situations — where can you find Japanese lessons in Adelaide?
Online or face to face tutors are one option, as already mentioned but what if you want a more intensive study level?
If you want to study Japanese in Adelaide after your formal education (or during it), you do have a couple of excellent options in the capital of South Australia.
Japanese College of Adelaide
Established in 1989, this Japanese Language School guarantees small classes with teaching by native Japanese teachers at a high level of quality. They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes for every age level, including:
- pre-primary school
- primary school and high school
- Year 12 exam level
- hospitality and tourism
Japan Australia Friendship Association (JAFA)
If you're really after cultural experiences and training, JAFA (mentioned at the start of this article) should be your first point of call. They offer different cultural classes that often correlate with the time of a specific festival, as well as popular classes all year round such as origami, calligraphy and anime. If you're looking for a private tutor, JAFA should also be able to assist you to find one, or at least recommend somebody.
Whether you're at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level, want to study Japanese traditional arts and culture, need a bit of language to help you feel more comfortable when you travel, or have career goals that involve living in Japan or doing business with Japanese native speakers — there is an opportunity to take Japanese lessons in Adelaide that suit your learning style and meet your study needs.