Pre-Arrival Study Information

This page provides information for students who are already confirmed to study with GenkiJACS. Here we recommend some study preparations the student should take before coming to Fukuoka.

Topics:

  1. Textbooks
  2. Hiragana/Katakana
  3. Free Skype lessons
  4. Self-study
  5. Preparing for Japan

1. Textbooks

If you would like begin to study beforehand using the GenkiJACS curriculum, you can check out the following textbooks:

Beginner I: Genki I
Beginner II: Genki II
Pre-Intermediate: Chukyu e Ikou (中級に行こう), J.Bridge
Intermediate I: Chukyu wo Manabou (中級を学ぼう), J.Bridge
Intermediate II: Nihongo Chukyu J501 (日本語中級J501), Roleplay de Manabu Chukyu kara Joku e no Nihongo (ロールプレイで学ぶ中級から上級への日本語)
Advanced: Chukyu kara Jokyu e no Nihongo (中級から上級への日本語), Nihongo Namachukei (日本語生中継)
*You can order them online on sites such as Amazon.

Of course, you can study with us even if you used different textbooks previously.

2. Hiragana/Katakana

All students of GenkiJACS are required to learn the Japanese “hiragana” alphabet before starting their study with us. Why? Well, one reason is because the best textbook for beginner learners, Genki: An Integrated Approach to Japanese, uses only hiragana and katakana, not English letters, to display Japanese words. So, you need to be able to read the Japanese alphabet to be able to sound out the words in your textbook. This is equivalent to being able to read the letters of the English alphabet before you go to study English abroad – without learning the alphabet first, you can’t really learn anything else!
Luckily, it's not so difficult to learn - unlike English, each letter in the alphabet has basically one pronunciation, so it's just a matter of remembering the sound associated with each shape. Here are some resources to help you learn the hiragana alphabet.

Book:
“Kana Pict-o-Graphix: Mnemonics for Japanese Hiragana and Katakana”, by Michael Rowley. ISBN: 978-1880656181
              This book is an invaluable aid in memorizing the characters, as it provides a simple, easy-to-remember and imaginative picture that makes a story out of each character.

Flashcards:
“Kana Flashcards”, by Max Hodges. ISBN: 978-0974869438
Very useful set of cards illustrating each character, including vocabulary.

Websites:
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/beginners/hiragana : A comprehensive set of resources for learning hiragana, including pronunciation sound files, flashcards, quizzes, and more.
http://www.realkana.com/practice/ : A very simple site that quizzes you on the characters by asking you to type the pronunciation of the displayed character.

3. Free Skype Lessons

All GenkiJACS students can receive two online private lessons completely free! We will arrange these lessons after you have completed payment of fees. For details, see the online lessons page.

4. Self-study

Here are some useful study resources:
About.com - Japanese Lessons: Has links to various sites dedicated to teaching Japanese.
Collin's Japanese Language & Culture Page: Has many useful links to learning Japanese.
WWWJDIC: Arguably the best Japanese dictionary online.

5. Preparing for Japan

There are many ways you can prepare yourself for Japan. Remember, learning about Japanese customs and culture in advance will make your transition much easier. Also, meeting Japanese people is the best way to practice Japanese! Therefore, we recommend the following:

  • Make friends before coming: Look online for penpals, or join a Japanese social network. You can also join the GenkiJACS Facebook page and contact former, current, and future students.
  • Understand daily life in Japan: Check out the Japan FAQ for valuable information on Japanese etiquette, culture shock, and lifestyle.
  • Make a few plans: Whether you will stay in Fukuoka/Tokyo during your entire stay or go travel throughout Japan, it never hurts to plan beforehand so you can make the most of your time here! There are many travel resources online, such as Japan-Guide.com.
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