X'mas lights in Fukuoka

Posted on December 31, 2009 | genkijacs


Something we really look forward to at this time of year are the pretty Christmas lights in Fukuoka.

We went to see the lights with the lucky(??) students who get to be in Fukuoka right now.

<br />We went to the underground shopping center

And the IMS building

And Elgala Hall

And of course Kego Park

Along the way we ran across these lifelike mannequins
(If you happen to meet these mannequins out on the street, be sure to say hi!)

At the end we ate ice cream, and then the tour was over!

[Link to original entry]


Posted on December 30, 2009 | genkijacs

At last week's closing ceremony, Arno-san, who had been studying at GenkiJACS for three months, brought homemade tiramisu for everyone.


It was the best thing I've ever eaten!!!

Arno-san, thank you.

After everyone ate the tiramisu, we went to a restaurant that let us have a taste of a wine called Beaujolais Kaikin.


We had planned on just sampling the wine, but...

"We'd like a bottle of Beaujolais, please!"

[Link to original entry]

Anmitsu Hime!!

Posted on December 29, 2009 | genkijacs

We went there, to Anmitsu Hime.

Who knew there was a place this close that was so much fun...


We wonder how much the students could really understand, but the GenkiJACS teachers and staff thought it was hilarious!


The person in orange works for the club.

I see a love triangle in their future

Yuji-sensei was strangely excited about it all.

Tomato-mama and everyone were so pretty that we had to ask "Are you all really men??"

We just went, but we're already thinking of going to Anmitsu Hime a second time.

Everyone should try going at least once!

[Link to original entry]

Tsugumi-sensei home visit

Posted on December 28, 2009 | genkijacs

We all went to Tsugumi-sensei's restaurant.

While the shop actually specializes in sweets (parfaits, etc.), today they made lots of different food specially for the GenkiJACS students.

Everything was good.

I thought taking pictures of food was a Japanese thing...


Rie-sensei monopolized the dessert everyone had been looking forward to.


Tsugumi-sensei has a horse and pony, and after dessert there were pony rides...

It was another fun party!


[Link to original entry]

Yakiniku tabehoudai

Posted on December 27, 2009 | genkijacs

Everyone's favorite word in Japanese, and their favorite thing in Japan.

"Tabehoudai" (All-you-can-eat)

We ate enough for 3 days!!

Everyone's chopsticks going for the grill...

A short break


[Link to original entry]

A Holiday Season Thank-You to GenkiJACS Staff

Posted on December 26, 2009 | evankirby

It’s been an interesting year here at GenkiJACS – we were chosen as one of the top language schools in the world, became only the third Japanese school ever admitted to IALC, fought off takeover attempts, reorganized our course system, reorganized our company itself, and much much more! I want to take a few minutes today to say thank you to the staff who have helped us so much throughout this year. We are blessed with a wonderful team, who have made the school a great place to be!
I’ve worked several jobs, both in Japan and in other countries, and I can honestly say that I’ve never enjoyed going to work every day as much as I enjoy going in to GenkiJACS. That’s partly due to the wonderful students – it’s a joy to see them improve little by little each day, and we’re lucky to have such lovely people want to study with us. But the biggest reason why I’m excited to go to work every day is the great staff I work with.
Machiko-sensei, our head teacher, is a great organizer, with a careful eye for detail, and somehow able to keep hundreds of plates spinning every day, to make sure every student’s lessons are going smoothly. She works harder and longer than anyone, often staying in the office until late at night to get everything perfect. She’s often quite serious, but that just makes it all the funnier when she tells an unexpected joke! She’s diligent and devoted to improving the education of students through teacher training. We’ve noticed that students’ Japanese ability is really improving quicker recently than it ever used to, and I think Machiko-sensei is the reason!
Aiko-sensei wears two hats, as both a Japanese teacher and our administrative head. She’s in charge of making sure everything outside of classes goes smoothly, and she does a wonderful job! She has a super-cool personality, never flustered even in an emergency, helping to keep everyone else around her calm. She has a great sense of humor and a super-fast wit, in both Japanese and English. And she has the perfect Japanese pronunciation of a TV newscaster.
Yuji-sensei is a student favorite – he even has his own Facebook fan club! Students love his relaxed teaching style, his sense of humor, and his bottomless knowledge of manga. We love the excellent way he’s handled class scheduling for the last couple of years – repeat students regularly tell us how much better class scheduling is now than it used to be. We’re sad to say Yuji-sensei will be taking a sabbatical leave for a year, to study German, but we’ll see him back here in 2011!
Mai-san was a newcomer this year, but she’s quickly become the heart of the school! She’s a fountain of energy, taking care of students both in and outside of school. She’s also one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met, and a huge asset to the school. She handles student accommodation, a difficult job at the best of times, but she’s done brilliantly this year, and improved the school’s systems in many ways too! Thanks Mai!
Rie-sensei’s first child was born the year she started GenkiJACS, and ever since, she’s had an incredibly difficult job – running a growing business while raising two small children. She’s done an amazing job, and made GenkiJACS into the internationally recognized school it is today.
Finally, the staff and teachers who run classes tirelessly every day deserve a huge thank you. The teachers’ room at GenkiJACS is always full of laughter, and the teachers themselves make being at GenkiJACS a joy.
Thanks again to all the GenkiJACS staff, for making this school a great place to study and work!

Happy Holidays!
Evan Kirby


Posted on December 25, 2009 | genkijacs

Going to a yatai (outdoor food stall) for the first time.

It was raining, but it was still fun!


You can't really talk about Fukuoka without mentioning yatai, can you...

[Link to original entry]

New Neighbors!

Posted on December 24, 2009 | evankirby

We posted a while ago about companies moving out of the GenkiJACS building, but this time, we're happy to announce a new company moving in!

New sign

This is the sign of 福祉研究カレッジ ("Fukushi Kenkyuu Carejji", Welfare Research College), a school devoted to training care staff to work with elderly and disabled people. They are of course a very socially conscious company, working hard to give back to society as a whole, and we're happy to be able to call them neighbors! From now on, we hope to be able to work together in a bunch of ways, giving our students new opportunities to help out in the community, as well as make new friends!


Posted on December 24, 2009 | genkijacs

At Atago Shrine.

The weather was great up until yesterday, with a pretty blue sky.

After climbing a lot of stairs, the view was incredible.



At the shrine, a prayer was made for success in love (enmusubi).


[Link to original entry]


Posted on December 23, 2009 | genkijacs

Today we had okonomiyaki.

It tastes different when you're learning how to make it as you go along!


We were hoping for some leftovers, but it looks like it was all eaten...

Oh well...

[Link to original entry]

Conversation classes

Posted on December 23, 2009 | genkijacs

Recently the higher-level classes at GenkiJACS went to visit a local Japanese university, where we had Japanese conversation practice with the students. We talked about our home countries, Christmas, and lots of other things.



It was a lot of fun! We ate lunch in the university cafeteria afterward, and some of the students we met came to the GenkiJACS Christmas party the next day.

It seemed like everyone really enjoyed the trip!

Next year's Chinese zodiac

Posted on December 22, 2009 | genkijacs

At a culture lesson we drew the Chinese zodiac animal for next year.

Next year is the Year of the Tiger.
Students drew tigers on the wood from a 100-year-old (!!) cedar tree.

Don't these tigers all have nice faces?

These are nice too. But if I had to guess I'd say they were cats.

They'll all make good souvenirs!

[Link to original entry]

Early-morning practice

Posted on December 21, 2009 | genkijacs

We went to see the early-morning practice at the sumo stable Takasago.

The impressions afterward were "That was scary..."

Everyone was overwhelmed by the sight of the wrestlers practicing so seriously at full power.

Even though we just went to watch, everyone was a little exhausted when we came back.

Still, it was a really good experience.


Also that day we had a "chanko nabe" (a dish sumo wrestlers eat) party.

There were 3 different kinds: miso, soy sauce, and vegetarian.

Everyone was wondering "How do they get so big on such healthy food?"


But we think, if you saw how they really eat at sumo stables...

[Link to original entry]

Xmas Party video on Youtube!

Posted on December 20, 2009 | evankirby

We've uploaded one video from last week's Xmas party to Youtube. It's the teachers and staff performing a student-written play. It's a long one - 9 minutes in total! But everyone had a lot of fun...

The video should be up on our Facebook page soon too.

Manga lesson

Posted on December 15, 2009 | genkijacs

The first manga lesson in a while.

As expected, the students enjoyed it.
Some were concentrating so hard it was like they had forgotten to breathe.


[Link to original entry]

Wagashi (Japanese confectionary)

Posted on December 14, 2009 | genkijacs

Dango: sweet dumplings.


Lots and lots of dango.


We made them today.


Sweet potato dango are really popular. Overseas they use potatoes for candy, but not sweet potatoes.

While eating the dango everyone got excited talking about the sweets from different countries.

The mitarashi dango weren't very popluar...

[Link to original entry]


Posted on December 13, 2009 | genkijacs

What is this?


It's apparently ice cream. Astronaut food...


Everyone tried it and told us what they thought.

The question: How is it??

"Mm, it's okay"

"Hmm, strange"

"Hmm, can't really describe it"

"It's good!"

"It's alright"

"Really good!"


No comment

Can you get the idea?

[Link to original entry]


Posted on December 12, 2009 | genkijacs


After today's ending ceremony was a karaoke night.

It was karaoke, but...





Interview 6

Posted on December 11, 2009 | genkijacs

Hi everyone!

Today is the 6th interview.


Q.Your name is?


Q.Where are you from?

A.Sydney, Australia
Q.What do you like about Japan?

A.1. I love Japanese
2. Japanese food
--shabu-shabu, yakiniku, onigiri (tuna with mayo), rice burgers
3. The ski areas in Nagano and Hokkaido
--He likes snowboarding

Q.What do you like about Fukuoka?

A.1. Maid cafes in Tenjin
--The 'otaku' customers are funny

2. Train geeks
--He noticed people recording the sounds of departing trains at the station
3. Space World
--He's planning to go this week

Matthew-san is really good at Japanese, plus he uses Hakata dialect; I was surprised a few times! 

Matthew-san thanks for the interview.

[Link to original entry]

Interview 5

Posted on December 10, 2009 | genkijacs

Hi everyone!

Today we're doing a 5th interview.


Q.Your name?

A. Philippe

Q.Where are you from?


Q.What were your reasons for coming to Japan?

A.Because I love Japanese!
Q.What do you like about Japan?

A.1. The pretty scenery!
--He went around Kyushu by car. (He likes hot springs, especially open-air baths. The other day he went to a 'hell onsen' in Beppu.)
2. Japanese food
--He wants to eat everything, it seems


Q.What's a nice place in your country, or a place you like?

A.Basque (Philippe-san's hometown) is great! Especially the scenery. The sea and mountains are pretty. The food in Basque is a little oily, but it's really good. The houses have white plaster walls, and each house has different color windows and doors. Basque has its own language and mythology, it's great.

Philippe-san loves Japan; this is his second visit.

After hearing so much about Basque, I want to go to! (I'll start saving up)

Philippe-san, thank you very much!

[Link to original entry]

More Returning Students Than Ever!

Posted on December 09, 2009 | evankirby

We just noticed that on the week starting the 21st of December, more than 20% of the students at GenkiJACS will be returning students (that is, students who studied with us in the past, coming back to study with us again)! This is a testament to the hard work that the teachers here do every day, and as a school, it's the best recommendation that we could receive. Most people only get the chance to study in Japan once in a lifetime. When someone who already knows exactly what we're like is willing to pay their hard-earned money to come back to the same school, that shows they thought it was worth it the first time! So thank you again to all the returning students - you make us even happier to do our jobs! We're working on a special program to reward returning students (beyond the 10% discount we currently give), and should have details ready shortly. Here's hoping even more students come back to study with us again in the future, and the GenkiJACS family gets even stronger!

Short trip

Posted on December 09, 2009 | genkijacs

It's autumn.


The season for eating.


But last weekend there was something even more fun than eating.


Do you know what that is?

Every year around this time there's an event in Akizuki.

A few GenkiJACS students also participated.

For only 3000 yen you get a kimono, obi and sandals (they're partly secondhand), plus a fitting.

And everyone walks around Akizuki, filling the town with kimonos.



Everyone had a great day!


[Link to original entry]

Upcoming GenkiJACS events

Posted on December 09, 2009 | evankirby

Here is a list of the GenkiJACS events planned in the next few days:

Thursday December 10: Japanese movie "Hula Girl" on the big screen at school
Friday December 11: Karaoke party
Saturday December 12: Fukuoka Motor Show

Monday December 14: Pottery class
Tuesday December 15: Tenjin Xmas Illumination Tour, and Tea ceremony and kimono class
Wednesday December 16: Touchouji temple visit
Thursday December 17: Atago Shrine visit, combined class with Nakamura University, free city tour for new students, and movie at school (a busy day!)
Friday December 18: Sumi-e charcoal painting class, and Xmas party!

That's 13 events in just 9 days! Most students don't have the time or energy to attend ALL of these, but we want to make sure your time is full of fun things to do. We've recently powered up GenkiJACS' events program, and we'll be announcing a whole new program in the near future too. Watch this space!

Ending ceremony and temakizushi party

Posted on December 08, 2009 | genkijacs

This week there were only two students leaving.
But it's still sad...
Everyone gave them a grand farewell, and they said "See you next year" as they left.

And next was a temakizushi party!

Everything was set up by three interns from the Kyushu Gaigo College.


As you can see from the picture, it was a really extravagant, pretty layout.

Plus it all tasted good, so even though I'm on a diet I joined in.

I ate a lot.


Thank you so much everyone! (One of our students, Nick-san, also helped. Thank you!)


People from the interns' school also came. This party was a little different from the usual!


[Link to original entry]

Model House Casa Cube

Posted on December 08, 2009 | evankirby

20091208-IMG_0179 (Custom).jpg

We spotted this model house in Tenjin the other day. This is a "Casa Cube", a new type of house that the manufacturer is proud enough of to display in the very center of the city. The major feature of it, as you might have spotted, is its featurelessness.
We asked the salesman why it had almost no windows, and he said the main reason was to prevent crime, by removing the easiest way to get into a house. So, none of the windows are large enough for a person to squeeze through. Here it is from another angle:

20091208-IMG_0178 (Custom).jpg

It seems a little strange to us to cut out almost all natural light because of fear of crime, when living in one of the very safest countries in the world. But the other reason for lack of windows is to lower the cost. These are "off-the-shelf" houses - you choose one from a catalog, and they deliver it to your plot of land, starting from 12,800,000 yen (about $145,000 USD).

The photo gallery on their website is one of the strangest collections of pictures we've seen in a while...

College of New Jersey approves GenkiJACS' programs!

Posted on December 07, 2009 | evankirby

TCNJ logo

As of this past Wednesday, GenkiJACS is now an approved study abroad program for The College of New Jersey students! This means students from TCNJ can receive credit for short study with us, either in summer or winter. Contact your advisor for more details!

Interview 4

Posted on December 07, 2009 | genkijacs

Good morning!

We're interviewing a fourth student today.


Q.Your name?


Q.What were your reasons for coming to Japan?

A.1. Because Japanese is interesting
  2. Coming to Japan was a childhood dream
Q.What do you like about Japan?

A.1. It's really pretty here!
  2. Japanese food
    i.e. katsudon, yakitori, sushi, ramen
3. Japanese anime
    i.e. Studio Ghibli, Death Note, One Piece

Q.Where are you from?


Aurelie was in the middle of eating katsudon when we did the interview.

Aurelie, thank you very much!

[Link to original entry]

The customary...

Posted on December 06, 2009 | genkijacs

Ending ceremony.


Afterward, everyone went to their favorite all-you-can-eat-and-drink restaurant.

Nick-san didn't eat lunch to save room...

Not a good idea.


The adults had sake.

That looks good!!


[Link to the original entry]

Google Maps Street View finally comes to Fukuoka, Kyushu

Posted on December 05, 2009 | evankirby

After years of wait, Google’s Street View has added support for Fukuoka, and other parts of Kyushu too! Here’s your favorite Japanese school:

Unfortunately the photo was taken just as the Toho supermarket was moving into the ground floor, so it doesn't look particularly attractive...

A couple more of Fukuoka's famous sights:

Fukuoka Tower:


Fukuoka Dome and the Seahawk Hotel, at one point the biggest hotel in Japan:


For new students, we recommend using this to look up your accommodation's address before you arrive, so you have an idea of what the building looks like. Very useful!

Interview 3

Posted on December 03, 2009 | genkijacs

Today is the third interview, introducing another student.


Q.Your name?


Q. What were your reasons for coming to Japan?

A.Nothing in particular

(To improve her Japanese, maybe?)
Q.What do you like about Japan?

A.Japanese culture

 --Especially history, it seems (not American, longer histories are better)
Q.Where are you from?

A.New Hampshire, America

 --In the northern part of America

A closing message:

Thank You!

Janna-san was very cute and shy, with short hair and a smile. I was shy during the interview too.

Janna-san, thank you very much!!

[Link to the original entry]

Ninja school?

Posted on December 03, 2009 | evankirby

We noticed an amusing posting on Craigslist the other day, from a mother looking for a ninja school for her son. Someone recommended GenkiJACS to her, which is doubly funny considering our strict no-ninja policy...

Student Thea's on the cover of Fukuoka Now!

Posted on December 02, 2009 | evankirby

Genki Japanese School's Thea is on the cover of Fukuoka Now this month, the December 2009 issue! She's dressed up and ready for Xmas.

Thea Stevens on Fukuoka Now cover

On a related note, Fukuoka Now's Twitter feed is a great source for local news in English, updated regularly. And a great magazine all round!

Interview 2

Posted on December 01, 2009 | genkijacs

Another interview today!


Q.Your name is?


Q. What were your reasons for coming to Japan?

A.Japanese study [Especially kanji!!]  
Q.What do you like about Japan?

A.Temples, shrines

 --He went to a shrine a few days ago and wished for success in the future
Q.Where are you from?

A.Konstanz, Germany

 --On the southern tip of Germany

A closing message:

Being able to experience and learn about the differences in culture between Japan and my country makes me happy. So does learning Japanese!

Florian-san was using a computer when he was interviewed. He's often seen in the lounge eating melon bread.

Florian-san, thank you very much!!

[Link to the original entry]