Class levels at Genki Japanese School

Posted on June 19, 2012 | evankirby

People often ask us how class level placements work here at Genki Japanese School. The procedure is quite simple:
1) Before you arrive, we ask you to take an online placement test, with multiple choice and speaking components. Teachers place you into an appropriate class when we receive this.
2) On the first day of class, you have a written and interview test, to confirm the results of your online test.
Your final Japanese class placement depends on both of these tests. But of course once you start, if you feel your class level is not the best for you, you can always talk to your teacher about moving to a higher or lower class instead.

One of the biggest strengths of GenkiJACS is that unlike some other Japanese schools which may have only a few different ability levels, we have many different classes going on at the same time, so we can place you into one that very closely matches your current ability level. For example, here is a list of just the beginner class levels we have running this week (not all of our classes!), and what they're studying. (All of our classes are named after famous Fukuoka things.)

Low Beginner
川端商店街 (Kawabata Shoutengai class): Genki book 1, unit 2
ももち (Momochi): Genki book 1, unit 4
柳川 (Yanagawa): Genki book 1, unit 5
福岡大仏 (Fukuoka Daibutsu): Genki book 1, unit 5
大濠公園 (Ohori Kouen): Genki book 1, unit 8
海ノ中道 (Uminonakamichi): Genki book 1, unit 8

High Beginner
まんだらけ (Mandarake): Genki book 2, unit 13
友泉亭 (Yuusentei): Genki book 2, unit 15
大宰府 (Dazaifu): Genki book 2, unit 18
キャナルシティ (Canal City): Genki book 2, unit 21

So we have 10 beginner classes alone! This means no matter what level you come at, we can place you into a class that's basically perfect for you. It's one of the biggest strengths of our flexible system - instead of requiring you to start once a month, or once every three months, you can start whenever you want, and still join a class that's right for you.

You'll also notice that we have two classes doing the same material in some cases. That's because we're very strict about the maximum number of students in a class, 7. If we get one extra student in a class, we'll split it into two, so students still get lots of time with the teacher.

And even if you are the only student at your level when you arrive, we'll make a new class for you, and you'll have private lessons with the teacher! Not many Japanese language schools can say that... We hope we'll see you at Genki Japanese language school soon!

A Genki Wedding

Posted on June 12, 2012 | evankirby

Tetsuya and Masayo wedding
We were overjoyed to be able to attend the wedding of two Genki Japanese teachers recently! Tetsuya-sensei and Masayo-sensei were married at a Fukuoka shrine, then had their reception at 百年蔵 (Hyakunengura), a sake brewery close by.
As the two of them met at Genki Japanese, director Evan Kirby gave a speech at the reception. The reception itself was beautiful, with everyone present moved to tears.

As Masayo-sensei was a cheerleader at college, her old cheer team gave a demonstration, which Tetsuya-sensei perhaps enjoyed a little too much :)

We wish them a long and happy marriage. And we do of course expect them to name their first child "Genki"!
Tetsuya and Masayo

Free wireless Internet around Fukuoka City - finally!

Posted on June 06, 2012 | evankirby

Japan is a little behind the curve when it comes to free wireless Internet access in public places. But Fukuoka City is finally catching up, with the introduction last month of public wireless access points in the following locations:

- all subway stations
- Tenjin tourist offices
- City hall

They're planning to steadily increase the number of locations, so hopefully soon Fukuoka will be as convenient for tourists as major cities in other countries already are.

There is also free wifi in the following locations (provided by other organizations):

- Fukuoka airport
- Ferry terminal
- Tenjin Chikagai mall
- Bayside Place Hakata
- Fukuoka International Center, Marine Messe and Conference Center
- Artlier, 7th floor of Riverain

More details (in Japanese only) here, and a map here.

Parent-friendly workplace at GenkiJACS

Posted on June 04, 2012 | evankirby

There is only one full-time male employee at GenkiJACS - all the other full-time and contract staff are female. So we've always tried to make sure that the working environment is suited to staff needs. In particular, this means making sure that staff with children are able to work flexibly. We've taken the following measures:

- flexible working hours: staff can arrange to start and finish work around their own schedule, so they can share childcare responsibilities with their partner, relatives or other people
- reduced working hours: full-time staff can work reduced hours without losing benefits, to give them more time to take care of children.
- work from home: where feasible, we make arrangements for staff to work at home, including providing them with equipment such as notebook PCs.
- time off: when necessary, staff can easily take days off without advance warning.
- childcare area at school: we've set aside part of the school as a creche, equipped with safely flooring, gate, toys and more.
- childcare staff at school: we have a staff member on call to take care of employees' children during the working day.
- financial support for daycare: for older children who don't need to be with their mother all the time, we can pay part of the cost of daily childcare.

With a recent survey showing that 86% of mothers in Japan would like to return to work, it's more important than ever to make sure that the working environment supports women who want to work. We're doing our best to make it easy for women to work for us while caring for their children. And hopefully help to increase Japan's declining population!