Boy.pockets Wrote:Good to see advice is still coming in - thanks.
I just found this the other day: Tokyo Nihongo Volunteer Network. You can search for a location (like a ward name) to see when and where the lessons are. Looks like the classes are free, or near enough. Seems like there are lots of them, but not sure how active they are.
I've done quite a tour today but it was worth it! I live in Taito-ku so there are three events here, near Ueno station. Two of them have lessons on Thursday.
First I went to Taito Nihongo Lesson, very big classroom (I'd call it Japanese style/dojo like but with desks and chairs) and really nice teachers but most striking was that there was only one other student. Teachers outnumbered us 3:2 so it turned out to be a free one on one/two Japanese lesson, how awesome is that!?!? I think the other guy was doing JLPT3 Grammar (red book) and some speaking, I didn't bring anything with me and wrote in a questionnaire that my objective was conversation (my most lagging skill) so we just practiced that. After a while another teacher sat with us and it went to a different level, with me desperately trying to keep up with two native speakers
Still I was amazed a few times as I could understand quite sophisticated points but then again got lost in a few very simple ones
Overall it was 2h of Japanese conversation, exactly what I wanted and needed.
Next was The Lunguage Bazaar A, this was in a more western classroom, but there were more teachers and students. Everyone seemed to be divided into small study groups (usually 1on1) and one teacher was doing some sort of lesson for 3 students with a whiteboard. Here I also got one on one conversation practice but we were later joined by a young girl from Philippines that was much better than me so it motivated me to try harder & do my best. After around 2.5h our teacher had to leave but she told us we can stay for another lesson (intermediate) after that with a different teacher. Being a good student that I am, I stayed and this one turned out to be more traditional lesson. There were 5 of us, I think 3 Chinese ladies/girls and what I'm guessing a girl from Thailand. We all read aloud a dialog from a textbook (forgot to look at the name) multiple times, with role playing etc. till everyone got a shot. Later the teacher went through the dialog and explained various expressions, asked us questions, how to rephrase some parts without changing the meaning etc. Quite a vivid lesson, lots of back–and–forth, got to listen to a few different and sometimes imperfect accents which was really nice since Japanese people also have their own accents too. I think overall the class was exactly at the level I'm at but some people there were much more advanced than me, I'm sure one Chinese girl had N1 textbook with her.
Overall it was 2.5h conversation, followed by 1.25h lesson that also involved quite a bit of speaking.
To sum up, I started ad 9:30 finished at 17:00, had a small break in between where I read a Japanese magazine (I cannot say no to a pretty girl on the cover and Ascii in the name) & got some info about the pool there (社会教育センター), during that whole time I was either speaking or being spoken to (quite different experience than even active listening to a TV etc.) in Japanese. If the other groups are active like these I figure a millionaire living in Tokyo could arrange a week consisting only from such events and travel between them and be fluent in year
Its a good place to practice your production skills with a high chance of being corrected if you make a mistake, you don't always get that from a friendly chat. Just from today I think I got better and more comfortable speaking Japanese (especially during last lesson). I'll definitely go to other meet-ups in my area too as long as I'm here in Tokyo and really recommend everyone to try it at least once.
I don't know why this doesn't have its own thread & a sticky in Language resources section, for a minimal effort on your part (going there) and practically no cost you could devise a production learning tool like no other.