LEARNING JAPANESE IN MELBOURNE
WHAT IS IT LIKE LEARNING JAPANESE LANGUAGE IN AUSTRALIA?
Recently we interviewed a student named Brianna what it’s been like learning Japanese language online in Australia. Brianna started learning at our Japanese school in Australia he started learning Japanese with us approximately 2 years ago as a beginner.
- What it’s like learning Japanese online as a beginner
- What study routine do you have with learning Japanese online?
- Experience learning Japanese online with other students?
- What have you found easy learning Japanese online?
- What’s been challenging learning Japanese online in Australia?
- How do you stay motivated learning Japanese online with your school?
How long have you been learning Japanese Australia?
I’ve been learning Japanese online in Australia since May 2017. I am still enrolled as a student at the Nunawading Japanese School.
Had you learnt Japanese online before?
I learnt a little Japanese when I started high school in Australia. I’d mostly forgotten what I’d learnt in school.
When I started Uni I also tried learning French for two semesters but ended up pursuing other subjects. Every now and then I will try to think of a Japanese word and French will pop in my head.
Why did you decide to start learning Japanese online?
I’ve always had a fascination with the Japanese language. This probably started from my obsession with Pokémon when I was younger!
I really love Japanese food, stories, Japanese music, anime and manga. I also have an appreciation for Japanese art, architecture and Japan’s beautiful landscapes.
I went to Japan on an adventure in 2015. I felt like I would be able to understand more about the people and culture if I could speak more Japanese. I’m so excited to go back. I love the challenge of learning Japanese online in Australia.
What was the process learning Japanese online Australia?
So much fun. Definitely a combo of difficult and easy things with learning Japanese language online.
As a beginner I would get mixed up with sentence structure when speaking. I have a tendency to panic and the structure gets a bit messy. Overtime, with the right support from my Japanese school, the pieces of the puzzle have started to come together.
Was it easy/difficult learning Japanese as a beginner?
As a beginner I found Hiragana and Katakana characters really easy to learn. I used to write a Japanese journal to practice new vocabulary. I found it a great way to practice sentence structure, grammar and revise vocabulary. I really like writing and any direct translation written homework.
Kanji remains extremely difficult for me to remember. I struggle with the multiple readings/pronunciations. I have tried using them in short stories and copying out line after line after line. It’s still really hard!
During the beginner stages I made a little set of flip cards on a key ring and chucked them in my handbag. Very useful to use on the train coming home from work. I think the process of making the cards actually helped me retain the information as well.
What’s your weekly Japanese study routine?
I try to do something Japanese-related every day. This helps a lot.
I attend a group class each week online in Australia. We have regular weekly homework or revision that has to be completed each week. This helps keep me focused in between classes and supports what I learn in class.
At work during the week I listen to J-POP and try to think of Japanese words for things around me. Sometimes I will talk to myself in the car and say out aloud where I’m going and what I see.
I also sit down to do some written work a few nights a week and watch anime on the weekends.
How has learning Japanese language changed your life?
I have met some amazing people already. Can’t wait to meet even more people that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise met had I not decided to start learning Japanese. I’m so glad I chose this school when looking for a Japanese language school in Melbourne.
Being able to speak Japanese as well will definitely help me communicate more with Japanese locals when I visit Japan. It would be amazing to work and live in Japan one day.
What motivates you with learning Japanese?
The enthusiasm of the teachers and my fellow students really motivates me! I just love attending my Japanese classes at Nunawading Japanese School.
This year I want to achieve a JLPT accreditation and eventually go back to Japanese with my mum. In the long term I want to be able to read manga and entire Japanese novels.
I’d also like to be able to watch anime without subtitles. I’m actually already starting to notice I’m picking up words and phrases when watching anime that are slightly different to what appears as the English subs!
What part of our online classes help the most?
The fact that this school can cater to anyone and everyone is what I think is so awesome!
I personally have so much fun in the Japanese group classes. I also like the combination of teaching methods used when learning content in class rather than just writing down sentences. The flashcards aren’t just words either. They incorporate visual pictures which really helps me remember the full meaning.
Asking questions in Japanese around the room can be challenging but is very beneficial for learning Japanese language. Everyone thinks of different ways to use what we’ve learnt. Others in the room are making the same little beginner blunders as me which is reassuring but it’s also amazing to see the progress we make each month.
The pile of flashcards for verbs is becoming huge. It seems like only the other day we were learning how to say eat, read, watch, do and go!
Any study tips for learning Japanese in Australia?
I stuck hiragana and katakana charts up on my bathroom mirror which I looked at when brushing my teeth every day. I think I need to replace them with kanji now…
I highly recommend listening to Japanese music. I found both JPOP and anime theme songs as well as some soft jazzy ballads on Spotify help a lot. Also the school provides lots of study resources which are great. The recordings and vocabulary are inline with my lessons which is useful for home study.
What interesting facts have you learnt online?
Because of the different sentence structures, there are sometimes really different ways of saying things. Some things can be really direct. But then I’ve found sometimes in conversations it’s polite to repeat parts of sentences…
I also recently found a video about Japanese body language. There are actually so many little differences I hadn’t realised!
What is learning Japanese language online in Australia like?
I’m amazed at the flexibility of learning Japanese online. Technology has improved so much and during the Covid-19 2020, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed learning online with my school.
Of course my first preference would be in a classroom face to face with my classmates but online is just as good. My teachers have a great way of making the classes even more engaging when online.
We always have a laugh in class and it makes learning Japanese language fun. I find learning with other like minded students really helps with learning Japanese online in Australia. The classmates are just as important as the teacher in some cases.
Why did you choose a native Japanese tutor in Australia?
I think native speakers have a much deeper subconscious understanding of the language built over a lifetime. I’ve especially found it easy relating and communicating with locally based Japanese tutors in Australia who are native Japanese themselves.
In particular from when they were young and learning Japanese language themselves. A native speaker can always tell how something should be said or is commonly phrased.
I know that our native Japanese teachers will help me learn more accurate pronunciation and accent from the beginning. This is why I chose to learn Japanese with native Japanese teachers who are located in Australia.
What is your main goal with learning Japanese online?
To speak confidently and extensively with people in Japan! As well as understand novels, manga and tv shows really well.
Lastly if you could be an anime character in real life, who would you be?
Definitely a Pokémon trainer, not sure about a specific character!