Studying Japanese

Studying Japanese

Studying Japanese is highly recommended, as it will make life in Fukui easier and possibly more enjoyable. The following locations offer formal language instruction:

Fukui City

1. Fukui International Activities Plaza (FIA)

Offers two options for studying Japanese:

1. large beginner group lessons (2000 yen/person)

2. private (1 on 1 or group) lessons (yen depends on # of people studying

You can sign up for lessons at the FIA.

2. Earthlink: 0776-35-5730

Many more private teachers are available throughout the city. So please ask your supervisor or other ALTs.

Sabae City

Sabae International Association Japanese Regular Classes 0778-54-0059

Echizen City

1. Takefu Int. Association: 0778-24-3389

2. Shikura nihongo no kai: 0778-27-7315

3. Nakamura nihongo kyoshitsu: 0778-45-0269

Ono City

Nihongo wo hiromeru kai: 0779-65-4577

Katsuyama City

Katsuyama City Nihongo Hiroba: 0779-88-1111

Tsuruga City

1. Reinan International Exchange Center.

This Center is located in Tsuruga. Izumikai, a group of local volunteers, teaches Japanese to interested foreigners. They offer beginner, intermediate and advanced classes between 9:30am and 6:00pm. You are able to take 2 classes per week for about 1,500 yen per month. Phone: (0770) 21-3445

2. Nihongo volunteer take no ko ni kai: 0770-23-6245

3. Konnichiwa: 0770-23-5460

Obama City

Wakasa nihongo no kai: 0770-52-0144

Takahama City

Takahama International Ass.: 0770-72-2888

Nikoniko nihongo kyoshitsu: 0770-72-3625


(日本語能力試験 Nihongo Nouryouku Shiken)

If you’ve studied Japanese before or if you are an enthusiastic learner, this test, lovingly called the JLPT, is an excellent way to test your skills and will help motivate you to study. It is also good for showing potential employers what your Japanese ability is. If you want to enter a Japanese university in the future, passing the Level 1 test is required.

The application package (¥500) is available at any bookstore which sells language materials and foreign publications (for example Katsuki, Kinokuniya or Kabos). The application process begins from August 1 (Fri) to September 12 (Fri), 2008. (Applications postmarked after September 12, 2008 will not be accepted). You will also need two passport-size pictures and pay 5,500 yen for the test fee. Included in the application pack are some samples of each test level. You can also buy question books and listening-cassettes/CDs in the bookstore where you bought the application pack. It’s a good idea to ask around for past tests and advice, too.

There are four levels of competency:

1-kyu 2,000 kanji and a 10,000-word vocab

2-kyu 1,000 kanji and a 6,000-word vocab

3-kyu 300 kanji and a 1,500-word vocab

4-kyu 100 kanji and an 800-word vocab

Each level is comprised of kanji, vocabulary, listening and grammar testing. To pass, you must receive 70% for Level 1 and 60% for levels 2, 3, and 4. Test results are received in mid January for level 1 and the end of February for levels 2, 3, and 4.

For further information on the proficiency exam or other matters regarding Japanese study, contact the Association of International Education, Japan (AIEJ) News Exchange Center.

For a comprehensive list of web resources for learning Japanese have a look at Jim Breen’s pages:

There is a link that you can save onto your keitai to a Japanese-English dictionary and English-Japanese dictionary.

Check out the ALC website: as well. You can search phrases in their dictionary which is really helpful. They have plenty of examples and easy to understand definitions. Install Rikai-chan or moji on your web browser (Firefox). It definitely helps out with reading Japanese websites. Once you place your cursor on a Japanese word or kanji, a window will pop up that will tell you the reading and the meaning of the word.

There are many Japanese language learners in Fukui, with different levels of Japanese. Ask them for advice on tests, studying, and resources. Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different manner so keep your options open. Don’t be shy about asking.

Useful contact information

Fukui School Education Division (Gakkou Gimukyoikuka)

0776-20-0575 Fax: 0776-20-0671

Feel free to contact the S.E.D. for advice or queries after having exhausted options with your supervisor.

International Affairs Division (Kokusaika)

Phone: 0776-20-0294 Fax: 0776-22-1702

The Fukui International Activities Plaza (FIA or kokusai kouryu kaikan)

The FIA offers many facilities and serves the surprisingly large number of non-Japanese in the area, as well as many Japanese. Its services are free, except the coffee shop, use of the photocopier (20\/copy), and the passport service. The staff are extremely helpful and friendly, and speak excellent English.

The FIA is in a sleek modern building on the intersection of Sakuradori and Osensui-dori in Fukui city. If you exit Fukui JR station, turn right and then left just before you cross the train tracks, you should find it. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the station. Their phone number is 0776-28-8800.

The counter section is open from 9am-6pm (Wed, Fri, weekends), and until 8pm Tuesday and Thursday. It’s closed on Mondays and public holidays. The coffee shop is open for business between 9am-5pm, and is closed on Sundays, Mondays and holidays.

The FIA library has a comprehensive selection of books and magazines. Lending is restricted to 2 items for 2 weeks.The FIA stocks many domestic and international newspapers in several languages, and it holds information files about many different countries, and on GMAT, studying abroad etc.

You are free to advertise on the notice boards, but must check your postings with the counter staff first. Within the library you can find two computers with web access. Book your 30 min slot at the counter in the library.

The FIA offers free legal consultations once every two months. Reservations are required.

You can find your friendly Fukui CIR and PA, Benjamin Willey here as well. If you have any questions, you can be rest assured he can help you or point you to someone that can.


おはよううございます Ohayou gozaimasu

It’s Early “Good morning” (until roughly 10:00 am) Also said at the beginning of an early morning event/function etc.

こんにちは Kon-nichi-wa

Good- afternoon! How’s it going? Hello.

Used during most hours of the day.

~お願いします O-negai -shimasu

I Wish… I’d like…Please… Politely makes a request. Usually used vaguely.

どうも Dou-mo

Polite Greeting and in context of Gratitude/Appreciation

お疲れ様でした O-tsukare sama deshita

You (are) Tired

Similar to “Go kurou sama.” Emphasis on the existence of physical exhaustion.

お先に失礼します O saki-ni shitsurei shimasu

Excuse Me for Leaving Ahead of You

Polite way of excusing yourself at the end of the day

じゃ、明日ね!さようなら。 Ja ashita ne! Sayounara. See You Tomorrow! Goodbye – very informal – good for friends not superiors

すみません Sumi-masen

Excuse me. I’m sorry. Thank you. The most commonly/overly used word in Japanese. It practically means whatever it needs to at the time of use.

注文したい Chu-mon shitai I/we would like to order If you need to get the waiter/waitresses attention, throw in a “sumimasen” before.


~o kudasai / o-negai shimasu

I’d Like. Please give me~. How to order things. “Kudasai” works well for restaurants. Point to a menu, add a “kore” (this) before “o”, speak and ye shall receive.

生ビール、一つください Nama biiru, hitotsu kudasai

One draft beer please. Essential Japanese. Changing hitotsu into “futatsu” makes it two. “Mitsu” makes it three and “Yotsu” makes it four.

ビール、一本ください Biiru, ippon kudasai

One bottle of beer please. For times when a draft is unnecessary. Changing “ippon” into “nihon” makes it two. “Sanbon” three and “Yo-hon” four.

お勘定おねがいします O kanjo onegaishimasu

We’d like the check. Used to pay for the beer you learned how to order.


Betsu betsu ni onegaishimasu

We’d like to pay separately.

暑い! Atsui! It’s hot!

What’s more annoying: the actual heat? Or the amount of times a day you will hear this? You be the judge.

寒い! Samui! It’s cold!

While a favorable alternative now, this word takes on similar usage to “atsui” (opposite meaning) once the snow starts flying.

*Refer to the JET Calendar for more useful phrases and words