Archived Q&A and Reviews
does anyone know of adult beginning level japanese language classes in the berkeley/oakland area? i know the uc extension offers some but i was hoping for something a little less expensive. community college/buddhist temple/private institutions? rae
I took Japanese classes several years ago around Berkeley area. I did
1. UC Extensions. This was my favorite even though it was expensive. It's a small class (5-10 people), the teacher (Sachiko Nicholson) is really good, the high cost means you get motivated people who want to learn Japanese. The individual attention and good teacher was worth the money. I took Japanese 1 & 2 from her.
2. UCCSF. I then followed Nicholson to UCCSF, where she also teaches Japanese. The coursebook was pretty bad and the classes had 20+ people in it. Even though the teacher is good, with that class size, and w/ people who don't do their homework or pay attention in class, her hands were tied. I felt like I wasn't learning as much. Everything just takes longer. But this is the cheapest option. I only took one semester here and then gave up.
3. Soko Gakoen. Eventually, I went to Soko Gakoen in Japantown. Class sizes are about 10-15 people. Some teachers are better than others. The good ones really good, the bad ones, I wondered why I was wasting time shlepping to SF every week. Some of these teachers were in the UCSF program for teaching Japanese I think. The cost is about 1/2 to 1/3 of UC Extension.
I think there are other Japanese schools around the Bay area that are like Soko Gakuen. They basically offer Japanese instruction for children and also some adult language instruction. The easiest way is to ask around when you're in one of these classes and see where else people have taken classes.
If you work, and have to take classes at night, then I think a small class size is good. You will get a lot of people who didn't do their homework because they work. Having that small class means that the teacher can be flexible and still teach you something. anon
I'm looking for a non-religious based Japanese summer camp for my already bi-lingual 4 1/2 year old son. He already speaks some Japanese with Dad at home and with some friends, but fear, being English dominant, he may lose it without a more structured environment. When he starts K, I'd like to continue an after-school program. I'm already familiar with Sycamore in El Cerrito, but would prefer something not connected with a church. I'd be willing to drive to SF or up to an hour or so to do this. Thanks. Need to Maintain the 2nd language
Hi, You might want to check out the Pacific Rim International School in Emeryville. It is a Montessori based school but also offers language immersion in Japanese and Mandarin. There are 2 Japanese teachers for kids aged 3-6 and these teachers speak only Japanese to the kids all day no matter what subject is being taught (same for the Mandarin and Enlish speaking teachers - the teachers always speak in their native language to the kids, but can all communicate in English with the parents as necessary). There are quite a few kids in this class who come from Japanese families and speak primarily in Japanese throughout the day. They have several summer sessions that are each 2 weeks in length. The core hours are 9:00 to 3:30 but they also offer extended care from 8:00-9:00 and 3:30- 6. There are enrichment classes (usually art, martial arts, music) in the afternoons for an additional fee. Feel free to email me if you have any questions. Lorianne
There is another small after school program run by Misae Moro. The facility she uses happens to be a churchin San Leandro, but unlike Sycamore, there is no religious component. The program is 2x week. She is excellent: mi2kz [at] msn.com
Our girls will start at Hoshuko in SF in April -- age requirement is 6YO by April 1 -- parallel to the Japanese school calendar.
Our girls went through Sycamore and now do AIUEO 2x week. We are very satisfied. I felt the same as you about the religious component at the beginning, but ended up finding a benefit in it -- we framed it as exposure to one of the many world religions. In conjunction with Sycamore, through friends, we exposed our girls to Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam -- though we as a family do not observe any religion.
We are also part of a very large Japanese community in the east bay, this is a great way to instill values and language.
Happy to share more. Amy
My 12 year old has expressed a burning interest in learning Japanese. We live in Oakland but school in Berkeley. Any suggestions?? Stumped
Not sure if you have access to iTunes, but there are free downloads on iTunes for podcasts called Japanese101, and they're quite good. The pronunciation is great, and they break down all the syllables. Each lesson is about 10 minutes long and they just hammer a few phrases each time. It's a good starter, in my opinion. There are also other languages, if anyone else is interested...Italian I know for sure, though I took Italian in college and haven't listened to it to see if it's good or not. --Domo Arigato but not Mr. Roboto, please.
A few years ago my husband took Japanese lessons with a lovely, patient private tutor. She lives in North Berkeley. Her name is Maki Kajimura (510) 527-0985. andrea
I'm looking for a beginning Japanese class for myself and my 15- year-old, to prepare for a trip to Japan in the spring. I can't find any adult school classes in the Berkeley area, and wonder if anyone has any other leads? Thank you! rachel
Have you checked Contra Costa College in San Pablo for Japanese classes? They do offer classes there for high school age students as well.
I checked online and Laney College is offering conversational Japanese this Spring, Tuesday nights 6-9 pm. It's not Berkeley, but is quite close, and I took the class before (w/a different teacher) and enjoyed it. denise
My 16-year-old son took a Japanese class at Laney College from a wonderful teacher who I think also teaches at Cal State Hayward. I sat in on a couple of classes and it was great!
My brother is a Japanese Tutor. He lives in the city, but would be willing to travel to the East Bay to meet with you. Since you will be travelling in Japan, a private tutor may offer you more personalization. We are American, but lived in Japan during our middle school and high school years. My brother returned to Japan for some of his college studies(East Asian Studies degree). He is fluent in Japanes (and a few other Asian languages as well.) Following college, he moved to Japan and was a translator for a Japanese company. He has lived in the states for about 5 years now and has recently left a Japanese company to travel awhile. He is currently doing some freelance translation and Japanese tutoring. He is very reasonably priced. His name is Paul Barrows and his number is 415-957-1823. If you are more interested in a Japanese School or class, he recommended contacting the Japanese Consulate in SF for information on a program nearest you. Jennifer
My 13 year old son wants to learn to Japanese (and doesn't want to wait another year to start El Cerrito High). Does anyone have suggestions for classes or tutors in the El Cerrito/Berkeley area? I'd like something fun and not too high-pressured. I've checked the archives and the listings are either in SF or are several years old. Cathy
The Albany Kumon teaches Japanese.
Try Arrowsmith Academy on Bancroft--540-0440 or Academic Talent Development Program on the UC Campus--642-1670
My daughter, a BHS soon-to-be sophomore, will be taking Saturday classes next year at the East Bay Japanese Language School at a church in El Cerrito (tel 222-4798). I do not know if they will be intensive enough to satisfy the language requirement. My daughter's friends took a cram course in San Francisco, with lots of homework, designed to get kids with limited Japanese proficiency fluent enough to return to live in Japan. If you want a referral to a cram course, the El Cerrito people know about them. Cynthia
Arrowsmith Academy in Berkeley has Japanese Classes for students.
I know you did not really want private schools but you asked about Japanese. Marin Academy in San Rafael is the only high school I know of that teaches Japanese, and we looked at a lot of schools. They also on occasion taken the students to Japan. Unless perhaps BHS independent study would let you take it privately for credit. This I don't know. Good Luck. lynn
I know that El Cerrito High School has been, and still is, offering Japanese courses. (at least 1, may be 2.) Mrs. Satake is the instructor. You may contact the school. Good luck! Yoko
Lick-Wilmerding, a private high school in San Francisco, also teaches Japanese. Bonnie
CPS, a private high school in the Rockridge area, also offers four years of Japanese. Victoria