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Japanese Beginners (Year 1) Short Course

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Learn at a moderate pace with our Japanese Beginners short course. Starting in October, you will progress through three modules over a one-year period. For more flexibility, for this course, we offer you the choice of a Tuesday and a Saturday session.

Why choose this course?

Whether you're learning Japanese for travelling, working abroad or with foreign companies, the Japanese Beginners course will enable you to communicate confidently on a basic level in everyday situations, socialise and not feel out of place in the country you are visiting.

This short course is an introduction to the Japanese language and way of life for the purpose of practical communication. Challenging but rewarding, the course is perfectly suited to those looking to develop a basic command of Japanese.

The course consists of one evening class a week, for a total of 30 weeks; spread across three modules, which is ideal for those with various commitments or working full-time.

All of our language short courses are taught by qualified native speakers and delivered at City, University of London’s main campus, in the heart of the capital.

Course overview

This Japanese evening course will help you to develop essential listening, speaking, reading and writing skills. You will be introduced to Japanese characters (Hiragana, Katakana and very basic Kanji).

By the end of the course you will be able to understand and use familiar everyday expressions and very basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type. You will be able to introduce yourself, people you know and things you have. You will be able to interact in a simple way provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Is it the right level for me?

If you have no prior knowledge of Japanese you must start with Module One, which takes place in October term.

If you have some basic knowledge of Japanese and you are already familiar with the content of Module One you may choose to enrol on Module Two or Module Three. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

If you are a complete beginner but you have missed October enrolment for the Japanese Beginners course you can join our Japanese Beginners Fast Track course in January or the Japanese Beginners Summer Intensive course in April/May.

Please make sure you have the correct level by using our online guidelines.

  • “ It is a good course for anyone with limited or no knowledge of the language. You learn a lot of things and there is a good emphasis on conversations – most important part of learning a language. ”

    Lyumbomir Terziev

    Former student

  • “ The teacher is really good and you would learn a lot from attending just one lesson. Furthermore, the lessons are fun. The course is well structured and really easy to follow. ”



What will I learn?

What will I learn?

Module 1

Topics covered

  • Introductions and yourself;
  • Numbers, dates and times;
  • Nationalities and occupations;
  • Working in/ visiting a company;
  • Shopping;
  • Travelling;
  • Daily routine and the weekend.

Grammatical structures

  • Sentences using 'to be';
  • Various particles;
  • Word order;
  • Form of verbs according to positive &
  • Negative statement as well as in the future &
  • Past tense;
  • Interrogative nouns (nani, doko, itsu, dare);
  • Hiragana.

Learning objectives

  • Greeting people;
  • Introducing yourself;
  • Describing things;
  • Describing locations;
  • Shopping;
  • Asking and telling the time;
  • Asking and telling telephone numbers;
  • Talking about your daily routine;
  • Talking about your week-end;
  • Reading and writing Hiragana;
  • Becoming familiar with some aspects of Japanese culture.

Module 2

Topics covered

  • At a tempura restaurant;
  • Invitations;
  • Participating in a festival;
  • Plans.

Grammatical structures

  • Adjectives;
  • Type of verbs and verb conjugation;
  • Te form + kudasai;
  • Katakana.

Learning outcomes

  • Use basic greetings when visiting people and receiving guests;
  • Receiving hospitality;
  • Giving compliments;
  • Expressing gratitude;
  • Order food at a restaurant;
  • Praise someone's possessions/ talk about your own;
  • Make a telephone call;
  • Talk about schedules in detail;
  • Reading and writing Katakana;
  • Be familiar with some aspects of Japanese culture.

Module 3

Topics covered

  • Getting about in a city;
  • Your area;
  • Plans;
  • Visit to an art museum;
  • At a party.

Grammatical structures

  • Modal verbs (Te form + mo iidesu ka);
  • Imperative (Nai form + de kudasai);
  • Present continuous (Te form + imasu);
  • Verb 'want' + infinitive (Watashi wa verb-tai desu);
  • Very basic kanji.

Learning objectives

  • Being introduced to someone;
  • Responding to an inquiry;
  • Being warned or advised;
  • Give directions to a taxi driver;
  • Talk about getting on and off means of transportation;
  • Talk about lengths of stays;
  • Ask about travel times
  • Ask permission to do something/ ask someone not to do something;
  • Talk about what you are doing now;
  • Talk about where you live;
  • Like and dislike;
  • Express what you want to do;
  • Reading and writing very basic Kanji.



Prerequisite knowledge

Modules are taught at progressive levels, if you have no prior knowledge you must start at Module One in the autumn (October).

If you wish to join Module Two of the Japanese short course (in January), you must have completed Module One or be familiar with the content taught in Module One, specified in the What will I learn? section.

If you wish to enrol on Module Three of the short course (in April/May), you must have completed both Module One and Module Two or be familiar with the content taught in these two modules, found in the What will I learn? section.

Please check your level by using our online guidelines before enrolling.

English requirements

You will need to respond to instructions and read course documents in English.

Teaching & assessment

Teaching & assessment

The emphasis in this course is on listening and speaking. The lessons focus on language that is required in authentic situations.

There is no formal assessment and no qualification is issued at the end of the course, but you will be awarded an official City, University of London certificate on completion of the course. You must attend over 70 per cent of the classes to be eligible for the certificate.

Classroom activities will include:

  • Role-playing
  • classroom discussion
  • pair and group work
  • work on pronunciation and intonation
  • grammar in context.

More comprehensive grammar exercises, practise in Japanese writing and reading texts are generally set as homework.

All evaluation will take place in a relaxed and informal setting.

Recommended reading

Recommended reading

Japanese for Busy People: Kana [With CD (Audio)]

  • Publisher: 1 Paperback – 10 Apr 2012
  • ISBN-10: 1568363850
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568363851

Students are advised to purchase their own copy of the book

Tutor information

  • Takayuki Ogura

    Takayuki Ogura has been teaching Japanese as a foreign language in London for over ten years to students from diverse backgrounds.

    Taka also has extensive experience teaching Japanese for business, in particular for banks, insurance companies and to diplomats.

Next steps

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