Natasha Dachos, USA
Social Worker
Do you want to learn to speak Japanese? I mean REALLY SPEAK Japanese? Then I strongly urge you to sign up for lessons at JACS. Why?
I moved to Japan in 2004 and immediately enrolled in immersion Japanese classes at one of the prestigious Institutes.
For two semesters, five days a week, and 3.5hours of classes per day, I studied Japanese. Everyday I brought home at least 5 sheets of rote repetitive rather boring homework and I studied diligently. In class we practiced drills where we learned hot to say, "Mr. Tanaka's secretary types fast, doesn't she?" I learned how to fill out worksheets really well and my grammar and vocabulary ON PAPER improved. In real life conversations with Japanese, I had problems fitting in my new knowledge about Mr. Tanaka's secretary. Knowing how to fill out a worksheet or take a test didn't translate very well to "kaiwa" with Japanese.

I decided I needed to find a good conversation class, but I didn't want to just sit around and talk (I could do that already with my Japanese friends). I wanted to learn grammar, vocabulary and kanji. I called and visited numerous schools in Tokyo and realized most teach in the same rote style without much real-life usage.

I was thrilled to find JACS on the internet. Their website seemed to describe my situation perfectly. Twenty minutes into my demo class, I was ready to sign up. I've finished my first semester with them and I can still remember every word and expression I learned in that demo class !
There are great instructors at JACS. They are supportive and patient and push you at your pace. They teach with the same methodology but have very different styles.
Each week I learn new grammar and useful expressions - and yes, vocabulary that Japanese actually use in real life. JACS uses interactive
INDIVIDUALIZED computer programs to conduct the lessons. After initially practicing the grammar and new vocabulary, the teachers ask me about my own experiences and I answer with the new grammar (and everything else I've learned up to that point - they prompt you to help you remember).
While talking about my own experiences, I sometimes struggle for the right vocabulary. The teachers provide the missing words, which are added to my own personal running vocabulary list. Every week I am tested on a cumulative vocabulary list. So useful vocabulary directly related to MY LIFE/MY EXPERIENCES continues to grow. Totemo benri desu !

I am also interested in studying kanji and take a computer prompted kanji test once a week. Like the vocabulary and grammar, it cumulatively builds on the past lessons. In my first 10lessons(two times a week), I learned 10times the kanji I learned in two full semesters at my previous institute.
How thrilling to be on the subway and to be able to read the advertisements. And here is the truly GREAT part. I LEARN WITH RETENTION. I no longer spend hours filling out silly rote worksheets because the two types classes are designed to regularly review and retain the material.
The regular class introduces the material and the IRS class reviews the material from previous lessons through application. In both classes I am constantly forced to APPLY my knowledge rather than just repeat it - and that is the key to learning !

I could go on and on about why I think this is a great school and I would recommend it to anyone regardless of what their level of Japanese is (it's all individualized to your level, you goals and the amount of time you have). But let me conclude with a few more beneficial points. 1) I have to travel for business and they are extremely flexible about rescheduling. 2) My husband has very little time to either take class or study, so this school is perfect for him. They come to his office two times a week for one hour at a time, and he is finally learning Japanese ! 3) You can't beat JACS prices. If you don't believe me, check out what private lessons cost in Tokyo.
I guarantee that having your classes in your home or at your work with JACS will be much cheaper than taking a class at an institution.Quality instruction and reasonable prices sums up JACS nicely.

I look forward to seeing you and chatting in nihongo at future JACS's events (yes, JACS also has fun outings).
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