Japanese Language Opportunities
Japanese Language Schools/日本語の学校: Along with classes at colleges and universities, there are a few local Japanese language programs:
- Soko GakuenThe school I go to in San Francisco is called Soko Gakuen. Inexpensive and decent, and as with may programs, pretty good for getting up to intermediate level (I haven't found any school that is good for going beyond intermediate level - guess you just need to live in Japan to do this).
- Japan Society of Northern CaliforniaThe Japan Society also has classes in San Francisco, San Jose, and Palo Alto, but I have never taken any there.
Japanese English Conversation Groups/日本人とアメリカ人のミーティング:Classes only take you so far - you need to practice. So I have been on the lookout for opportunities to practice and to interact with Japanese people. Here are a few I know of (all are free, except you pay for your food or drink):
- Japanee Exchange Society (formerly Japanese English Salon)Group meets on evenings of the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays in San Mateo, and the evenings of the 1st, 3rd, and 5th Thursdays in Cupertino. Basically, a bunch of Japanese and Americans get together at the set time in a coffee shop/bakery to chat about anything.
月に２回(第１と第３の木曜日の晩)CupertinoのLe Boulangerというコーヒー店、そして２回(第２と第４の水曜日の晩)San MateoのBoudin Sourdough Bakery and Cafeというコーヒー店で集まりがあります。
Note - Cupertino meeting may end as of January 2011. San Mateo is still going on.
- SF JapaneseSimilar to Japanese English Salon, but in San Francisco. Meets on the evening of the 1st Tuesday of each month at the Ferry Building (at the tables near the back of the building outside of a Japanese Deli called Delica rt1 and Peet's Coffee).
月に1回(第２火曜日の晩)サンフランシスコのFerry Building（Delica rt1やPeetsの近くにあるテーブル)で集まりがあります。
Note - SF Japanese may take a break during first half of 2011
- Japanese English ToastmastersToastmasters are a group aimed at helping people learn to speak in public. There are also specialty toastmasters groups, including those aimed at helping people with Japanese and English. There is a chapter in San Francisco (meets 2nd and 4th Fridays from 6:30 to 8:30, with folks going out for drinks afterward) and in Silicon Valley (meets on 1st and 3rd Thursdays 7:00 to 9:00 PM).
- East Bay Japanese Meetup GroupThis group has various meetings at various locations (in both East Bay and San Francisco) - not on a set date or time. Based around the meetup.com system, which uses the web site and email list to announce future events.
- The English/Japanese Language Exchange of S.F.This is a new group as of Spring 2010. Stated focus is on helping people learn Japanese.
- San Francisco Japanese Meetup GroupThis group has various meetings at various locations in San Francisco - not on a set date or time. Based around the meetup.com system, which uses the web site and email list to announce future events. A new person has taken over as manager, and asks for "donations" to attend events.
- WaiWai / わいわいI have heard of a group called Waiwai that meets on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and has pretty strict language requirements (something about only Japanese spoken until 8:30). Also supposed to be a social meeting at an Irish-Indian bar in North Beach on the 4th Saturday (Kennedy's Irish Pub and Curry House, 1040 Columbus Avenue). If you can read Japanese, the Japanese language version of the link provides a lot more information than the English one.
Note - the comment below in Japanese is from the organizer, who says they are meeting at a downtown mall food court, but this may change, so it is best to check the web site for meeting time and place.
There also appears to be a Wai Wai! Mama group, which I assume is for mothers?
- JoshikaiThis group calls itself "The Japan-Connected Women's Group". As such, it is a women's only group, so I have not been to any meetings to see what they do or what they are like.
- Japanese Discussion GroupThere is also a group that gets together twice a month on Saturdays to discuss various cultural topics in order to try to bridge cultural differences. Meets on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays at 3:00 at either a member's house or in the Golden Gate Park. Also sometimes has meetings on Thursdays at 7:00pm at the Metreon Food Court.
This group is may have gone away as of late 2010
- Japanese Dinner GroupThere is (was?) also a group that gets together for dinner about once a month, but I can not find information on it on the web. I am on their email list, so get invites that way when they are sent out (but none have been sent for quite a while now). May not be an active group any more.
If you know of others, or changes to what I have here, please leave a comment with the information.
Labels: Interesting Stuff