Genki Japanese Schools shortlisted as one of world's star language schools!

Posted on July 29, 2015 | evankirby

Best Japanese school award

We've done it again! For the 7th year in a row, we've been shortlisted by popular vote as one of the world's top language schools (not just Japanese schools!) at Study Travel Magazine's yearly industry Star Awards, the language school equivalent of the Oscars. Thanks to everyone who voted for us this year again! It's an incredible honor, especially in such a big year for us.
In the last 12 months, our Tokyo school almost doubled in suze, our Fukuoka school moved to a new six-floor(!) building, and we began the process of applying for Japanese government accreditation. We're so happy that everyone who voted for us felt we were doing a good job this year too. The Japanese language school industry is a wonderful one to be a part of, and we've worked hard to bring international school standards to Japan too.
The awards ceremony will be held in London in September, so we won't find out if we actually won the award until then. Wish us luck, and stay tuned for an even more exciting 2016 and beyond!

Studying Japanese on a Working Holiday visa

Posted on July 13, 2015 | evankirby

Keen followers of our Japanese school may already know that we are currently going through the Japanese government's accreditation process for Japanese language schools. If we become an accredited Japanese school, we will finally be able to provide student visas! However, the earliest this could happen is April 2016, if everything goes smoothly.
Until then, the best way to study Japanese long-term with us is on a working holiday visa.

As of July 2015, the working holiday visa is available for people from these countries to come to Japan:
- Australia
- New Zealand
- Canada
- Republic of Korea
- France
- Germany
- United Kingdom
- Ireland
- Denmark
- Taiwan
- Hong Kong
- Norway
- Portugal
- Poland

This visa is very easy to apply for, and is also very flexible, as it allows you to study or work freely (or do neither!) while you are in Japan. Generally anyone between 18 and 30 can apply for it, and it allows the bearer to stay in Japan for up to a year in total.
One common way that people use it to study Japanese with us is to study for the first six months, then find a job for the remaining six months. The Japanese embassies in some countries recommend people to apply for a student visa if you plan to study for a long time, but in other countries they recommend the working holiday visa, so it seems to depend on the specific staff member, to some extent. We have had quite a few students from various countries study with us for up to a year on the working holiday visa, so if you are from one of the countries in the list above, it could be a great and easy option for you! For details, see the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, or your nearest Japanese embassy.

Oharai at our new Japanese language school building

Posted on June 11, 2015 | evankirby

Before we began classes at our new Japanese school building in Fukuoka, we asked a shinto priest to come and perform an 御祓 (oharai) spiritual cleansing ceremony. This is often done for buildings, and also for people and things too.

oharai at Japanese school

The ceremony took about twenty minutes. Staff stayed to listen, and the effect of the chanting was quite hypnotic - some staff felt a little dizzy partway through!

Video of part of the ceremony is here:

Summer Japanese class availability in Tokyo and Fukuoka

Posted on June 02, 2015 | evankirby

An update on Summer Japanese class availability.
Our Japanese schools are now fully booked for most of summer.
Unavailable periods are as follows:
Fukuoka Japanese school: no availability from July 6 to August 7
Tokyo Japanese school: no availability from July 6 to August 14

We're very sorry to all the people who we couldn't take in this year.
There is still some availability for courses starting the middle of August or later - book early to guarantee yourself a place!

The Japanese custom of giving flowers to newly opened businesses

Posted on June 01, 2015 | evankirby

It's a tradition in Japan that when a company opens, or moves to a new office, the companies they work closely with will send flower bouquets or potted plants as a congratulation present. The closer the connection, the bigger the bouquet. Sometimes this can mean new businesses end up looking like a flower shop, for example this French bakery:
Bakery with flower bouquets

When our Fukuoka Japanese school moved into its new building last month, some of the companies we work with, as well as our host families and other people, were kind enough to send us some beautiful flowers and plants, which helped to create a lovely image for the new school, to greet new students on the first day of classes.

Here, for example, are the flowers we received from Homestay In Japan, who have helped us with our homestay placements in Tokyo since we opened our Tokyo Japanese school two years ago, as well as those from Revibe, who help arrange events for our students, and RMG, who arrange apartments.
Flowers at Genki Japanese School

And an amazing set of white orchids, 胡蝶蘭 (kochouran):
White orchids at Genki Japanese School

Thank you to everyone who gave us such beautiful flowers! We look forward to the next 10 years and more in our new building.
More flowers

AiiA theatre - 2.5-dimensional musical paradise

Posted on June 01, 2015 | genkijacs

Have you ever heard of a "2.5-Dimensional Musical"? This is one of the latest trends to come out of Japan, and the world-wide success of this phenomena should come as no surprise when you hear what it's about: specialized musical adaptions of manga and anime. (2-dimensional media presented on a 3-dimensional stage... 2.5 dimensions!)
Which of us, when watching Prince of Tennis, hasn't thought, "You know what this show needs? A dance-off."

Yes. Now you, too, can experience the magic of a Naruto and Sasuke duet.

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These musicals have become so popular that a theatre dedicated entirely just to them opened in Tokyo this year. The AiiA theatre in Shibyua runs shows on a regular schedule, and has gained so much popularity with foreign tourists that they opened an English language webpage, including capabilities to purchase show tickets from outside Japan.

They have also recently introduced futuristic-looking headsets that display subtitles for the play in your chosen language.

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(They actually look pretty great! Supporters of a live-action Naruto movie should make sure to check this out while it's running....)

Photos of our new Fukuoka school building!

Posted on May 20, 2015 | evankirby

Exactly two weeks after we moved in, we finally have some photos of our new Fukuoka Japanese school building for you! We'll be having professional photos taken in a week or so, but until then, these should give you a taste of the new and improved facilities here in Fukuoka City

New Japanese school building

Building from the front

Entrance

Entrance hall

Student lounge

Student lounge

Reception and office

Library and meeting room

Japanese room

Classroom

Another classroom

Yet another classroom

One more classroom

So many classrooms

Seriously guys I think we might have too many classrooms here

Alright that's it, you're just going to have to imagine what all the other classrooms look like because I'm done.

GenkiJACS Fukuoka is moving!

Posted on April 09, 2015 | genkijacs

After 9 years in our current location, almost the entirety of GenkiJACS Fukuoka’s time on this sweet earth, we’re finally moving! In May GenkiJACS Fukuoka will take over a six-floor building just a few minutes’ walk from Hakata Station, the biggest train station in Southern Japan, in the center of Fukuoka City. That’s right, a massive six floors of Genki goodness! Renovations are still ongoing, so we don’t have a whole lot of photos to show you yet, but we’ll be adding them as we get them.

The expansion will allow us to provide better facilities for students, and most importantly, bigger classrooms, as the current ones were a bit cramped, especially compared to the spacious rooms in our Tokyo branch.

The move is planned for Golden Week, to reduce disruption to classes. This means if you are studying with us over the Golden Week period, you’ll have classes at our current location until the day before Golden Week starts, and then you’ll have classes at our new location when you come back from the GW holiday.

This new building will let us improve the facilities and services we offer to students in the future. It’s an exciting time for us, and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Check out more details on the new location here.

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Yelp, an online and mobile app platform that publishes unsolicited reviews about local business around the world, has recently launched in Fukuoka. Previously only available in Tokyo and Osaka, Yelp has slowly gained popularity in the Japanese market over the last few years, and finally reached the Southern island of Japan in March 2015. The app kicked off with a small launch party at Bar Vita in Tenjin on the 22nd of March.
Attendees (many of whom were previously unregistered with Yelp) got to try out the app as part of the party games, making them Fukuoka's first official "Yelpers".

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Tons of local businesses including restaurants, sports clubs and even famous sightseeing spots such as temples and shrines, have already registered on the app and are available for review.
It's likely to turn into a very useful tool for our Fukuoka-based Japanese language students, so if you haven't downloaded the app yet, why not give it a try?

You can read more about Yelp and give their search a try on their official Japanese site.

LanguageCourse.Net Customer Satisfaction Excellence Award 2015

Posted on March 09, 2015 | genkijacs

We are very proud to announce that we have won the LanguageCourse.Net Excellence Award for customer satisfaction yet again this year! 2015 marks the 8th year in a row we have won this award for "providing outstanding services to our clients". We couldn't have achieved this landmark success without the votes of all our lovely students, and we are deeply grateful to everyone who voted for us to win. You guys rock!