B-mobile

Posted on September 18, 2013 | genkijacs

Mobile company B-Mobile is currently offering data SIM rentals for Japan at very competitive prices. Their service is data-only, meaning you won't be able to make calls using it, but having a data connection in a foreign country can be really useful, especially for looking up maps, train schedules, etc.

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To use their SIM cards, you need a SIM-free/SIM-unlocked device that supports W-CDMA/HSDPA/HSUPA. There is a list of compatible phones on their website, here.

It seems really easy to recharge, and might be a cheaper option for some students than to rent a pre-paid cellphone, especially if you won't really be making calls.

For those students who'd prefer to have a phone with call capabilities, though, we have been recommending providers G-Call to our students, so far with great success! You can find more info on this service here.

As a last resort, there are still a few public phone boxes dotted around Japan, some with international calling capabilities!

Why do GenkiJACS teachers speak English?

Posted on February 17, 2007 | evankirby

No English!

People thinking of applying to GenkiJACS sometimes ask us why teachers speak English, and how much English people speak in classes. This is a valid concern, and there are many different theories of language learning. At GenkiJACS, we practice the indirect teaching method, which means we use English as necessary to explain grammar points, and to deepen students' understanding. However, classes are still conducted mostly in Japanese. In general, more English is used at the lower levels, whereas at higher levels, classes are entirely in Japanese.
There are two reasons that we use the indirect method, and specifically English: because most of our students come from English-speaking countries, and because it saves a lot of time (time you are paying for!) in classes.
If your teachers understand your native language, they can understand the pitfalls, and the specific areas of difficulty for native speakers of English learning Japanese. For example, where the English word "sign" has at least two meanings, Japanese uses separate two words, 看板 (kanban, or billboard), and 標識 (hyoushiki, or road sign). If the teacher understands that native speakers of English will have difficulty distinguishing these two words in usage, the teacher can make sure to emphasize this in teaching, which leads to faster student understanding and fewer mistakes.

GenkiJACS Summer Evaluation Results, part 2!

Posted on October 19, 2006 | evankirby

Now for part 2 of the summer GenkiJACS evaluations! If you haven't read it yet, we recommend you start with part 1, here.

4. Textbook
No specific complaint about the textbooks was made by more than one person, so it's hard to pick the most important. However, we are always evaluating new materials for use in class, and are happy to hear from you with your recommendations!

5. Accommodation
- Too far from school
Both the dormitory we used this summer, and several of the host families, are quite far from school. This is mostly because the school itself is in a great location, right in the middle of the central downtown district of a major city, which is not where most people who have a spare room live. We do not accept host families who are more than one hour from the school by public transport, and in many cases people are a lot closer.
We are currently in talks to change the dormitory we use to one that is located on or near the subway line, making it much easier to get to and from school.
Regarding host families, there is very little we can do, unfortunately. For people who hate a long commute, we recommend a shared apartment as a closer alternative, although without a lot of the community feeling.
- Didn't like the dormitory
We take great care in choosing locations for our students to stay. Unfortunately, some students did not like the dormitory we used at all. We should mention that it is standard by Japanese norms for university students, but foreigners may see it as a little bare. As we mentioned above, we will shortly have a new dormitory for use, which should be a lot nicer.

GenkiJACS Summer Evaluation Results

Posted on October 18, 2006 | evankirby

As another step in our own little freedom of information campaign, we'd like to publish the results of our school evaluations.
First, a little explanation: We are always interested in improving the school experience, so we conduct weekly one-to-one counselling sessions with students, to discuss any issues they might be having related to school, classes, accommodation or just life in Fukuoka. At the end of a student's stay with us, we also have them fill out a more comprehensive evaluation form, to get their input on all aspects of the school and how to improve it. We recently collected all of the evaluation forms filled out since we moved to our new location in May this year, and analysed them all to determine what we can improve for next year.
Here, for your delectation, is a lengthy overview of the results. We've split it into two parts, half today and half tomorrow.

The categories:
Values are the average score for that category from all students who answered the question. Maximum score was 10.
1. Pre-arrival support: 9.1
2. Lesson/class schedule: 8.15
3. Content of classes: 9.02
4. Textbook: 8.37
5. Accommodation: 8.68

Even our lowest-scoring category, lesson/class schedule, was more than 8/10 on average, which we are quite proud of. However, there is still some room for improvement here.

Here are the most common comments/concerns we received for each topic, in order of popularity, with comment about how we will address that concern:

Winter Vacation Schedule - clarification

Posted on November 10, 2005 | evankirby

For some time now our homepage has been proudly advertising the fact that we're closing the school for a good 2-and-a-half weeks for winter vacation (December 23rd to January 9). Well, the truth is that while we will be reducing our service during that time, due to student demand we won't be entirely closed. Some classes will still be going on, and teachers will be there intermittently. We will continue to provide email service during the vacation (although we might not manage to meet our 48-hour reply deadline so often...). Phone and fax messages should be answered at some point, although probably not the same day.
For our local students and home students, check with your teacher as to the class schedule during this period.
For other students, including intensive course students, if you really really want to study during the holidays we can usually work something out for you, although there will be a small surcharge. Call the school (092-716-8673) or email us and ask. Flexibility is our middle name! (We already have a few signees, so don't worry about being the first!)