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Genki Japanese Language & Culture School

About

Genki Japanese and Culture School (GenkiJACS) is an international communicational Japanese language school that offers short-term study abroad courses. Students have the opportunity to learn the Japanese language and culture in a relaxed and friendly environment. Schools are located in Tokyo, and the center of Fukuoka City in Southern Japan. Visit the website to learn more about available programs!

Founded
2004

Reviews

Default avatar
Carlos
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you want to satisfy that wish you've always had to travel, that want to connect with people other than your own, and that desire to leave behind all worries and focus on developing something lasting and useful for yourself and your future, then this is the 1 year experience for you. GenkiJACS's 1 year course made all this possible. The support and teaching that they offer is intimate, personalized and always innovative, making sure that you have the time and experience of your life. The school's small size makes everything feel connected and family-like; you get to know everyone! The teachers and classes are so fun, I always looked forward to school, always excited to learn. The field trips, movie days, eat outs and language exchanges we had before Covid19 were an amazing part too and I'm sure they'll be back once the pandemic is over.
And to be honest, I miss school already hahaha.
GenkiJacs will forever be a wonderful memory.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice is to develop a good plan and self study methods to supplement your program.
Things I wish I'd known about studying since the very beginning and would advice:
1. Podcasts. Begin listening to podcasts since the very beginning for listening practice (Nihongo con Teppei Beginners Level and Intermediate Levels are good available podcasts). It is a really underrated form of practice and study. Don't worry if you can't make out the words. Listen to it multiple times, look up new words, ask Japanese friends for help.
2. Wanikani. Begin Kanji practice with WaniKani app. Knowing were or how to start learning and practicing Kanji can be frustrating, I get it. I would switch methods, do books, etc. I found about this app through a friend, and will never look back. Do yourself a favor and simplify your life by just sticking to one thing for Kanji practice. This is all you need to learning to read Kanji. (And for writing, I kept a Japanese diary.)
3. For speaking, just speak it everywhere you can. Your classmates might want to slack during breaktime. Screw them, keep speaking. Attend language exchanges. Hang out with Japanese speaking friends. Stay at a sharehouse. Speak it!
Default avatar
Damen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I started emailing Japanese language schools. The first school kept sending me options that didn't meet my criteria. The next two differed greatly in price. I went with Genki JACS because it was cheaper. I was not disappointed at all. Denis helped me every step of the way with getting set up and making changes I needed. I arrived at the airport and got to my apartment and then the school with no issues.
The school reception desk with Eri and Denis was always available to answer anything to do with the school or any general questions I had about Tokyo.
My residence was great. It had everything I needed: dishes, appliances, fast wi-fi, tv, etc.
The teachers were all phenomenal. Enthusiastic, interactive classes kept everyone attention and were fun.
I have nothing bad to say about GenkiJACS. I highly recommend them and would definitely go back.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Stay longer in Japan but see the rest of the country by taking advantage of GenkiJACS multiple campuses. They have one in Tokyo, Kyoto and Fukuoka. Some students did a few weeks at each campus.
Default avatar
J
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I booked through SWAP so it was an easy, one payment process. If you want more options I recommend booking directly with Genki as you can choose different lengths of study, program intensity or accommodation and more. The classes are all in Japanese which sounds intimidating but they are well delivered. I had a lot of "a-ha!" moments which made my learning that much more rewarding. I wish I had studied longer than two weeks! By the end I could order most food and ask directions in very simple Japanese. The teachers are very informative and seem excited when asked more in depth questions - they truly want you to learn. The staff is incredibly supportive. Activities, including movie parties, dinners and tours, organized through the school are definitely recommended for those looking to immerse themselves and get the most of their experience in Japan.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I arrived shortly before Typhoon 19 - Hagibis hit. The risk to me was minimal being more inland in Tokyo but the experience all day, a bustling city becoming a ghost town as everything shut down and people stayed indoors, was surreal and the storm was powerful. The wind gusts shook my lodgings whole and tested the durability of my windows. Overall I was safe inside, as authorities suggested, and made my first meal at home during my stay - cup ramen haha.
Default avatar
Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I studied at Genki JACS in Tokyo for 3 weeks. Although it's a full-time school (20 hours/week for the standard course), having only 4 hours of school per weekday gives you enough time to study and do some sightseeing depending on your schedule. If you're only staying in Japan for a couple of weeks, but still want to brush up on your Japanese, it's a great deal for the price. They also take care of booking your accommodation; I stayed at a guest house just West of Ikebukuro and it was very convenient for commuting to school and travelling around Tokyo. The classes, which are focused on conversational skills, helped me tremendously and gave me confidence as I interacted with locals! I noticed a difference in my speaking and listening abilities in a matter of days. Overall, this is a great school for those who want to study while travelling.

What would you improve about this program?
Take the unpredictable weekly schedule into consideration if you're staying for a short time and are planning activities. I enjoyed having either four morning classes or four afternoon classes in a row with short breaks, but I didn't like having an hour long break between morning and afternoon classes... it makes the day longer! A lot of places in Japan close at 4 or 5 p.m. and having this kind of schedule means you barely have time to explore the city before or after class on some days. Thankfully, that only happened to me twice during my stay.
Default avatar
Melissa
3/10
No, I don't recommend this program

TL;DR: I probably would not come back. If you want an intensive Japanese language experience, I would encourage you to look into other schools before signing up for GenkiJACS. If you want to have an easy study abroad experience, then this is the perfect place.

The Bad:
The courses and curriculum. Definitely my least favorite part of the trip. I chose GenkiJACS because I thought it was going to be a really intense language school, which is what I wanted. My language skills did improve a lot, however the course style itself was painfully slow. At the beginning, I was told we would go through one chapter of the Genki textbook a week. That was not true. We crawled through material, going through about half a chapter a week. I did tell them that the class was too easy for me, so they assigned me extra homework – but it wasn’t the material that was the issue. It was the pace. Japanese is one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn so I do understand the need to take it slow… But then don’t advertise as an intensive language school. It’s not intense. At least not in my opinion, and I have experience studying other languages. (I also am fluent in Mandarin and have spent six years learning Chinese) I think over the course of 4 weeks, I felt challenged only once or twice.

The other thing that really, really bothers me was the class size. GenkiJACs advertises the ‘max of 8 students’ everywhere – it’s their selling point. However, my class has 9 people the first week. Was the extra person a problem in terms of learning material? Of course not! However, the classrooms were too small to handle an extra person, and we were crammed for space.

My real issue with having the extra person is that it demonstrates a lack of integrity on the school’s part. Do not advertise a maximum of 8 students when that is not true. The fact that it was a lie and nobody even acknowledged or apologized for it troubled me on a few levels – one, it is morally unacceptable. False advertising really gets on my nerves. Two, I paid more for GenkiJACS for a class size of 8. I got a class size of 9. It’s not what I paid for. If the maximum of 8 students per class was truly as important as the school claims it to be, then they would have split the class up. They didn’t.

Of course, when it comes to the school’s best interest, they are willing to be flexible. At one point, we only had two people in our class, so because it was their policy to have a reduced amount of hours for a ‘semi-private’ class, they cut classes on one day. If policy is so important to you, why did you allow 9 people to be in our class when the max was 8?

The Good:

Staff:
Pre-arrival support and school support once there is AMAZING. Demi (pre-arrival support) is amazing, responsive, and so very nice. Even though I asked a 100 questions, and had changed my courses a few times, he was patient and understanding. He’s a gem. Eri, the receptionist at the Tokyo school, was also very kind and responsive.

The true treasure of GenkiJACS is the teaching staff. Every single one of them is amazing and competent. I have so many faves, but I do have to give a shout-out to Hideo sensei. I love his teaching style and he makes the class fun. Well, all of them make the class fun. I don’t think there’s a single “bad egg” in the teaching staff. (Maybe there was one I wasn't too fond of, but that's okay) While the classes were very slow, at least the teachers were amazing.

Also, I'm not a fan of the flexible schedule.

Accommodation:
The highlight of my trip. On a scale of 1 to 10, this is easily a 100. I did a homestay program and it was INCREDIBLE. Everything about it was amazing. The best meals I had in Japan were made by my host mother. Some of the best experiences I had were memories I made with my host family (i.e. going to an onsen together). If you are reading this review and are on the fence about doing a homestay, let this review assure you – JUST DO IT. Just accept that you will make mistakes and it’s okay that you do. Yes, you will somehow offend your host family by accidentally eating rice with a fork (as I did), or by asking a good-intentioned but nosy question (like I did). It’s okay. You’re learning, and the family is understanding that you don’t know all the customs and what to/what to not ask. You won’t be their first nor last (likely) host student, so they are used to this. I learned so much from my host family – the culture, the language, everything. Not to mention I got to practice what I learned in class with them. Also, the fact that I got to represent America was pretty damn cool. I loved being a mini diplomat 😊

The location of the homestay itself was also amazing. It wasn’t far from school, the town was beautiful, and I really got a “feel” for Japanese life. I cannot say enough positive things about my homestay experience. I was only here for 4 weeks, but I bonded with my host family to the point that I was so sad to leave them. Do yourself a favor and DO THE HOMESTAY. You will grow so much as a person. You will learn so much about the country, the people, and rapidly learn the language if that’s what you’re after. Of course, if you’re not a serious student and are prone to going to bars every night… then maybe this isn’t for you. Still, at least consider it.

What would you improve about this program?
My main issues are the slow pace of classes and the lack of integrity (with the class size). Maybe add an intense language class, or actually stick to the pace of "one chapter per week".
Response from Genki Japanese Language & Culture School

Dear Melissa-san,

Thank you very much for your review. Receiving a negative review is something we here at GenkiJACS value as it offers us an opportunity to learn and keep improving and we really appreciate them. We are incredibly sorry that your time with us was not what you were hoping for, as we always strive to provide our students with only the best possible learning experience.

We are really sorry that the rhythm of your class was not as intensive as you expected. We adapt our teaching speed to the speed of each class, so we do not have a set curriculum pace. That being said, we are always happy to listen to our students, and move them to a slightly faster paced class should one be available at the time. If one is not, we are happy to discuss other options, such as moving to a higher level class. Our teachers are always open to talking about students' personal learning speed. We will try our best to improve the way we communicate this to students in the future, as unfortunately, this time, we were only made aware that the speed of your class was slower than expected via this review.

Regarding the number of students in the class, our maximum of 8 students per class is by far the smallest of any accredited Japanese school in the country, and we do our best to stick to that. However, sometimes when a new student joins our school, their Japanese level is different from the level they applied at, and they have to join a class different from the one we had planned for them. In the worst case, this can mean joining a class that already has 8 students. If this happens, we split the class into two classes as soon as possible, so that each class has less than 8 students, but occasionally this means that a class will have 9 students for a few days, until we can arrange for an extra teacher. When this happens, teachers are supposed to talk to all of the students in the class, to explain the situation and to confirm that the students are OK with it. It sounds like that didn't happen in your case, and I'm very sorry for that. We'll make sure that in the future, it's more clearly indicated that classes may rarely have 9 students, and that teachers always confirm with students in situations where adding a 9th student may be necessary for a few days. Sorry again for the trouble that this caused you.

Once again we really appreciate your feedback as it will help to keep improving our services and our sincerest apologies again for not having met your expectations.
We really hope to be able to make it up to you in the future if you give us a second chance and please do not hesitate to contact us directly anytime as we will be happy to support your Japanese learning as much as we can.

Yours sincerely,

The GenkiJACS team

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