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Old 10-22-2017, 08:15 AM   #1
StefanHultberg
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Japanese language studies

Dear friends

Does anybody here know of a way to study Japanese language, bachelor level, either by distance learning or e.g. a series of annual 2-3 month stays in Japan?

All the best

Stefan Hultberg
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Old 10-22-2017, 06:21 PM   #2
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

What is the goal of your study? Do you want to be able to converse freely? Learn a few words? Get some appreciation of the culture? Translate documents for a living? I think the options will vary greatly depending on your answer to this...
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:21 AM   #3
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
What is the goal of your study? Do you want to be able to converse freely? Learn a few words? Get some appreciation of the culture? Translate documents for a living? I think the options will vary greatly depending on your answer to this...
I understand. I would like to be able to understand, at a deeper level, the words of O- Sensei and several other Japanese spiritual masters ( e.g. Dogen). Converse freely? Not sure, I would like to,but I will settle at passable conversatipn and being able to at least passably read a book or a newspaper.

All the best

Stefan
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Old 10-23-2017, 01:23 AM   #4
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
I understand. I would like to be able to understand, at a deeper level, the words of O- Sensei and several other Japanese spiritual masters ( e.g. Dogen). Converse freely? Not sure, I would like to,but I will settle at passable conversatipn and being able to at least passably read a book or a newspaper.

All the best

Stefan
I just translated a safety manual for an international business project. I still don't properly understand the words of O-sensei. What you are asking is perhaps a bit more difficult than you imagine.
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Old 10-23-2017, 02:08 AM   #5
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I just translated a safety manual for an international business project. I still don't properly understand the words of O-sensei. What you are asking is perhaps a bit more difficult than you imagine.
My friend, I can imagine quite a bit in terms of difficulty. Would you by any chance be able to recommend a university in Japan for my project? As I have said in many circumstances, not least in connection with comments on aikiweb, if I consider something worth doing I will do it even if I may not become the world champion at it.

All the best

Stefan
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Old 10-23-2017, 09:34 AM   #6
lbb
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Re: Japanese language studies

There's a book that you might find useful: The Language of Aikido: A Practitioner's Guide to Japanese Characters and Terminology by Michael Hacker. I just got it, haven't started reading yet. Dave Lowry's "Sword and Brush" is another good read to understand some of the history and context behind martial arts concepts.
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Old 10-23-2017, 06:44 PM   #7
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
My friend, I can imagine quite a bit in terms of difficulty. Would you by any chance be able to recommend a university in Japan for my project? As I have said in many circumstances, not least in connection with comments on aikiweb, if I consider something worth doing I will do it even if I may not become the world champion at it.

All the best

Stefan
I'm actually not sure. I'm still thinking. What is your starting point? Are you starting from close to zero?
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:45 AM   #8
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
I'm actually not sure. I'm still thinking. What is your starting point? Are you starting from close to zero?
Dear Robin

Yes, starting close to zero, bu willing to put quite an effort into it. Perhaps there may be a combination of good distance learning combined with annual 2-3 month stays in Japan? If it could be within tube distance of Iwama - all the better!! Tokyo?? Mito?? 3-5 years....??

There is a flat in Tokyo which I am free to use....

Many thanks so far!

Stefan
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Old 10-24-2017, 12:56 AM   #9
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
Dear Robin

Yes, starting close to zero, bu willing to put quite an effort into it. Perhaps there may be a combination of good distance learning combined with annual 2-3 month stays in Japan? If it could be within tube distance of Iwama - all the better!! Tokyo?? Mito?? 3-5 years....??

There is a flat in Tokyo which I am free to use....

Many thanks so far!

Stefan
Still thinking. Iwama is quite a small place, and quite far from both Mito and Tokyo (from memory). Not impossible from either location, but not something that I'd want to do on a regular basis. The only Japanese university I have studied at is in Nagoya and I don't think it would really suit your needs. Perhaps Peter Goldsbury has some ideas.
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Old 10-24-2017, 01:43 AM   #10
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Still thinking. Iwama is quite a small place, and quite far from both Mito and Tokyo (from memory). Not impossible from either location, but not something that I'd want to do on a regular basis. The only Japanese university I have studied at is in Nagoya and I don't think it would really suit your needs. Perhaps Peter Goldsbury has some ideas.
Dear Robin

Thank you so much for your help. I will be quite flexible in terms of where if it is the right university. Soto deshi in Iwama at the same time wouldbe great, but there are many wonderful dojos which I would be interested to join.

Will contact Peter Sensei as well

Many thanks so far!

Stefan
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Old 10-24-2017, 08:58 AM   #11
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
Dear friends

Does anybody here know of a way to study Japanese language, bachelor level, either by distance learning or e.g. a series of annual 2-3 month stays in Japan?

All the best

Stefan Hultberg
Hello Stefan,

I spent a good deal of time looking through the courses offered by Japanese universities here in Japan and I found no such courses in Japanese offered for non-residential non-Japanese students leading to a degree in Japanese from such a university.

For example, there are courses in Japanese as a Foreign Language (Nihongo: 日本語) offered at Hiroshima University, but these are restricted to non-Japanese students already enrolled, and teachers who are already employed at the university. I took such a course myself when I first started teaching there. These courses are offered by the Faculty of Education, but their main offerings are Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, intended for Japanese who will work abroad for organizations like JICA, or English Education, intended for Japanese students who will enter the Japanese school system.

Over at the Faculty of Letters, there are courses in Japanese, but these are classed as Kokugo [国語: 'the national language' = Japanese as a Native Language] and aimed at Japanese students. They assume a knowledge of the Japanese language that is quite advanced, even for Japanese students. (The information on the website is given only in Japanese, which already assumes a good reading knowledge of the language.)

Anyway, I asked one of my old students to look at the possibilities. He is teaching at Shimane University and probably has a better grasp of the possibilities than I do. He has yet to reply.

But then I thought that perhaps you had chosen the wrong country to begin with and might find better possibilities in the Japanese department of a university in Europe that has a good relationship with a university in Japan. When I did my Ph.D. in London University, I often used the library at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), since it was more convenient than the British Library. Of course, there are many good libraries in London University, but SOAS had the best collection of books on Japan and in Japanese.

However, SOAS sends students to spend a year in Japan, but I was not able to find out if they offered part-time degree courses. I know UCL does, because I began my Ph.D. there as a part-time student and made arrangements to see my supervisor on a regular basis. Eventually, I changed the category to full-time and moved to London. Since I had already spent some years at Harvard, I did not have to take any courses, so I spent my time writing the thesis and doing aikido.

None of the open universities that I looked at (Open University in the UK and 放送大学 in Japan) offers courses in Japanese.

I will let you know if my student comes up with anything.

Best wishes,

Last edited by Peter Goldsbury : 10-24-2017 at 09:05 AM.

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Old 10-24-2017, 11:00 AM   #12
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Stefan,

I spent a good deal of time looking through the courses offered by Japanese universities here in Japan and I found no such courses in Japanese offered for non-residential non-Japanese students leading to a degree in Japanese from such a university.

For example, there are courses in Japanese as a Foreign Language (Nihongo: 日本語) offered at Hiroshima University, but these are restricted to non-Japanese students already enrolled, and teachers who are already employed at the university. I took such a course myself when I first started teaching there. These courses are offered by the Faculty of Education, but their main offerings are Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, intended for Japanese who will work abroad for organizations like JICA, or English Education, intended for Japanese students who will enter the Japanese school system.

Over at the Faculty of Letters, there are courses in Japanese, but these are classed as Kokugo [国語: 'the national language' = Japanese as a Native Language] and aimed at Japanese students. They assume a knowledge of the Japanese language that is quite advanced, even for Japanese students. (The information on the website is given only in Japanese, which already assumes a good reading knowledge of the language.)

Anyway, I asked one of my old students to look at the possibilities. He is teaching at Shimane University and probably has a better grasp of the possibilities than I do. He has yet to reply.

But then I thought that perhaps you had chosen the wrong country to begin with and might find better possibilities in the Japanese department of a university in Europe that has a good relationship with a university in Japan. When I did my Ph.D. in London University, I often used the library at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies), since it was more convenient than the British Library. Of course, there are many good libraries in London University, but SOAS had the best collection of books on Japan and in Japanese.

However, SOAS sends students to spend a year in Japan, but I was not able to find out if they offered part-time degree courses. I know UCL does, because I began my Ph.D. there as a part-time student and made arrangements to see my supervisor on a regular basis. Eventually, I changed the category to full-time and moved to London. Since I had already spent some years at Harvard, I did not have to take any courses, so I spent my time writing the thesis and doing aikido.

None of the open universities that I looked at (Open University in the UK and 放送大学 in Japan) offers courses in Japanese.

I will let you know if my student comes up with anything.

Best wishes,
Dear Peter Sensei

Thank you so much for your efforts and very kind advice. It is much appreciated.

All the best

Stefan
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Old 10-24-2017, 05:48 PM   #13
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

A good option might be to enroll in a course at a Danish institution that offers exchanges as part of the course... That's the best I can come up with.
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Old 10-25-2017, 05:54 AM   #14
Rupert Atkinson
 
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Re: Japanese language studies

Find a course of study in your own country. I did a BA in Japanese in the UK. It was hard but great fun. Even after four years there was still heaps I needed to learn. It is endless, but endless fun. You have to like it, especially kanji, otherwise, it could turn into hell. Some students did not fare so well.

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Old 10-25-2017, 08:25 AM   #15
Cliff Judge
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Re: Japanese language studies

There are any number of language schools in Japan that have course offerings structured for people who have the means and desire to put in 2-3 month long stays in Japan and do a couple hours of class every day. Its a very typical thing, because Japan lets you come in on a tourist Visa (you aren't allowed to take a job) for up to three months.
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Old 10-25-2017, 01:11 PM   #16
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Re: Japanese language studies

Might sound odd, but Korea has various language programmes/schools and they are very good. But Koreans study very hard so most people would never keep up..

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Old 10-27-2017, 12:13 AM   #17
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Robin Boyd wrote: View Post
Still thinking. Iwama is quite a small place, and quite far from both Mito and Tokyo (from memory). Not impossible from either location, but not something that I'd want to do on a regular basis. The only Japanese university I have studied at is in Nagoya and I don't think it would really suit your needs. Perhaps Peter Goldsbury has some ideas.
Hi Robin,

Iwama is actually quite close to Mito; only about 20 minutes on the train. I used to live within walking distance of Mito Station and could get to the dojo in less than 35 mins. It would be a little faster these days, since there is now an exit from Iwama Station on the dojo-side, so no need to walk all the way to the crossing. I have a friend who will study Japanese in Mito while training at the dojo next year.

Although it takes a couple of hours, some people do actually come from Tokyo to train in Iwama. Doshu and Waka-Sensei also make that journey regularly to teach.

Regards

Carl
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Old 10-27-2017, 12:49 AM   #18
robin_jet_alt
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hi Robin,

Iwama is actually quite close to Mito; only about 20 minutes on the train. I used to live within walking distance of Mito Station and could get to the dojo in less than 35 mins. It would be a little faster these days, since there is now an exit from Iwama Station on the dojo-side, so no need to walk all the way to the crossing. I have a friend who will study Japanese in Mito while training at the dojo next year.

Although it takes a couple of hours, some people do actually come from Tokyo to train in Iwama. Doshu and Waka-Sensei also make that journey regularly to teach.

Regards

Carl
I was working from memory, so I'll take your word for it. I've only traveled to Iwama from Fukushima before and I remembered it being a long drive that didn't pass through Mito.
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Old 10-27-2017, 06:17 AM   #19
StefanHultberg
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Re: Japanese language studies

Dear all

It's wonderful to take part of all your ideas, suggestions, and advice. I am at the moment looking at several interesting possibilities - from 2-3 months annual stays with intensive language (and aikido) training to university in denmark to a combination of distance learning and Japan stays in collaboration with uk or us universities. Very exciting!

Thank you very very much so far

Stefan
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Old 10-27-2017, 07:44 AM   #20
Peter Goldsbury
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Carl Thompson wrote: View Post
Hi Robin,

Iwama is actually quite close to Mito; only about 20 minutes on the train. I used to live within walking distance of Mito Station and could get to the dojo in less than 35 mins. It would be a little faster these days, since there is now an exit from Iwama Station on the dojo-side, so no need to walk all the way to the crossing. I have a friend who will study Japanese in Mito while training at the dojo next year.

Although it takes a couple of hours, some people do actually come from Tokyo to train in Iwama. Doshu and Waka-Sensei also make that journey regularly to teach.

Regards

Carl
Hello Carl,

Yes, I agree. I last visited Iwama with Ethan W. and we stayed in Mito and travelled to Iwama by train. In fact, Mito provided the base for dinner evenings with some shihans from the Iwama Dojo. But I have no idea about the opportunities for an overseas student studying Japanese as a degree subject part-time at university level. My research in Hiroshima was based on this assumption--and proved fruitless.

Best wishes,

PAG

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Old 10-27-2017, 03:51 PM   #21
Walter Martindale
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Stefan Hultberg wrote: View Post
Dear all

It's wonderful to take part of all your ideas, suggestions, and advice. I am at the moment looking at several interesting possibilities - from 2-3 months annual stays with intensive language (and aikido) training to university in denmark to a combination of distance learning and Japan stays in collaboration with uk or us universities. Very exciting!

Thank you very very much so far

Stefan
In the years since I tried learning Japanese (starting in 1973) I definitely have not learned sufficient Japanese to converse or to listen to a sensei without someone interpreting. I do understand enough to follow a lot of "demonstration" discussion, but beyond "put your foot here and move this way - no, that's dangerous" I'm lost. Should have taken the language course at University.

So I envy your opportunity. My understanding of "how to develop fluency" is that if you start as a young child, idiomatic use of a new language is almost automatic. Starting later, studying hard, it's a year or so to basic ease in conversation, 5 years dedicated study to near-fluency, and 10 years of near-immersion to full idiomatic fluency and literacy... But that needs "deliberate practice" - listening to the new language on the radio, in song, on TV/Movies, speaking the new language, reading and writing the new language, and having your conversations with "native speakers" who either won't or can't help you by speaking your normal language (because they want to help you learn the new language, or because they don't know your normal language, respectively).

Best wishes in your study.
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Old 10-31-2017, 08:11 AM   #22
Carl Thompson
 
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Re: Japanese language studies

Quote:
Peter A Goldsbury wrote: View Post
Hello Carl,

Yes, I agree. I last visited Iwama with Ethan W. and we stayed in Mito and travelled to Iwama by train. In fact, Mito provided the base for dinner evenings with some shihans from the Iwama Dojo. But I have no idea about the opportunities for an overseas student studying Japanese as a degree subject part-time at university level. My research in Hiroshima was based on this assumption--and proved fruitless.

Best wishes,

PAG
Hello Peter,

It was a pleasure to finally meet you that time. I hope you can come again. It seems to me that most Japanese courses offered at universities are just preparatory ones, designed to give the skills required to do a normal degree in Japanese. If the OP is interested, that course my friend will do is at a private institution (Ibaraki International Language Institute). It appears to offer a number of different options, including one for those who plan to enter a Japanese university or graduate school.

Regards,

Carl
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