Japanese language programs

Rob Buscher robbuscher at hotmail.com
Sat Feb 6 00:53:42 EST 2010

Recently I've been using a free Ipod/Iphone application called Kotoba to do most of my basic translation. The Ipod/Iphone has a pre-installed Japanese keyboard to write in kana and additionally, by using the pre-installed Chinese simplified keyboard, it is possible to look up kanji by writing them with your finger similar to the stylus interface of the 漢検DS game. Both keyboards can be turned on in the settings mode under language options; international keyboards.
Also in regards to language programs in general, after attending several programs in the US, UK and Japan, I find that Kyoto Institute of Culture and Language has the best summer intensive language courses: http://www.kicl.ac.jp/english/academics/c_course03.php
At roughly $850 for a four week course, its likely the best bang for your buck. 
-Rob Buscher

Date: Fri, 5 Feb 2010 11:24:50 -0500
From: drainer at mpinet.net
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu
Subject: Re: Japanese language programs

Interesting article, though I wonder if there was more to it 
than just the software...
As I said earlier, I think it is a good listening tool for an 
intermediate speaker. It's mostly repetition and although not exactly 
groundbreaking, it could suffice for learning vocabulary. 
Regarding Benito's criticism, he is right, version 2.x (roughly 10+ years 
old) was rubbish. The newer versions, 3.2.x offer substantial improvements. From 
my understanding, this was when Rosetta became a LLC (it was originally owned by 
Sierra) and revamped the whole line of products. The newer edition 
also offers Japanese levels 1-3, so for someone who does not live 
in Japan and wishes to bridge the gap between intermediate and 
advanced, it could be useful (especially level 3 if you'd like to practice 
Anyway, I would not encourage anyone to purchase it, but if 
you can use it through your department it is worth taking a look--that was my 
original suggestion. And as mentioned by others, these days you can supplement 
your learning with an online tutor (through Skype, etc), though my caveat on 
that one is to try to pick the most "serious" instructor, otherwise you won't 
get far. 
It essentially comes down to self-discipline and picking the 
right sources...learning languages can be quite tedious and boring, I certainly 
know it was like that for me....

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu 
  Sent: Friday, February 05, 2010 11:06 
  Subject: Re: Japanese language 
There was an article in the NYTimes just the other day about 
  Rosetta Stone--

  I've never used it and I don't know if something has changed, but it 
  apparently worked for someone going from Farsi to English. Whether it is as 
  good at going away from english is another question.  


  On Feb 4, 2010, at 11:20 PM, Benito Cachinero wrote:
  Sorry, I just think Rosetta Stone is a scam geared 
    towards dilettantes.  Maybe something miraculous happened to the 
    software, but when I tried it 10ish years ago it was a laughable collection 
    of mini-games.

Your other suggestions are good, though.  I wish 
    I had had KanKen games when I was coming up...


    On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 11:00 PM, <drainer at mpinet.net> 

No apologies necessary.

I was not suggesting 
      flashcards, but rather Japanese games like 漢検 or even something like 
       ことばのパズル (which is a *great* vocabulary builder). Remember, these are 
      made for Japanese who are learning vocabulary or kanji; if you master all 
      the 漢検 games you will be well beyond a scholar's 

Textbooks, of course, are also great, but I believe in 
      following all of the paths, and I think that media, especially television, 
      is the way to fluency. It worked for me well beyond 


----- Original Message ----- From: "BC" 
      <pencileraser at gmail.com>
To: <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
      Thursday, February 04, 2010 10:36 PM
Subject: Re: Japanese language programs

      In case you are considering doing something stateside, 
        you might try the
Monterey Institute of International Studies in 
        California or the Middlebury
programs in Vermont (though these might 
        be geared towards younger people? I
don't know much about 
        Middlebury).  I believe that Cornell also does

Some years ago when I was starting out I did an 
        intensive Japanese program
at Stanford's summer session, and it was 
        exceedingly good because there were
only two of us in the 

But if you can manage to get to Japan to do it, by all 
        means go that route.

I wouldn't under any circumstance recommend 
        Rosetta Stone.  Textbooks
(usually of 1970s-80s vintage are 
        best) will get you up to speed in no time;
as a PhD candidate I 
        assume you have no qualms about reading!  It will help
you in 
        the long run more than fun graphics and flashcard drills will. 
apologies to previous poster.)

Barring all of these 
        options, you can have your own intensive program by
hiring a tutor 
        privately.  This may hurt your pocketbook, but Tachibana
        seems to agree that you can learn something 10x faster when you do
        alone; group classes lessen the cost, but also the learning 

Benito Cachinero

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 
        10:30 PM, <drainer at mpinet.net> wrote:

        Hi Robyn,

Unfortunately that seems to be the 
          requirement for most formal
institutions, though I think there 
          could be placement tests. Perhaps others
on the list could give you 
          better advice on specifics.

Cornell University also has a good 
          program (FALCON) designed for
          students, though the costs are a bit

There are 
          many intensive language schools in Japan, some good, many 
There is an institute which keeps costs low--the name escapes 
          me, anyone
remember it? I think it is somewhere in kansai and 
          starts with an Y, though
I am not sure at all....

Your best 
          bet would be an intensive course at a university in Japan for 
or two semesters, though I am not sure if you have the time as 
          you are a
focusing on the PhD.

To be honest, I would even 
          recommend Rosetta Stone, if you've got the time
and patience and 
          can get it through your department. It's not the greatest
          tool in the world, but it works well enough for an 
learner or someone adept at listening.

I did 
          not take three semesters of Japanese at university, so I had to 
on my own (and trust me, I never studied). In my experience, 
          listening is
the key...the hardest part is bridging the gap between 
          intermediate and
advanced...after that, just get a Nintendo DS and 
          some Kanji learning games!


----- Original 
          Message ----- From: "Robyn Citizen" <rc1434 at nyu.edu>

To: <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
          Thursday, February 04, 2010 9:55 PM

Subject: Re: Japanese 
          language programs

 Thanks! I checked into IUC but the 
          it seems that I have to be somewhat

          more proficient in Kanji (500-700 characters) then 
            I currently am and need
to have three semesters of university 
            courses in Japanese.

Robyn Citizen
PhD Candidate
New York University
alternate e-mail: ladykaede1221 at gmail.com

"I'm giving 
            her all she's got Captain!" - Scotty, Star Trek 

----- Original Message -----
            Lindsay Nelson <lrnelson at usc.edu>
Date: Thursday, February 
            4, 2010 9:45 pm
Subject: Re: Japanese language programs
To: KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu

            second IUC Yokohama, have heard great things from friends who did 

            did a one-year intensive program at Sophia that 
              was really helpful (I
they've also got a summer course 
              now, www.sophia.ac.jp), and I applied
similar program at Waseda.

On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 6:40 
              PM, Eija Niskanen <eija.niskanen at gmail.com

> This one, IUC in Yokohama, is a good one. I 
              studied their 1-yr
> program, but they have summer courses 
              as well.
> http://www.stanford.edu/dept/IUC/
> On Fri, Feb 5, 2010 at 11:37 AM, Robyn 
              Citizen <rc1434 at nyu.edu> > wrote:
> > Hi 
> >
> > I was wondering if anyone on the 
              list could recommend a good
program or
> school in Japan 
              for intensive short-term (summer) Japanese lessons.
> > I've been learning Japanese informally and 
              through weekly Japan > >
> classes for a 
              couple of years now and have decided that at 30 and
> natural ineptitude when it comes to grammar, I probably 
              need to
invest in
> the immersion experience if only for 
              a brief period.
> >
> > Ideally, this will put 
              me on the right track to being able to watch
> Japanese 
              movies without subtitles - which is necessary since I can
> certain films like KIKU TO ISAMU, without them - and 
              read the
original text
> of film reviews and analyses by 
              Japanese critics.
> >
> > Thanks much,
> > Robyn Citizen
> > PhD Candidate
              > Cinema Studies
> > New York University
> > 
              alternate e-mail: ladykaede1221 at gmail.com
> >
> >
> > "I'm giving her all she's got 
              Captain!" - Scotty, Star Trek 2009
> >
> >
> >
> --
> Eija 
> c/o Fujita
> Kichijoji Honcho 
> Musashino-shi
> Tokyo 

Benito Cachinero

  Asian Languages and 
  University of 
  Massachusetts Amherst
  Japanese Theater, Intellectual History
  717 Herter Hall
  161 Presidents 
  University of 
  Massachusetts Amherst
  Amherst, MA 
  Fax: 413-545-4975
  baird at asianlan.umass.edu
Hotmail: Free, trusted and rich email service.
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