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Japanese Lessons in Canada

Japanese in Canada

You can say that there are quite a lot of Japanese Canadians in various parts of the country These Nikkei, as what Japanese immigrants and descendants are called, comprise of 0.35% of the Canadian population. 

Immigration to Canada wasn’t always easy for the Japanese people. Canada set limitations to the number of migrants coming from Japan, especially from 1908 up until 1940 - where the World War divided the two countries into different camps. 

It was only in the mid-1960s that the immigration was resumed. 

Most of the immigrants settled in British Columbia, Ontario, and Alberta. Today, there are more than 100,000 Nikkei in Canada. 

Advantages of Studying the Japanese Language

Without a doubt, Japan is one of the largest economies in the world - ranking third on the list and after the United States. The Japanese people are making breakthroughs in several industries and these are bound to be useful for every country. 

As far as globalisation is concerned, learning the Japanese language could prove to be useful since there are over 100 million people speaking the language. And of course, it’s the language used by a top economy, so why not, right? 

Other than Japan being a top economy, here are other benefits of studying the Japanese language: 

Better Understanding of Japanese Culture

Undeniably, Japan has a different culture. It’s an Asian country with a lot of history and rich with culture that just merely knowing how to speak the language already gives you a gate pass to the entire culture. 

If you can get past the challenge of learning a new language, then learning and internalising their culture won’t be as difficult. 

Increase Job Options

In relation to globalisation, you might have the sudden urge to work in Japan or work for a Japanese company. Knowing how to speak their language proves to be quite an advantage and will definitely look good on your resume once you apply. 

It would also be less difficult dealing with superiors or workmates who are Japanese native speakers. Not only will you create a bond because of your ability to speak Japanese but it will also make communicating much easier. 

One Less Language Barrier

Should you ever travel to Japan, getting around and communicating with the locals won’t be difficult considering that you can speak their language. You can just easily ask for directions or help whenever you need something or encounter a problem. 

And if you’re a fan of Japanese anime, you will no longer have the need for subtitles. Subtitles are sometimes way different from the real translations. Understanding the real content opens a whole different world. 

Challenges in Studying Japanese

As much as it’s interesting to study Japanese, it’s not all that easy. Yes, learning a new language can be pretty challenging but a lot of people say that the Japanese language just takes it to the next level. 

Here are some of the most common challenges that students face: 

Different Writing System

If you’re an English native speaker, you’d definitely find the Japanese writing system intimidating because it simply doesn’t use alphabets like the one you’re used to. The Kanji system utilizes various strokes and characters to make up words and phrases.

One stroke can mean a different letter and this doesn’t include the need to write it legibly. If you’re used to straight lines and common curves, this writing system will definitely shock you. It will take a lot of practice writing for you to get used to it. 

Complex Grammar 

For those who learn the language, they often say that reading Japanese sentences isn’t always a linear path. For some, they joke about the pattern being left-to-right, right-to-left, then middle. While it may sound a bit confusing, that’s how it actually works. 

Moreover, plural words are not utilised. You have different ways of counting, depending on what unit you’re counting. 

Varying Honorifics 

Asian countries often have honorifics attached to their language and Japan is a country that puts great value to it. There are various words attached to different levels of politeness and the hierarchy must always be followed. 

This formality is highly regarded and used widely in Japan which makes the language even more challenging to learn since you need to remember each one if you aim to be respectful. 

Studying Japanese in Canada

Considering that there’s quite a number of Japanese descendants in Canada, it could be a common language to learn. Not only that, there are also tons of interested learners who just simply want to enjoy anime peacefully or those who want to get in touch with the culture. 

With that being said, there are several institutions all over Canada that offer Japanese lessons. Here are some of them:

  • Toronto - Japan Foundation - it was formed under the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs and eventually became a private institution. Classes are available for beginners to intermediate students. 
  • Steveston Japanese Language School - located in Vancouver, this children’s school teaches the Japanese language to kids who would eventually want to go back to Japan and study. 
  • Bishop’s University - for older students, there’s also a bachelor’s degree for Japanese studies - where you can learn everything about Japan and not just the language. 
  • Ottawa Japanese Language School - this non-profit organisation was started by Japanese nationals with the goal to teach Japanese descendants the language. Classes are held on a semester system, making it a bit strict. 

Private Japanese Lessons in Canada

Considering that the language is quite complex and challenging to learn, you might opt to learn with a Japanese tutor. This method is beneficial for those who are looking for hands-on tutors that will monitor their progress and make a personalised learning course. 

Tutors will be able to track your progress and correct your mistakes should you make any. 

You can find tons of private Japanese tutors in Canada through Superprof. This website will show you a list of tutors along with brief descriptions of themselves, their rates, and former reviews of students. You can easily find a tutor near you and one that best meets your needs. 

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