Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Kumon, Interac Training and Preparing for the New Job

So, back at the beginning of March, I started a correspondence Japanese course through Kumon. Some of you may have heard of Kumon, but for those who haven't, it is a cram school in Japan that became known for its math and reading learning approach (Google Kumon method if you want to know about it). Either way, now that I will be working in a more Japanese-language filled work environment, I really wanted to get serious about studying again. I wanted something I could do from home with the support of an instructor. I found Kumon offered a Japanese program for foreigners after some searching, and that they offered what I was looking for. They have a pretty straightforward worksheet system, divided by levels, all the way from pre-beginner to advanced. You can make an inquiry through their website and they will send you more information by mail. If you have zero Japanese knowledge, they of course start you from the very beginning. However, I have some knowledge, so I took a placement test based on a few questions asked on the inquiry application. They started me off with a quick review of some stuff from Level B, and some stuff from C. Now I have started Level D, which is in the mid-early high beginner range. A lot of what I'm learning is review for me, such as grammar, however, I am learning more kanji and vocabulary that I didn't know before, which is more than useful, but necessary. THIS IS NOT A CONVERSATION CLASS. If you really want to work on conversation skills, I would NOT recommend the course. It's not too pricey ¥9400 includes materials and the instructor's half of the postage and two free reading lessons on Skype per month. However, this really focuses on improving reading, writing, and grammar, which is what I really wanted. For those who are busy, don't have time to go to a school, want to improve the above areas, I would recommend it. I have improved a bit, and I find myself catching more mistakes when I speak as time goes on. We'll see how much I've improved after six months...

Moving on, last week I had my training for Interac. I did it in Yokohama with a pretty small group of people. It was mixed with fresh of the boaters (is that a word??) and domestic hires or transfers. I was quite impressed by it to be honest, and got more out of it than I expected. However, I did not know I was going to be doing a self-intro demo lesson until about the third day @.@ I found a lot of the information about school life and daily life educational, and learned more about the legalities of bike riding haha. I'm still going to be religious about getting any promises down on paper from them, but for the most part the trainers at least seemed well-intentioned and straightforward. The Interac training was much more relaxed than the AEON training in my opinion. I felt more comfortable around the trainers as they didn't speak like English-teaching-robots, and the atmosphere was on a much more casual level, but still professional. Plus, the people in the group were great and I have made new friends. Yay!!

In terms of preparing for my new job, I found out I have only one JHS and it's quite close to my house. So maybe the total commute time is about 20 minutes. Which is great. I really only wanted one school. So for the rest of the week, I am trying to whip up a good 50 minute self-intro lesson for the kids. I hope my coworkers are great and nice, but who knows. I don't have to wear full suits anymore!!! I will wear one on my first day, but then it's off to wearing business casual attire (for girls basically a blazer with nice pants, an appropriate dress, skirt, etc.). I hate suits. I think they make me look quite unshapely and they are not the most comfortable to teach in. In addition, I need to buy some basic supplies (indoor shoes, magnets, timer), but I hate spending money right now! I hope to post more ALT related posts in the future, since I'm not under a super strict no-blogging clause any more. As long as I don't reveal names and pictures, I think I'm okay.



  1. Found your blog today and it seems really cool good luck as an ALT. I have a post about Interac here too

    1. Thanks for the comment! I only was an ALT for 11 months before finding better work, but Interac was pleasant overall :D

  2. Good sharing, Kumon’s learning method takes students through a structured programme involving specially developed worksheets. Kumon constantly evaluates and revises the worksheets of all its programmes to ensure there is nothing hindering smooth progress, read more at: