Learning Japanese Changed My Life

Konnichiwa! I’m Vanessa.

vanessa eating ice cream

Learning Japanese language & culture completely transformed my life.

I found ways of thinking, speaking and doing things which have filled my daily life with friendship, gratitude & connection every day since I started learning Japanese.

That was over 20 years ago and, well, I’m still loving the journey!

Join me?

よろしく おねがいします。

Learning Japanese is a Journey, not a Destination

Zig-zagging gingerly along narrow paths between the rice fields, perched upon my mama-chari bicycle, I clutched a small, damp note in my palm on which had been written neatly, in Japanese: ‘Excuse me, I’ve lost my way, where is Chizuka Shogaku?’.

Now and then, I’d stop and show someone the note. They’d point me in the right direction and off I’d trundle again. I’d always breathe a sigh of relief when the school I’d been sent to visit as an English teacher finally materialised, hazily, in the shadow of the mountains.

It’s not always easy to reach your destination, but it sure helps if someone keeps you heading in the right direction on the way.

Wherever you are on your Japanese learning journey, we have a Japanese tutor who can guide you, and signpost your route. 👩🏻‍🏫 🔜

I’ve been privileged to work with hundreds of learners and tutors to create fruitful and fulfilling learning connections. Read what our lovely students say about us here.

My Mission is to Help You Enjoy Your Journey

After working an ALT teacher on the wonderful JET Programme in rural Tochigi, Japan for 3 years, I returned to UK and took a TEFL certification (Cambridge RSA Celta) before heading off to teach in northern Peru.

Returning to the UK 2 years later, I qualified as secondary school teacher at King’s College London (PGCE English), before setting up my language tutoring agency in 2008.

You see, back in the UK, I was madly keen to make sense of my Japan experience and keep a tight hold of it! There was a lot of I didn’t want to forget. I got the Rosetta Stone language study programme, kanji flash cards and a scary pile of Japanese textbooks.

However, I just couldn’t find the right Japanese language lessons in London, at the perfect level for me, at the ideal time of day & a convenient location.

Many group lessons were aimed at complete beginners, and others were all textbook based. Some focused exclusively on JLPT exam prep, or passing Japanese GCSEs or ‘A’ levels. This wasn’t what I was looking for…

I worried about wasting time and money on group lessons that didn’t give me much chance to properly communicate with the only Japanese native speaker in the room – the teacher.

I felt lost. I wondered about just giving it up. After all, I still wasn’t anywhere near ‘fluent’ (even though my mum swears I am, thanks for the vote of confidence mum👍) and I didn’t even work for a Japanese company. I wasn’t aiming to be a translator or an academic either. What was the point of continuing to learn Japanese?

But then I realised something deceptively simple:

You learn to speak Japanese by speaking with a Japanese person!

The words you learn should be linked to communicating vividly in the real world around you, and the grammar you learn should help you to express yourself, sharing who you are, what you do & what you like with others. It needs to be fun and interesting.

That’s why JapaneseLondon.com offers:

  • Private 1-1 Japanese Tutors for Children & Adults
  • Online & Offline Lessons (What’s the difference? Read our article here)
  • the Way to Japan Conversation Club & Community (‘bloody brilliant’)

JapaneseLondon.com puts YOUR SPEAKING firmly at the centre of your Japanese learning journey. Where are YOU heading? You need to enjoy the trip.

Yes, I want to learn Japanese

I’m looking forward to hearing more about you! 👆 Click the button – let’s chat today.