A lot of people tell me that they really like the immersion approach to Japanese on this site but that they really wish they could have some personal help in such things as:
- Getting started
- Transitioning from the conventional “study-first” approach to Immersion
- Communicating/interacting in Japanese-only
In some cases I have given them some help and have found myself in the position of an Immersion senpai (or sometimes oneechan).
Because I wish I had had someone to help me when I was starting, I am trying an experiment in helping other people to use our immersion methods.
I am not a teacher and I am not a native Japanese speaker. What I am offering is two very specific services. These are:
1. Strategy Sessions
We have always said that there is no one “system” for Japanese Immersion. Everyone learns differently. Everyone works differently. Unless you are an absolute beginner, everyone is starting from a different base.
What I am offering here is simply to talk it over with you. There is nothing fancy about this. I am not offering any magic. It is simply that I have been through the assault-course of early immersion and I have helped several people with differing skills and priorities from myself to get through it.
I am not setting myself up as an expert. I am just a doll who lives in the territory you are trying to move into, and can show you some of the ropes.
I am simply offering to be the senpai I wish I had had when I was doing it all from scratch!
2. Japanese Immersion Relationship
To learn Japanese you have to use Japanese. Not just input but real two-way communication. Ideally you should have someone with whom your relationship is exclusively Japanese. I have talked about the psychological reasons for this elsewhere.
What is ideal is an relationship/environment where Japanese is Language itself. There is nothing else to fall back on. When you think of communicating with that person you have to think in Japanese.
In the early stages (and way up to intermediate in some cases) this can be very difficult. Your Japanese isn’t good enough yet to form relationships.
I have helped people through this stage. I have gone from patiently asking questions like:
まど の そと は、何が 見えますか？
to discussing things like the history of language in Japanese, with the same person, in about a year.
Obviously that person was also working hard on immersion! But what I was doing was bringing out her ability to communicate. Getting over the psychological barriers and creating an environment where Japanese is not “a language” but the means of communication.
I wish to make it clear I am not a native speaker. My Japanese isn’t perfect. I will be your senpai, not your sensei. The point here is not to learn Japanese from me (you will probably learn some, but that is incidental). The point is to learn to use Japanese as the means of communication. That is both psychologically and practically a whole new skill-set and outlook. And short of going to Japan there aren’t many ways of acquiring them.
If you don’t mind having a doll for a senpai and you want to meet me, please use this form. I’ll explain the practical details below.
Cost is currently US $10 per session. You can pay by Paypal regardless of your currency. This is an experiment on my part. If it goes well and I like it I will probably end up charging rather more. If it doesn’t or I don’t, I will stop doing it altogether. So it might be a good idea to try it now!
Sessions will be via Skype. I don’t use a camera.
Once you have submitted the form I will contact you and we will arrange a session. If you have preferred time(s) please include them in the comments section of the form, but don’t worry. We can work it out later.
Please be aware that if you choose the Japanese Immersion Relationship option we will not speak any English, so if you have something you need to convey to me in English please do so in writing beforehand.