Meet Your Japanese Immersion Senpai!

japanese-immersion-senpai
Senpai is a doll?

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.

Practical details

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!

Pay now if you are ready. It is all right if you want to ask questions and arrange the session time first via the form above.


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.

3 thoughts on “Meet Your Japanese Immersion Senpai!

  1. Oh how exciting! Omedetou and Ganbatte kudasai, Cure Dolly.

    I just happen to be the person Cure Dolly is talking about, and I can personally attest to how helpful she has been to me. I had a particularly hard time when I was beginning to speak. Pronunciation is an extremely weak skill for me, and I had a really difficult time getting over the speaking hurdle. Cure Dolly was patient and kind….and kibishii at the same time.

    Cure Dolly has also been quite helpful to me as an immersion Senpai. Her and I are quite different in temperament and abilities, and we have very different life circumstances. Still, she was able to work with me to create an Immersion plan and strategy that fit my needs and circumstances.

    As Cure Dolly says, she is not a native speaker, and while, of course, there are some disadvantages to that, there are quite a few advantages as well. A native speaker is…well..a native speaker, who learned Japanese as a child, so has not had to learn it as an adult, which is a different process I think.

    Cure Dolly has been a wonderful Senpai for me, and I am excited that she is spreading her wings to help others with their journey.

    1. This site is about the immersion method of learning Japanese. It is not a system, and no two people do it in exactly the same way. In a strategy session we look at what you are doing and what you want to do and try to plan out your next steps.

      This could helping you work out whether the immersion method is the best one for you at all, or could be working on moving you to a more advanced level or what activities might help you best with solving particular problems. It depends on what your needs are. I write a lot of articles, but because everyone is different, there are always things that are best looked at on a personal basis.

      If you want to ask questions privately you can also use the form in the article above. It doesn’t commit you to booking a session. I am happy to talk it over (that goes for everyone else too, of course).

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