Thursday, August 28, 2008
Genki Jacs
I knew after several months of studying Japanese on my own that I wanted to try and attend some type of intensive Japanese language course over the summer. While I am studying on my own, I feel that I would be learning more if I were in a classroom setting. Summer break is almost a month and a half long, so I knew I would have some time. I did a bunch of research online to help find the right school for me. Most of the schools I was looking at were in Tokyo but they were quite expensive and either required that you find your own accommodation for the duration of your study period or were for a minimum of 4 weeks. I was looking for something in the 2-3 week range to give myself enough time to go back to Colorado for a visit and for something that took care of all the extras, like accommodation.

During my research period, JD, a fellow JET, posted about Genki Jacs. He attended the school last summer and wanted to go again this summer and was wondering if anyone else was interested because groups can get discounts. I read up on the school and everything looked good. Plus, I figured it would be nice to attend a school where I knew at least one other person. Before I knew it, 2 other people also decided they wanted to attend. In the end, Yamanashi had its own crew of JD, myself, Jamie, and Jack attending Genki Jacs.

The school had everything I was looking for. They took care of providing texts and accommodation. They are also located in Fukuoka, which is on Kyushyu, a part of Japan I had yet to visit. Thus, travel opportunities were abound. All I had to do was show up.

I signed up for their Beginner Conversational Japanese course and also signed up for the optional exam skills class. I took the exam class option to help me prep for taking the JLPT4 exam in December. The total for my 2 week learning adventure came to 106,100 yen. Not too bad for a 2 week vacation. I also had to snag an overnight bus ticket from Tokyo to Fukuoka which ran me about 12,000 additional yen. I only booked a one way bus ticket to Fukuoka for myself and Jamie and figured we could work out getting back to Kofu at a later date.

After a rather harrowing bus trip to Fukuoka in which Jamie ended up getting left behind at a rest stop, leaving me to convince the driver to go back a pick her up (which he did thankfully) we arrived in Fukuoka. Getting to our apartment was easy as we simply shared a cab. The dorm was nice and the people running it were great. When we arrived they helped us with our bags and gave us a quick tour of the facility. Genki Jacs had several different dorms to choose from, including a few girls only dorms. We went with the closest co-ed dorm, which is called Cool Reve. The 12,100 yen cost per week was included in the cost of the school package, so we didn't have to worry about paying. From the dorm to the school we took a train that took about 15 min and 240 yen to get to the school. The train station was a short walk from the dorm and ran more than often enough. Here are some pictures of the apartment.

The school is located in a very central and convenient location. It is about a 7 minute walk from Tenjin station and there are plenty of restaurants, shopping, and combinis nearby. There is also a really nice park and temple within walking distance of the school. Here are some pictures of the school.

When I first arrived, they did a sort of orientation to go over the school rules. Then they had us all take a placement test. After I bombed that, all the girls were given loud noise making rape alarms. My kids all have these on their backpacks and its basically a little box with a pin and if you pull out the pin, it makes a really loud, annoying noise until the pin is replaced. I'm still not quite sure why the school felt the need to pass them out. Mine was hello kitty themed.

Once they figured out our class levels, we received out class schedule and textbooks. The school uses the Genki textbook series. I saved some money by bringing my own. The schedule is pretty simple. 4 hours of class a with different classes focusing on grammar, conversation, and listening skills. I also had my exam skill class on Tuesday afternoons. I was placed in the second to lowest class level.

Overall, the school was quite nice. They offer a decent range of services, including cultural activities and trips to local attractions. A nice thing to offer people who have never been to Japan and might be to self conscious to explore on their own. Most of these tours cost extra, but a few are free. I went on the free Fukuoka area tour they offer to new students to help me get familiar with the area. In class was a bit lacking however. While I know I probably learned more than if I had studies on my own, I felt the pace of the class was too slow. On the website, it clearly states that students should know hiragana before attending school. However, in everyone of my classes there were at least 3 students who could not read hiragana and thus the class moved really slow. Also, the max number of students in each class is capped at 6. All of my classes had the max number of students. And, while 6 isn't too bad, I felt I didn't get as much speaking time as I would have liked. Also, while homework was assigned, it was too simple and never seemed to be checked, which was really frustrating to me. The one class I really felt like I was learning was the exam skills class, as it was one on one teaching. Here is my pro/con list for the school.

Studying everyday = good, and not something I would do on my own
They take care of housing
Excellent location
Offer planned activities
International students, often fun to hang out with

Teacher contact was relatively low (I suspect this improves if you stay longer)
Homework too easy/not checked/not enough
Rains too much

Overall, worth it. I had a great time in Fukuoka and the school was really helpful with all of my questions. The dorm was fine and there was plenty of things to do. I didn't do as much learning as I hoped, but it was still better than studying alone.

My Fukuoka adventures are for another post.

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posted by am at 9:49 PM | Permalink |


At March 21, 2014 at 12:22 PM, Blogger Unknown

Hello, I'm Sarie from England ^^After doing alot of research too I found Genki Jacs more suitable for me. I am 17 atm but I turn 18 in a few months. I am thinking of going to Japan after college (around 2 years) so basically I tried learning Japanese too myself and I can only introduce my self fluently, counts some numbers and recognise some hiragana. But apart from that I suck lol. I was planning on studying the long term course cos I wanna study for university in Japan too. on the website it says you need to study for 6months maximum then transfer to a long term course. Can I do the 6months in Fukuoka or does it have to be in Tokyo?


At March 22, 2014 at 3:17 AM, Blogger Mixx

It would be better to get in contact with the school and ask them. When I attended they only had a school in Fukuoka.


At May 24, 2014 at 6:01 AM, Blogger Unknown

Great post, helped me a bit when I was looking for the school (I picked GenkiJACS in Fukuoka :))

@Sari if you haven't contacted the school, then I can tell you that you can do the whole time in Fukuoka, Tokyo or I think even both (half half maybe :)). I am doing the six months now. Contact me if you need anything.

I am going to keep blogging about GenkiJACS too


At June 18, 2014 at 1:52 AM, Blogger Unknown

It's a great share.. I was found Genki too in few days ago. I have check many other language school also. and as I don't want to stay in Tokyo too. Finally, happy to found Genki that what I need too. I'm now studying N5 Japanese in Hong Kong, but as I have no any chance to have oral practice, that why hope to study abroad in Japan as well.

@Martin you already picked GenkiJACS also ? When you will be start a course ? as I have work in HK so.. it's probably can go on next year Feb, shall we keep this platform for more share as well?

Great to e-meet with you all .

Yammie :)


At June 18, 2014 at 1:55 AM, Blogger Unknown

@Sari, is good that if you can stay longer to take exam in Japan, I found Genki have exam preparation course or they can help you to do student visa if you stay longer than 6 months. wish you can get all information soon.