The importance of language learning has never been greater, especially for languages which don't have a tradition of being taught or learnt in the U.S.A. Examples of these include, Arabic, Mandarin, Korean, the Russian language, and Japanese.
For this reason, learning Japanese in America has never been easier than it is today, especially if you live in a large city.
Houston is not only the biggest city in Texas, it is also the biggest in the Southern United States. Greater Houston is the fifth largest urban area in the United States, too! It earned itself the nickname “Space City” due to the impact it had on space exploration and as the home of NASA’s operations for several important missions.
While not as far away as space, Houston also has a number of important links with Japan and Japanese culture. These links are the reason why it’s never been easier to learn the Japanese language in the city.
If you’d like to learn to speak, read, or write Japanese in order to improve your resume or just for fun, you’ve come to the right place. While learning a second language isn't easy, with the right resources, language courses or language lessons, you'll find learning your new language much simpler.
You might be thinking that Japanese is a complex mix of confusing terms such as Kanji characters, hiragana katakana, and nihongo to name but a few. You'd be right in thinking learning Japanese is more challenging than if you were going to learn Italian or Portuguese, but the positives most definitely outweigh the negatives.
Japanese is the 9th most spoken language in the world by number of native speakers, and it is the only official national language of the world's 5th largest economy. And if you add the long and traditional culture associated with the language, you have a language that promises so much to those who dedicate the time to learn it.
So whether you are learning Japanese in Chicago, or right here in Houston, Superprof has everything you need to know. In this article we will go through all the different ways and all the different places you should consider checking out if you’re interested in learning about the language and culture of the Land of the Rising Sun!
Taking a Japanese Course at College in Houston
As you can imagine, learning Spanish is far more popular than Japanese in American schools. In fact, Spanish is the most popular language currently with French and German also standing on the podium. Japanese, on the other hand, is only the tenth most taught language in the country. You’re more likely to learn Latin in school than you are Japanese.
Don’t let that put you off, though. While the numbers of students taking Japanese classes in middle schools and high schools are dropping, the number of students opting to study the language at college has increased in recent years.
This applies to colleges across the country. Therefore it doesn't matter if you want to study Japanese in Philadelphia, Atlanta, or Houston; you will find a Japanese course at a college near you.
While you might not think studying Japanese at college is worth it, you should remember that the language belongs to one of the world’s top 5 economies, and that there are very few Americans who speak the language.
Subsequently it would look fantastic on your resumé, and it could really help push your career forward. If you’ve decided that it’s time to take the plunge and study Japanese at college, here are some of the places in Houston where you can.
As part of Rice University’s foreign language program, students can study Japanese. While you can’t major in Japanese, you can take beginner and intermediate classes in the subject alongside your other studies.
The four classes for beginners cover the main grammatical structures in Japanese and students who finish these classes should be able to have basic conversations using the language. Students will also learn the hiragana and katakana syllabaries.
The intermediate classes introduce students to kanji and Japanese grammar, and students should have enough Japanese to live comfortably in Japan by the end of the course.
University of Houston
The Japanese courses at the University of Houston also cover the elementary and intermediate levels. By the end of the intermediate levels, students should have the necessary linguistic skills to communicate comfortably in a conversation with Japanese speakers, as well as read and write in Japanese.
University of Saint Thomas
Students at the University of Saint Thomas can major or minor in Japanese. However, they will have to do so through a special arrangement with the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Macelester College.
The intensive nature of the Japanese courses offered will give students comprehensive knowledge of Japanese and Japanese characters (kanji) and the kana syllabary systems (hiragana, katakana). The program also aims to encourage students to nurture an interest in Japanese culture and history. It should provide students with the foundations necessary for majoring or minoring in Japanese.
Japanese Courses at Japanese Associations and Institutes in Houston
Language classes at a Japanese language school can be found across the US. This means you can learn Japanese in New York, Houston, and everywhere in between. Depending on the language school, tuition will usually be given by a native speaker who can help you with everything from vocabulary to pronunciation. Here are some of the best places to take a language course in Japanese in Houston.
Japan America Society of Houston
For nearly 50 years, the Japan America Society of Houston (JASH), has been building bridges between Houston’s Japanese and American communities as well as promoting programs.
For over twenty years, the JASH has operated its Japanese Language Program. The courses are divided into classes for beginners, intermediate, and advanced speakers. Every class starts at $175.
The classes take place either on weekday evenings or Saturday mornings. Depending on your level, you’ll need the following textbooks:
- Japanese for Busy People I - Textbook. This is arguably one of the most popular Japanese textbooks of all time and comes with a CD for listening activities. It’s available for around $25. In addition to the textbook, there’s also an accompanying workbook that you’ll need for reading and writing activities. At around $15, the workbook is cheaper than the textbook. However, you can’t really get one without the other.
- Japanese for Busy People II - This textbook is used in later classes and it comes with the workbook that goes with it.
- Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese textbooks and workbooks also form a key part of Japanese learning here
In addition to the group classes offered by the JASH, there are also private lessons available from $41 (for members) and $45 (for non-members). These private lessons are useful for those who work in Japanese companies, are planning to take the Japanese-Language Proficiency Test (JLPT), are traveling to Japan for work or vacation, or just need some extra help with their Japanese studies. In addition to all the classes and courses organized by the JASH, there are also a number of cultural events that might be of interest to you.
After all, if you’re learning a foreign language, you should learn as much as you can about the accompanying culture and history of the countries where the language is spoken.
You should also consider checking out the Japan Festival Houston which takes places every year. The 2017 edition included merchants selling Japanese products, Japanese cuisine, and a number of performances. These performances included music, dance, and martial arts performances and a cosplay contest.
If you’re learning Japanese and looking for someone to practice with, you should consider checking out the Houston Japanese Language Meetup. While these aren’t Japanese lessons or classes, it can be a useful way to complement classes or private tutorials. If you’d like to participate, you should be able to speak Japanese to a conversational level. You’ll also need to be able to ask and answer questions in Japanese.
Hiring a Private Japanese Tutor in Houston
As the home of the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston is no stranger to technology. As you probably know, Japan is also a country that prides itself on being at the forefront of technology and draws in young tech-minded students from all over the world. This is one reason why so many people in Houston are interested in going to Japan in order to immerse themselves in Japanese culture.
However, if you can’t afford to go on a language immersion trip to Japan, why not consider getting your Japanese immersion from a private Japanese tutor? If you’re looking for someone to help you learn Japanese from the comfort of your own home, you should consider checking out the tutors available on Superprof.
Tutors are often available to give evening classes if you are worried about being at work all day, and they will be fully dedicated to improving your language skills.
Speaking Japanese requires commitment and a desire to not give up, and a good private tutor will try to instil the confidence that you need to succeed.
This option is available nationwide, so people looking for Japanese classes in Los Angeles can also use the Superprof platform to find tutors close to them.
By using Superprof’s search engine, you can compare a number of different Japanese tutors’ profiles and choose the right one for you.
Firstly, as a new learner, you will need to work out what your needs are, when you’re available, and your available budget for private Japanese tutorials. Keep in mind that the rates for private tutors can vary wildly depending on their location, experience, qualifications, availability, teaching methods, etc.
Whether you’re learning Japanese because you’re going to study abroad, get a job, or talk to Japanese business partners, you can find your tutor in just a few clicks. You can learn the basics of the language as well as more about Japanese culture and history outside of the traditional classroom environment.
If you’re thinking about giving tutorials yourself, you should know that Japanese is the 4th biggest language on the Internet and is used by 5.3% of “internauts”. In terms of articles published on Wikipedia, Japanese is the world’s 7th biggest language with 778,000 articles. Finally, Japanese is the world’s 6th biggest language in terms of publishing. So if you already speak Japanese, you can join Superprof and start providing Japanese tutorials today!
And remember, all of these options are available in the rest of the U.S.A so feel free to use Superprof’s platform to help you if you are looking for a Japanese course in Dallas, or anywhere else in the 50 states.