Japanese: Your Companion in Isolation
The majority of people are now stuck at home, and going out is only for necessity as advised by the local authorities to help eliminate the spread of the Coronavirus. This means there is a lot of time you can spend doing something useful or it would go wasted. Here is one of the ideas to do both different and useful: learning Japanese.
Films like The Last Samurai have always got me interested in the language and the Japanese culture. I have even thought of traveling to Japan, but time was not always in my favor for several reasons. Now, that there is a lot of time, I started thinking of ways to make good use of it, especially the things I hardly had time or effort to do, and learning Japanese was on top of these. All I needed was finding the best means to make it happen.
What is Next?
Language lessons are available online for beginners and advanced learners, but I am the kind of person who prefers interactive lessons as an alternative for the classroom option. There was a Japanese and Korean language center in Doha, hangulnihongo, which I came across several times before and which some friends of mine recommended, but timings and distance were always a challenge. This center is even listed among other Japanese teaching centers on the website of the Embassy of Japan Doha. While checking Instagram, I came across their post announcing ONLINE and FREE classes for those interested to learn Japanese or Korean. “Of course I am interested! Finally, I could do it,” I thought. I immediately contacted them and proceeded with the next steps.
Last Thursday was my first class, and it turned out there was more than one group as many people wanted to join. It was a virtual classroom, using video conferencing, but as a learner, you may choose to enable the audio option only. The video option is essential, though, for the instructor to show you how a word or sentence is written or pronounced.
The class was 45 minutes; it started on time and ended on time. The instructor was very well prepared and she started teaching basic sentences anyone would need to learn to interact with people when in Japan. I am not a fan of online courses, but the level of interaction in this one was different. The instructor seemed really happy to teach new learners, and we, the attendees, were very eager and glad to learn Japanese, so there was an atmosphere of excitement in this virtual class.
Although the course is free, things have not stopped at this point; the moderators were keen on finding out how everyone found the first class right after it finished. They even asked if anyone had suggestions to improve the class or make it better, but it was obvious everyone enjoyed it and it was above all expectations.
If you want to learn Japanese or Korean but not sure yet how to start, you’d better give it a shot with this amazing center, especially that you pay nothing; you need time ONLY. Here is their Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/hangulnihongo/?hl=en. You can ask them about whatever details you want before you start.
In times like these, people and businesses should think of new ideas to keep things working. For me, the hangulnihongo team provide this example and I wish them all the best!