Another alternative in which worksheets are checked by an instructor and returned with advice attached.
The Kumon Institute of Education and Asahi Culture Centre offer correspondence courses. The former offers courses for beginners and intermediates while the latter for intermediate and advanced students. Before enrolling you will have to take a test to gage your Japanese level.
For more information, cost and an application form call the Correspondence Division of the Asahi Culture Centre on 03-3344-2527 or the Kumon Institute on 0120-494-625.
The Japanese Proficiency Test is one of the most famous ways to get certification in the Japanese language but there are others too. The International Japanese Education Centre has its own test, the Japanese Communication Ability Test, that has a point score like TESOL and not an actual pass mark. It also is more practical, unlike the Proficiency Test which is more academic, in that the examination quizzes you on every day things like understanding documents, faxes, advertisements etc. There are more tests starting up, all being created to cash in on the bandwagon of Japanese language education. The tests cost money to sit, multiple numbers of books are created for them and there are even courses which claim to help you pass them. The Japanese Proficiency Test is widely recognised but held only once a year in December and in locations that are usually in big cities. The one held by the International Japanese Education Centre is held in June and October. To find out when actual dates for these examinations are, and for newly created ones, call one of the Japanese language schools listed who will only be to pleased to help. On returning to your home country you can apply to take the above mentioned tests there. They are held in various nations from Malaysia to Mexico and from Hungary to Italy.
For the Japanese Proficiency Test contact their head office at:
Japanese Language Proficiency Test, c/o The Japan Foundation, Park Building, 3-6 Kioi-cho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo. Call 03-5454-5215 or fax 03-5275-6926. An English-speaking operator can send you an application form.
For the Japanese Communication Ability Test contact:
The International Japanese Education Centre, Sun Building, Floor 4, 13-1 Kanda Konyacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 101-0035. Call 03-3255-8123 or fax 03-3255-8129.
Association for the Promotion of Japanese Language Education 03-5386-0080 Has courses on teaching people to teach Japanese.
For would be teachers, Bonjinsha also holds courses for non-Japanese who have passed Level One on the Japanese Proficiency Test. Call 03-3239-8673
While you may eagerly attempt to "beat" the tests listed above, an all round knowledge of the language could be better in the long run. The examinations listed above, even though a marketers dream - encourage non-Japanese they need these examinations and then get them to buy the endless stream of books and tapes associated with passing - the reality can be different. Reports from countless non-Japanese returning to their home countries tell of hardly anyone actually hearing of them, including Japanese professors at university, long time translators and various companies. It may be better to get certification from a language college like the ones listed above than coldly trying to beat one of the well marketed but not well recognised (outside Japan) tests. For the record, Nippon Living has no interest in giving business to any language school but if they should like to donate some money for the maintenance of this website for passing students onto them, Nippon Living would be more than welcome to receive it.
Scholarships for Tertiary Education
For those interested in going to a Japanese university, scholarships are available through the Japanese central government, local government and private institutions. Those wishing to gain a scholarship from the Education Ministry must apply before coming to Japan and gain a recommendation from either the university they want to attend or the Japanese Embassy in their own country.
Scholarships from local government and private institutions are reserved for those living in Japan. Occasionally grants from the latter can be applied for before coming to Japan.
The Association of International Education has various information for non-Japanese who want to study in tertiary education. Their centre is a 10 minute walk from Komaba Todaimae Station on the Inokashira Line. Call 03-5454-5216.
Japanese Language Links
www.asahi.com Read the newspaper and test your kanji
www.NJStar.com Turn your English computer into a Japanese word processor
www.radionippon.com Listen to Japanese over the internet
www.webjapanese.com Learn Japanese with a variety of links
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