Frequently Asked Questions

Unfortunately I am unable to offer lessons in person. However, I do hold some events in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Lessons are typically held over Zoom, but if you have a strong preference for another platform, let me know.

While generally I encourage students to keep their camera on, as this helps with communication in language lessons in particular, I understand that this may not be accessible for some people for a variety of reasons.

If having your camera off makes it easier to take part, you can join lessons via voice call only.

If your internet connection allows for it, we can do lessons via video call with your camera off but screensharing on, meaning the lesson can still be visually interactive.

Should internet problems lead to us abandoning a call, it may be possible to continue over the phone or reschedule. Arrangements for this will be made on a case-by-case basis.

As this is an online course, I hope that in general it is more accessible than a course held in person.

To improve online accessibility, I do the following:

  • Enable automated (English) captions on Zoom
  • Encourage participation either verbally or through other forms, e.g. in the chat
  • Allow students to have their cameras off if need be
  • Use pale coloured backgrounds on slides, handouts etc to improve readability
  • Where possible, use fonts (in English and Japanese) recommended to support dyslexic learners
  • Include a break (approx. 5mins) around halfway through each class that is over 60mins
  • Include 1wk off for rest and revision
  • Record lessons when someone is absent so they can watch them back in their own time
  • Share my pronouns and encourage students to share theirs too (if comfortable doing so - this is never mandatory)
  • Always give the option for support needs/accessibility info to be shared at signup

I am trying to improve the accessibility of my teaching, but am very aware there will be things I have missed. If you have any specific accessibility or support needs that you would like to discuss, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For those at beginners, elementary and intermediate level, I generally recommend the Genki textbooks, published by the Japan Times, which we will often supplement with the free Irodori series by the Japan Foundation.

For upper intermediate level, I may recommend the Tobira textbook series, while for more advanced students, we may use JLPT materials (typically Sō Matome and/or Kanzen Master) along with a variety of other resources.

For students of all levels, I aim never to rely fully on one textbook, mixing in materials from elsewhere where appropriate. As well as textbook materials, we will use things such as online videos, podcasts, songs and newspaper articles to bring more "real" Japanese into our lessons.

If you have a particular textbook in mind you'd like to use, I am happy to accommodate this, although I may provide supplementary materials depending on the materials in question.

If you are unsure of what textbook you would like to use, don't worry: you don't need to decide right away. I can talk you through your options based on your learning aims and you can come to a decision once you're ready.

For the majority of Private Tutoring lessons, I will provide Powerpoint slides which act as a guide for our lesson structure as well as extra materials for you to refer to. These can be shared via Google Drive or email following our class.

For both Private Tutoring and Study Support, we will almost always make notes together on any extra language points - new vocab, revision of grammar points etc - that come up during class. Again, I will share these via Google Drive or email.

In addition to these materials, we may also use:

  • Supplementary activity sheets
  • Reading passages from the news, books or other online sources
  • Online videos
  • Podcast excerpts

It all really depends on the content of your lesson and the areas we are focusing on!

The majority of my students are adult or young adult learners, but I also have students of secondary school age. As for an upper age limit, this certainly does not apply, and I welcome adults of all ages.

If you are interested in Japanese lessons and are under 18 or are looking for lessons for your child, I would be happy to discuss this. However, please be aware that while I have previously worked young people aged 16+ in Further and Higher Education settings, my experience of teaching younger children is limited.

Children and young people have some advantages when it comes to learning a new language, but there is definitely no age limit on when you can start learning.

Although I was a young adult (18) when I started learning Japanese, I was still worried that it was 'too late' for me. What I discovered was that this was entirely untrue - what really matters is your motivation!

I have been a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme since 2013 and can provide proof of membership valid within the past year for free.

I teach all levels from beginners to advanced. For all prospective students, we will discuss your needs to work out how best I can support your learning aims.

Yes, I teach students at JLPT levels N5, N4, N3 and N2.

The quick answer to this one is: it's up to you!

There are obvious benefits to learning from a native speaker. However, as someone who has learnt Japanese from zero as an adult learner, I understand what it's like to approach a language that is so far removed from English. Not only that, but I have loads of tips and advice for learners, as well as an understanding of how to explain grammar, kanji, set phrases and more in a way which is accessible to someone approaching them for the first time.

Many students report that they find the rapport we build as fellow learners to be very helpful, and as I consider myself a lifelong student of Japanese, I will always be looking to improve my understanding and abilities in a way that feeds into the quality of my teaching.

Private Tutoring and Study Support typically come with options for 1hr, 1.5hrs and 2hrs. For 2hrs, there is a 10% discount on the standard hourly rate. 

1hr is the most popular option for students just starting out, but those who are aiming to sit the JLPT or who are engaged in more intensive studies (e.g. at a university course) often choose 2hrs at a time. There is always a break halfway through 2hr-long lessons.

Lesson length is up to you, and anything under 2hrs will be charged at the hourly rate stated for 1hr.

If you think you would like to choose the 2hr option but are worried it's too much in one go, it is possible to book separate slots within the same week. Just get in touch with any questions or queries.

It's up to you! While the majority of students opt for lessons once a week, there are many others who choose once every two weeks, and some who even request once a month.

If you are not sure if you will be able to commit to regular lessons, just get in touch and we can discuss how to make arrangements that will work for both of us.

If the time you are free varies, this is no problem as long as we can find availability for you within my schedule. If your work or other circumstances mean that you may need to back out of lessons at short notice, we will need to set a regular deadline by which you will confirm your attendance. Last-minute notice will unfortunately incur a cancellation fee, just as for all other students.

Please click here to view my teaching hours.

Learning to write Japanese is no small undertaking, and especially if you are just starting out, you may wonder how you can do it without someone sitting next to you to help. The good news is that I have a few different ways of helping you to do exactly this - some more hi-tech than others.

First of all, I have a graphics pad which allows me to demonstrate writing via screenshare. Many of my students have learnt hiragana, katakana and kanji entirely from scratch through this method. Using my interactive whiteboard, I can show you stroke order and give you tips on your writing. The low-tech part comes on your end, where I will usually ask you to show me your writing either on a notebook or whiteboard by holding it up to the camera. It may feel a bit silly at first, but it works!

Another way in which I am likely to help with your writing skills is by asking you to email me or upload photos of written work to Google Drive. This generally allows for a more detailed check than is otherwise possible, and often allows me to pick up on recurring errors, e.g. in stroke order.

Believe it or not, you don’t need a special keyboard to type in Japanese! You do however need to install a Japanese keyboard package on your device. I can send you a guide on how to do this and we can cover how to type in Japanese during one of our lessons.

If you miss a lesson, I will share the recording so you watch it back in your own time.

Please note: no refunds are available if you miss a lesson. However, if a class is cancelled due to circumstances out of my control (e.g. illness), I will either offer the class on an alternative date or give a refund for that lesson.

Check out the Ippo Ippo Terms and Conditions here.

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