Meet your Tutor

Hajimemashite! My name is Elly Darrah and I founded Ippo Ippo Japanese in 2020. Through Ippo Ippo, I provide dedicated Japanese tutoring to both individuals and groups, with lessons mainly taking place online.

I started learning Japanese in 2012, when I began the MA Japanese programme at the University of Edinburgh. Although I had previously learnt some of the written characters used in Japanese through studying Mandarin Chinese, it was otherwise a totally new language to me.

Starting my uni course, I quickly fell in love with the Japanese language, and was lucky enough to go to Japan twice during my degree, after which I spent around around a year working for a law firm in Osaka.

In 2018, I started tutoring Japanese in Edinburgh. Since then, I have helped students achieve goals such as preparing for study abroad or travel in Japan, passing the JLPT and improving their overall conversational fluency.

Through Ippo Ippo, it is my goal to help students have as positive, supported and exciting a learning experience as I myself have been lucky to have.

Qualifications & Experience

  • Japanese tutor based in Edinburgh – 2018 to Present
  • Paralegal (行政書士の補助者) at Support Gyōseishoshi Law Firm, Japan – 2016–17
  • Business Japanese Test: J1 – 2017
  • Japanese Language Proficiency Test: N1 – 2016
  • MA Japanese: First Class (Honours) with Distinction in Spoken Japanese (University of Edinburgh) – 2016
  • Award for Outstanding Achievement in Japanese Language (University of Edinburgh) – 2016
  • Year Abroad: Intensive Japanese Language Studies (Kwansei Gakuin University) – 2014-2015
  • 6wk Summer Session in Japanese Language (Sophia University) – 2013


British Association for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language (BATJ) member since November 2020.

I have been a member of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme since 2013.

A profile picture of Japanese tutor Elly Darrah

Elly Darrah (they/them)

Teaching Approach: Why Learn With Me?

If you have learnt Japanese or any other language before, you may already have an idea of the type of teaching you enjoy most. Alternatively, like many people, you may be more aware of the kind of learning that hasn't worked for you in the past. High school French lessons, anyone..?

I believe that learning a language should be a fun, enriching experience. During our time together, I hope to support you to keep discovering things you enjoy about Japanese language and culture. After all, the best way to learn - and keep learning - is through enjoyment!

Speak Japanese from Day One

In an ideal world, we would transport the Ippo Ippo classroom to Japan, where you would be able to access a fully immersive Japanese language environment each and every day. However, as teleportation technology unfortunately continues to elude us, we will instead be making up for this in the ways available to us in lessons.

This means we will:

  • Speak Japanese together starting from day one (starting with 'konnichiwa!')
  • Learn not only from textbooks, but from original Japanese source materials
  • Join the dots between the language learnt in class and how you can use it in real life
  • Take a flexible approach, allowing us to explore what interests you most

Make Japanese Part of Your Routine

One way in which you will start to see a big difference in your Japanese is when you start to spend more time on it outside of class. While this may be through traditional homework activities which I set, the real game changer is when you start to make Japanese part of your daily life.

Some great way you can start doing this include:

  • Watching Japanese dramas or anime
  • Listening to Japanese music, news or podcasts
  • Finding a language exchange partner
  • Writing a Japanese diary
  • Labelling things in your home with Japanese words
  • Following Japanese accounts on social media

If you are already interested in Japan or Japanese, you may already be doing some of these. If so, fantastic! If not, or if the above list doesn't appeal to you, don't worry: there are countless different resources out there, and you are sure to find something which will grab your attention.

Learn at a Sustainable, Adjustable Pace

While it is tempting to say that I will take your Japanese from zero to advanced in X amount of time, the truth is that everyone progresses at different speeds, often with certain skills developing faster than others.

Embracing different paces and different priorities is part of the ethos ingrained in the name 'Ippo Ippo', and I am happy to support you no matter whether your aim is to hit conversational fluency, to pass a JLPT exam, understand your favourite anime without subtitles or be able to order that dream bowl of ramen when you visit Japan.

There is no predetermined pace at which we will take our lessons, and you are welcome to schedule them as frequently or infrequently as you wish (availability permitting). While most students opt for once a week, there are others who choose every two weeks or even just once a month.

There will be times when you may not feel up to doing as much work as you had anticipated, and that's okay too. Lessons are flexible enough that we can deviate from the planned content and just spend our lesson chatting in Japanese or going over previous language points you're feeling unsure of.

Feel Comfortable Giving Feedback

I gather feedback from students throughout the year, but if at any point you feel like your lessons are not quite working for you, I am always open to hearing your thoughts and adapting our lessons.

Further Info

Interested in finding out more? Have a look at the relevant FAQs or, if you're eager to get started, get in touch today to enquire about my availability.

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