Berkeley Parents Network >
Classes & Lessons >
does anyone know of adult beginning level japanese language
classes in the berkeley/oakland area? i know the uc extension
offers some but i was hoping for something a little less
expensive. community college/buddhist temple/private
I took Japanese classes several years ago around Berkeley area. I
1. UC Extensions. This was my favorite even though it was
expensive. It's a small class (5-10 people), the teacher (Sachiko
Nicholson) is really good, the high cost means you get motivated
people who want to learn Japanese. The individual attention and
good teacher was worth the money. I took Japanese 1 & 2 from her.
2. UCCSF. I then followed Nicholson to UCCSF, where she also
teaches Japanese. The coursebook was pretty bad and the classes
had 20+ people in it. Even though the teacher is good, with that
class size, and w/ people who don't do their homework or pay
attention in class, her hands were tied. I felt like I wasn't
learning as much. Everything just takes longer. But this is the
cheapest option. I only took one semester here and then gave up.
3. Soko Gakoen. Eventually, I went to Soko Gakoen in Japantown.
Class sizes are about 10-15 people. Some teachers are better than
others. The good ones really good, the bad ones, I wondered why I
was wasting time shlepping to SF every week. Some of these
teachers were in the UCSF program for teaching Japanese I think.
The cost is about 1/2 to 1/3 of UC Extension.
I think there are other Japanese schools around the Bay area that
are like Soko Gakuen. They basically offer Japanese instruction
for children and also some adult language instruction. The
easiest way is to ask around when you're in one of these classes
and see where else people have taken classes.
If you work, and have to take classes at night, then I think a
small class size is good. You will get a lot of people who didn't
do their homework because they work. Having that small class
means that the teacher can be flexible and still teach you
I'm looking for a non-religious based Japanese summer camp for
my already bi-lingual 4 1/2 year old son. He already speaks
some Japanese with Dad at home and with some friends, but fear,
being English dominant, he may lose it without a more
structured environment. When he starts K, I'd like to continue
an after-school program. I'm already familiar with Sycamore in
El Cerrito, but would prefer something not connected with a
church. I'd be willing to drive to SF or up to an hour or so
to do this. Thanks.
Need to Maintain the 2nd language
You might want to check out the
Pacific Rim International
School in Emeryville. It is a Montessori based school but also
offers language immersion in Japanese and Mandarin. There are
2 Japanese teachers for kids aged 3-6 and these teachers speak
only Japanese to the kids all day no matter what subject is
being taught (same for the Mandarin and Enlish speaking
teachers - the teachers always speak in their native language
to the kids, but can all communicate in English with the
parents as necessary). There are quite a few kids in this
class who come from Japanese families and speak primarily in
Japanese throughout the day. They have several summer sessions
that are each 2 weeks in length. The core hours are 9:00 to
3:30 but they also offer extended care from 8:00-9:00 and 3:30-
6. There are enrichment classes (usually art, martial arts,
music) in the afternoons for an additional fee. Feel free to
email me if you have any questions.
There is another small after school program run by Misae Moro. The facility she
uses happens to be a churchin San Leandro, but unlike Sycamore, there is no
religious component. The program is 2x week. She is excellent: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our girls will start at Hoshuko in SF in April -- age requirement is 6YO by
April 1 --
parallel to the Japanese school calendar.
Our girls went through Sycamore and now do AIUEO 2x week. We are very satisfied.
I felt the same as you about the religious component at the beginning, but ended
finding a benefit in it -- we framed it as exposure to one of the many world
religions. In conjunction with Sycamore, through friends, we exposed our girls
Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism, and Islam -- though we as a family do not observe
We are also part of a very large Japanese community in the east bay, this is a
great way to instill values and language.
Happy to share more. Amy
My 12 year old has expressed a burning interest in learning Japanese. We live in
Oakland but school in Berkeley. Any suggestions??
Not sure if you have access to iTunes, but there are free
downloads on iTunes for podcasts called Japanese101, and they're
quite good. The pronunciation is great, and they break down all
the syllables. Each lesson is about 10 minutes long and they
just hammer a few phrases each time. It's a good starter, in my
opinion. There are also other languages, if anyone else is
interested...Italian I know for sure, though I took Italian in
college and haven't listened to it to see if it's good or not.
--Domo Arigato but not Mr. Roboto, please.
A few years ago my husband took Japanese lessons with a lovely,
patient private tutor. She lives in North Berkeley. Her name is
Maki Kajimura (510) 527-0985.
I'm looking for a beginning Japanese class for myself and my 15-
year-old, to prepare for a trip to Japan in the spring. I can't
find any adult school classes in the Berkeley area, and wonder
if anyone has any other leads? Thank you!
Have you checked Contra Costa College in San Pablo for Japanese
classes? They do offer classes there for high school age
students as well.
I checked online and Laney College is offering conversational
Japanese this Spring, Tuesday nights 6-9 pm. It's not Berkeley,
but is quite close, and I took the class before (w/a different
teacher) and enjoyed it.
My 16-year-old son took a Japanese class at Laney College from a wonderful
teacher who I think also teaches at Cal State Hayward. I sat in
on a couple of classes and it was great!
My brother is a Japanese Tutor. He lives in the city, but would
be willing to travel to the East Bay to meet with you. Since
you will be travelling in Japan, a private tutor may offer you
more personalization. We are American, but lived in Japan
during our middle school and high school years. My brother
returned to Japan for some of his college studies(East Asian
Studies degree). He is fluent in Japanes (and a few other Asian
languages as well.) Following college, he moved to Japan and
was a translator for a Japanese company. He has lived in the
states for about 5 years now and has recently left a Japanese
company to travel awhile. He is currently doing some freelance
translation and Japanese tutoring. He is very reasonably
priced. His name is Paul Barrows and his number is 415-957-1823.
If you are more interested in a Japanese School or class, he
recommended contacting the Japanese Consulate in SF for
information on a program nearest you.
My 13 year old son wants to learn to Japanese (and doesn't want
to wait another year to start El Cerrito High). Does anyone have
suggestions for classes or tutors in the El Cerrito/Berkeley
area? I'd like something fun and not too high-pressured. I've
checked the archives and the listings are either in SF or are
several years old.
The Albany Kumon teaches Japanese.
Try Arrowsmith Academy on Bancroft--540-0440 or Academic Talent
Development Program on the UC Campus--642-1670
My daughter, a BHS soon-to-be sophomore, will be taking Saturday
classes next year at the East Bay Japanese Language School at a church
in El Cerrito (tel 222-4798). I do not know if they will be intensive
enough to satisfy the language requirement. My daughter's friends took
a "cram" course in San Francisco, with lots of homework, designed to get
kids with limited Japanese proficiency fluent enough to return to live
in Japan. If you want a referral to a cram course, the El Cerrito
people know about them. Cynthia
Schools that have Japanese Classes
Arrowsmith Academy in Berkeley has Japanese Classes for students.
I know you did not really want private schools but you asked about
Japanese. Marin Academy in San Rafael is the only high school I know
of that teaches Japanese, and we looked at a lot of schools. They
also on occasion taken the students to Japan. Unless perhaps BHS
independent study would let you take it privately for credit. This I
don't know. Good Luck.
I know that El Cerrito High School has been, and still
is, offering Japanese courses. (at least 1, may be 2.)
Mrs. Satake is the instructor. You may contact the
school. Good luck!
Lick-Wilmerding, a private high school in San Francisco, also teaches Japanese.
CPS, a private high school in the Rockridge area, also offers
four years of Japanese. Victoria
this page was last updated: Apr 18, 2010
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are transitioning to a new website during
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2015 Berkeley Parents Network