More Than a Language School

Blue House Okinawa

 More Than a Language School

You can study anywhere, but Blue House is unique. We are a close-knit community of English & Japanese learners.  When we’re not in the classroom, we’re still learning from each other!

Authentic Language Practice

Because we teach both English and Japanese, there are endless opportunities to practice with native speakers.

Close to Kadena Air Base Gate 1

We’re located in a cozy house right by Sunabe Seawall.

Relaxed & Community-Centered

A great place to make friends, explore, and grow together.

Our Approach

Japanese Classes

Beginner 1

To start, you will learn pronunciation, counting, and lots of useful phrases and greetings.  Next, we move on to sentence structure while creating basic sentences using colors, adjectives, question words, and talking about what you like/dislike.  You’ll learn a lot of vocabulary and will be able to write the first half of the Japanese Hiragana alphabet.  (2 Months | Japanese From Zero! 1)

Beginner 2

You will learn how to talk about what you want/don’t want, locations, dates (days, months, years), and time.  In addition, we’ll practice asking for things, counting objects (a big topic in Japanese!), and using verbs as we learn about conjugation and the past tense.  Of course, you will learn a bunch of vocabulary and will be able to write the entire Japanese language in Hiragana by the end of the course. (2 Months | Japanese From Zero! 1)

Beginner 3

Learn how to use two very important verbs (ある, いる), talk about specific objects and their locations, count living things, and gain confidence with particles and other useful grammar.  You’ll master the first half of the Katakana alphabet and learn new vocabulary in the process.  (2 Months | Japanese From Zero! 2)

Beginner 4

Learn about the Japanese family structure, adjectives, informal verb forms/conjugations, connecting sentences, and more key grammar concepts.  Of note, you’ll learn the very important verb する and how to use it with your growing vocabulary to form a ton of new verbs.  After you complete the course, you will be able to write the entire Katakana alphabet and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned in only 8 months!  (2 Months | Japanese From Zero! 2)

Pre-Intermediate 1

Practice talking about your family and relatives, hobbies, nature, seasons, weather, and your town while you learn related vocabulary and kanji.  In addition, you will learn and practice grammar concepts including ている form, normalizing verbs/adjectives, describing when actions take place using とき, changes in states using なる (become), and connecting adjectives/verbs to form more complex sentences.  (3 Months | Marugoto A2-1)

Pre-Intermediate 2

Practice communicating to meet up with a friend, plan an evening out on the town, discuss food/meal plans, and share your experiences with language study and culture.  You will do all this while you learn related vocabulary and kanji, and practice grammar concepts including: connecting verbs to form complex sentences, asking if something is okay, going to/wanting to/trying to do something, relative time (before/after), and the various nuances of もう/まだ (already/not yet/still).  (3 Months | Marugoto A2-1)

Pre-Intermediate 3

Practice talking about business trips and an office environment, health and exercise, celebrations, and your feelings while you learn related vocabulary and kanji.  In addition, you will learn and practice grammar concepts including: past experiences (I have been to …), doing too much of something, doing something for the purpose of, new ways to form complex sentences, and expressing your thoughts or what you heard someone say.  (3 Months | Marugoto A2-1)

Intermediate 1

Practice communicating while making new friends, describing people, discussing food, nature, and travel while learning related vocabulary and kanji.  You will also learn and practice grammar concepts that enable you to discuss physical characteristics of people and objects, warn against certain actions, and provide advice or suggestions in different settings (e.g. it would be better if you wore a hat).  (4 Months | Marugoto A2-2)

Intermediate 2

Practice talking about volunteer work, festivals/events, feelings and wishes, and shopping while you learn related vocabulary and kanji.  In addition, you will learn and practice grammar concepts including: potential or uncertain actions (e.g. may be able to, might go with, etc.), and more complex uses of もう and まで.  In addition, you will practice sentence structure to explain the results of actions (e.g. one must do [A] in order for [B]).  (3 Months | Marugoto A2-2)

Intermediate 3

Practice communicating about history, culture, the environment, life events, memories and feelings.  You will do all this while you learn related vocabulary and kanji, and practice grammar concepts including: speaking of past events that affect the present, advanced explanations (e.g. try to do/try not to do), the evolution of things (e.g. I am too big/old for …), uncertain past events, and further conditional instructions and explanations.   (3 Months | Marugoto A2-2)

Overview of Study Tools

Image showing all four of Blue House Okinawa's Japanese textbooks including Japanese From Zero Books 1-2 and Marugoto A2-1 and A2-2
George Trombley, author of the Japanese From Zero textbooks, recorded YouTube videos to complement the lessons in his book. This is a tool use utilize in our classes.
Marugoto textbooks have an eLearning portal called Minato to complement the lessons in the book. We utilize this tool in our classes.
Blue House Okinawa has created hundreds of vocabulary practice sets using Quizlet

Following our blended-learning approach, all classes incorporate a variety of study tools outside of the classroom.  These include textbooks, YouTube videos and/or online learning portals associated with the books, Quizlet flashcards, and our very own Blue House Okinawa Mobile App.  Our app helps to consolidate your learning materials (some linked, others hosted on the app itself), guide/track your course progress, facilitate assignments, and enable communication with your fellow students via direct messaging and group forums.

Schedule and Pricing

Beginner Japanese Classes

Three classes per week, 90-min each

  • Beginner 2 (Evening): 3 May - 23 Jun, 2021, Mon/Wed:815pm-950pm & Thu 700pm-900pm
  • Beginner 1 (Morning): 28 Jun - 18 Aug, 2021 Mon/Wed:1055am-1230pm & Thu 700pm-900pm
  • Beginner 1 (Evening): 28 Jun - 18 Aug, 2021 Mon/Wed:815pm-9:50pm & Thu 700pm-900pm

Pre-Intermediate Japanese Classes

Three classes per week, 90-minutes each

  • Pre-Intermediate 1 (Morning): 31 May - 18 Aug, 2021, Mon/Wed:1240pm-215pm & Thu:700pm - 900pm

Intermediate Japanese Classes

Three classes per week, 90-min each

  • Intermediate 2: 4 May - 24 Jun, 2021, Tue/Thu:225pm-400pm & Thu:700pm - 900pm

What Our Students Say

I remember my first class at Blue House! I was brand new to Okinawa and the Japanese language. I was able to have basic exchanges, and it made me so happy to practice with native speakers and have such a fun community to learn in. I’m two years into studying now and am so glad I found Blue House from the beginning — it introduced me to some of my favorite people in Okinawa and is such a special place ❤️
Review from Sara
I had spent about 8 months using online based methods to learn Japanese. Blue House gave me the opportunity to learn Japanese face-to-face with native Japanese speakers. The language exchanges forced me to step outside of my shell and speak among our Japanese peers, which was exactly what I needed to do to gain confidence to apply my classroom learning to the real world. Most importantly, it has been an incredibly fun experience to learn Japanese while helping others to learn English!
Review from Tom
I love Blue House. It works with my busy schedule and is extremely flexible. My favorite aspect is that you are learning Japanese and practicing alongside students who are attempting to learn English.
Renie Review
We are leaving island soon and Blue House was really the best part of my Okinawa experience. It’s worth every penny.
Review from Janice
The new exposure class was excellent! We have been on the island for a few years and we were surprised at how much we didn't know about the Japanese grocery stores. Kana-sensei gave a very detailed class on the differences between Aeon, San-A, Kanahide, Union, and Max Value. The class focused on which are considered expensive, middle priced, and discount. She also covered which stores are best to purchase fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish. Useful phrases and cash/credit purchasing was also discussed in detail. I would recommend this class to anyone that is new to the island and would like to have the confidence to walk into one of the various Japanese supermarkets and do some grocery shopping for things that may not be available at a base commissary.
Pre-Intermediate | Okinawa Exposure Class


It depends on your goals.  If you want to progress rapidly, you will need to devote a considerable amount of time studying, practicing, and generally exposing yourself to the language in as many ways as possible.  However, if you’re like most people, you are juggling various other commitments including work, family, school, etc. and you probably don’t have endless time to devote to Japanese.  Don’t worry, that’s okay!  Many people have made considerable progress without studying for 10 hours a day.  Ideally, we recommend finding a little bit of time every day (or even every other day) to practice — this will be much more effective than a multi-hour cram session every few weeks.  And this practice doesn’t necessarily mean you’re sitting at a desk staring at a book.  Reading road signs, playing audio flashcards while you walk the dog, watching youTube videos, and of course listening and speaking to locals are all great ways to practice!  Compared to others learning Japanese around the world, living here in Okinawa, we are fortunate to be surrounded with endless opportunities to practice Japanese, so have fun with it! 

According to the United States Foreign Service Institute, Japanese is considered one of the five most difficult languages for a native English speaker to learn, along with Arabic, Chinese (Cantonese & Mandarin), and Korean.  These languages require an average of 2200 hours of dedicated practice to achieve “professional working proficiency,” compared to a language like Spanish which averages about one quarter of this time.  So what does this mean?  Probably not a whole lot.  Language learning varies a lot based on the individual, previous language experience, dedication, interest, and countless other factors.  In addition, most Japanese learners don’t need to achieve “professional working proficiency.”  Your best bet is to talk to some of our current students and ask about their experiences and progress.  We think you’ll find that most students are absolutely amazed at how much they have learned in a short period of time!  It is incredibly rewarding when, after a few short months, you can walk out your front door and immediately apply what you’ve learned to your daily interactions with Japanese speakers.

No, you can join whichever class is most appropriate for your skill level.  You can even join a class mid-term; no need to wait until a new class begins.  To achieve the best fit, check out our course descriptions, the Japan Foundation’s online assessment quiz, and of course, talk to us during your initial consultation at Blue House.  We will work with you to ensure you’re placed in the best class for your skill level, which may even include sitting in on a class or two to gauge your comfort level with the material.  We recommend selecting your skill level based on your speaking ability, as this is usually hardest to master.

Yes and no.  We do not offer courses specifically designed to prepare you for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT).  While the JLPT tests students on reading and listening, it does not include writing or speaking.  Our classes develop all of these skills (and more), with a particular emphasis on speaking and listening, so that you can actually use the language in a practical way.  Students completing our Pre-Intermediate and Intermediate courses should be well prepared to pass the JLPT N5 and N4, respectively.

No, we are very flexible with payments.  You can pay for an entire course upfront, pay monthly, or even pay in two-week segments.  For example, if you know you’ll be gone on vacation or work travel for a month out of your three-month course, you can pay for the first month and then pay for the third month upon your return.  However, unfortunately, we are not able to refund or make-up individual classes that you may miss after registering.  Please review our school policies for further information.

Two (optional) language exchanges per week are included in your tuition.  Currently, they are held on Mondays 1000-1200 and Thursdays 1900-2100.  These exchanges are excellent opportunities to practice with native Japanese speakers.  During our exchanges, we try to strike a balance between time for structured activities and time for open conversation and questions.  And if you cannot attend our language exchanges, don’t worry — we try our best to schedule English and Japanese classes at overlapping times so we can have language exchanges during class.

Nothing!  One of the most common challenges reported to us is how much difficulty students have interacting in their target language.  For example, despite perhaps years of dedicated study in Japanese, many students feel paralyzed and defeated in interactions with native Japanese speakers.  This challenge is largely due to the fact that language learning is multi-faceted.

Proficiency requires separate yet overlapping skills, such as reading, listening, writing, cultural awareness, speaking, pronunciation, etc.

Schools often emphasize grammar, reading, and writing over other aspects.  Thus, students become discouraged and feel as if they don’t know anything after years of study, when in fact they just haven’t had sufficient practice in a particular skill to make them a balanced learner.

At Blue House, we will help you develop all areas of language to build towards proficiency.  We provide practical listening and speaking practice with both peer learners and native speakers.  Ultimately, our goal is to build your confidence and put your learning to use quickly and often.

Unfortunately we do not offer a military discount.  However, we do offer tuition discounts up to 20% off based on your level of participation, and an additional 10% off for upfront course payment in full.  Please review our school policies for more information on our discount program.

Unfortunately our school is too small to support a student visa.  However, many of our classes are only two to three months long, so you can complete one on a tourist visa!

Unfortunately not.  We find that a community approach to language learning (practicing with classmates and native speakers) is most effective, and one-on-one instruction does not provide this same opportunity.

When registering for classes on our website, you can pay online via PayPal or you can select the option to “pay cash on delivery” and then pay in person using either credit card or cash (Yen).

School Policies

1.  Class Registration & Payment

When registering for classes, you may elect to pay for the full class upfront, pay monthly, or pay in two-week increments.  If paying monthly or in two-week increments, please use the Blue House Okinawa website to register for classes every month/week(s) that you plan to participate, regardless of your method of payment.  This guarantees your place in class.  While registering, you have the option to pay online via PayPal or you may select “pay cash on delivery,” after which you may pay in person at Blue House using cash (Yen) or credit card.

For continuing students, all tuition payments for the following month are due on the 20th of the current month, regardless of the form of payment or the date you registered.  We will try to send courtesy reminders via the Blue House Okinawa App several days prior to this monthly deadline, but this is not guaranteed.  Payments after the 20th will incur a 10% late fee (21st – 25th) or 20% late fee (26th – 31st).

2.  Discount Program

We offer three types of discounts.  First, paying for a course upfront in full entities you to a 10% off discount.  Next, referring a new student to Blue House (and the student registers and pays tuition for a course) entitles you to a ¥2,700 discount on your tuition for the same month the new student enrolls.  Only one referral discount is allowed per month.  Finally, we offer up to a 20% off discount for active course participation — this includes class and language exchange attendance, homework completion, course feedback, etc.  If you pay for a course upfront in full and subsequently achieve participation discounts, the discount(s) will be applied as a credit towards tuition for future courses.

3.  Refunds

All payments are non-refundable.  We unfortunately cannot offer refunds or make-ups for missed classes. Depending on the evolving COVID-19 situation, it’s possible we may have to temporarily switch to online lessons to ensure the safety of our students.  In this situation tuition will not be refunded, so please keep this in mind as you register.

4.  Blue House Okinawa App

Please create an account and personal profile on the Blue House Okinawa App, which is available for free download from Apple and Google app stores (search “Blue House Okinawa”).  Our App is the hub for all communication between students, teachers, and staff.  Because the App does not push notifications to your phone’s operating system, please monitor the App on a regular basis so you don’t miss important announcements and communications from your fellow students.  In addition, the App helps to consolidate your learning materials (some linked, others hosted on the App itself), guide/track your course progress, facilitate assignments, and enable communication with your fellow students via direct messaging and group forums.

5.  Access to Online Materials

Access to the Blue House Okinawa App and Blue House Quizlet is for registered, tuition-paying students.  Access is granted on a monthly basis, and will be suspended if tuition is not paid.  If you are taking time off from class but would like to maintain access to continue your studies, you have the option of paying a ¥6,800/month access fee.  

6.  Language Exchanges

Language exchange events are included in your tuition as a registered student.  You are welcome to bring an individual guest to language exchange events up to three times.  Anyone not currently paying tuition (e.g. former students, friends who have already attended as guests three times, etc.) can still attend language exchanges for a ¥2,000 fee per event.  These policies do not apply to language exchange activities that may occur during your scheduled class time.

7.  Delays, Absences, and Vacations

If you will be late for class, please send a quick message via the Blue House Okinawa App so your teacher knows to expect you.  In addition, please let your teacher know in advance if you’re going to miss a class or will be gone for an extended period due to vacation, work travel, etc.  Remember to register online for the month you return to save your place in class.

8.  Class Cancellations

In the event of inclement weather (e.g. typhoon), school closings will be posted via the Blue House Okinawa App.

9.  Special Events

Participation in special events may require administrative fees payable during sign-up and/or other activity fees (e.g. ferry, bikes, etc.) payable in cash on the day of the event.

10.  Making Friends

Blue House Okinawa is a wonderful place to learn and make new friends.  We encourage students to practice their new language skills together, and we offer special events to encourage intercultural learning and experiences.  However, we are not a dating service and we discourage use of our school and events for that purpose.  Our expectation is that students will interact respectfully and will contribute to a healthy learning environment.  Not doing so may be considered grounds for dismissal.

11.  Student Visas, Letters of Recommendation, and References

We are only able to provide a Letter of Verification, which will show your dates of attendance and receipts of payment.

12.  Liability Release

Students agree that Blue House Okinawa, including its employees, agents, and representatives, may not be held liable for any damage or loss of personal property, or personal injury, that may occur while on Blue House property or while attending an offsite event.

13.  Questions

Questions about student progress, assignments, and other class-related information should be directed to the teacher responsible for the class.  Questions regarding registration, tuition, payment, and other administrative matters should be directed to the Blue House administrative staff.