Blue House Okinawa Japanese School
Blue House Okinawa is a close-knit and unique community for learners of Japanese and English to support each other!
Close to Kadena Air Base gate 1
The school is set in an adorable blue house in Sunabe seawall area.
Authentic Language Practice
Use what you learn in class during our engaging Language Exchange with local native speakers.
Adventurous & Community Centered
A great place to make friends, explore and grow together.
Learn Japanese in a Practical Way at Blue House Okinawa!
One of the most common challenges reported to us is how much difficulty students have in 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 multifaceted.
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 Okinawa, students are given the opportunity to develop all areas of language to build towards proficiency.
We provide practical listening and speaking practice with both peer learners and native speakers.
Our goal is to build students’ confidence and put their learning to use quickly and often.
As we’ve welcomed new students in, we recognised that there were cultural misunderstandings between Japanese learners and English learners that hampered effective communication.
As many native English speakers come from cultures that greatly contrast that of Japan’s, Blue House Okinawa provides ample opportunity to learn about the values, history, and influences in Japanese society.
We believe learning about specific behaviors, unspoken rules, and the history of the local culture is as important to effective, respectful interactions as learning the words and phrases themselves.
We’ve seen students struggling outside of class in conversation practice, as sometimes they’re unsure of how to say specific words or phrases.
We want to prepare you for conversational success outside of class by decreasing dependence on your teacher and increasing your ability to find answers on your own.
For that reason, our focus is not just answering your questions, but encouraging you to find the answers as best you can on your own first, utilizing peers, native speakers, online resources, etc.
This more accurately mirrors how real-life exchanges, as your teacher will not always be by your side to answer questions directly.
Finding your own answers takes more time than asking your teacher for help, but you will find much more joy in your progress in the long term by doing the legwork early on.
It provides the opportunity to enjoy Japanese conversations on your own for years to come.
At Blue House Okinawa, we strive to nurture that sense of autonomy and independence in each of our students.
We encourage you to see teachers as the guides and coaches they are, not merely live dictionaries.
We believe this habit will help what you learn become more deeply ingrained and nurture responsibility and persistence, which will serve you well in all aspects of life.
As we also have English classes in the house, we’re so fortunate to have this wonderful program, Language Exchange as a part of our curriculum.
In our Japanese classes, we practice speaking with native Japanese speakers, the real Japanese people from the English classes.
This Language Exchange program will let you be able to learn Japanese in a practical way and practice what you have learned right away!
You will meet some of our Japanese local friends through our Language Exchange and make real connections with them to learn the Japanese culture and deepen your intercultural understanding.
This Language Exchange is a fantastic way to bridge the gap between classroom learning and communicating in the real world!
In Language Exchange, students break into smaller groups of about four or five.
We may practice a specific dialogue for that week (perhaps talking about hobbies, restaurants, jobs, etc.) with vocabulary provided.
We also often play a game or work together to plan a dream trip, all in our target language.
This time is mutually beneficial to the Japanese students learning English, as we work together!
An important tip:
slow down, pick out what you know, and start from there!
One of our favorite phrases at Blue House Okinawa is, “mou ichido itte kudasai” (one more time, please!).
Learn the phrases your teacher assigns each week.
While you will want to have more in-depth conversations and will be tempted to switch to English frequently, stick with the basics of what you’re learning until they come naturally.
Then you’ll build on that as you learn more complex grammar and phrases.
Be patient and build a solid foundation!
By registering for any class at Blue House Okinawa, you get an additional two hours a week of guided Language Exchange for FREE with native speakers on Monday mornings and Thursday evenings.
Here’s where the give-and-take of learning happens!
This exchange is student-driven and set up as a mutually-beneficial learning program.
In language exchanges, don’t wait for perfection to participate — start with what you can, even if it turns into charades, and let your native speaking peers guide you to accuracy!
Ask questions, share cultural insights, and provide feedback to each other while building your Japanese speaking confidence!
One of our most common observations is that we have students who have studied languages previously, yet have been frustrated by their inability to speak confidently or comfortably, often despite years of dedicated study.
Students requested more opportunities for speaking in their target language during class time.
To provide more speaking and active output during class, we’ve shifted a lot of learning to pre-class preparation.
As Blue House Okinawa uses the “Blended Learning” method, it is a learning experience best suited for motivated students who come to class ready to put their studies into practice.
Blended Learning method foster student interaction and prioritizes enjoyment over grades.
It is a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content outside of the classroom (often online — lectures, discussions forums, etc.) and moves activities, including those that have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom.
This flips the classroom to being active and output-based.
classes are small no more than 8 students per class and Blue House Okinawa is committed to supporting independent learning and encourage student initiative.
For example, our curriculum is set up so that students can preview grammar concepts, vocabulary, phrases outside of class, so they are never hearing them for the first time in class.
Instead, Blue House Okinawa in-class lectures serve to briefly review, clarify, and to create space for active practice.
Just as there are opportunities during K-12 education to skip grades if a student is excelling, Blue House Okinawa encourages students to move at a pace where they are challenged and engaged.
At Blue House Okinawa, students can “skip grades” or move to more advanced classes at their own pace!
Sometimes students that take Japanese classes, only use the class time to practice their language skills leading them to feel that they are slowing down.
One solution to this, and one we recommend, is to retake the class.
You have the ability and the choice to move to the next level class once you feel comfortable with speaking 80% or more of what you’ve learned.
Finishing a class and moving forward to the next, can be daunting to some.
Concentrating on the the next class gets in the way of solidifying any previous information that you may have learned.
Therefore the information feels lost and the foundation of the language falls apart.
This perspective causes a feeling of difficulty for grasping the concepts and pronunciations the first time.
Please understand that you are not alone if this feeling ever crosses your mind.
Don’t feel ashamed or dismayed if you don’t quite get it immediately.
Some of our students started from the beginning two to three times!
Blue House Okinawa gives our students what we believe is most useful – practice, practice, practice!
Our unique curriculum is also helpful for those who cannot attend every class, as there is more flexibility through online support, pre-made electronic flashcards, and our online community.
Many students want to join a particular class that may be part-way through a semester — that is fine!
Time is precious, and there is no need to wait until the class restarts.
Join when you can, study for that week’s lesson, and review past lessons on your own!
Again, our curriculum is set-up so you can learn all of the material on your own and use the school for practice, clarification, and reinforcement.
As one student put it:
As a beginner, I was intimidated to jump in when my class was on the third chapter of our textbook — that was the equivalent of ¼ of the class already completed.
No one wants to start off feeling extra dumb; however, while I was at a disadvantage in terms of vocabulary at first, I made up that ground quickly using Quizlet and learning from the other students.
Also, each chapter was based on a certain topic that was not necessarily dependent on previous chapters to understand.
In the beginning, the class is very linear.
Not only did I catch up, I was able to then study ahead and finish the coursework even before the semester ended.
The challenge of feeling like an ‘underdog’ kept me engaged and excited!
We encourage you to get started right away and embrace the challenges that come with action!
“Blue House is my family”
I like Blue House a lot.
Class is very interesting and fun.
I have made friends here.
Monica sensei is kind and patient.
My classmates are also kind.
Japanese is hard and I get shy when I talk in Japanese.
But Blue House helps me learning.
ーMs. Janice Blanchard
“I recommend Blue House to anybody that wishes to learn Japanese”
I learned that Japanese is difficult at Blue House.
But students at Blue House are motivated to learn, Japanese people are kind and helpful.
Blue House is like a family where everyone is welcomed.
I recommend Blue House to anybody that wishes to learn Japanese.
ーMr. Garion Hallmon
Unfortunately, our school is too small that NOT able to issue/support any student visa.
However, most of our classes are 3 months long that you can come and take with your tourist visa!
And of course, you can join us just for one class too!
Learning Japanese writing is very beneficial!
After you study Japanese writing, you’ll be able to text with your Japanese friends and practice your Japanese with even more.
Also you’ll be able to read signs on the road or at the store so that you can practice reading even more too!
You will be able to read and write Hiragana in 8 weeks by taking Beginners Japanese 1 Class at Blue House Okinawa.
After Beginners Japanese 1 Class, you will learn Katakana in Beginners Japanese 2 Class.
Then, you will be able to read and write all Japanese words in both Hiragana and Katakana.
Kanji will follow Katakana, learning Kanji is a very interesting part that will allow you to understand Japanese beyond reading and writing!
Japanese vocabulary, phrases grammar and pronunciation are all important aspects to speak Japanese.
If you know a lot of vocabulary, it will help you speak in more variety and understand/express in Japanese more.
If you know Japanese grammar, it gives you a depth to your Japanese conversation because some words can not be directly translated from English to Japanese.
If you got Japanese pronunciation right and know plenty of phrases, it will help you speak more like a native speaker which makes your Japanese conversation much easier for native Japanese speakers to understand.
In conclusion, let’s study all together at Blue House Okinawa 🙂
Even if you have a lot of knowledge, without speaking practice, you won’t be able to speak well.
To be able to speak Japanese faster, we recommend to practice speaking with a native speaker.
To improve your listening skill, of course, talking to Japanese people will help.
Also, you can listen to Japanese podcasts, watch Japanese Youtube videos, drama and/or anime.
Repeating/shadowing from any of these options will also benefit your learning process.
We provide speaking practice with native Japanese speakers through our in class Language Exchange.
For additional practice, we also provide a 2 hour Language Exchange outside of class for FREE!
You can also make friends here!!
We have some school events too, so you can speak with Japanese people while learning Japanese culture!!
Yes! Come and join us!
You get to practice your Japanese with native Japanese speakers in our class!
Practicing listening and speaking are different than learning writing and vocabulary.
It could be overwhelmed if you learn a new language and practice it at the same time(it’s an ideal learning style though).
Instead, if you can only focus on listening and speaking then , of course, you’ll be good at them and improve your Japanese conversation.
So we recommend you to join our Beginners Japanese Class so that you can focus on listening and speaking to practice conversation more.
Oh no! You’ve already found that out! 😜
But it’ll be alright!
You can always re-take the class!
We actually recommend students to move to next course ONLY when they are able to comfortably use what they’ve learned in the class.
We practice more together, and we grow more together 🙂
Glad to hear that!
You can always practice your Japanese with local native speakers on our community, and you can even find your study buddies too!
We also provide Language Exchange on Monday mornings, 10am-12pm and Thursday evenings, 7pm-9pm for free to our students. So Come and join us!
You can study with our materials online when you have to miss your class!
Don’t forget to check each week’s assignment on our community to keep catching up the class.
And we do NOT offer a make-up class, instead, you can use our Language Exchange as your make-up class!
How to Start a Class!
Ready to join us??
Register & make the payment online today!
You can register in here!
We’ll send you the information of your orientation via email after the payment.
Please let us know when you’ll attend the orientation.
If you’re joining Beginners Classes, you don’t have to attend the orientation beforehand.
We’ll have it in class together!
You will pick up the course materials at the orientation. Pre-study and get ready for the class!
Again, if you’re joining our Beginners Japanese Classes, you don’t have any pre-study required.
Just bring yourself to the class!
We’re so excited to have you in the class!
Oh, remember that street parking is not allowed at the house. Please park your car by the seawall 🙂
please visit our FAQ & School Policies page