voices from Students

Our primary goal in offering JF Nihongo courses is creating an opportunity for people to enjoy learning Japanese.  Below, you’ll find some of our past students’ testimonials, and you can click here to view interviews with our students in a series titled “Hey, I am Learning Japanese!”

You can find our students' comments on Yelp too.

I am a singer-songwriter who travels to Japan often to promote my music there, and also just for vacationing, because I love the country and culture so much.  My friends and co-workers in Japan have always been so supportive of me trying to learn Japanese, that I really wanted to take it a step further, and learn how to read Hiragana & Katakana.  The "Mastering Kana" class was super effective in helping me to learn how to read and write in both forms of Kana.  My teacher, Hiroko Katsuta, was a fun and also very thorough teacher.  The class size was small enough that we all could get one-on-one attention.  I highly recommend this course to anyone interested in learning how to read and write in Kana, and also wanting to learn a little more about Japanese culture. 

 (Priscilla Ahn)


I took this course in hopes it would introduce me to the Japanese language before my departure to Japan as an English Language Instructor. I had no prior knowledge of the Japanese language before enrollment, so it was a bit nerve racking the first day because of the known difficulty of this beautiful language. However, this course was engaging, fun, and helpful. You start off with a nervous feeling, you stay on board fully engage, and you come out wanting to learn more and more. This class definitely feels like a crash course, but it's okay to feel overwhelm because you won't be the only one. The instructor wants you to learn and ask questions, so do not hesitate. If you truly have the curiosity and desire to learn Japanese, this class is a great introduction to it.

 (Judy Ramirez)


I love Japanese anime and video games, and I've always been fascinated by Japanese language and culture.  I felt like the class would be a great opportunity to challenge myself, learn something new, and further immerse myself in things that I've always enjoyed.

The Mastering Kana class has been a wonderful experience.  It was so much fun, and I'm amazed at how far I've come in such a short time. 

I definitely plan to continue learning Japanese with JFLA, and I'm looking forward to taking the next class in January!

(Matthew Collins)


I have been trying to study Japanese for a while by myself because I wanted to learn how to read mangas. I never succeeded in this and I decided to take a Japanese class. What a wonderful surprise that the JF Nihongo classes have been. I have mastered Kanas in the first course and I learned so many new interesting expressions during the second course I attended. Instructors are amazing and learning Japanese has been fascinating, intriguing and funny. The Japan Foundation also provides so many additional services, such as the wonderful library and events where you can learn how to prepare sushi or you can enjoy some good Japanese movies. I still have a lot to learn, but I am so glad when I can take a Japanese magazine and I can read almost everything!  These classes are highly recommended.

 (Aaron Ghirardeli)


Making Friends 1 is the perfect name for the class - I know I'll be able to make many more friends next time I visit Japan! I started with the Mastering Kana class last winter and afterward went to Japan for the second time, and I got so much more out of that trip because I could finally read all the signs and menus! I made a lot of friends over there but was only able to speak with them in English, but now I can put together actual sentences in Japanese and can't wait for Making Friends 2 to get even better. I feel like I'm really learning a new language!

 (Will VanderWyden)


I've really enjoyed the courses at the Japan Foundation Los Angeles. The Japanese language instruction, has given me a very good starting point for learning Japanese, where I will be employed in the Tokyo area. The pacing form learning Kana, to making friends, was good. It really helps someone with no experience learning Japanese.

(Jason Mostella)


I took the Mastering Kana class because I was planning to visit Japan. In such a short time, I didn't expect to learn enough to make any real difference on my trip, but thought it would be fun. It WAS fun and very satisfying to be able to sound out words and write in Japanese after just 6 Saturdays. I took "Making Friends" and then got through half of Making Friends 2 before my trip to Japan. Japan was a lot of fun and I did not feel linguistically lost --- because of our role playing in class, I felt much more comfortable asking for directions, going to restaurants, and asking basic questions. Being able to read Kana helped me to find shops, restaurants, the onsen and take the right subway. I really like the JF Nihongo classes --- focused vocabuLary, grammar, role-playing and cultural events (like Making Sushi class). Having some basic Japanese and cultural understanding really made my trip a lot more meaningful and fun. The JF instructors are so positive and creative, it makes learning a blast. I'm hoping for the next course! 

(Phobe Wong)


For Spring 2013, this class has allowed me to learn useful phrases for traveling around Japan. The class mixed familiar vocabulary along with new ones, so learning the new material wasn't too difficult. It was also really helpful to use actual materials from Japan and learning to travel around Tokyo by train, giving and receiving directions, and giving you more confidence in approaching people for help. I have taken Japanese classes sporadically throughout the years and this was a good class to get back into the swing of learning the language. It was my first time going to JF Nihongo class, and I found the class environment to be bright, friendly and fun!

(Tu Tram Pham)

I began trying to learn a little bit of Japanese in early 2006, studying on my own using CDs, because I was scheduled to go to Japan that Spring for a family wedding.  When I got to Japan, I found that I really loved it there, wanted to go back again someday, and decided to continue learning the Japanese language. 

After spending several years trying to teach myself using CDs, I found that I just wasn’t making significant progress.  Nothing against the CDs; however, I just wasn’t retaining what I was learning… I wasn’t learning any reading, writing or grammar… and most importantly I didn’t have many opportunities to really practice speaking with native speakers. I realized that it would be better if I were to study in a class with a teacher.  I spent a lot of time looking for a Japanese class, but couldn’t find any that would work for me as far as scheduling, cost, etc. were concerned.  In the spring of 2012, I noticed that the Japan Foundation was offering classes that would work for me, so I signed up for the “Mastering Kana” class.

I’m glad that I did.  I have since completed the “Mastering Kana” class; “Making Friends” (both 1 & 2); as well as “Fun with Friends”.  I’m now looking forward to the next JFLA class in September, and I would HIGHLY recommend the JFLA courses to ANYONE interested in learning the Japanese language.  The instructors, Kitazono Sensei and Hiroko Sensei are amazing!  They keep the classes fun and interesting, while still managing to keep things relaxed and well organized; and are also able to cover a lot of material in each class without overwhelming the students.  In addition, the entire staffs at JFLA are also amazing; everyone there has been very nice and very helpful. 

In addition to the regular language courses, JFLA also offers events such as language workshops, cultural lectures and demonstrations, Japanese films, and the ‘JFLA Nihongo Tea Time’.  I always find these to be very interesting, informative, and fun…and I definitely recommend them.  I am EXTREMELY happy with the classes, the instructors, and the progress I’ve been making with the JFLA classes!

 (Steve Evans)

I had studied Japanese in college but over the years had lost much of what I had learned so I took the Business Japanese course to improve my skills in order to boost my resume. The class was perfect for any student or working professional with an intermediate grasp of Japanese who wants to learn not only the language skills, but also the business culture and non-verbal cues required to seek successful employment at a Japanese company in the U.S. or in Japan. Being given the opportunity to travel to Japan and spend two weeks learning at the Japan Foundation Japanese-Language Institute, Kansai was truly a special and eye-opening experience where I was able to fully immerse myself in the Japanese language and culture on a full-time basis along with other language learners from all over the world and see, hear, and touch Japan. During this time, I was able to identify my strengths and weaknesses in Japanese more easily and have developed a plan for further study and improvement.

 (Whitney Nakayama)

Business Nihongo was not only fun, but I know I learned a lot of useful things in the class! In March I will be starting an internship in Japan soon, and I'm glad I have the skills to introduce myself, take and receive messages, and be a little more comfortable with keigo (Japanese honorifics) on the job. I have already gotten some chances to practice as a volunteer at the Japan Foundation!

(Daniel Weber)

After fruitlessly searching for Japanese courses in the Los Angeles area, I stumbled across this Business Japanese course. Fortunately, it turned out to be a great decision as it has far exceeded my expectations. I was not only able to brush up on my Keigo but I was also able to learn some very important soft skills as well. I had a great time and I am looking forward the next class. In the meantime, other students and I have organized a dual study group for both our Business Japanese class and JLPT preparation. I am grateful for all the JFLA staff, and Mrs. Kitazono in particular, for all of their help.

(Nisia Nelchor)



My work requires daily communication in Japanese through email and listening skills, so I was signed up to take the Business Japanese course. What I did not expect was how much I needed the class to boost my confidence in speaking in Japanese again. The topics and materials were very relevant and I hope to continue studying at the Japan Foundation.

(Yona Warmin)