For the past few weeks, my kids have been doing nothing but getting ready for Japanese Quiz Bowl! Extra classes, extra homework, extra studying, extra e-mails from teachers, extra study sessions with classmates — and I do not have to say a thing. Japanese Quiz Bowl is serious business. According to the University of MichiganCenter for Japanese Studies, this 17th annual competition, which took place Saturday, March 20 at the University of Michigan, had approximately 375 students from 26 elementary and secondary schools from across the state competing in six different divisions. Bet you did not know that 26 elementary and secondary schools in Michigan teach Japanese as a foreign language. College students and Japanese language instructors from Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Oakland University, University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University and private language schools volunteered as judges, scorekeepers and timekeepers. That is a lot of university students learning Japanese, too. Every year, the students, parents and coaches completely fill the big lecture hall in the Modern Languages Building at 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning. It is hot in there! Those who speak Japanese at home or who have lived in Japan are not eligible […]
If it wasn’t for Sensei, I do not think I would have been able to reach the level of understanding I currently am at nor would I have done as well as I did with my college level Japanese courses. I was able to test out of the entire first year of Japanese language at the University of Michigan which has a very intensive Japanese curriculum. I also noticed in my classes that my listening and speech skills were much greater than the majority of the other students and this was all because of the lessons I had taken with Sensei. I highly recommend taking lessons with Sensei, it will be a decision you will not regret.
I had the pleasure of spending an academic year under the instruction of Ohara Sensei and found the experience very enriching. Before coming to Ohara Sensei, I had had no formal training in Japanese; having spent a summer in the southern region of Japan’s main island, however, I had a basic understanding of the language’s structure and was capable of carrying on lively and expressive, if not grammatically correct, conversation. Throughout my year of private lessons, however, Ohara Sensei took it upon herself to expand my knowledge primarily via “filling in the gaps”, i.e. very effectively determining those areas which I did not have a firm understanding of and subsequently providing rigorous, very informative and always entertaining instruction. Not only did my grammar, reading skills, knowledge of the structure of the language and formal communication improve tremendously, but I also thoroughly enjoyed exploring Japanese culture in my lessons through her explanations and anecdotes. I returned once again to Japan as an exchange student in the fall of the subsequent year. One of the most valuable things that Ohara Sensei was able to offer me was an insider’s understanding of Japanese cultural conventions – a very rigid and difficult to understand […]
At age 11, our son Josh, developed an interest in learning Japanese. We sought a teacher that could work with younger kids and hold their attention, while also being fairly rigorous. We found what we were looking for in Kaori Ohara. We heard of Kaori Ohara in 2007 when her students placed first at the annual Japanese Quiz Bowl. Equally as impressive was the camaraderie her diverse team shared and their genuine respect for, and connection to her. Not only did her students win, but it was obvious that they were having fun! This was the sort of experience we wanted for our son. Being a native speaker and having background in academia (Japanese Studies) at the University of Michigan, Kaori is positioned to guide her students to the highest levels. Kaori is a tremendously dedicated, knowledgable, and enthusiastic teacher who actively engages her students. With students’ busy schedules, it is occasionally difficult to find time for class. She makes every effort to get her students together – even if it means Skyping from Japan or China! Our son looks forward to class with Kaori and his classmates. The kids now share that same camaraderie we first observed in 2007 […]