"Enjoy learning with themes you can actually use"

Christine Ernst (Cologne, Germany)

After watching Japanese anime on TV when she was a child, Christine became interested in the culture and language of Japanese anime. She studied Japanese in the Japanese club at her high school, and she has been studying at Cologne Japanese Culture Institute for about two and a half years.

-What is your impression of using Marugoto to study Japanese?

It’s great that Marugoto focuses on speaking and conversation. And because there are a lot of themes that can actually be used in daily life, I think anyone can enjoy studying Japanese.

-What do you like about Marugoto?

I like the fact that the materials meet a variety of different needs. I think they’re good for people who want to travel to Japan, and people who want to know about everyday life and culture in Japan. I majored in linguistics at university, so I think there should be a little more explanation of grammar rules, but for someone without this specialist background, I think it’s just right.

-Do you have a story that illustrates the benefits of studying Marugoto?

When I went to Japan, there were lots of situations where I could use the conversations from the textbook just as they were.
One story is when I went to Osaka and I asked a Japanese person how to get to Shinsekai. At the time I didn’t know you shouldn’t go there alone at night, and they told me indirectly that I’d better not go using expressions like chotto... . I think I was able to understand that they really thought I shouldn’t go because I had studied it in Marugoto. If it had been a German person, they would have said it clearly. If I hadn’t known about Japanese culture, I don’t think I could have understood.

-What would you like to do using Japanese in the future?

After graduating from university I’m thinking of studying Asian studies at postgraduate level. I think it would also be great if I could study more keigo, and one day use Japanese in a more professional context like work.Of course I want to travel to Japan as well.

"You get a real sense of progress from repeating the same themes"

Maike Thies (Cologne, Germany)

Maike loves Japanese culture and films. She studied Japanese as a minor at university, but started studying Japanese again at the Cologne Japanese Cultural Institute three years ago.

-What do you like about Marugoto?

I think it’s good that you can study Japanese that you are actually able to use. For example, the same themes, such as self introductions and cooking appear repeatedly throughout the levels. As a result you can feel a sense of your own progress, which is good motivation.
In addition, I think the listening materials and related websites are also very good. I often listen to the audio and practise pronunciation and intonation at home.

-Do you have a story that illustrates the benefits of studying Marugoto?

I asked a Japanese person for help using the Japanese I studied in Marugoto when I got into difficulty travelling alone in Japan this year. I was also able to use Japanese to converse with people from other Asian countries, like Korea.

-What would you like to do using Japanese in the future?

I study Japanese because I enjoy studying it as a hobby. I‘m thinking of travelling to Japan once a year. I’d like to be able to talk about more complicated themes when I see my Japanese friends. That’s why I’ve started taking part in an event that the Japanese Cultural Institute in Cologne are running where you can speak to Japanese people, Nihongo Shaberieren.