Japan Society NYC classes?

Anyone ever taken any classes with the Japan Society in NYC? I don’t know if they always offered remote options but since the pandemic the majority of their classes are fully on zoom, so as long as the time zone isn’t prohibitive they’re open to everyone.

Thinking I’d appreciate something more structured, and I like that their main courses are split into five week sessions instead of committing to a full semester, easier to plan around life and pick back up after a busy period, but wondering if they’re worth the cost. (I’m local so I’d pick up a membership which would make it $280 for 9 classes/18 hours of instruction). It would take 5 sessions to cover all of Genki V. 1 ($1,400) but I’m not sure how much of Genki 1 a typical college course covers, so I’m not really sure how that compares.

Thanks for any thoughts!

My engineering school in France uses Minna no Nihongo, not Genki, but since they’re both well-known beginners’ textbooks, I guess I can try to give you some numbers to work with.

I don’t do MnN lessons myself (I’m in the advanced group within the class), but I know my classmates who are doing MnN seem to do 6 lessons per year with 1.5h of classes a week? Each of the two volumes of MnN contains 25 lessons, so one semester only covers a quarter of one volume.

Assuming Genki’s and MnN’s contents are comparable, I’d say that whatever you get at the Japan Society is definitely significantly faster. To put it another way, let’s do a quick calculation (tell me if I’m getting the figures wrong):

5 x 5 weeks = 25 weeks to finish Genki I

That’s, what, 6 months? Never mind Japanese: from what I vaguely remember, most French courses (and I mention French not just because I speak it, but because it’s more similar to English than Japanese is) from well-known French teaching organisations like the Alliance Française will take at least a year to finish a beginners’ textbook unless you take intensive classes. 6 months is fast for a group course. (Obviously, private lessons can be faster, and so can self-studying, but that depends on the individual as well.)

Still, whether or not that speed is worth the price is up to you to determine. I personally would not pay that much for a course that revolves around a beginners’ textbook, but I also have a lot of experience self-studying various fields and skills (Japanese is one of them), so perhaps I have an easier time working alone.

PS: If you are tempted by the self-studying option though… might I recommend the textbook I used, which is also available as an e-course? It’s called Japanese with Ease, and is roughly equivalent to Genki I & II or MnN 1 & 2. I finished it in 7-8 months, and it only took that long because I had other commitments on the side. Here’s a link:

It’s possible to download trial lessons from the textbook (with audio) in order to see if it suits you, and it’s a course that’s designed for self-study – no teacher needed. Of course, I’m not saying you should do this instead, but I just want you to know it’s an option (and it also happens to be much cheaper than what you’d pay for any classes covering the same content).


They’re using Minna no Nihongo here in Germany as well, but going at a pace of one book (25 lessons) per semester. I used the books myself for self-study, finishing all four books in nine months. To be honest, I really hope you misunderstood your classmates and they’re not actually learning at a pace of 6 lessons per year. That would take them more than 8 years just for 初級, and almost 17 years if you’re including 中級.

To describe the time put into Minna no Nihongo in numbers, the books itself recommends to spend about 4 to 6 hours per chapter, 100 to 150 hours per book. I personally took about 3 to 4 hours per chapter, but including tests and revision, I did spend about 100 hours per book.

Unfortunately I don’t really know how much of that translates to Genki either because I’ve never used that textbook.

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Oh, believe me, I want to be wrong too, but I looked through the lesson contents for the past year and saw something like Lessons 5-8 being mentioned over the course of nine months. They’re really not going very fast. I, personally, am just going to class for the occasional challenging activity my teacher gives us, the tiny amount of speaking practice we do, and the fact that she’ll answer my questions on things I’ve picked up outside class. Plus, my teacher is nice and honestly, I don’t have any other alternatives at the moment unless I want to pay for classes (that I’ll have to fit into my schedule somehow). However, I don’t actually learn much per lesson, if I learn anything at all.

To be very fair, I seem to remember that our ‘second foreign language’ classes end significantly earlier than everything else each semester, so the fact that she has to keep up with three different proficiency groups aside, my teacher just doesn’t have as many lessons available as she ought to. That’s on my school, not her.


Yeah, we do basically around 4 hours per MnN chapter, in 2 3-hour a week classes.

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So I started to take one of their fast-tracked courses ( Level 1 & 2 ) which met twice a week. I decided to take a fast-tracked class because I felt that once a week combined with the pace wasn’t enough for me. I was also taking it remotely which I feel if I had taken it in person it would have been more fun and effective vs having to log into Zoom.

I initially took the class because I couldn’t commute to the city after work and thought it would be a nice way to start grammar lessons while meeting people and having some speaking practice. The instructor was really nice and did the best that she could remotely and I heard that she has great presence in the physical classroom!

I ended up not getting past the third week because I started a new job that conflicted with the times, but honestly I was not feeling the pace and online instruction in the end. Since they are just going though the textbook with some workbook exercises, I felt that I would do better doing it on my own at my own pace. Personally, the issue with the fast-tracked course was that it sped through the lessons for sake of time so you didn’t really get to gasp it all within the time frame.

With that said, I wouldn’t recommend the remote classes but maybe would consider the in-person course if you like the classroom environment !

Hope this helps!


I live in NYC, I was looking into classes a year or two before the pandemic and was considering Japan Society. However they didn’t have anything on the weekends and I have a full time job. So I went with another place in NYC called Hills Learning that is now online. (Realizing now) They are about 50 dollars more expensive for each class block and the classes are only an Hour and a half, but the structure I think really made a difference for me. I feel like I am light years better than where I would be now had I chosen to keep self learning. Another thing I really liked rather than private sessions is that you can see other people fall on their face trying to speak too, easy on the ego! Anyway good luck.


Thanks! I’m sure just in general in-person classes are better for most things but I’m not willing to do in person classes (for Covid reasons) so it’s really deciding between remote and self study for me.

Thanks I’ll look into them too! Even though I’m only willing to do remote at this time it is nice to pick something local so there might be the option to switch to in person at some point in the future.

And yeah I definitely feel like the structure of a class might help keep me on track, plus at some point you’ve got to go looking for conversation practice anyway which you can’t do solo.

I have taken the advanced level classes through NYC Japan Society (mostly the 11 level special topic classes), all remote, and I will say that the quality of the teachers is very high (as good as college-level classes I’ve taken), and all of them also manage Zoom classes well (very few technical issues and the teachers always handled any issues well that came up).

Previously I had been living in North Carolina and taken classes through the NC Japan Center (Courses & Programs - NC Japan Center), but with a combination of COVID shutdowns and changes in my work schedule the classes at NYC Japan Society fit my schedule better, and I found the NYC teachers were a little more adept with managing remote classes over Zoom (though the NC teachers are also amazing instructors).

Unfortunately, I can’t really speak to the lower level classes content-wise.


Excellent thank you!

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