Testimonies From My Students

Makiko san is exceptionally patient, kind and meticulous and without a doubt, one of the best teachers I have been so fortunate to have met in my life. She puts in an incredible amount of effort to plan her lessons and she embraces an open mind when it comes to teaching, which is evident in her willingness to experiment with different methods of teaching Japanese instead of just relying solely on the textbook.One experience that I will never forget was when I happened to chance upon a Japanese song on the internet that I quickly became obsessed with; I told Makiko san and she immediately came up with the idea of writing out the song lyrics together with me. And by going through the lyrics sentence by sentence, she taught me the meaning of the song without having to translate it into English.I was very grateful towards her as it made me appreciate the song so much more.I definitely recommend Makiko san to anyone and everyone who is keen on taking up the Japanese language. Her classes and dedication have benefitted me in many ways (Making a trip to Japan is no longer a headache!), and even though we are no longer teacher and student, she will always be a life-long friend dear to me.ありがとうございました、牧子さん!私たちの思い出は 永遠に大切にします!

Yan Yan

My family is planning a trip to Japan sometime next year and hope to explore Japan on our own. We decided to learn some basic conversational Japanese to prepare ourselves for this trip.My wife and I enrolled in a 5 sessions “Japanese for Travellers” course at Hwi Yoh Community Centre. Ms Makiko was our teacher. We find her class interesting because she can explain in English to help us better understand Japanese. Ms Makiko is a native Japanese and she can share Japanese culture with the class which we think is helpful. For example, she explained the correct way to reject invitation or suggestion with Japanese. We find her class interesting and we have benefited. She used role play and games to help students practice dialogue in Japanese. She attentively listened to our dialogue during class activities and corrected our pronunciation and sentence structure. We decided to learn more and subsequently continued with her 8 sessions “Basic Conversational Japanese” course to increase our knowledge. We are more confident to use Japanese for conversation after the class. We also have a better understanding of Japanese sentence structure. We are planning to continue her higher-level Japanese with writing when available. We find Ms Makiko friendly, patient and helpful, teacher. If you are a beginner and planning to learn basic conversational Japanese, I will strongly recommend you to attend her class.

Andy & Audrey

It is good to know and understand the language of a country when you visit and travel there. You can communicate with the local people, like asking for direction and assistance. When I came to know that the course “Japanese for Travellers” would be conducted in the community centre in my neighbourhood last December, I signed up for the class together with my three children.

Our teacher is Makiko Sensei. She is a friendly and cheerful lady. She taught us words, phrases and sentences which will be frequently used by travellers. She encouraged us to practise during classes. The class was fun and filled with laughter.My family went to Japan in March. It’s time to practise our Japanese…………One evening, we visited Yasaka Shrine. We were looking for a toilet. We walked a few rounds but couldn’t find any. It happened that I saw a security guard, I quickly went to him and asked, “Sumimasen, toilet wa doko desu ka?” Thank God, he understood my question. He pointed the direction and said “Hidari magarimasu” which we learned in her lesson. We found the toilet finally.

One afternoon we had lunch in Wazuka. The owner of this small restaurant can’t speak English. So we need to use our limited Japanese to order our food. 5sets of Katsu Don (One big bowl of rice, one big piece of Tonkatsu with salad, a small bowl of steam pumpkin, one piece soft beancurd and a bowl of miso soup). After we finished eating, we wanted to make payment. I asked her, “Ikura desu ka?” She replied, “¥ san-zen nana-hyaku go-jyuu” (¥3,750) . Wow…… this the cheapest and delicious meal we had on this trip. I told her,”Oishii”. She was very happy when she heard that and replied, ”Arigato gozaimasu. Arigato gozaimasu”. She asked,”O-kuni wa?” I told her we are from Singapore.

I am very glad that I attended this Japanese class and equipped myself with sufficient vocabulary to have good travel experience. Arigato gozaimasu, Makiko Sensei.


Attended "Japanese For Travellers" Course

It is my great pleasure to recall and write about my experience learning Japanese with Makiko-sensei.

I attended the 8 session “Basic Conversational Japanese” course before a 2 week self-guided travel in Japan. Despite having intuition for the Japanese language (from watching anime!) this course really helped me get over that tongue tied feeling I get when faced with a real opportunity to speak Japanese to another person. The course was divided clearly into 8 chapters for each session and we went from making basic introductions to expressing what we are doing, where we are going, and making recommendations. Makiko-sensei taught us a comprehensive vocabulary but emphasised various useful sentence structures to help us get our points across to the listener. For instance, how do you say to a vendor, “Do you accept 100 00 yen bills”? During my travels, I faced one such scenario and even though I did not know how to say “do you accept…” in Japanese, I simply remembered the Japanese to ask “Is something okay?” then asked, “Ichi-man en satsu wa ii desu ka?” and the clerk was able to understand me!

I also loved the way Makiko-sensei’s interacted with the class and her attentiveness to the pace at which each of her student learned at. Makiko-sensei quickly observed my confidence in the basic vocabulary and often gave me more challenging question to answer in class. When she observed my readiness to try writing a bit of katakana, she did not hesitate to give me advice that are beyond the course curriculum such as how the particle “wa” is in actual fact written using the character “ha”. Meanwhile, to another student who has just began learning Japanese, Makiko-sensei did not confuse her learning with curve-balls and instead conversed with the student using the vocabulary that she was comfortable with. The passion and effort Makiko-sensei puts into teaching her students inspires a fun and respectful classroom. I am confident that you will enjoy learning Japanese with Makiko-sensei, regardless what your current skill level is!


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