Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Japanese Language School located in KL's review

Hou hou hou~~
Hello everyone. This going to be my first entry in English. I wanna talk and give opinions about Language Schools in Kuala Lumpur. So I hope this will give benefit to you if you are looking for place to study Japanese in KL.

It's been 1 year that I have been learning Japanese. I went to 4 different schools, learned from 13 sensei in this period of time. The review will be focus on the school that I have attended. Institut Bahasa Teikyo is a different league because it is a private language school which offered a preparation on continuing your education in Japan. So these 4 schools that I am going to talk about just focus on Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Sometime they offered a short course for JLPT preparation.

1) Inter-Cultural Language School ( ICLS ) - KL Branch

First school that I attended. I can say most of the period of my study is in this school. They offered an intensive class which is during the weekday. For example, from zero to Elementary level, it takes around 1 month to finish the course. Previously they use their own book called あぱかば (Apakaba) but it is actually followed a syllabus from 新日本語のきそ(Shin Nihon Go Kiso). Around March/April this year they changed to 皆の日本語 (Minna no Nihon Go). Why am I talking about this? Simple! It is because Shin Nihon Go Kiso is much older than Minna no Nihon Go. Which mean, a lot of syllabus are not covered. I have to study on my own back then. I think new students of ICLS, they are lucky. 

1) Fast track. I think the only school that can finish 3 level in one month with their intensive course. If you are person who like a fast phase study, then this school will be your choice. Even though it is a part time course, 1 level only takes around 2.5 to 3 months. 
2) The sensei will only use the language based on the students' level. With that being said, you will understand better because the sensei will not use complex vocabularies.

1) Too fast until you can't even study properly. For example, Lesson 1-25, they divided into three levels ( Lesson 1-9, Lesson 10-16, Lesson 17-25). Just imagine 9 topics in 2.5 months, how would u memorize everything? Other school they will make it 5 lessons per level.
2) This is something that I don't like about ICLS. They are more into profit oriented language school rather than producing a good student. What I mean is they focus on getting more students. If minimum of 5-6 students cannot be achieve, so the particular level cannot start. So no choice, have to wait, wait, and keep waiting until they got enough students. One more thing, just imagine how can you study with 20 students in one class? In the beginning, this number of students may be achieved. Later, on it keep reducing.
3) Because to many lessons need to cover, students are not given a chance to practice things that they have learned. The time spend for conversation is around 5 minutes.
4) No Kanji lesson at the beginning level. Even you know Kanji, for homework might be okay to write Kanji, but for exam you need to write Furigana or else they assume you don't know how to spell in Hiragana.Starting from Advance level, should be no problem if you want to write in Kanji.
5) Speaking of Advance level, the level scale in ICLS is totally different compare to other schools. I can say JFKL is the correct one. For example, when you have achieved Advance 1, don't think like " oh yeah~ I am in Advance level man". Frankly speaking, you are not even an Intermediate student, because Advance 1 in ICLS is equivalent with Pre-intermediate in Japan. 
6) This is most important factor. If you have question, especially things that you know better than your classmate, sensei will not explain because they are afraid that other students might be confused. So if you are kind of "show off" person in class, please avoid this thing. Sensei most of the time will ignore the students' question because they need to cover everything within their teaching plan.

*Update 17/4/17 - Ever since they changed the book to 皆の日本語 (Minna no Nihon Go), sensei will use kanji and teach it starting from scratch.Meaning, if you know nothing like me, it will be good exposure at the beginning of your learning's journey.

2) A to Z Language Centre

My second school after ICLS. Surprisingly I was lucky to be accepted by the school with just simple oral test thru phone called. Normally students are required to undergo the placement test or some called level check.I studied in one level and with one sensei only. So I am not sure the school standard or teaching's SOP.   

1) You will have plenty of chances to speak in class.
2) Sensei will prepare a script or a sentence. You don't have to think on what you want to say, but all you have to do is convert the sentence given into the grammar structure that u have learned. 

1) As for me, it is a little bit slow pace. However considering your chance to speak in class is a good point.
2) Actually it is not a really a conversation, for example, sensei will choose student A to ask student B, so basically what the student do is just asking the other student. Not really a normal conversation. So this does not help much in term of improving the students' language skill.

3)  Inter-Cultural Language School ( ICLS ) - Damansara Branch

Not much point to highlight here because the same school but different branch. I am lucky because sensei who teaching me always do revision. By the time I wrote this entry, I am still studying in this school. Will stick with this school as long my currect sensei teach us.

 Same as the first point

1) There's no Japanese or little Japanese in this school. I've never seen any Japanese who are learning English in this school. This is important if you are the person who are looking for friends to chat with before the class start. Unlike in KL Branch, u can always meet Japanese in common area. I will use this chance to practice my Japanese language. So this point is actually more into personal. I am kind of person who always come early before the class. So I always use this time to make friends or do revision.
2) Recently I don't feel like wants to participate in conversation during class. This is because the time is to short for us to think about the conversation and it is hard to apply the grammar that we just learned in that conversation within 5 minute of given time. Yeah, I admit my sucks critical thinking skill but hey, time is the issue here. hahaha

4) Japan Foundation Kuala Lumpur

Not even complete the whole level. I just joined for three months. 1 level consist of two or three parts. The duration of 1 part is 3 months. The level scale from Beginner to Advance exactly like if u study Japanese in Japan. Their intakes are twice a year. Their placement test is like JLPT question except no listening test. There are grammar, reading, vocab, kanji, and oral test. For the oral test is simple question. Seriously it's so simple and straight forward question. The thing is how you are elaborate and emphasize your idea during the test. At that time, it was my 6 months of studying Japanese. One of the reason why I stop is because I was little pressured because all of my classmates they were excellent.Intimidate I guess. Why? Just imagine I was placed in Intermediate class with 4 JLPT N2 holder, and 3 existing students.One thing that you should know that this school has really high standard. Don't be sad if you want to study in Advance level but end up being placed in downgrade level instead. 

1) There is presentation, group discussion in class. This school focus more on speaking skill. You will have a lot of chances to speak in class.
2) Their activities is so much fun. For example role play activities.
3) Sensei will let u speak and express your opinion freely. This school use two ways communication teaching method.
4) You will improve your writing skill as well because every presentations and discussions, you need to submit a report.
5) There is assessment report. Before a new lesson start, u need to evaluate yourself based on the stated criteria. After the end of each lesson, you need to evaluate again yourself and submit the assessment report. The best thing is sensei will comment your self assessment report. This is important because you would not want to have this kind of "syok sendiri" attitude right? 
6) There is assignment you know? Oh man, I don't like that. Hey, take it easy. It's not an assignment like in your Uni or whatsoever. It is more into journal about your learning process.You can submit anything as long it is related with your Japanese studies. For example, yesterday I watched Japanese variety show on Youtube, I ate Japanese candies,etc etc. Simple as ABC right? In the middle of level study, and at the end of level, you have to present and share it with your classmates. Here's the point, they create it this way in order to encourage you to speak more in a fun learning method. 
7) You can ask anything during class or outside of class. 

1) Sensei will not spoon feed you. You have to find on your own first. If you have any questions in class, sensei will open to other students to help you with their explanation. If the other students can't deliver the right thing, sensei will help then.
2) There are no repeat words after what the sensei said (1 way communication). For grammar, sensei will explain first, the rest you have to work hard.
3) 90% is your effort. For vocab and kanji, you don't have choice. You need to study on your own. You see how many times I said "on your own". It is really important here, otherwise you will fail in exam if you don't do revision or study by yourself.
4) Sometime you will lost in a track because of can't understand on what has been discussed or what sensei explained. It happen to me when my classmates or sensei used vocab that I don't know. Take this chance to write down the new words that you just heard. Don't feel embarrass for that. 

Based on my learning experience, I think JFKL is the best school. Fun learning method, opportunity to speak more in class, even they will invite Japanese to join the class during students' presentation. Their study environment is conducive. Since they have library, you can use your time to study there. 
There was one time, I joined my junior class and their sensei allowed me to hear the students' presentation. Surprisingly, even though they just beginner, but they can speak very well. This school really push and build student confidence level in conversation skill. Regarding price, I think all the schools have same tuition fees. If you do the math, I can say that ICLS is the cheapest. Find on your own for that. For JFKL's tuition fees, put it this way. You pay RM 100 per month which I think it's reasonable price.

I hope my review will help you in making decision on which school to go. These opinions are solely based on my experience and from my personal point of view. I may add or remove some of the point in future if I recalled something or experience a new thing. Thank you for reading.

You will not experience this in JFKL. Trust me, it feel like in Tuition Centre, the classroom as well. Pretty much all schools have the same design.

I can't find picture of whole view of the classroom in JFKL. This is my former classmate during his presentation.



  1. Dapat tak kita menguasai tulisan kanji... atau cuma guna Hiragana dan Katakana saja...

    Anata no Nihongo wa do desuka...

    1. Early stage, memang Hiragana dan Katakana sangat diperlukan. Tapi lambat laun, Kanji tu sangat penting sebab kebanyakkan penulisan menggunakan kanji. Nak kuasai tu memang makan masa. Orang tua cakap, klo selalu mengaji, lama-lama jadi lancar la. hehehe

      Boku no nihongo wa ma ma desu~ ( Biasa biasa aja ) ^_^

  2. Thumbs Up..mmg good review..jika ada sesiapa yg mencari info untuk belajar bahasa Jepun..this entri byk membantu....SJM skrg tgh cari kelas bahasa Korea..sbb minta tgk citer Korea kalau boleh xnk baca subtitle..dorang cakap terus leh faham...pastu bila pegi Korea x de lah risau nk sesat..pastu leh cari pak we korea sorang kih kih kih...verangan

    1. SJM plak dah~

      Rei pun ingat nak belajar Korean, senang nak melalak kat pusat karaoke nanti dgn lagu K-pop. hahah

      Go~ go JM, u can do it~

  3. Very good article man, very much appreciated. can I ask you which school's syllabus prepared and taught towards where it can prepare students to sit for JLPT? Similar to our own school in Malaysia, do you think we all can pass exam if the teacher does not prepare students for the exam right? JLPT is very important because we can put it on our CV too and it is recognized by Japanese company. After 1 year in ICLS finishing Intermediate 1, I bought JLPT N5 book to study Kanji and prepare for exam, surprisingly to find tons of new vocabulary. One thing this shows that syllabus prepared in ICLS is not JLPT oriented. I had to do a lot of translation to progress the book. Feeling like studying all over again

    Let me know your opinion. Anyone has any thoughts to share, please kindly do so. Cheers.

    1. First of all, thanks a lot for your comment, and sorry for the late reply.

      Not all schools offered the JLPT preparation class. As far as I know, A to Z Language School and ICLS do open a class just for the JLPT, and it is short course, I think 5-8 classes only. In my opinion, you still can progress for JLPT if u study on your own. I have never attend any class for this but I think the basic is same where sensei will give tips, spot question, and explain anything that u don't understand.

  4. As one of the ICLS student I do agree on most of the point you stated.

    "Previously they use their own book called あぱかば (Apakaba) but it is actually followed a syllabus from 新日本語のきそ(Shin Nihon Go Kiso). Around March/April this year they changed to 皆の日本語 (Minna no Nihon Go). "

    I'm one of the first batch to use Minna no Nihon Go unfortunately my textbook has changed back to Apakaba when I've reach to ICLS's advance level 1. It sucks. I can't find any reference books and I have to Googled the grammar points one by one.

    1. I totally understand that. U can find reference books at JFKL library.

  5. Hi,

    I can't find any info of Japan language course offered by JFKL. May I know where to get it? I wish to start the study from beginning level.

    Please advise.


    1. Hello.

      You can get the information either visit JFKL or their website. Their intake normally is on April and October. For the application is one month before the commencement of class

    2. Hi Rei,

      I had went to JFKL today. As they advise me the major different compare other language center is they prefer the student able to do better conversation instead of just learning hard words in the books. Secondary was grammer. If need to attend the JLPT exam, the grammer need to be good.

      Even in the class you can't depend on the teacher but self learning and among with classmate is important. Need to do a lot interactive with classmate and determine the mistake between each other for improvement. Need to do a lot revision.

      The problem to me is their schedule only available on weekday 18:30 which is another obstacle to me. I unable to reach there by that time.

      Do you heard about JLSM ( The Japanese Language Society of Malaysia)? I'm not sure is it good or not? Or compare with JFKL ? But they do offer weekend part time. And the Fuji International Japanese Language Centre at Sunway.

      I'm seriously still thinking which centre to go.

    3. It depending on what you are aiming for.
      What are you going to do with language?
      Speaking with Japanese? Watching Anime/Drama without subtitle? Reading manga? Ask yourself again.

      I have no comment about JLSM, but I assume they will let the student to master the basic and it is time consuming.

    4. Ok.

      Thanks for your sharing.

  6. Hi,if i got no any basic of japanese language,start from 0 ,can i still go for JFKL?as you said the students lvl is high,afraid of cnt catch up,is there any condition to enter the sch? I not looking to study in japan ,i just want to learn the language.

    1. If you start very basic,like how I did, it will be easy to learn regardless of which school.

  7. Hi. I am interested to register myself for Japanese Class Level 1. May I know one week two hours lesson will be sufficient to enhance student understanding? Or it can be done with self learning without attending any class? The one which catches my eyes at the moment is A to Z Language Center.

    1. Once a week base on my experience would be insufficient. Unless u put really effort on self study. The main problem about self study is how u can practice the grammar that u learned? Another thing is your motivation to study is very low compare to attend a class, it happen to me.

      Self study is possible actually. Some people that I know managed to speak fluently without attending a class at all. In fact their level surpass me.

  8. Salam hi nak tanya.kalau sy nak ambik part time course japanesse languange dlm masa dgree study ni oke ke?class schedule dia macam mana eh?weekend only or still intensive?anyhow to contact?tq

    Hhee sorry banyak tanya

    1. Boleh je, tiada masalah. Bergantung pada bagaimana anda mengatur jadual masa anda. Some people especially yang dah bekerja tak boleh commit weekday kelas, dan diorg prefer weekend or once a week.

      So tgk balik jadual kamu mcm mana. As for contact, boleh lihat dari website mereka

  9. salam , hi saya berminat dan sedang mencari tempat untuk belajar Japanese language secara intensive , terjumpa satu tempat yang dekat dengan rumah , Fuji International Language School, boleh beritahu tak serba sedikit tentang institusi ini , fees dia agak mahal for now tapi good thing is dia sangat2 dekat dengan rumah , kalau ada sebarang informasi tentang institusi minta tolong sangat2 kongsikan kpd saya , saya contemplating tahap gear 4 ni , saya tiada mengikuti program atau sebarang kos dari universiti, cuma saya nak kan sijil yang diiktaraf (N2,N1) mana tahu berguna satu hari ni , ada juga cita2 nak jadi translator

    1. Wa'alaikumusalam.

      Saya tak boleh nak komen tentang skolah tersebut sebab tidak pernah belajar disitu. One of my Japanese friend teach there.

      Satu perkara yang Akid kena tau, Japanese study ni, diorang dah ada standard siap-siap. Senang citer, pergi belajar kat mana pun, kat luar negara pun, mostly akan pakai silibus yang sama. Yang membezakan adalah cara penerangan dan bagaimana cikgu-cikgu tersebut menarik minat pelajar.

    2. Terima kasih atas reply, lagi satu soalan, saya noticed dalam ulasan Rei ada sebut pasal levels,macam rei sebut dalam 3 bulan mereka cover beberapa level, kalau saya ambil program intensive 3 bulan(kelas 5 hari seminggu) yg kebisaan institusi buat tu, adakah maksudnya mereka akan cover kesemua levels dalam masa 3 bulan?

    3. Terima kasih kembali.

      Susah nak citer mengikut level sebab setiap sekolah lain2. Utk bagi mudah faham, kalau ikut buku Minna no Nihongo, consist of two books.

      Kalau 2nd edition, utk beginner 1, buku warna merah, mengandungi lesson 1-25. Beginner 2, buku warna biru, lesson 26-50. Boleh google or pergi Kinokuniya utk check buku ini.

      Untuk habiskan satu buku, boleh mengambil masa 3 bulan. Tapi ada je tempat macam ICLS 1 bulan setengah macam tu.

      If intensive, even 3 bulan, banyak masa untuk kuatkan foundation. So bagus untuk kamu. Ambil masa ni utk mahirkan.