I had the pleasure of taking a month long private course at the Wahaha Japanese School. My purpose was to improve my Japanese reading skills in the hopes of using my Japanese for a future job such as translation work.
In the classes we used a combination of textbook assignments and newspaper articles which I clipped from the local papers. The instructors were all very attentive and thorough in explaining grammar points, vocabulary and also some of the subtle nuances of the Japanese language that are all too often difficult to grasp. Based on the textbook and newspaper articles there were also opportunities for discussion which was valuable for improving speaking skills.
During the month long course I was also able to learn firsthand about the translation profession. In one seminar, the Japanese owner of a Fukuoka translation company and an English-speaking translator currently working in Fukuoka, co-presented an informative session about the field of translation, looking for translation work and so on. The two presenters spoke from slightly different perspectives which gave the participants some valuable insights. Participants were students from other schools and people living in the Fukuoka region. It was interesting to hear the comments and opinions of the other participants during the Q and A session that followed.
In a follow-up seminar, one of the presenters from the previous time talked about his experiences working as a translator in Japan for the last 10 years. This time participants also had the chance to practice translating short Japanese passages into English from a variety of sources such as novels, and magazine / newspaper articles. Afterwards there was group discussion and feedback from the instructor. So it was a very practical, hands-on lesson.
On a separate day I was fortunate enough to have a one-on-one lesson with the Japanese owner of the translation company. Together we worked through an actual contractual agreement and he pointed out some of the common pitfalls that translators face while doing these kinds of documents. It was extremely difficult and gave me a deeper appreciation for the challenges that translators encounter on a daily basis.
This was my first visit to Fukuoka and during my month long stay
I did a lot of exploring within the city. Fukuoka is an attractive city with lots of green space and various waterways such as rivers and canals and also the ocean. Despite being a large city with convenient public transportation, it is surprisingly easy to get around on foot. There is no shortage of eating and drinking establishments and things to do here; there is something here for everyone. I would love to come and visit again.
Overall my experience at Wahaha was enjoyable and worthwhile; the instructors and staff were very friendly and supportive, and the classes added to my current knowledge base and gave my Japanese skills a must needed boost.