A Look Back At 2017

2017 is coming to an end in a couple of days. Let’s take a look back on what Bunka has done this year.

Friends of Bunka Night (FOBN)
FOBN is a social event where we connect Bunka students to our Japanese friends. Usually, it takes place twice a year. This year, however, we held it three times instead. When you learn a language, it is important that you make friends with native speakers so that you have more opportunities to practise the language.

The first event was in collaboration with Solo Group LLC from Japan. Bunka students had dinner with a group of Japanese university students who were on a study trip to both Singapore and Malaysia. We arranged some time to eat and interact with them.

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The second event was in collaboration with Single Point Pte Ltd, a Japanese company which places Japanese interns in Singapore-based companies. We held the event at Bari-Uma Ramen restaurant. It is located at Tanglin Shopping Centre, a mere 5-minute walk from Delfi Orchard. For your information, Bari-Uma gives Bunka students up to 30% discount a couple of times in a year. Check the noticeboard in your classroom for updates on their promotions.

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The third event was in collaboration with Intelligence, one the the biggest recruitment companies in Singapore. We were fortunate to have a team of seven recruitment consultants and two of their Japanese friends to join us for the event.

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Career Seminar
Local Japanese speakers are in hot demand now! Also, they can typically earn between $500 to $1000 more depending on their language proficiency. Thus, Bunka collaborated with Intelligence and held two career seminars to let Bunka students know about the job market and hiring trends, dispel some myths about working in Japanese companies and learn how to write proper resumes (both Japanese and English).

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Online Payment Method
Previously, only Elementary 1 students could pay via PayPal or credit card. Since April 2017, this initiative has been extended to all levels. Simply register and pay online so that you do not need to carry too much cash, or make an additional trip to pay over the counter.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Since January 2017, Bunka has been providing free Japanese lessons twice a week to Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped. This is part of Bunka’s CSR to give back to the society. We would like to thank Kato-sensei and Toguchi-sensei who are part of the team to support this effort.

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Cultural Events: Behind The Scenes
Bunka is probably the only Japanese language school in Singapore which holds cultural events once every seven weeks. Our teachers worked very hard in ensuring the success of each cultural event. Take a look at how they have prepared for the event.

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SkillsFuture Credit (SFC)
Since 2016, all Singaporeans aged 25 and above are given an opening credit of $500 from the Singapore government to learn new skills. All of Bunka’s courses are eligible for SFC.

These are two very important points to take note of:
1. SkillsFuture changed the claim process in May 2017. Funds can only be disbursed to Bunka instead of the individual.
2. Individuals who use SFC should ensure that they attain at least 75% attendance. If not, the credit may be recovered by SkillsFuture.

Do take note of these points if you are using your SkillsFuture credit to pay for classes.

Final Note
Bunka could not have done all these without the support of our students.

We would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt appreciation to our students, past and present, for choosing Bunka. Most importantly, we could not have done it without the hard work and effort put in by our teachers and staff. We would also like to thank all our vendors, partners and friends for their invaluable support.

We hope that more will continue to enjoy learning the Japanese language in 2018. Happy New Year!

The Bunka Team
29th December 2017

2017 JLPT Preparatory Course Schedules

Planning to take the JLPT Test this coming December? Bunka’s JLPT Prep Courses are here to help you!

JLPT Preparatory Course Schedules 

N4 
Day: Monday
Time: 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Commencement Date: 28 August 2017
Duration: 10 weeks
Price: $450

At the N4 level, students should have the ability to read and understand passages on familiar daily topics written in basic vocabulary and kanji, and also be able to listen and comprehend conversations encountered in daily life and generally follow their contents, provided that they are spoken slowly.

 

Try some sample questions here!

 

N3
Day: Tuesday
Time:  6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Commencement Date: 22 August 2017
Duration: 13 weeks
Price $590

At the N3 level, students should have the ability to read and understand slightly difficult written materials with specific contents concerning everyday topics, and also be able to listen and comprehend coherent conversations in everyday situations, spoken at near-natural speed, and is generally able to follow their contents as well as grasp the relationships among the people involved.

 

Try some sample questions here!

 

N2
Day: Friday
Time:  6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Commencement Date: 4 August 2017
Duration: 13 weeks
Price: $605

At the N2 level, students are expected to read materials written clearly on a variety of topics and comprehend their contents, follow their narratives as well as understand the intent of the writers. Students should also be able to comprehend orally presented materials such as coherent conversations and news reports, spoken at nearly natural speed in everyday situations.

 

 

Try some sample questions here!

 


 

Registration is now open and interested students may contact the school via email (course@bunkalang.com), phone call (67373601) or walk-in to sign up for the courses. taiyo jlpt

ANNOUNCEMENT : Changes to SkillsFuture Credit Claim Procedure

SkillsFuture has announced that from 19th May 2017, SkillsFuture Credit (SFC) will be disbursed directly to only the training provider.

SFCSource : http://www.skillsfuture.sg/credit

With this change, please DO NOT make payment via paypal after you registered the course on Bunka’s website. Instead, please email to us at course@bunkalang.com indicating that you want to use your SFC.

Upon receiving the invoice from us, you may then proceed to submit the claim at www.skillsfuture.sg/credit

Please refer to this link for the user guide on skillsfuture credit (individuals)

Thank you.

The Bunka Team
24th May 2017

Online Payment Now Available for ALL Levels!

Dear Students,

Online payment is now available for all levels! Just follow these simple steps to register and make payment for your next level!

Step 1 : Login to your account
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Step 2 : Select the next level
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Step 3 : Select the schedule 
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Step 4 : Register (Please read the T&C first)
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Step 5 : Payment
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Free free to call us at 67373601 if you have any questions.

The Bunka Team
26 April 2017

What interests you?

Many of our students started to learn the Japanese language for various reasons such as travel, culture, food, job, anime and manga.

Some questions that are always on our minds are as follows: How can we sustain your interest in learning the language? Is there a magic formula? How can we better support your learning needs? Besides classroom lessons, is there anything else that we can do?

Can Bunka be a one-stop information centre for all the questions you might have on Japan? Should we start a student portal where all our students can exchange notes on anything related to Japanese?

Do you have any suggestions? Let us know!

 

The Bunka Team
29th June 2016

50% Off Gakken Science Kits for Adults (For Bunka Students Only)

For a limited period, Bunka students can get to purchase Gakken Science Kits for Adults at 50% off. Pre-order now! (Stock will arrive in mid-July)

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The Bunka Team
23 June 2016

What you need to know about using SkillsFuture Credit

Workforce Development Agency (WDA) and SkillsFuture conducted an audit check in Bunka recently. For those of you who have been with Bunka long enough, you might notice that there are changes to the attendance marking system. Previously, attendance marking was done by teachers. Right now, students have to sign their attendance when they come for class. This is one major requirement from the audit committee.

In addition, if students were to miss lessons, it is a “MUST” to give us the reason because this is what the audit committee would want to know. Every lesson must be accounted for. Students who do not attain 75% of the total attendance may risk their funding to be recovered by WDA.

In the SkillsFuture portal (http://www.skillsfuture.sg/credit), there is a banner highlighting the conduct of audit checks on individuals, training providers and companies. Those who flout the rules will have to face the music. It is important that everyone uses public funds responsibly.

To all our students who are using Skills Connect or Skillsfuture Credit, please remember to sign your attendance and inform your teacher if you are unable to attend the lessons. We appreciate your help in this matter. Thank you for your cooperation.

 

The Bunka Team
23rd May 2016

How do you sustain your interest in learning the Japanese language?

How do you sustain your interest in learning the Japanese language?

This is really a tough question with no correct answer. Here are some ideas that we can think of :

  1.  Make friends with the Japanese – make sure you communicate with them in the Japanese language.
  2.  Find a Japanese boyfriend / girlfriend – this will definitely motivate you!
  3.  Listen to Japanese songs – For guys, check out AKB48. For ladies, check out Exile.
  4.  Watch anime – I personally recommend Slam Dunk (that is the only anime I know)
  5.  Eat Japanese food – make it a point to memorize the name of the food. E.g. Soba, soumen, omurice, takoyaki… anything besides sushi and sashimi.
  6.  Watch Japanese drama – Bunka has a DVD library. Make use of it!
  7.  Read manga – Doraemon is good! Each story is short and sweet.
  8.  Travel to Japan – immerse yourself in Japan. A yearly trip will be good. Do not visit Tokyo, Hokkaido and Osaka only. Go to other places less known to tourists.

Lastly, make friends with your classmates and motivate one another to carry on.

Let us know if you have more ideas. May your interest in learning the Japanese language be sustained.

The Bunka Team
27 April 2016

What you can do daily to improve your Japanese language skills

If you have read our post “10 reasons why you should study Japanese” (http://www.bunkalang.com/blog/10-reasons-why-you-should-study-japanese/),  you would know that we shared reasons why one should learn the Japanese language. The “Why” question is important because that is the factor that  drives you; motivates you; and inspires you to carry on, no matter how hard it is, how tired you are or just that, you have simply lost that interest.

We always emphasize that learning the Japanese language is a journey. It is never a 10-week thing. It is a skill. And like all other skills, it needs time – time to build vocabulary, master the grammar, hone listening skills and speak fluently.

There is an old adage: Every journey begins with a single step. The steps we take everyday are important.There are no short-cuts, just plain hard work, determination and consistency. So  the question is : What can you do on a daily basis to improve your Japanese language skills?

Attending lessons once a week for 3 hours is not enough. You need to work on it everyday. You can give yourself some cheat days, but not more than 3 days in a row. For a start, set aside 5 to 30 minutes a day as part of your daily routine called “My Me Time with Japanese”. And these are the things you can do to improve your Japanese language skills :

  1.  Listen to Japanese songs. Try to catch the lyrics. That is a relaxing way to hone your listening skill.
  2.  Learn to sing a Japanese song!
  3.  Watch an episode of anime (if you are an otaku). Start with subtitles first. And when you think you  are ready, turn off the subtitles.
  4.  Memorise 5 words a day. 5 x 365 days = 1825 words. That is a lot!!!!
  5.  Think in Japanese. Learn to construct sentences in your mind.
  6.  Learn 1 sentence structure per day. Read out loud.
  7.  Be like a Japanese. Use sounds or words like : sou desu ka, honto desu ka…,  eto desu ne…. , sou  sou sou…., hai, iie iie..
  8.  Read a chapter of manga (again if you are an otaku). For those who are not, fall back on  Doraemon, it is a good start! (And we have some interesting titles in our book library that you can  borrow)

All the things that we suggested do not take up a lot of your time. But these small efforts build up your ability to speak the Japanese language in the long run.

Let us know if you have more interesting ideas!

The Bunka Team
6th April 2016

Behind the Counter

Ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at Bunka? Well, here’s a sneak peek into the lives of your friendly admin staff!

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Before that, just a quick introduction of myself: I’m Caitlyn (はじめまして!) – some of you have probably met me at the counter, or received some emails or calls from me. I have just finished my 9 months of part-time work at Bunka and am currently preparing to head over to Australia for university.

It’s been an extremely rewarding and enjoyable learning experience here, and I thought I’d just share a little bit of that with you guys!

I was looking for a part-time job last year as I had time to spare after graduating. I’ve studied Japanese for some time now, and I wanted something that would give me the opportunity to practise and use what I’ve learnt (while earning some cash at the same time hah!). Bunka was the first Japanese language school that showed up on Google, so I just went ahead and asked if there were any vacancies. It was really good timing that they happened to be hiring, and it still amazes me how I was just looking for a part-time job, something to occupy my time – instead, I received such a great experience here!

You’re probably thinking: what’s so amazing about working at Bunka? Isn’t it just another admin job? Don’t these people just sit behind the counter all day, every day? Well, you’re not completely wrong. A typical day starts with us doing the usual administrative tasks – checking the letterbox, marking attendance, receiving payments and the list goes on.

But it gets more interesting along the way, especially when it comes to replying emails, picking up phone calls or assisting walk-in students. You’d be surprised by the diversity of the students we have here! Just by sitting here at the counter, I’ve met so many people from so many different countries – France, Germany, India, China and Malaysia, just to name a few off the top of my head. There’re even students who travel all the way from Johor Bahru every week for lessons at Bunka! I’ve also met a student whose hometown is Adelaide, where I am heading for my studies, and we had a great time talking about Australia. (I’m not sure if you’re reading this, but hello! :D)

We have students from all sorts of backgrounds as well – teenagers who are still schooling, teachers, employees of Japanese companies, chefs in Japanese restaurants, air stewards, people who’ve just migrated to Singapore, students preparing to go to a Japanese university… It’s always interesting to strike up conversations with students (if time allows, of course!) and hear your stories. So look around in class and get to know your classmates! You never know what kind of amazing people you have around you every week, until you get talking! :)

So to all the students who I’ve had the privilege of meeting, who have inspired me with your stories, and who have made my time here such an interesting and eventful one, THANK YOU! All the best in your Japanese studies, and I hope you press on and persevere till you reach wherever your goal lies. It will be worth it!

Next up, the teachers! I’m not trying to boast, but our teachers have so much patience and dedication to the work they do. I always took my teachers for granted in school (and secretly disliked some of them), but working here has made me develop a new appreciation and respect for all teachers as I see what goes on behind the scenes – the amount of work, effort and time that goes into every class, every student.

And it’s not every day that you get to interact with friendly, native Japanese people! Working at Bunka was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in a Japanese environment, and I could ask whatever burning questions about Japan I had! It was especially fun to have had the chance to work closely with the teachers during the Bunka Matsuri last year. 先生、本当にお世話になりました!

Last but definitely not least! I’ve really enjoyed myself working with my fellow admin staff, as well as the Management. You’ve changed the way I see people, especially receptionists! I used to think admin jobs were boring, and so people who did admin must be boring as well – how wrong I was! If you’ve seen our pictures on the blog, or the tag #bunkagirls (well, we have a guy now so maybe #bunkateam instead haha!) on Instagram, you’d probably know that we’re a crazy bunch! So feel free to approach us at the counter, we don’t bite!

Anyway, I’ve grown and learnt so much from all of you; you guys have made my first job an unforgettable experience that I’ll always hold dear to my heart. Thank you for all the opportunities you have given and entrusted to me. I’m grateful to have been able to do more than just admin here – doing some translation and being part of the Bunka Matsuri was especially fun! I never thought I’d be able to find a job where I get to do what I love, but you proved me wrong. Thank you for being so patient with me and always pressing for my growth and development. I feel so welcomed, loved and accepted in this warm and homely Bunka environment. To the students, I hope you find that touch of home here too! I’ll definitely be back to visit! :)

Aaaand here are some photos from behind the scenes!

1At Joe’s place in June last year!

2Having lunch together as prepared for Bunka Matsuri!

Celebrating our own Matsuri :bCelebrating our own Matsuri :b

4A rare, nice and glamorous photo of us! :)

5みんな、お疲れ様でした!

6Aaand it’s a wrap! The Matsuri was a great success thanks to all of your support! 😀

7At Joe’s house again, this year in January! (ft. his really cute chihuahua Mao :D)

P.S.: Meet Abu! This is a picture of how much he’s grown since I joined Bunka heh. You can find him at the counter!

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