Interview with a private lesson student – Mr. Sheran, a British national

This time, we interviewed Mr. Sheran, a British student taking private lessons at TCJ, about his job, learning Japanese, and TCJ's classes!

- Shehran Azim (アジム シェラン)
National origin: United kingdom
Occupation: Airline engineer
Course: Private Lessons (Online)
Learning Objectives: Communication
Learning Goal: Pass N3 (2021/12)→N3 passed!

We made a video of that interview! Please take a look.


・Why did you come to Japan (what are you doing in Japan?)
- I first came to Japan to study abroad during university, but then moved here a year later to work as an engineer for an auto manufacturer. I am now an engineer for an Airline company.
・Why did you decide to study Japanese?
- When I was in the UK, I worked for a Japanese company. Through them, I studied abroad in Akita International University, where I first started learning Japanese.
- After moving here, I found it very difficult to work and live in Japan without knowing Japanese. That is why I started to do lessons.
・What is your current level of Japanese (before and after studying at TCJ)?
- Before TCJ: Very basic. Good understanding and listening, but low confidence and knowledge for speaking and listening. Very bad at reading.
- After TCJ: I passed JLPT N3, can have basic conversations and make small talk, and do daily activities and administration tasks. I did almost all the procedures for my recent move (city hall, car dealership, police station, moving company, utilities, etc.) completely in Japanese.
・How did you find TCJ? (How did you find out about TCJ (website, introduction, etc.)?
- I saw some adverts for TCJ and saw that they provided virtual private lessons.
・Why did you choose to take Private lessons rather than other courses available at TCJ?
- I am very busy with work and do a lot of activities outside of work, so I wanted some flexibility in terms of my lessons. Virtual private lessons seemed to be the best option for me.
・What materials are you using now? Why did you choose that course?
- I used the “TRY” series of books for general grammar and vocabulary when preparing for the JLPT.
- In my current run of lessons, I am using Genki because I want to focus more on speaking and using Japanese than to pass any tests with it.
・How was the process from application to the start of the course?
- Quite simple and easy. I just had an interview with a counselor that assessed my Japanese level, set me up with a teacher, and sent me the invoices. I started my lessons a couple of weeks after my first email.
・How long have you been taking the Private course (currently) and how long do you plan to continue?
- I have been taking the private lessons since Summer 2021.
- At the moment, I hope to continue the lessons until I feel confident using Japanese fluently (without pausing too many times or getting stuck for words) in day-to-day situations.
- I may continue on to do more JLPT lessons (for N2) afterwards, depending on how necessary it is.
・What was your experience with Private lessons (honestly)?
・How do you feel about Private lessons content, class time, speed, level, ease of understanding, teachers, and learning environment?
- The lessons were very helpful and I learned a lot. I felt that the constant output helped solidify my knowledge and made me more confident. The amount of work was perfect (any problems were probably due to my work schedule being a bit bad).
- My teacher is a lovely person and very helpful. She has a lot of patience and knows how to structure lessons in a way that keeps me engaged.
- I focused so much on learning the grammar and vocabulary, and on the test technique, that I never really learned how to use these things. That is why I switched the focus of my lessons to using the content, and moved back to N4 level books (as that’s where I think my practical Japanese ability lies).
・What would you like to see improved in Private lessons?
・What do you want to improve about Private lessons?
- Honestly, nothing much. I think any improvement in my learning can only really come from my side, so, in that sense, I think TCJ and Yamazaki-sensei are doing a good job!
・How satisfied are you with Private lessons (on a 5-star scale)?
- ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

・How much time do you usually have to study outside of Private lessons classes (review and preparation)?
- During my previous job, I had some time to study, but I often had to do overtime, so it was difficult to study outside of the lessons (something
- I am in the process of getting settled into my new job, but it may be that I now have some more time and energy to do things.
・What would you like to see in the future?
- Can’t really think of anything more at the moment. I’m happy with the courses I am doing now.
& DM