Meguro Language Center

In Tokyo, I started with an excellent one-month intensive course at MLC. I like their blurb:

Are you misunderstood on a daily basis?
You live in a land of 124 million people.
If you speak Japanese, over 99% will understand you.
If you speak English, less than 30% will.
Unless you came here to get away from people, give us a call.

In the one-month intensive course the lessons lasted three hours a day, 5 days a week, and were one-to-one with just me and a teacher. The teachers were friendly and were happy to tailor the class to my requirements (lots of talking, no English at all). We used Japanese for Busy People (I and II) for a course outline, but had a lot of extras added by the teachers and a lot of free conversation. This environment was really helpful in learning to think in Japanese.

Not too long after that, I started working. With less free time, I cut back to night classes twice a week. These were group classes, but their group classes are limited to only four people. I still found this a very effective way to learn.

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