Hello, I am Yuko-sensei, the owner of this website, SmileNihongo.com. Great to have you here!
I am a native Japanese, born and raised in the southern part of Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture. I have an M.A. in Japanese pedagogy (teaching Japanese as a foreign language) and have been teaching Japanese in the United States for over 20 years.
Teaching Japanese is my passion.
I’ve mainly taught English-speaking students at universities and colleges in the USA. Students always comment on my teaching styles as being fun and easy to follow.
Learning Must Be Fun
I do focus on making the learning experience fun.
You know how nervous you can get when you try speaking a foreign language. Believe me, I’ve been there. I was once an English language learner!
At an early stage of my learning, it was so intimidating and scary to speak English with my limited ability! I struggled so much to learn English and after all these years, I am still learning.
You can read about my struggles in this post.
When we are nervous, our minds are closed. We are in no condition to absorb new information. To learn, we must be relaxed and open. This is why I strive to make the learning environment for my students fun and comfortable.
During my teaching experience of 19 years, I’ve mastered various teaching approaches to best serve different types of learners.
Japanese Language Teacher Online
Now I wish to use my skills to assist learners on a broader scale. Technology made it possible for me to reach out to Japanese learners all over the world who are willing to learn but unfortunately do not have an opportunity to do so in their local areas.
For such enthusiastic learners, I have created online courses (both free and paid courses) where you can learn Japanese in the comfort of your own house at your own pace.
Check all the courses at my online Japanese School: Smile Nihongo Academy
As for my personal life, I live with my husband and two cats in the beautiful pacific northwest, USA. My husband is American and he is in the process of learning Japanese. (Just like you!)
He speaks only a little Japanese at the moment, but surprisingly our cats are bilingual!
My husband talks to our cats in English and I talk to them in Japanese, so naturally, they have become understanding both languages. lol
Want to Try a Mini-Course for Free?
Every learner has a different learning style. Therefore, it’s always best to see if the course fits your learning style before you invest your time and energy in it. The only way to find out is to try the lessons. Hence, I offer free mini-courses for you.
Pick the one that you think fits your level. Click the Sign-up button, provide your name (nickname is fine) & email address, and you are good to go!
Mini-Course 1: Start-Up from Zero
The course is designed for complete beginners. You’ll learn how to say basic things about yourself such as name, nationality, and occupation. I will teach you how to speak properly even with your very limited skills in Japanese.
- Lesson 1 – Your nationality in Japanese
- Lesson 2 – Let’s talk about yourself!
- Lesson 3 – Don’t want to sound funny in Japanese?
- Lesson 4 – Introduce yourself in Japanese
- Printable Materials (PDF): Vocabulary list
Mini-Course 2: Numbers and Money
Mini-Course 2 covers Japanese numbers and money. It will walk you through how to say numbers from 1 to 999 with correct pronunciation. After that, it teaches you how to say prices in Japanese yen, dollars, pounds, euro, and other currencies in the world.
- Lesson 1 – Numbers 1 to 19
- Lesson 2 – Numbers 20 to 99
- Lesson 3 – Japanese Money
- Lesson 4 – Numbers 100 to 999
- Lesson 5 – World Currencies in Japanese
- Printable Materials (PDF): Vocabulary list & Number list (3 pages)
If you don’t know much about Japanese numbers yet, this course will be a great place to start! Also, it will be a good prep course for your next trip to Japan since it covers how to say prices.
Mini-Course 3: Say What You Do – Japanese Verbs
This course covers the basics of Japanese verbs. You will learn how to say things you do or don’t do such as “I drink coffee every morning” or “My boyfriend plays golf on weekends.”
I will show you how systematic Japanese sentences are and how to build them on your own. I will also explain the difference between Formal and Informal speech in Japanese and what you can do to avoid sounding awkward when you speak Japanese.
This free course also comes with tons of PDF materials that you can download. (21 pages in total!) Each material is prepared in both Romaji and Japanese letters (Hiragana/Katakana), so you don’t have to know Japanese letters to learn from this course.
- Lesson 1 – Word order doesn’t matter much
- Lesson 2 – Do I sound like a child?
- Lesson 3 – TWO tips – Not only correct but NATURAL
- Lesson 4 – Now, can you say this in Japanese?
- Printable Materials (PDF): Vocabulary list & Verb list (21 pages)
Connect with me on social media 🙂
I welcome any suggestions or input to better my courses or this website. Feel free to write to me at SENSEI@SmileNihongo.com!
I look forward to interacting with you and assisting your Japanese learning endeavor.
どうぞよろしくお願いします。(Doozo yoroshiku onegai shimasu)