Here is the time for a full recap about my 2 weeks in Japan. I’m still in a magic bubble… I have experienced so many incredible moments in such a short time that I don’t know where to start! Let me first explain you the context of my travel in Kobe. I was selected by “ESL – language studies abroad” as an ESL travel blogger to share my experience of a complete immersion in Japan : part time Japanese studies (3h in the morning at Lexis Japan School), visits during the afternoon and live with a local family. How amazing is it? More than a travel, a real life experience, a unique one !
My first fear was about learning Japanese ! I was sure I won’t be able to do it, as - in addition to a new language - this is also new alphabets (hiragana, katakana, kanji). I was so worried as 2 weeks is also really short to learn. Well well, this is without knowing LEXIS JAPAN ! This school is SO amazing ! If you want to learn Japanese, please forget about Tokyo, just come to Kobe ! First of all, the studying context is perfect: small groups, dedicated teachers and able to adapt to each student level. I arrived in week n°3 at the beginner level (each level is composed of 4 weeks of learning) but I was still able to follow the lessons and to learn japanese. The 2 first days can be difficult but if you practice and learn your vocabulary and grammar rules, your progress should be very quick ! I arrived with absolutely NO BASE of Japanese but I’m now able to have short discussions, introduce myself, ask some basic questions when doing shopping, take bus or train quite easily, read and write hiragana. I just can’t believe how fast it was in only 2 weeks. I’m not a student anymore as I’m 29 so be sure whatever your age you can do it ! What I particularly liked at Lexis Japan school was the activities organized each afternoon for the students : Kobe city tour for your arrival, tea ceremony to learn how to do traditional green tea and impressed everyone when you will be back home, temple visit (I was so impressed to discover all rituals when going to a temple, I would never have known it without this visit), calligraphy workshop, sushi making, sake brewery visit (traditional japanese alcohol)… You can chose to participate or not but I really recommend you to do it, this is about discovering Japanese culture even more deeper. In addition, Lexis Japan team is very helpful if you need anything ! Mio is an amazing campus manager and I’m really grateful to know her and all her team which do more than their best and give 100% of their energy for the students.
Kobe is a dynamic and modern city between mountain and sea, more peaceful than Osaka or Tokyo which is the best for everyday life
Kobe is perfectly located to visit Kansai area by train : 1h from Kyoto, 45min from Osaka, 1h30 from Nara, 1h from Himeji castle
Places to visit in Kobe : Sannomiya district (10min walks from Lexis Japan school), Chinatown district (2min walks from Lexis Japan), Merikien park and Kobe tower (15min walks from Lexis Japan), Kobe city hall for the view (20min walks), entertainment shops for kawaii photobooth and crazy Japanese games.
Secret places discovered with Mio from Lexis Japan : Akashi kaikyo brige (the longest bridge of the world, quite impressive), Venus Bridge for an amazing night view on the city, gastronomic restaurant for a unique experience of Japanese food (secret place that Mio could tell you if you're nice :))
HOW TO COME TO KOBE?
You will arrive at Osaka Kansai airport and the school will organize for you either a shuttle door to door service or bus going to Sannomiya main station. If you're coming from Tokyo after several days of visit, you should buy a JR pass (Japan Rail pass by Vivre le Japon) before arriving in Japan. You just have to activate it when arrived depending on which duration you have chosen to visit for example all the Kansai area with an unlimited train ticket. You have to know that transports can be very expensive in Japan so it really depends on the cities you want to see.
HOW TO LIVE IN KOBE?
My only advice is to choose host family solution if you're able to do it when learning Japanese. Live and meet local people especially in Japan, is a unique chance ! I lived 2 amazing weeks in a japanese family of 2 parents and 2 children, this is the best way to progress in Japanese, taste some unknown Japanese meals, live as a real Japanese (futon bed and Japanese bathroom) but also create unforgettable links with wonderful people (I have great memories with all the family and really hope to see them again in the future).
I’m more than happy of this opportunity I got with "ESL – language studies abroad" who should be able to advise you on how to go to Japan and live a unique experience abroad ! Have fun learning Japanese :)
More information right here >> https://www.eslcompany.com
In partnership with ESL - séjours linguistiques and Vivre le Japon