Would You Like to Learn Japanese?



Post by
Pálfi Melinda

At the Foreign Language Centre of the University of Pécs you can study Japanese Language in English, if you are interested! The course is taught by a native speaker, who is also a qualified teacher of Japanese as a foreign language. This semester, the beginner and advanced level courses are available online, starting on 15 February. 

Yuka Chimata; photo: Mariann Tóth

The Japanese course taught through English offers you a chance to learn to speak Japanese, participants get to know the unique Japanese culture better and you also get acquainted with the wonderful Japanese writing systems as well. The courses fill up quite fast, so if you are interested, apply soon! The application deadline is 10 February!

  • Beginner: Monday and Wednesday 5-7pm (local time)
  • Advanced: Tuesday and Thursday 5-7pm (local time)

I apply 

If you have further questions, contact Rita Wildanger: rita@inyt.pte.hu 

Yuka Chimata, the teacher of both courses has spent almost a year teaching Japanese in Pécs before the pandemic. I interviewed her when she arrived in Pécs in autumn, 2019. 

From Osaka to Pécs

Yuka Chimata spent one year abroad teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language, when she arrived in Pécs. The lovely, young teacher graduated from Kansai Gaidai University, Japan. She is not the first Japanese language teacher, who is contributing to the diverse language portfolio offered by the Foreign Language Centre thanks to the good relationship of her alma mater and the University of Pécs. However, last year unfortunately nobody came to teach Japanese in Pécs. Therefore, it has been even more of an honour to announce the Japanese language courses at the beginning of this semester. Two levels have been offered: beginner and advanced. The beginner course got full very fast, thereby underlining the need for the education of this unique language, which is relatively rarely taught in Europe. In the Japanese classes students do not only learn the language, but they also get acquainted with the culture of the land of the rising sun.


When did you arrive in Pécs?

At the beginning of the semester, on 2 September. Since then I have been learning Hungarian.

Is it difficult?

Of course. There are fourteen vowels in Hungarian, it is a little difficult for us to learn how to pronounce them. I think I need to learn the language of this country, since not everybody speaks English. I think I need it though, because there are places, where English-speakers are hard to find. I learnt Spanish a while ago for a couple of years, but most of that is passive knowledge, since I did not use it. Spanish is actually easier to learn for Japanese people, than Hungarian. However, learning Hungarian here is very useful, because I actually need it, and I can also use right after each lesson.

Have you always known that you want to be a teacher?

First, my major was English linguistics. During my first year, I had the opportunity to go the USA, I taught Japanese language in an elementary school. The students have learned some Japanese already. Before this experience, I was not really interested in teaching, but when I heard the children speak Japanese, I realized, that teaching is great and I enjoy it very much. When I went back to my university in Japan, I decided to study to become Japanese as a foreign language teacher. This was only available as a double major with English language teaching. So I ended up graduating three majors.

Osaka Castle

In Pécs there is no other opportunity to learn Japanese, so we are very happy to have you!

Thank you, I am also glad to be here. Although my university decided for us, where we do our teaching practice, I am happy to be assigned to Europe. I think that this way, I can learn even more myself, than in an English-speaking country. During my lessons I also learn about the students, their attitudes, they often have unique, interesting questions and ideas. I still have a lot to learn in my opinion.

Yuka Chimata; photo: Mariann Tóth

Sometimes we hear a theory, according to which the Hungarian and the Japanese language are related. What do you think about that?

The order in which we use our family names and given names is the same in Japan, so first comes the family name followed by the given name. Also, the word for raccoon in Japanese is the mirror-translation of the Hungarian word for it: washing bear. So maybe they are on to something.

Mariann Tóth