I stumbled upon Can-sensei’s website before taking my N4 examinations last year (was desperately trying to google for hints to help me pass). As I scrolled through the website and read the materials/notes he offered, I realised that Can-sensei was someone that really understood what he teaches. Thus, I decided to email him to enquire about his classes and eventually signed up as a student.
People may ask about the decision to learn Japanese from a Singaporean instead from a native Japanese teacher. After a few months of lessons with Can sensei, I humbly offer the following reasons:
1) No language barriers during classes.
2) Being a Singaporean, he has went through a similar learning journey himself. Therefore, he has the knowledge of how to use our local context to teach Japanese (E.g. 受身形 = “Kenna” form). This makes it much easier to learn and apply the lessons we learn.
I find it hard to stay awake and focused even in one hour lectures. However, I have never found myself nodding off at any of Can sensei’s lessons. Class sizes are small and lessons are usually engaging, making it easier to absorb the content taught. Students are pushed hard during lessons. For example, intermediate classes are taught entirely in Japanese. Over time, I find my listening skills improving and I am able to better understand the Japanese dramas I watch.
If I had to use a word to describe Can sensei, “selfless” would be it. He constantly sacrifice his own time and resources to ensure that students get a proper education under him. He occasionally treats his students to meals (at relatively expensive restaurants) and often absorbs the cost of the teaching materials used in his classes. Hardworking students are rewarded for their efforts in the form of gifts. Major presentations usually come with small rewards to treat students for their hard work – the cost for all of these borne by Can sensei himself.
So for all those reading the testimonials, Mai Tu liao. Good sensei, quality lessons – sign up now.
By: Lee Chen
Student from Intermediate class
I am pleased to write this testimonial for Can-sensei who prepared me for my JLPT N2 examination in Dec 2017. I am thankful for his guidance in my studies and would like to share some aspects of his mentorship in this testimonial.
I have studied Japanese for 3 years of studying Japanese, without a teacher and was able to attain at least conversational Japanese on my own. However, at some point in time I find myself stagnating in my progress. I met Can-sensei when I attended some Japanese Cultural Exchange meet-ups on Meetup.com which he hosted. He suggested that it would be a good idea to take up JLPT as a form of testament to know where my Japanese abilities stand. So I did. However, I was naïve for me to think that I could managed on my own to progress beyond N3 and passed N2. It was under Can-sensei’s regimentation that I can proudly say that I am a holder of JLPT N2 certification now.
I only had about two months to prepare for the examination. It was not easy to make that huge amount of progress within that little frame of time, but under Can-sensei’s
guidance, it was actually possible to soar even higher than just passing the exam. Despite being a Singaporean, Can-sensei has 11 years of experience in teaching Japanese. His
expertise in this field is actually prominent in his teachings. More often than not, his
explanations were easier to understand. It was clear that he has a better grasp of Japanese grammar than a native Japanese would in their own language. In addition, He would carefully weigh the work load with respect to his student’s abilities so that it does not get too overwhelming. We were able to make a lot of progress as weeks goes by.
Can-sensei has been very stringent about my Japanese. This discipline lead to my
foundations in Japanese being solidified further. He would patiently explain, in the simplest way possible, on areas where language learners like me tend to make mistakes at. That in turn made me become a person that is able to consistently deliver and articulate proper Japanese. I think it is truly amazing that how Can-sensei is more knowledgeable and professional in teaching Japanese than an average Japanese teacher in language schools.
My sincere gratitude goes out to him for having me as his student and his commitment in his teachings. I truly believe that anyone under his mentorship and guidance would definitely triumph over any levels of JLPT. The qualification I have now is a great testament to that.
Passed N2 with 2 months of intensive study
I came across Can-sensei website through a local forum, enquired about his classes and took up the beginner class he’s offering. The class that I’m attending consist of 6 of us, compared to a class of 10 or more, which Sensei is able to give us more attention and track our progress. A thing to note, which I’m happy that the class is “family-oriented”. We progress as a whole family, understand the lesson or tasks given to us and we move on to the next, which schools don’t offer.
Can-sensei is different compared to other teachers. He’s well informative, well versed in Japanese and takes care of his students as well. I’m able to understand his classes and he make’s sure that we understand the chapter before progressing to the next. He makes the class lively by introducing us songs and dramas and if we were to come upon a common interest, we’ll talk about it, etc.
To me, Can-sensei is both a sensei and a friend. I’ve never regret meeting him.
By: Bryson Wong
I have tried taking Japanese at a school before, but I found their approach to be too dry. In contrast, Can’s approach to teaching Japanese is what I feel is the right way to learn a language. He teaches not just the words and expressions in Japanese, but uses anecdotes that allow us to know more about the culture behind the language. He also teaches not just the words of the language, but also its nuances. Nuances is important not just in communicating with the Japanese, but also understanding their psyche. For example, if one use a phrase over another that has the same literal meaning, what (hidden) feelings are they trying to convey? Nuances are important in understanding that. He encourages students to speak up in his classes, which helps us to become proficient not merely in writing/reading, but in speaking as well. He offers to his students not just his knowledge of Japanese, but also shares his passion for it through things like songs and his experiences in Japan. He is friendly and approachable, which makes it easier for shy students to voice their doubts, and the lessons more enjoyable.
By: Ang Zhi Ying
Passed N2 after studying for 3 years under Can
Top student for N4 and N5 cohort
I have been studying Japanese Language for about three years, but just joined Can sensei’s conversation class this year. I enjoy going for lesson every week as sensei’s class is never boring.
Besides learning from notes, we get to learn through dramas, songs and games in class. Through sensei I get to know/ understand alot of things that I think I will never get to learn in Japanese school.
As class size is small, sensei is able to focus on each and every student, and will personally guide the weaker student to ensure that they are not leave behind. Not only that, sensei is very patient with student and is always there to help students to correct their mistakes made even after lesson. He will also give advices / suggestions on ways to improve the student’s Japanese. Learning under Can sensei is not as stressful as learning in Japanese School and I feel that I am able to absorb more and better.
Before making my mind to join sensei’s class, I actually did hesitated and doubted his ability in teaching Japanese as sensei is a Singaporean after all. When I attended his first lesson, I am shocked and impressed by his fluent Japanese and the knowledge he have related to Japan. I feel that it is hard for a foreigner to teach Japanese (as language is not by memorizing standard answers), but I am convinced that Can sensei is able to teach well as he never fail to answer all my questions asked during lesson. He is also a humble teacher as he will ask the student to review the lesson and will try his best to improve the lesson and make every lesson interesting.
By: Angela Ong
Student from Conversation class
Studied 1.5 years under Can
I have been studying Japanese for 5 years and underwent Can’s tutelage for the 2nd half of 2011 for JLPT N1. Can was able to find out my weak areas quickly through an interview and helped to arrest the issue. Using a variety of materials imported from Japan, he went through the grammar points slowly with me and made sure that I understood clearly the subtle meanings and usage of the N1 grammar. With his help, I was able to pull my grammar score from 25 to 39 and scored an A for grammar within half a year.
Can exhibits great passion for teaching Japanese and he sometimes uses innovative methods to help his students learn, such as improving listening via dramas and songs, which makes his lessons very interesting.
I would definitely recommend Can as a Japanese teacher for serious learners of the language.
By: Ken Chen
Private student, Passed JLPT N1 (Jul 2012)
Studied for 8 months under Can
I am a current undergraduate at the National University of Singapore, and have been taking classes from Can for about 2 years. In February 2012, I attained my Japanese language Proficiency N1 certification, and have received an offer to work in Japan upon my graduation in July 2012.
Can’s teaching style and guidance in the Japanese language have been instrumental in helping me attain a business level of Japanese proficiency. Beyond the usual curriculum, Can always strives to make his classes interesting by designing innovative course materials, and emphasizes on conversational skills through well-structured exercises. He has displayed a level of professionalism that is on par with some of the top Japanese Language schools that I have attended in Singapore, such as Ikoma.
I believe what differentiates Can most from the other Japanese teachers is the personal relationship that he builds up with his students, and the extra mile that he goes to ensure that none of his students are left behind. Outside of class, he also often organizes Japanese karaoke sessions and trips to Japanese festivals held in Singapore (ex. Natsu Matsuri) to further instil interest and provide exposure to the Japanese culture for his students.
By: Daryl Soh/ NUS Graduate
Former student from Advanced I class
Studied 2 years under Can
I’m currently studying in Waseda University as an undergraduate. I’ve been taking Can-sensei`s classes for about a year and have to say by far, Can-sensei is the only teacher i’ve known who would do his best to help his students without a second thought no question ask. When the need arises, the previous phrase ‘do his best’ does not give justice to him at all, as I would’ve to say Can-sensei would go beyond what is normally expected to help his student should an emergency were to occur just to help out as a teacher and as a friend as well.
Can-sensei`s teaching style is pretty flexible and allows me to learn various things not normally taught in normal Japanese classes and to be able to mix and match to fit my needs.
Thanks to Can-sensei, I’m now able to progress smoothly during my stay in Japan and in Waseda University.
By: Terence Kong
Former student from Private class
Studied 1 year under Can
Can-sensei’s lessons are very engaging. It is not uncommon for sensei’s students to be ex-students of certain institute or language centers. I used to study Japanese in Singapore Polytechnic but gave up even before I completed the first year. The lessons in SP were informative but the way the lessons were carried out was quite dry and monotonous. It was easy for me to lose interest very quickly.
Another good point of sensei’s lessons is that, as a non-native speaker, he understands our learning handicaps and capabilities better than some of the native speakers. Some nuances are lost, in translation/teaching, during institutional lessons because the teacher, who is a native speaker of the language, fails to translate the meaning of the words or sentences to our native language. With sensei, this does not happen because the lesson is conducted in a mixture of Japanese, Mandarin (for classes with only Chinese students) and English.
His lessons are sincere and passionate. I look forward to sensei’s lessons every week and when there is no lesson, I feel bored. To me, it is a good thing that sensei’s lessons are not rigid and though he conforms to a certain regimen for teaching, I feel that he brings something unique every chapter/lesson. Of course, his lesson is not limited to only the language but also the culture of and various insights to Japan.
Last but not least, I really feel that his pronunciation and accent of standard Japanese is great. It might feel a little weird, at first, to be corrected when you read aloud but you will experience the benefits of this when you speak in Japanese to a Japanese (especially when you go to Japan).
By: Christina Ng
Can is an inspirational teacher who recognised our strengths and weaknesses and guide us to maximise our potential. He encouraged each and every of his students to use Japanese as frequently as possible in conversation and writing.
He makes the lessons more fun by not only teaching basic textbook materials but also in other areas such as Japanese music, drama, culture and travel content. He sometimes also bring us out of the classroom to go to places like Japanese karaoke lounges to broaden our knowledge. His lessons are never boring as he instils a fun element in class with his jokes and different variety in content.
As a fellow Singaporean, he can better use the languages we are comfortable in (English, Mandarin, Singlish, Hokkien etc) to explain the meaning and usage of the Japanese language. Previously when I studied in a school with native teachers, they sometimes do not even understand my question.
He managed to motivate me to continue study Japanese and I look forward to attending more of his enriching lessons.
By: Valerie Soo
Student from Intermediate class
Studied 1 year under Can
I want to start of by saying that my sis and I have been very selfish. We’ve been tardy with this testimonial as we are afraid Sensei will be too popular and he will have no time for us. Upfront, we want to say that Sensei is our 2nd weekly commitment to our Japanese language journey. We are still taking weekly regular course at a local Japanese school. One will argue that the learning of the language should be with a native speaker/teacher. We beg to differ as learning with our Sensei privately (just the 2 of us) has its myriad of advantages. Amidst Sensei’s busy schedule over the months that we have been with him since XXX (? which month), FLEXIBILITY & COMMITMENT to HIS STUDENTS are 2 characteristics of Sensei that has consistently resounded pre-, during and -post lessons.
My note->K & A, i think it’s Feb 2012 if i am not wrong. =)
My sister and I have very complicated work schedule and arrangements. Being senior in our busy career life – to an extent -commitment and interest on our part has many a times been wavering. Sensei changes that. Since lesson 1 with Sensei, along the way, intensive prep classes for JLPT N5 and now, our new strategy for N4, Sensei has been thoroughly accommodating and keeps to his promise to carry us through. And, we know he is and trust him to be that “non-native” Japanese teacher with that understanding of what a student needs. He has “been there, done that… and more…” – I think that describes the
feeling with have post-reflective of the lessons we have with Sensei. Weird times with flexible switch to Skype lessons, extended times, almost always beyond the 2 hours without “extras” or “complaints”
for silly individuals like both of us who may not be punctual or are so slow during the lessons. That marks Sensei as the teacher we respect and has made us grow to love Japanese even more.
The journey hasn’t been easy for us. I started at a school that did not have flexibility for a working person like me and there was no way I could make up for lost time. Switching from that school after a break of many months for a flexible school schedule with resourcing capabilities to accommodate missed lessons and private lessons too was the next step in my journey; then with my sis. But, there is always too much structure and less “fun” in these school classes. Sensei makes the classes fun, practical, using real “live examples” at our lesson venues. He has always been encouraging for weak students like us. You may call both of us KIASU – private lessons and school lessons. But we are used to this – both are complimentary for us (till time comes later when we will have to give up the school). We are happy with our schedule and our “strategy” and sensei supports that, he respects that. Note that I said – “…till time comes later when we will have to give up the school…” Yes, it will not be Sensei. One really needs to have that 1st lesson with him and get used to his naunces of being able to ALWAYS spot-on some questions for JLPT exams, practical language tips from his many years of teaching experience. And, just being there for us during our study times, our
difficulties in expression and grammar, our complex kanji and “broken Japanese”. Sensei is always patient, kind and that loving friend…
To put it simply, don’t think we would continue our Japanese journey with our current enthusiasm without him being a wonderful part of our learning journey.
Thank you, Sensei.
– “Beginner-Intermediate” students, private
Studied 1 year under Can
Learning anything is not easy. Be it games, school subjects or things of interest or for work. To learn both effectively and efficiently you need one, motivation, two, stimuli to keep that motivation strong. What does this talk about motivation has got to do with anything you might ask. I will tell you motivation is extremely important. Both for the learner and the teacher.
Can is an extremely motivated individual, he is driven by both himself and his students. Teaching is a thankless job especially when you meet students like myself. We will test the limits of teachers and then some. We require mutual respect for a good learning experience. Can has successfully gained my respect.
At the very first, I did have a slight interest in the Japanese language, but alas, interest alone will not be sufficient to succeed in learning something as complex as a language. Any language, much less a language like Japanese (with all it’s deep meanings and levels of politeness; a misplaced particle here, mispronounced word there, and víola: the meaning changes drastically.) is hard to learn. People who received an education in Singapore can identify with this due to the strict bilingual policy here. Back to my interest in Japanese, it was like a light flickering in the darkness called indifference fuelled by interests like anime and the occasional drama.
I only took my first Japanese class in the classrooms of Singapore Polytechnic motivated by prospects of meeting new people (read meeting girls) and only because no one else wanted to take German with me. The teacher was a native Japanese lady. I must admit that she was a good teacher, above average. Still, being the kind of testy student that I am, the teacher fails to hold my attention for long and needless to say, I didn’t succeed in the course.
The timing was bad. I have finally found my push for studying the language. Found my rival to surpass and all I am looking at was a letter saying thank you for “donating” to the language programme in the polytechnic but you have failed and can no longer continue into year 3 Japanese. By sheer luck, I met the person I needed to meet. I met Can one evening outside the clubroom of the Japanese Cultural Club of which I am a member of. He was always helping out with language studies in the club. Lost sheep that I was, I readily accepted a casual invitation to join him for book shopping at Kinokuniya Orchard. During the trip there, he offered to teach me after learning that I wanted to continue. I learnt he charged cheaply and his fees cover only the course materials, which means that he is basically doing this gratis. Also he is always donating books to the club, so he was a bit of a legend back then. Doubt, however, was present. Naturally, when learning a foreign language or any language for that matter, one would prefer to learn from a native speaker. Anyone else teaching wouldn’t be able to deliver as well as. Sort of explains the language ability of most Singaporeans but I digress. You will find yourself surprised here.
Already, you might already see that he is going the extra mile. He didn’t have to teach me or donate books on the language which aren’t cheap by the way. I decided to take up his offer. However, being me, my motivation quickly faded after a few lessons. I stopped attending. Usually what you would expect from any teacher who isn’t a teacher from school is indifference. I mean, would you really take the trouble to chase after someone for his own good at your own expense? Take note that he was not benefiting financially from teaching me at all. Quite the opposite in fact.
I shall not go in details but let’s just say his lessons became much more ADHD friendly. Also, there was the a really good carrot of a trip to the land of the rising sun to the top student in class. He has incorporated small rewards and jokes into the lessons making them quite interesting. Small tidbits of trivia and information to keep it going, your interest constantly piqued. Before I realised it, I was really into it. I found myself studying. My interest was quickly becoming stronger. I improved greatly and for once, I wasn’t the worst student in Japanese class. Which brings about another point. Can can take you 70% of the way. The rest is up to you. What I mean is that, if you study under him, you can expect the class to be tailored. He adjusts his style to suit the class and attention to weaker students in the class. The other bits are yourself and maybe a bit of luck no teacher can guarantee a pass if you don’t even invest some attention to his teachings or notes. Speaking of which, are of high quality. His notes are not merely ctrl+c, ctrl+v, print, photocopy and photocopy. Notes are concise and simple to understand. Yet like a good blended whisky, his notes provide content that makes you take the next sip, the next lesson. Made of experience and a personal library of language books and teaching aids and hints of trivia. Study Japanese under Can and you are not merely studying the language per sè. You are taking in culture. Things that schools will almost never really incorporate into their lessons. Classes are no longer just classes. Rather has a closer more intimate experience. Studying will no longer become a chore if you enjoy it. As the saying goes: “choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life.” Same thing applies here. Teacher and student.
Whether you acknowledge it or not, Can is in my opinion, no ordinary language teacher. He has lots of teaching experience, the drive and motivation that one might say is contagious. People like him are rare. Even more so in the profession of educating. He often goes beyond the call of his duty. The air ticket to Japan is a good example. Should you lose your motivation to study if you are under him, he will help you recover it
Studied 4 years under Can
Currently a student council member for a Japanese club in Australia
Native Japanese speakers was shocked that his teacher is a Singaporean.
I had an lingering interest in Japan and its culture, the language included. That prompted me to start learning the language in early 2006 with one of the language schools in Singapore. The start was good as the atmosphere for full-time classes were more conducive and thus, making it easier to pick up the things that the teacher had went through in the class. However, after i made the switch to the part-time night classes, the change was so dramatic that I couldn’t catch up most of the time and that sometimes you will feel demoralized in your learning.
With Can, things are different. I met him through an online forum in 2008 and has been under him since then. His teaching methods are always modified regularly with the consistent feedback that he receives while adapting to the ever-changing culture and systems of Japan to help us stay at the peak of understanding and knowledge to give us that extra advantage over the others. His teaching methods are unique, yet effective. Even though his lessons may be a week apart but you will never distinctly feel the lack of practice as he will constantly provide online help if needed. His connections has also enabled us to receive feedback and advice from native Japanese speakers on areas of improvement or where extra attention has to be given. All these has given rise to a effective system of holistic learning that empowers us to be able to upkeep proper conversations with native Japanese speakers that we may come across in our daily lives.
Through the 4+ years that I’ve been with Can, I’ve came to improve my knowledge and understanding by a far stretch which is not limited to merely the language and JLPT examination systems and standards. Having been through the beginner and intermediate classes with him before and now taking the pre-advanced classes, I can say that his active engagement of every student as well as the effort that he puts into preparing for every lesson and student is the key to his success in teaching Japanese so far. For people who wishes to learn and understand more about Japan, regardless in any aspect, I feel that talking to Can will be an enriching and purposeful experience, much less to learn from him.
Student in Pre-Advanced Class: JLPT Track
Scored 143/180 for his N3 exam after studying N3 grammar for half a yr only
I have always had an interest in Japanese language since young. However lessons from popular language schools can be very expensive. Hence, I tried learning the language on my own by buying some textbooks and reading them on my own. This task, however, proved difficult. Firstly, it is difficult to apply what you have learnt without another person to speak to, making it hard to remember what you have just read on the book. Secondly, there is no one to point out that you have made a mistake.
Finding my Japanese learning very hard to kickstart, I tried looking for affordable and effective teachers. I chanced upon Can in a HardwareZone forum thread on learning Japanese, and have been taking lessons from him since.
Can’s lessons starts with conversing in Japanese, which ensures that you have applied what you have learned and that any mistakes will be corrected. Besides correcting your grammar and particle usage, pronunciation and intonation is also corrected, allowing you to speak like native Japanese, which can definitely impress both Japanese language learners and native Japanese themselves.
Can’s lessons are well paced and very easy to understand. Each grammar points are explained in detail. He actively engages with every student in the class to ensure that every one of us understands what is taught. This is something almost impossible to be achieved by the language schools, which usually accommodate larger class sizes.
Besides learning from the textbook, Can also makes his lessons interesting by engaging us in song translation and Japanese drama watching activities, enriching our vocabulary and understanding of Japanese culture.
Having gone through his N5 class and currently in his N4 class, I personally feel that Can places great emphasis on building a good foundation in the language, making further learning less taxing. He has also gone the extra mile to keep his students motivated and interested not just in the language, but also the Japanese culture.
By: Cheng Ri Sheng
Student in Intermediate class
Studied 3 years under Can
Can is a very dedicated teacher who will strive to make students learn as much from him as possible. He tailors his classes according to every student’s pace and will spend more time with the student to ensure that they are catching up with the rest of the class. Hence, no one is left behind and everyone will be able to learn as required. His teaching methods are fresh and creative, wanting us to learn via different means such as song lyrics, dramas and Japanese culture sharing. Though it may be daunting for the beginners who first started learning, I believe this exposure to the Japanese culture should be introduced in conjunction with the learning of the language. As a student learning under him for a couple of months, I believe that I have improved my command of the language under him and dare say that new students will too.
By: Jonathan Lee
Student in Intermediate class
As his student studying Japanese with him for a period of time, I find Can an excellent teacher, with his unique way of teaching. His warm friendly and easily approachable personality makes him very popular among his students.
Instill Passion instead of just transferring knowledge
Can believes in instilling passion for the language instead of purely teaching the technical aspects of the language. He introduces interesting areas and cultures of Japan which he saw and experienced on his trips there. He also introduces the Japanese songs and trends to instill the passion in the language.
Teaching Materials not limited to Textbooks
His class is enjoyable because besides the grammatical aspects of Japanese, which many schools focuses on, he also introduces Song of the Day, Drama Excerpts of the Day, as well as Topic of the Day. Can polishes his students’ ability to listen and understand the language via Song and Drama Excerpts. He also brushes up their ability to speak Japanese by introducing a Topic of the Day for the students to speak freely in Japanese, using the sentence structure and vocabulary which they have learnt from the previous lessons.
Observant and Attentive to Individual Student’s Progression in Subject Matter
Can is observant during class to each student’s ability. He can correctly identify student’s difficulty in listening, speaking or other technical aspects in learning the language. He makes the extra effort to stay behind with the student after class to share pointers on how to improve the areas which they are weak in, and spends time to further explain and clarify any queries which may arise.
By: Valerie Wong
Student from Intermediate class
Studied 2 years under Can
Can has been a very focused and dedicated teacher. His devoutness to the betterment of his students are clear to all. He is extremely passionate about his work and helps his student by enhancing their studies through better translation. He uses unique ways of teaching so that we as students are able to better understand and remember.
By: Nellie Tan
Dimitri_can makes learning Japanese fun and interesting. You can learn a lot from him because besides teaching the syllabus from Minna no Nihongo, he teaches real Japanese which you will not learn in a school environment. Another important aspect is the class size. It is small so each student gets ample attention.
============================================================================Yup, I totally agree that Dimitri_can is a good Japanese teacher.. I have just started taking his classes recently as I am coming to the end of my class at Ikoma.. one big difference in the teaching style is that Dimitri_can can explain in English and Chinese.. which makes it very much easier for me to remember… his class size is also small and there’s many opportunities to speak up.. as I am quite slow in my Ikoma class, I usually do not speak up.. but at Dimitri_can’s class, he makes sure I speak up… he has interesting ways to make me remember my Japanese… though I have only started with him recently, I have already learnt things that I haven’t learnt before in my 3 years at Ikoma.. such as exam tips.. haha…
bumblebee / HWZ
Student from Pre-Advanced class
Got 141/180 for N3 exam after studying N3 grammar for half a year.
I must admit, I enjoyed your JLPT4 notes last year and they helped me pass the test. I am now studying for the JLPT3 test, and was hoping to use your notes again for revision and any gaps this year.