Category Archives: school

Yonsei Essay Contest

Yonsei Essay Contest  Seoul  06
When I decided to pick up Korean after having learned Japanese, I decided on Yonsei University. The university’s Korean language program has a good reputation, much like Naganuma School’s Japanese course. One of many things that are different compared to Naganuma are the contests. I can remember only doing one contest (haiku writing) and even that one was just for fun.

Yonsei Essay Contest  Seoul  03

Yonsei though loves contests reminding me much of many Korean dramas that introduce a contest at some point in the story line, usually just for the sake to stretch a thin plot. Anyway, if you want to see museums or visit Suwon you have to do it yourself since only the last class (level 6) will do a graduation trip.

Instead of class trips, we get contests. One of them is the essay contest which was held in October. Read the rest of this entry


YonKo Friendship Games – Yonsei vs. Korea University

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There is the legendary rivalry between Oxford and Cambridge which is well known even outside of Britain. In Korea there is a similar rivalry between Yonsei and Korea University, both are in the top-3 of Korean universities (also called the “SKY” universities: Seoul, Korea, Yonsei). Once a year there is a big event where teams from both universities face each other. Spanning two days, sports events include ice hockey, baseball, rugby and soccer.

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Curiously, the event is not announced on the front page of Yonsei’s homepage, nor do the teachers at the Korean Language Institute tell their students about it. If you study Korean at the KLI you may feel as if your part of the university yet you are not. I think a lot of potential is wasted by keeping KLI students in their small little KLI world.

There is not much info about YonKo (or KoYon, they take turns) in English and the Yonsei homepage was useless when I tried to find out the schedule. I finally found it on the Akaraka website.

YonKo is free of charge and they didn’t even check whether you belong to the university or not. If you are an exchange student and member of the Yonsei Mentors Club you will likely receive a message before the event, since they organize bus trips to the event. If there is no space for you, no problem: Most of the events are at Jamsil Sports Complex (subway line 2, station “Sports Complex”) which is in the South-East of Seoul. Subway line 2 is the green circle line, it takes about 45 minutes from Sinchon station to Sports Complex.

I went to the rugby game, Read the rest of this entry

[Korea] KLI Festival at Yonsei University

School Festival  Akaraka  Seoul  02
The festival to be at Yonsei is of course Akaraka, but when you study at the Korean Language Institute, you will find out that Akaraka is hardly mentioned by the teachers at all. My teacher casually mentioned the festival when we could hear the noise. As far as I know it’s also harder for KLI students to get tickets. A certain number of tickets are allocated for foreign exchange students, but even they have to be quick.

The teachers here are much more enthusiastic about the Korean Language Institute Big Festival, or 한국어 학당 큰 잔치 (hangugo hakdang kun jonchi), this time held on May 26th. On that day, there are no lessons and the festival lasts from 9am to 1pm, just like regular school. In order to show some school spirit and make nice pictures for the next festival pamphlet, t-shirts are given out the day before. They are not of great quality, but this is not something you’re going to wear again anyway. You’re not forced to wear them, most did however.

My video shows some performances by students, the Akaraka cheerleaders as well as Nanta, the winners of the singing contest and dance performances by what I assume is one of Yonsei University’s dance clubs.

More about the festival and a second video after the jump! Read the rest of this entry

Next class trip:Kawagoe

Again? That’s what I thought when the majority of my class mates decided on Kawagoe. I’ve been there already two times, first on my own and then with another class (at my suggestion!). Kawagoe is also known as 小江戸 (little Edo) and is a good place to see traditional houses of wealthy merchants. One can also find lots of candy shops Japanese candy which is not neccessarily sweet.

Almost Korea

Class started again and after a seemingly endless time at the middle level, I mastered the Unit Test and got my ticket for the advanced level. What’s special about the advanced level? Well, for starters, they teach a lot more words and introduce newspaper articles. You should be able to talk about various subjects freely such as economy problems, society etc. .

The only person I know from the previous class are the teachers. The class is a quite big one: 14 students. Although Koreans are the majority at Naganuma, 9 out of 14 is quite rare. Of the remaining five, two come from Taiwan, one from the U.S. and two from Europe.

Between classes my Korean classmates talk in Korean of course. Although my Korean vocab has quadrupled since my trip to Seoul, it is not enough to understand most of the talking. It’s a pleasant sound, but it kind of sticks into your ear. Since I often stay in the class room to learn some Kanji, I get the full dosis of Hangul. Sometimes when I close my eyes or sleep I can hear my class mates talking in Korean. This is quite disturbing because I want to know what I’m dreaming about 😉

Last practice test

This is a live post from Naganuma school – today is the last practice test.

Edit: Since I know that some people found this blog by searching for information on Naganuma school. Here is a bit of info about the practice test. These tests are offered to everyone who is visiting the preparatory course for the JLPT. This course is held independently of the regular school hours – I’m currently only going to the prep course.

The main reason to take these practice test is to be prepared for the time restraints, I guess. The test not only has the same style as the JLPT, it is the JLPT: Today’s test is the JLPT from 2007. So if you practised all the time with past papers you probably will feel bored and superior at the same time.

Long long time ago…

Source of the latest gossip: the blackboard

…I went to high school here in Hamburg. It’s the Heinrich Hertz School (HHS), named after the famous physician. I graduated there and since doing my civil service at that school, I haven’t been there. It was really coincidence that the annual alumni meeting happened to be during the time where I’m in Germany.


There hasn’t been a meeting of my old class since we graduated and I didn’t see many class members today. They also had separate rooms for the graduation years. Let’s just say the room for “my” year didn’t suffer from overcrowding. Less Yamanote, more German subway.

Of course I took the opportunity to take some pictures of my old school. Yes, the paintings on the walls are legal – they were done as part of the art course.


Graduation ceremony


The last day of a semester at Naganuma is obviously no ordinary school day. We usually watch a video together and say sayonara to the teachers who will surely change in the next term. Today, only a few came to the first lesson and no one is graduating. But one girl in our class was honored at the graduation ceremony: She never came late in the whole school year. If you manage to do that, you will get 30000 yen back.

The film was about a group of amateur Sumo wrestlers. First they look ridiculous and lose all the time, later they still look ridiculous but are winning a tournament. It sometimes reminded me a bit of the Sumo game in Takeshi’s Castle.
Read the rest of this entry

Class Trip – Kirin Beer Factory

Time for another class trip, this time with the C11 and Suzuki-sensei. I was a bit confused when I arrived and only found the Korean girls from my former class (they are a class above me in school). Always nice to chat with them but where was my class?

Well, they came later but then we could finally go to the Kirin beer factory. Since Kirin is an old Japanese beer brewery, it is considered part of Japan’s history and culture so it’s ok. More recent culture such as Cosplay or maid cafes may not ok’ed by the school. Anyway, it was a guided tour where they did show how beer is being made. Through the windows we could look into the factory. The ticket also allows you to get two drinks or a snack. And they have a lot of merchandising material.


After the “official” part, we went to “Portofino” an Italian dessert and buffet place. They have an all-you-can-eat (tabehodai) on the menu. The buffet offers pizza, pasta and salad, so there a lot of choices for vegetarians. Desserts and drinks are also part of the tabehodai offer.


Last but not least of course: KARAOKE!


Two hours Japanese, Chinese and Korean songs.

Kaji da!


One letter can make a great difference: While “Kanji da!” (There’s a Kanji!) may only spell doom for your next Unit Test, “Kaji da!” (There’s a fire!) is unarguably more serious. That’s why the students of Naganuma (well, one from each class) are prepared for the case when a small fire breaks out.

My other fellow class members were going to the safety evacuation site, which is a approx. ten minute walk from the school. I already did that walk last year, so I volunteered for the fire training…

…which, ironically, didn’t feature the one thing that the whole training was about. So we used the fire extinguisher to hit a trash bin. The training was supervised by men from the Tokyo Fire Department and photographed by Naganuma employees. One of them kindly sent me the pictures he took.