Features and Interviews

Japanese Language School Review (London): ITO Japanese Language School

ITO Japanese school is conveniently located a very short stroll from Tottenham Court Road tube station.  The school is run by the very friendly and helpful Hyori-sensei.

All the teachers use the same method of teaching, which involves not one word of English being spoken (don’t worry though Hyori-sensei speaks great English to answer all your queries).  It’s quite daunting at first, but trust me, it really works!  My level went up a notch in just 3 months and I was reading and using Kanji properly for the first time.

I’ve been to quite a few Japanese schools and it is certainly the best I’ve been to and has the bonus of holding classes for all levels.

They also hold reguarly caligrpahy classes on at Saturday, all levels welcome and it only costs a credit cruching £3.

They have also recently organised some cultural events, including Tea Ceremony.  So much more than just a school.

Rating: 9.5/10. (nobodys perfect!)

Where: Tottenham Court Road Tube – Map 25-27 Oxford Street, London, W1D 2DW.

Enquiries: info@itojapanese.com (please mention Japanboom!).

Website: ITO Japanese Language School London.


Website review: Krash Magazine Japan

Krash Magazine JapanKrash Japan is a quirky little online version of a magazine, based around life in Kurashiki in Japan.  The editor hails from the tiny but fascinating town and has a background in magazine editing.  He returned to the region, from editing fashion magazines in Japan, to be near his family.  Written in both English and Japanese, the concept might appear mundane – everyday people and lives from a small town – but this magazine really brings it all fascinatingly to life with it’s beautiful photography and insightful editing.

Venue review: Cafe Oto, London

Cafe Oto exterior

Cafe Oto exterior

Cafe Oto was opened in 2008 with the aim of providing a home for creative new music that exists outside of the mainstream, both by Japanese and non-Japanese artists.

It’s a very laid back open and airy venue, with lots of couches and tables and real community vibe.   Being tucked neatly off the main road of Dalston means you can sit outside without the pleasure of inhaling exhaust fumes.

With yummy Japanese snacks, drinks, lovely staff

Cafe Oto Interior

and free Wi-Fi, it is a great place to chill out at during the day.  Alternatively go and see one of the live performances which are on almost seven nights a week.

Cafe Oto Interior

Rating: 9 /10 – could do with a little more choice of food, but otherwise we love this super cute venue, which reminds us of the hidden away cafes in Osaka.

Address: Cafe Oto, Dalston, London E8 3DL.


Book review: Kana can be easy by Kunihiko Ogawa

Learning Japanese kana quickly

Learning Japanese kana quickly

Starting to learn Japanese and can’t get your head around the first two alphabets; katakana and hiragana?  Well this book makes it, as the title cleverly suggests, easy!

The technique centres around making clear associations in your head between the unfamiliar kana symbols and something more familiar.

So for example, as the picture shows, the symbol for ‘hi’ looks cunningly like a big smile.  So it is easily associated with a big smile and someone laughing ‘hi, hi, hi’.  Shizam! It’s stuck in your head.

It also gives you space to do important writing practice to make the kana really stay with you.

A fantastic resource which can save you heaps of time.  It really worked for me and lots of other people I know and easily the best book for kana, that I’ve found.

It’s cheap too, around £6 if you buy one used from Amazon.


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