Skip to content
10% OFF + Win a £200 Flight Voucher Special Offers

Japanese Course Outline

The Cactus Course Outlines provide a learning framework for the Cactus Foreign Language Evening Courses. They are designed to provide you with a good idea of what you might cover over a 10-week period, and include typical themes, grammar and vocabulary fields. They are flexible rather than prescriptive, in that our teachers may decide to adapt their learning plans to the specific level, aims and interests of their classes. Use the tabs below to view the relevant Japanese course outline for your level. If you want to cover the same course outline in a shorter period of time, we also offer One-Week Online Courses and 5-week Courses.

Beginner 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Introduce yourself with greetings in Japanese
  • Exchanging business card in Japanese
  • Asking about of services in stores
  • Shopping
  • Describing about the whereabouts of things and people
  • Transportation
  • Time and numbers – telling and asking the time, counting cardinal numbers
  • Everyday objects
  • Places – shops, important buildings
  • Daily life – routines, free time
  • Job
  • Home
  • Culture
  • Existence of People and Things
  • Ordinal numbers
Grammar
  • Basic Japanese grammar rules – particles : か (ka), は (wa), の (no), と (to), を (o),に (ni),も(mo), が (ga), や (ya) .
  • Present, Past, Future
  • Pronouns – subject, object, possessive
  • Singular vs. Plural
  • Word order – sentence, question, negative
  • Question formation
  • Modal verbs
Cultural Content
  • Three writing systems in Japanese (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji)
  • How to bow
  • Japanese currency
  • Shops in Japan
  • Transportation
  • Excursions to Japanese spas (温泉onsen)
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking-inc. situational exercises & interaction
  • Basic pronunciation rules
  • Listening activities
  • Numbers and Counters rules
  • Writing practice (Hiragana)

Beginner 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talking about self & others, inc. family – key personal information
  • Expressing gratitude
  • Invitations
  • Talking about plans
  • Making a request
  • Holidays
  • Hotels & restaurants
  • Exchanging
  • Town & country
  • Home
Grammar
  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Understand Japanese aspect and use ‘give’ and ‘receive’ verbs
  • Making Suggestion -including acceptance and refusal
  • Use general action verbs to describe habits
  • Use verbs with negative, past and past negative sentences
  • Basic Japanese grammar rules – particles を (o), と (to), に (ni), で (de), も (mo).
  • Adjectives : past negative , negative past using both -い (-i) and な (na) adjectives.
  • Numbers and Counters rules
Cultural Content
  • Japanese cuisine
  • Japanese sweets
  • Visiting a Japanese home
  • Festival
Skills Work
  • Lots of speaking – incl. situational exercises and interaction
  • Pronunciation – key sounds
  • Listening activities
  • Write and Read sentences in Japanese without using Roman Alphabet
  • Writing practice (Hiragana and Katakana)

Beginner 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talking about self & others, incl. family – key personal information
  • Japanese festivals
  • Travel
  • Holidays
  • Health/illness
  • Meetings
  • Leisure Time
  • Money & shopping
  • Studying language
  • Socializing
Grammar
  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Attributive sentences
  • Offers and suggestions -ましょうか。
  • Connect a few actions in one sentence (-て …. -て)
  • Continuous: past, present & future -ています
  • Permission – Asking permission to do something -ても いいですか ?
  • The -ない form (negative verbs)
  • Polite forms – please do not -ないでください
  • Present Progressive and Habitual Actions
  • Preference and Desire -が 好きです (すきです)
  • Express desires :verb –tai desu 行きたいです(いきたい)
Cultural Content
  • Business outside Tokyo
  • Museum in Japan
  • Working office in Japan
  • Socializing
  • Sports in Japan
Skills Work
  • Extensive speaking/active practice
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation – keyWrite and Read sentences in Japanese without using Roman
  • Alphabet

Elementary 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Transport
  • Meeting Friends
  • Complimenting someone
  • Parties & Socialising
  • Leisure time
  • Travelling
  • Buying Souvenirs
  • Shopping
  • Lost items
Grammar
  • Knowledge of three writing systems in Japanese (Hiragana, Katakana, Kanji) is required to take this level
  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Duration expressions
  • Compound sentences
  • Relative clauses (not only…but…)
  • Descriptive adverbials (-く+v, -に+v.)
  • Conjunctions
  • Modal Perfect
  • Wish
  • Common collocation
  • Language to express opinions, eg. dis/agreement, un/certainty
  • Comparatives [-のほうが- より, -が一番 (いちばん)]
  • Adjective forms (-くて, – / -で,-)
  • Express ability -ことができる
Cultural Content
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Building rapport with colleagues
  • Going to pub (いざかや) and カラオケ(Karaoke)
  • Talking about big cities in Japan
  • Japanese traditional things
Skills Work
  • Frequency of time expressions
  • More extensive word-building
  • More extensive word families (noun-verb-adjective-adverb)
  • Phrasal verbs
  • Invitation
  • Wider range of functions – inc. social language, giving advice, making enquiries
  • Extensive speaking/active practice
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Read short Japanese texts (800 word vocabulary)
  • Write basic Kanji (60 characters)

Elementary 2

Grammar
  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Duration expressions
  • Compound sentences
  • Usage of plain forms of verbs (する, しない, した, しなかつた)
  • Express personal experiences using “have done ” -しことがある
  • Express actions -たり-たり
  • Understand the aspect of using dictionary form and た-form – (before doing something and doing something…dictionary form + まえ, た-form +あと)
  • Suggestions/Recommendations –ほうがいいです
  • Usage of plain form of adjectives and of nouns (おいしい、おいしくない、あめだ、あめではない、べんりだ、べんりではない)
  • Modifying noun
  • Common idioms
  • Common linking words.
Cultural content
  • How to greet when you meet someone again after being apart
  • Original Japanese notation rules for writin
  • Common signs at a department store
  • Popular places in Japan
  • Traditional Japanese-style hotel (ryokan)
  • Mt. Fuji
Skills Work
  • Extensive speaking/active practice
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Read and write essays in Japanese
  • Read and write some basic kanji (120 characters)

Elementary 3

Grammar
  • Revisiting previous level’s grammar
  • Present/Past
  • Duration expressions
  • Compound sentences
  • Relative clauses (not only…but…)
  • Descriptive adverbials (-く+v, -に+v)
  • Conjunctions
  • Modal perfect
  • Describing a change in state-てきました
  • Making hypothetical statements/stating the result of an action of event -たら
  • Indicating that an action or event has been completed –てしまいます
  • Conditional form -ば
  • Speaking of natural or habitual results
  • Expressing necessity -なければ なりません
Cultural Content
  • Drinking manner
  • Strict manner of taking out the garbage
  • Mixing of speech styles -です/ ます plain styles
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays about (250 characters) in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Read and write some basic Kanji (160 characters)
  • Read Japanese texts (1500 word vocabulary)

Intermediate 1

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Asking about something you do not understand
  • Pointing out something you noticed
  • Presenting knowledge you have acquired
  • Explaining preparation and procedures
  • Making suppositions
  • Stating your impression based on how things appear
  • Talking about change in everyday life
  • Soliciting and stating opinions
  • Explaining procedures
  • Talking about how facilities are used
Grammar
  • Expressing suppositions and wondering aloud (-でしょう, だろう, でしょうか, だろうか)
  • Expressing impressions (-よう, みたい)
  • Describing actions done or to be done in preparation -てお
  • Expressing certainty -はず
  • Expressing causes of or reasons for situations -ため
  • Describing Change: Changed coming into effect/continuous changes -ようになる
  • Nominalising sentences -こと.
  • Indicating means or attendant circumstances (-て/-で, -ないで/-ずに)
  • Describing deliberate effects -てある
  • Expressing completion/incompletion of past, present, or future actions (-ている, -て いた)
  • Stating decisions (ことに なる, ことにする)
  • Describing the actions of giving and receiving services (-てもらう, -てくれる, -てあげる)
  • Expressing intention (-う/ようとする)
  • Using causative and causative-passive structures (-せる/させる)
Cultural Content
  • Pet ownership in Japan
  • Humans and Nature
  • Crime and Education
  • Life in Japan
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Read and write some basic Kanji (200characters)

Intermediate 2

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Telling news
  • Explaining about Careers
  • Asking for Reason or for an Explanation of How a Situation Came to Be
  • Talking about Weather and Its Effects
  • Talking about Global Warming
  • Talking about Enviromental Problems
  • Asking Someone to Do Something for You
  • Expressing Gratitude for a Service
  • Making Excuses
  • E-mail
Grammar
  • Expressing completion/incompletion of past, present, or future actions (-ている, -て いた)
  • Stating decisions (ことに なる, ことにする)
  • Describing the actions of giving and receiving services (-てもらう, -てくれる, -てあげる)
  • Expressing intention (-う/ようとする)
  • Using causative and causative-passive structures (-せる/させる)
Cultural Content
  • Humans and Nature
  • Reason behind customs
  • Histories
  • Environmental issues
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Read and write some basic Kanji (240 characters)
  • Read Japanese texts
  • Formal speech and writing of basic patterns

Intermediate 3

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talking about Education
  • Asking for Permission to Do Something
  • Talking about What You Wish Your Spouse / Partner Would Do
  • Greeting People; Introducing People
  • Expressing Gratitude
  • Apologizing
  • Leaving Messages
  • Giving and Quoting Commands
  • Talking about Events
  • Engaging in Conversation with Friends
Grammar
  • Using causative and causative-passive structures (-せる/させる)
  • Honorifics: Basic Patterns and Honorific Verbs
  • Leaving and Relaying Messages (- ように言う)
  • Using Plain Imperatives: Do and Don’t (-行け)
  • Explaining Reasons
  • Understanding Written Styles
  • Understanding Spoken Styles
Cultural Content
  • Crime and Education
  • Family and School life in Japan
  • Reason behind customs
  • Business
  • Customs and special occasions
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Read and write some basic Kanji (280 characters)
  • Read Japanese texts
  • Formal speech and writing of basic patterns

Upper Intermediate

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Complaining
  • Making and Responding to Apologies
  • Asking for and Responding to Explanations
  • Formal Invitations
  • Casual Invitations
  • RSVP Postcards
  • E-mail
  • Expressing Modesty
  • Expressing Gratitude and Apologizing
Grammar
  • Activity + 中
  • 何 + counter + も
  • A formal and Casual Invitations
  • The –masu stem of a verb + しだい
  • -tai form of a verb + ばかりだ
  • A question asking どういうわけで, for what reason
  • Plain form of a verb + ところだ
  • Plans for a Party
  • Comprehensive Review
Cultural Content
  • Customs and Special occasions
  • Anniversary
  • Wedding
  • Reasons behind Customs
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Pronunciation
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Read and write some basic Kanji (310 characters)
  • Read Japanese texts
  • Formal speech and writing of basic patterns

Advanced

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talks and discussions on economic and cultural issues.
  • Reading news papers and magazines
  • Watching films and having a discussion
Grammar
  • Advanced grammar
Cultural Content
  • Business
  • Cultures and Customs
  • Difference between Japan and other countries
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Formal speech and writing of basic patterns

Proficiency

Topics & Vocabulary
  • Talks and discussions on economic and cultural issues.
  • Reading news papers and magazines
  • Watching films and having a discussion
Grammar
  • Advanced grammar

 

Cultural Content
  • Business
  • Cultures and Customs
  • Difference between Japan and other countries
  • Economics status
Skills Work
  • Extensive listening
  • Translation from Japanese into English and vice versa
  • Writing essays in Japanese
  • Discussion to express your opinions
  • Formal speech and writing of basic patterns

Book now

Understanding Language Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’ below. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

CEFR Levels

If you are taking a language course with Cactus you can find out more about our language levels and how you can track your progress using the ‘can do statements’. These statements outline the key things that you should be able to say and understand once you have completed each level. Can do statements are officially recognised as a set of performance-related scales describing what a learner is able to do in a foreign language, in accordance with the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) and the CEFR defined levels.

Beginner (A1)

  • You can understand and use familiar everyday expressions and basic phrases aimed at the satisfaction of needs of a concrete type
  • You can introduce yourself and others
  • You can ask and answer questions about personal details such as where you live, what you do, people you know and things you have
  • You can ask and give directions
  • You can order food and drink
  • You can make very basic travel and accommodation arrangements
  • You can have a basic conversation, provided the other person talks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help.

Elementary (A2)

  • You can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas including basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography and employment
  • You can communicate in simple and routine tasks, requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters
  • You can describe, in simple terms, aspects of your background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need
  • You can comfortably ‘get by’ when visiting the country, albeit with some difficulty.

Intermediate (B1)

  • You can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
  • You can deal with most situations likely to arise whilst travelling in an area where the language is spoken
  • You can produce simple connected text on topics which are familiar or of personal interest
  • You can describe experiences and events
  • You can talk about dreams, hopes and ambitions
  • You can briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans
  • You could consider working in the country using the language (e.g. bar/counter work, waiting service in cafes or basic office work).

Upper Intermediate (B2)

  • You can understand the main ideas of complex text on both concrete and abstract topics, including technical discussions in your field of specialisation.
  • You can interact with a degree of fluency and spontaneity that makes regular interaction with native speakers quite possible, without strain for either party.
  • You can produce clear, detailed text on a wide range of subjects and explain a viewpoint on a topical issue, giving the advantages and disadvantages of various options.
  • You can do business with speakers of the language in most run-of-the-mill situations.

Advanced (C1)

  • You can understand a wide range of demanding, longer texts, and recognise implicit meaning
  • You can express yourself fluently and spontaneously without much obvious searching for expressions
  • You can use the language flexibly and effectively for social, academic and professional purposes
  • You can produce clear, well-structured, detailed text on complex subjects, showing controlled use of organisational patterns, logical flow of text, and clear awareness of the audience.

Proficient (C2)

  • You can understand with ease virtually everything heard or read
  • You can summarise information from different spoken and written sources
  • You can reconstruct arguments and accounts in a coherent presentation
  • You can express yourself spontaneously, very fluently and precisely
  • You can differentiate finer shades of meaning, even in the most complex situations.

How to book with Cactus

Select language

Simply select which language you would like to learn and from the box below and click lets go.

Take level test

This is a quick test to help you find the right course for your current level of knowledge.

Book your course

Use our simple online booking system to select your course.