Project Description

Japanese Language Courses

Learn to speak Japanese to prepare for travel or to reconnect with family and friends. We offer classes, interactive workshops and private tutoring to help students of all levels learn to speak about their hobbies, travel plans, pop culture and work. By learning from a native speaker you will also develop cultural awareness of Japanese values and common communication practices.

Introductory Japanese for Youth

The goal of this Japanese course is to introduce the fundamentals of the sound systems, writing systems, basic grammar and vocabulary, and basic phrases for everyday situations. In Introductory Japanese you will learn proper greetings, words for meals, how to ask about family and friends, and be able to navigate public transport. This class small and engaging class offers ample opportunity to learn not only the Japanese language, but also about Japanese culture and lifestyle. Our fall class is specifically designed for youth (ages 11-17) to foster a fun and interactive learning environment.

Sessions – Fall 2020

In Fall 2020 we will divide Introductory Japanese into two 4-week courses during the months of July and August. You can take these courses in sequence, or only one course to fit your language learning needs. We will meet at our outdoor classroom from 2-3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from September 22-November 12. We will also set up Zoom in case a student would prefer to learn with the class from the comfort of their home.

If you have any questions please email us at and we will be happy to help. You can enroll in this course by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

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Japanese II

In Japanese II students will strengthen their conversational skills to become comfortable while traveling to Japan. We will learn how to plan activities with friends, coordinate travel arrangements such as tickets and accommodations, and common vocabulary used around food. In addition, students will learn how to write and read Japanese in the present tense. This class presents a perfect opportunity to engage with others in a small group environment!

Sessions – Fall 2020

In Fall 2020 we will divide Japanese II into two 4-week courses from mid-September to mid-November. You can take these courses in sequence, or only one course to fit your language learning needs. We will meet at our outdoor classroom from 2:15-3:15pm on Mondays and Wednesdays from September 21-November 11th. We may need to move the class to our indoor location or to Zoom when the weather is bad.

If you have any questions please email us at and we will be happy to assist you. You can enroll in this course by scrolling to the bottom of the page.

Japanese through J-Pop

Come and join us for a fun, interactive Japanese course through Zoom! In this 5-week course, we will listen to Japanese pop music (J-pop) together and then translate and discuss it. You will be introduced to Japanese pop culture, and learn conversational phrases. This class is for intermediate Japanese speakers, but motivated beginners are also welcome to enroll.

Sessions – Fall-Winter 2020

J-Pop music class will meet again in November-December on Zoom. Check back to this page for our updated schedule! You can also email if you have any questions.

The Language of Japanese Food Workshop

This is a perfect opportunity to learn how to make sushi rolls and taste your creation! Learn how to prepare sushi rice, pick and prepare ingredients, and roll your own sushi while using the Japanese language. Sushi would be a great addition to your culinary repertoire! 

Check this page for future offerings of this class. You can also sign up to be on our mailing list at the bottom of this page and email if you have questions.

Origami in Japanese

Learn Japanese art of paper folding while practicing the Japanese language. Traditionally, all origami pieces must be folded from one sheet of square paper into the shapes of animals, birds, and objects. Origami also teaches patience and concentration and is fun for all ages. Check this page for future offerings of this class.

Individual Tutoring

Don’t let the current climate limit your language learning progress! Given concerns around COVID-19, our teachers are happy to meet with you digitally for one-on-one instruction. Over your phone or computer, you can speak face-to-face while sharing files, video clips, short stories, written exercises and more. Meeting with a teacher is a great way to improve your language skills through interactive conversations and exercises.

Our language tutoring rate of $43 dollars per hour is the best you’ll find in town, and when you purchase your time in advance you can reduce that rate down to just $37 per hour. With individual tutoring, you can work with your teacher to find a time that works for both of you. We also offer semi-private tutoring for 2-4 youth and/or adults at an affordable price, so you can have fun learning with your friends.  You can see more information about this by scrolling down to the bottom of the page.

If you are new to Bend Language Institute, send us an email at or give us a call at 541-728-3022 and we will be happy to put you in touch with a local teacher. You will have the opportunity to speak with a teacher about your language learning needs and get set up to learn a language from the comfort of your own home.

Naoko Gamble
Naoko Gamble Instructor —Japanese
I grew up in Nara, Japan and obtained a Bachelor’s in English from Osaka Shoin Women’s College. Before coming to Bend, I lived in Southern California for 21 years. I previously worked at a university as a liaison staff for a Japanese government agency and as a professor of the Computer Science Department. I was also an office manager at a small advertising company and worked at the County Education Office as an administrative assistant. I am thrilled to be joining Bend Language Institute as a Japanese teacher to introduce my native language.
Kyle Smith
Kyle SmithInstructor — Japanese
I was born and raised in Bend but now live in Tokyo, Japan. I moved to Tokyo after graduating from Summit High in 2015 to study at the University of Tokyo, from which I graduated with a BA in Humanities and Social Sciences. Beginning as a high school freshman, I have now been studying Japanese for 8 years as a second language. My Japanese studies have become invaluable to me living in Tokyo for the past 5 year and beyond as I begin to start my career here. I have experience as an English conversation tutor and with Japanese to English translation in Japan, but most importantly I understand the struggles of learning Japanese as a native English speaker. I’m looking forward to applying these experiences to offer fun and informative online courses in a way best suited to Japanese learners in Bend!

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