Language Education Section

Policy change regarding appraisals

Previously, the Language Education Section only sent copies of language course appraisals to managers upon their request. However, we are obligated to make the following change:

Effective from April 2024, all managers will automatically receive copies of their staff's language course appraisals.

This decision was made with the intention of providing managers with additional metrics regarding their team's training and development at OIST. Access to individual language development information can help managers in supporting their team members' professional growth and identify areas where further training might be beneficial.
We understand that this change may impact both employees and managers. To ensure transparency and communication, we want to emphasize the following points:
•    All language learners will receive a copy of their appraisal directly to their email address. Their manager will be CCed. This ensures learners remain informed about their progress and have the opportunity to discuss their appraisal with their manager.
•    Appraisals will only assess language learning progress and achievement within the specific courses taken. They will not contain any personal information beyond what is necessary for this purpose.

If you have any questions or concerns about this policy change, please do not hesitate to contact the Language Education Section. We are happy to answer your questions and provide further clarification.
We believe this change will ultimately benefit both individual staff members and their managers by fostering a more informed and supportive learning environment. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in implementing this new policy.

We understand that this policy change may necessitate adjustments. We encourage you to:  direct any questions or concerns to the Language Education Section through this link.
We appreciate your cooperation and understanding as we strive to enhance the professional development opportunities for all OIST staff.


Setsubun at OIST

On February 2nd, approximately 50 students joined us for a lively celebration of the Japanese festival of Setsubun! Following the vibrant traditions, we gathered to ward off bad luck and welcome spring with open arms.

The festivities kicked off with the iconic bean-throwing ceremony. Armed with roasted soybeans, students chanted "Oni wa soto! Fuku wa uchi!" ("Demons out! Luck in!") as they tossed the beans, symbolically driving away misfortune and inviting good fortune. Laughter and energy filled the air as everyone participated with enthusiasm.

Following the bean-throwing ritual, we embraced another beloved Setsubun custom: enjoying special sushi rolls called Ehomaki. In keeping with tradition, students silently devoured these auspicious rolls while facing the lucky direction for the year – northeast in 2024. It was a moment of quiet unity and shared cultural experience.

We were thrilled with the turnout and the positive energy brought by our student community. Seeing so many embrace this cultural celebration with such gusto reinforces our commitment to hosting diverse and engaging events throughout the year.

Stay tuned for more exciting cultural events in the future! We can't wait to explore new traditions and share them with you.

Picture of participiants at Setsubun event


Secret Santa 2023

The "Secret Santa Language Exchange" event held on December 22nd was a resounding success, bringing together 32 participants in a festive and culturally enriching celebration. The event aimed to foster the spirit of giving during the Christmas season while simultaneously providing a unique platform for individuals to engage in language exchange conversations.

The event took place in the langauge classrooms in Lab2. Participants were greeted with warm smiles and a sense of excitement as they prepared to embark on a journey of cultural exchange and goodwill.

 The 32 participants, each representing diverse backgrounds and proficiency levels of English and Japanese, were assigned secret benefactors who carefully selected and wrapped thoughtful gifts. The anonymity of the gift-giving process added an element of surprise and anticipation, creating a joyful atmosphere throughout the event.

The core component of the event was the language exchange sessions. Participants were encouraged to engage in conversations, providing an opportunity to practice the language they were learning. The event facilitated connections between individuals who may not have otherwise interacted, promoting cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.

The highlight of the event was undoubtedly the gift exchange. Participants exchanged carefully chosen presents that reflected thoughtfulness and consideration. The surprise on recipients' faces as they unwrapped their gifts and discovered the care put into selection added an extra layer of joy to the occasion.

The Secret Santa Language Exchange proved to be a successful and heartwarming event, achieving its goals of spreading the culture of giving during the Christmas season and providing a platform for language learners to connect. The event not only strengthened the sense of community among participants but also contributed to the promotion of cultural diversity and understanding. The positive feedback received ensures that this event will be eagerly anticipated in the coming years, becoming a cherished tradition within our community.

A picture of participants that attended the event.

Registration update

The registration policy from the previous semester will still be in effect. When you register for Japanese courses, you will be asked whether you are a continuing student from the previous semester, new to the language program or a student who dropped out previous previously and is now rejoining.

In order to offer everyone a fair chance to learn Japanese, we will give enrollment priority to students who completed the course previous semester and are taking a class for the first time. If you previously dropped out of a class or are a research intern/visiting researcher in residence for less than 6 months, your ability to join that class will depend on their being seats available after new and continuing students have been enrolled.

Please remember that registering for a class in the system is not the final step of enrollment. You are officially enrolled in the class once you receive a confirmation email from your teacher after the end of the registration period.

Learn languages online with the Language Section!

Want more practice learning English? We have many options for learning English online!


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 English Language Instructor Bios 

OIST provides a wide variety of English Language courses to meet the needs of OIST’s diverse international student body, researchers, administrative staff, and family members. All courses include reading, writing, speaking, and listening components, and are designed to encourage teamwork and active participation. Authentic materials are included, such as videos, audio recordings, and newspaper articles, to provide students with real-world examples relevant to their roles at OIST.


Justin Foster-Sutherland 098-966-1638



 Japanese Language Instructor Bios

The Japanese Language staff are conducting Japanese language courses for all OIST members - students, researchers, faculty,  administrative staff, and family members. The courses range from basic to intermediate, focusing on fundamental communication skills. All courses include instruction in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Extra-curricular activities are also held to help participants adjust to the customs and culture of their new surroundings.