Everett Community College instructor Masashi Kato in the Tea House room at the Nippon Business Institute in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

Everett Community College instructor Masashi Kato in the Tea House room at the Nippon Business Institute in Everett. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)

New EvCC class teaches conversational Japanese for business

Everett Community College offers a three-quarter course in language and business skills.

EVERETT — In 2016, a student in Masashi Kato’s class in conversational Japanese had the chance to practice her language skills in a high-stakes setting: a preschool in Japan.

They peppered her with questions.

“As soon as she set foot inside the door, she was on the spot,” Kato said.

“Five-year-old kids have no mercy — they wanted to talk nonstop,” he said.

In January, Kato and Everett Community College will offer a three-quarter course in conversational Japanese that focuses on doing business in Japan.

The program concludes in July with in an optional internship, Kato said.

Students will learn language skills needed to communicate with business contacts, study cultural practices and master business etiquette, said Kato, who taught similar classes to engineering students at the University of Washington in Seattle.

Kato, a native speaker, joined the faculty at EvCC in 2014. He came to the United States in 1991 to study at the University of Washington.

“The classes are at the beginning level of Japanese and designed specifically for communication in workplaces,” he said.

After completing the courses, students should be able to “order at a restaurant, invite someone to an event and be able to discuss feelings and preferences,” Kato said.

Ten students will be selected to visit Japan, Kato said.

There they will have the opportunity to participate in a 10-day internship at a Japanese business through a partnership with Aichi Toho University in Nagoya.

The last time the program was offered, in 2016, students completed internships at a hotel, florist, cafe and pre-school, he said.

The trip includes a home stay with a Japanese family — “another opportunity for students to practice Japanese,” Kato said.

“The best time to make mistakes is during the 10-day internship,” Kato said. “You find out quickly what works and what doesn’t work,” he said.

Writing is not emphasized in the course, but students are encouraged to read Japanese publications.

The two-hour evening course, which is open to everyone, begins Jan. 6. Classes are Mondays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Enrollment is capped at 35 students.

Funding for the class is provided through the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and the Jackson School of International Studies, with support from a U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program grant.

For more information, visit EverettCC.edu/Business190.

To enroll in the class, apply to Everett Community College at EverettCC.edu/Apply.

Janice Podsada; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3097; Twitter: JanicePods

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