JLPT Bootcamp – Edinburgh 2017

16th January 2018

JLPT Bootcamp – Edinburgh 2017

Friday, 17 Nov – Sunday, 19 Nov

JETAA Scotland has been busy again, organizing its second JLPT Bootcamp retreat in Edinburgh. 

The Bootcamp fun began in July this year when JET Alumni Jess Brown and Emma Boardman teamed up to start organizing the second JLPT Bootcamp retreat after the success of the first, held in November 2016. Advertising for the Bootcamp began in September. By the end of October all the available Bootcamp spaces had been claimed and N5, N4 and N3-focused classes, as well as an impressive Japanese menu, were all in the planning stages. For this year’s bootcamp, additional assistants were brought on board to run an extra Japanese conversation class and were available to support attendees as they worked to maintain the immersive environment of the event.

On Friday 17 November at 6:15pm, teachers and participants congregated at Haymarket station in the west end of Edinburgh and immediately began their immersive experience. Self-introductions were given before suitcases and bags were gathered and the group headed to minibuses to take them to the venue. A brief orientation was provided in transit with goody bags distributed en-route to the Bootcamp. Participants were provided with their room name (in Japanese), stickers on which to write their names (in katakana), and their first big challenge… a map of the venue layout and instructions, in Japanese! (Participants needed to translate and find the location of their rooms.)

Upon arrival, the guests were met by the wonderful smell of Japanese curry. There was no time to pause though as participants then set to work on their bedroom quests. Once rooms had been found and bags deposited, dinner was served and everyone began to get to know each other using their shared knowledge of the Japanese language. Friday evening was a relaxed affair with real fires burning and a selection of games available. The evening continued past midnight with Japanese resonating throughout the building.

Saturday’s lessons began at 9:15am sharp. The venue was split into three areas for the three JLPT level classes. Learners had two 90 minute lessons in quick succession before breaking for a delicious temaki lunch. It was really impressive to hear everyone continuing to use Japanese throughout the day, even after two grueling test-focused lessons. 

The afternoon was spent on mock tests and the building fell silent until the listening portions kicked in. The relief after the mock test was extremely easy to see. Of course, following the mock tests there was a great deal of discussion as bootcampers shared their experiences over an oyakodon dinner and Japanese conversation and games carried on into the night.

Sunday began with a conversation club-style lesson with all participants speaking together. Games and team challenges further solidified the friendships already made and gave attendees the chance to experience some ‘fun and freestyle’ Japanese, away from the constraints of JLPT preparation. There was a final 90 minute class to discuss the mock test results before members set off for a country walk ending in a well-earned pub lunch. There are provisional plans to hold another JLPT bootcamp this year.

JETAA Scotland member Jess Brown began organizing Japanese Conversation Club ‘Nihongo Scotland’ in 2014 with the aim of increasing Japanese conversation opportunities in Edinburgh. The group has since grown, holding a weekly conversation and study club in Edinburgh and Japanese language day trips in Edinburgh and the Lothians. It has also developed a free weekly online conversation club for participants from around the world. To get involved please visit Nihongo Scotland’s website:

A selection of testimonials

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