こんにちは!(Konnichiwa!) ゆうこせんせいです。(Yuko-sensei desu.)


Hello, I am Yuko-sensei, the owner of this online school, Smile Nihongo Academy. Thank you for joining us. Great to have you here!

I am a native Japanese, born and raised in the southern part of Kyushu, Kagoshima prefecture, Japan and have lived in the United States for over 20 years.

A little about me. I live with my husband and two cats in the beautiful pacific northwest. My husband is American and is in the process of learning Japanese. (Just like you!) He speaks only a little Japanese at the moment, but our cats are bilingual. lol He talks to them in English and I talk to them in Japanese, so they now understand both English and Japanese!

Teaching Japanese is my passion. I have been teaching Japanese for 18 years now.

Back in Japan, many years ago, I majored in English at my university. Then I moved to the U.S. and completed my Master's Degree (M.A.) in Japanese Pedagogy (teaching Japanese as a foreign language).

I always focus on making the learning experience fun. You know how nervous you can get when you speak in a foreign language, right? Believe me, I've been there. I was once an English learner. It was so intimidating and almost scary to have to speak English with my limited ability. I had to overcome my fear to master this language and after all these years, I am still learning! (Maybe I'll share my journey of learning English in a separate blog)

So please believe me when I say I know exactly how you feel when you try to speak Japanese!

To learn and absorb new information, however, our minds must be relaxed and open. That's why my priorities have been to make students comfortable, feel safe and have fun learning in my classroom.

In this online school, on the other hand, I won't have to worry about intimidating you. You won't have to speak Japanese with me face-to-face, and above all, you can learn each lesson at your own comfortable pace. :)

Yes, I wish to make my online courses as much fun and enjoyable for you.


I've started this school, Smile Nihongo Academy, to reach out to a broader audience, who are willing to learn Japanese, but perhaps wouldn't have an opportunity to learn from a native teacher in their local areas.


The Internet has made this style of teaching possible for me, and I am so grateful to have connected with you! I am open to any suggestions to better my courses so please feel free to share your thoughts by writing to me at SENSEI@SmileNihongo.com.

Let's also connect at:

I look forward to assisting you with learning Japanese!

よろしくおねがいします。Yoroshiku onegai shimasu.

ゆうこせんせい Yuko-sensei