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Upper Advanced Course (B2-2)


The Upper Advanced Course aims to comprehensively develop students’ speaking, reading, listening and writing skills that they have developed so far in their Japanese study, and enable them to use more sophisticated and natural Japanese. You will discuss current affairs featuring in newspapers and TV news, as well as gain appreciation of the language through materials such as film and literature. Furthermore, you will develop the skills to comprehend technical and academic passages written in Japanese, and refine their ability to use Japanese with colleagues in the workplace, both in verbal and written interactions such as email.

The Upper Advanced Course corresponds to N1 level.

On completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Read a short story and understand the events and the motives for the characters’ actions.
  • Express their ideas and opinions with precision, present and respond to complex lines of argument.
  • Write clear, detailed texts on a variety of subjects related to their field of interest while synthesising and evaluating information and arguments from a number of sources.
  • Use the language fluently, accurately and effectively on a wide range of topics, marking clearly the relationships between ideas.
  • Understand most TV news and current affairs programmes.

Term 1, 2020 Topics:

  • Japanese outlook on life and death
    *Changing outlooks on life and death – various beliefs and their changes in history
    *Analysing “Japan Folklore” – examining the appearance of ghosts and yokai
    *Proverbs and idiomatic phrases originating from superstitions
    *Reading a modern novel
        Lexington Ghosts by Haruki Murakami (from short stories Lexington Ghosts)
  • Viewing and analysing a Japanese film (title TBA)
  • Reading about “Now” in Japan
    *Reading news articles
    *Analysis and discussion on current affairs in Japan
  • Brush-Up on grammar and Kanji

The following topics were covered in 2019:

  • “Japan” seen in media
    *Cultural difference in advertisements
    * Mass media and public sentiment
    * Viewing the film Nobody to Watch Over Me
    * Journalists and the discourse of “at your own risk”
  • Japanese people and identity in the modern age
    *Contemporary Japan seen in the novel Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
  • Looking back on the Heisei period
  • Moving from the Heisei period into the Reiwa period
    *Overview of the Japanese Emperor System

    * Reading a modern novel, The Little House by Kyoko Nakajima
    * Viewing and analysing the film adaption of The Little House
  • Japanese people and Family
    * Exploring the transition of Japanese Family
    * Reading a modern novel
      Losing Lottery Tickets by Kiyoshi Shigematsu (from short stories Vitamin F)
    * Viewing and analysing the film Shoplifters by Hirokazu Kore-eda
  • Japanese Society and Gender
    * Reading a modern novel
     Scabs and Eyelids by Kiyoshi Shigematsu  (from short stories Vitamin F)
    Viewing and analysing the film Everyone’s home
  • Analysis and discussion on current affairs in Japan
    Reading about “Now” in Japan
    *Reading news articles
    * Analysis and discussion on current affairs in Japan
  • Reading aloud
    * Application of natural intonation


【2020年Term 1のトピック】

  • 日本人の死生観
    *移り変わる死生観 ― 様々な信仰と時代の変化
    *「日本昔話」を分析する -「幽霊」「妖怪」の登場のしかた
    * 現代小説を読む

  • 映画鑑賞・批評 - 未定

  • 日本の「今」を読み解く

  • 文法と漢字 ブラッシュアップ


  • メディアから見る「日本」
    * マスコミと世論 - 映画鑑賞「誰も守ってくれない」
    * ジャーナリストと「自己責任論」
  • 現代日本人とアイデンティティ
    *小説 村田紗耶香「コンビニ人間」にみる現代日本
  • 「平成」を振り返る  ―     「平成」から「令和」へ
  • *天皇制の概観
    * 現代小説 中島京子「小さいおうち」を読む
    * 映画鑑賞「小さいおうち」
  • 日本人と家族
    * 日本の家族の変遷を考察する
    * 現代小説を読む
    *映画鑑賞・批評 - 是枝裕和監督 「万引き家族」
  • 日本社会とジェンダー
    * 現代小説を読む

    * 映画鑑賞「みんなのいえ」
  • 日本の「今」を読み解く
  • 音読

Course Details

Course fee

$350/term + $20 administration fee*

* New and returning students requiring a placement test will be charged a $20 non-refundable administration fee in addition to the $350 course fee when enrolling. 

Course fees include the cost of materials distributed in class.

Evening  class

Mondays | February 3 – April 6, 2020
Taught by Shoko Ono
Venue: The Library at The Japan Foundation, Sydney

Class Size

Min: 7 / Max: 10 participants

* In the case where enrolments do not reach the minimum number of 7 people, the class may be cancelled.


To apply for the Upper Advanced course, please email the J-Course team directly at jcourse(a), and include details of your Japanese language level. Please note that you will be required to take a level check test, which will be organised as soon as possible.

Recommended Materials

In Term 1, students will be reading the short story Lexington Ghosts from the novel Lexington Ghosts by Haruki Murakami (ISBN: 978-4-16-750203-4). Details of this novel are available on our Library website (click here).

Please note that there is no set textbook for this course. Learning materials will be provided in class.

Related Links



Photo: Brett Boardman

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