TLS is located on the 15th floor of the exclusive Toranomon Hills Business Tower in central Tokyo. The school’s founder and CEO Ryoko Marumo says that studying with textbooks and phone apps often doesn’t develop real-world skills. Japanese learners of English might pick up reading and vocabulary knowledge using these methods but may struggle to communicate with foreigners. And foreigners who develop basic Japanese-language ability using a similar approach could feel lost when giving a presentation to a Japanese company.
TLS’s diverse and qualified team of experts has designed original materials to meet these needs. A student at TLS will get customized lessons on how to effectively network, present their company’s product or service, and communicate online in the language they are learning. Students include those from embassies, universities, corporations, and international schools.
The second challenge is that both groups of learners often lack practical opportunities to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom. And these learners see cultural barriers as hurdles to joining a new community. A foreigner in Japan might lack the confidence in their language skills to mingle with a group of Japanese speakers, and vice versa for Japanese learners looking to practice with English speakers.
TLS goes beyond the textbook and classroom. Through its broad range of connections, TLS offers its students a variety of events to practice language in the most meaningful way—making new friends while expanding business opportunities. These have included a workshop on overcoming shyness in English and Japanese in collaboration with Waseda University Professor of Education W.L. Quint Oga-Baldwin; “Dog Therapy” with the organization Buddies Rescue Dogs, which brought English- and Japanese-speaking dog lovers together; and a weekly “Walk and Learn” event that lets participants discover new parts of Tokyo.
As Marumo explained, “This is what we mean when we say that TLS offers ‘more than just language.’ Our students not only learn valuable language skills but become part of a community where they can use those skills to enhance the quality of their lives.”