FSI Japanese Fast Course
What are FSI FAST Courses?
The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is a branch of the US government that has been proving language training for diplomatic staff for around three-quarters of a century. The core of FSI’s teaching is the Basic course, intensive programs of around six months that were intended to leave students with a high level of competence in their target language in a relatively short amount of time.
However, not everyone can dedicate six months to full-time study, so FAST courses were developed as an alternative for those with more limited time.
FAST stands for Familiarization And Short-Term Training, and these much shorter courses were designed to give students a basic grasp of the language at the same time as proving them with an introduction to the culture and customs of the destination country.
This way, they would have received at least some degree of preparation before beginning their postings abroad.
What is FSI Japanese FAST?
FSI Japanese FAST was published in 1988 and consists of eight chapters, each dealing with common situations you might expect to face while traveling, living or working in Japan. In each chapter, you learn the necessary basic phrases for dealing with each situation confidently, without dwelling too much on linguistic or grammatical detail.
The emphasis is on communication rather than total mastery of the language, and the goal of this six-week course was to leave students feeling confident and ready to try their new language skills when they arrived in the country.
How can you use FSI Japanese FAST?
This FSI Japanese FAST course would have been an excellent resource to work through before a trip to Japan since it teaches you a useful stock of basic phrases and expressions, giving you the linguistic tools you need to make the most of your time in the country.
Unfortunately, the audio recordings that go with the course are currently unavailable, making it much less useful than it would otherwise have been.
However, if you are studying Japanese with another coursebook – or even taking lessons with a teacher – working through the text of this course could still be a good way to consolidate your knowledge of the language while learning a bit more about Japanese culture.
If the recordings become available in the future, I will upload them to the site to go with the text to help anyone hoping to study Japanese with this course.
Alternatively, the complete Japanese Headstart course is available on this site, so you might consider trying that instead.
Taking it further
However you decide to use this free Japanese course, you won’t be able to master the language without practicing. For this reason, as soon as possible, I urge you to take the Japanese you learn and try it out in the real world.
Look for native Japanese speakers to converse with, and above all, do everything you can to make using Japanese part of your daily life. Because when you do this, you will quickly see how much progress you are already making in this challenging but fascinating language.