Mineko Ebihara

B.Sc. (Mathematics)

Sophia University

After having returned to Japan in June 2003, she is now a volunteer helping out refugees from Asia
and Africa. She coordinates Japanese classes for them. Bunka Language School supports the activity by donating textbooks.

She also volunteers in NGO Japan Lay Missionary Movement.

“When you feel like dropping out, just remember me. Remember that I started Bunka from zero. Remember that only daily small efforts help you to realize your dream.”

Founder’s Gift To You:
“Tool For Success In Learning Japanese”

Founder’s Speech at Bunka’s 25th Anniversary Celebration on 29th August 2010 By Ms Mineko Ebihara


First of all, I’d like to say “Thank you” to everyone who has made this 25th Anniversary possible.

I thank all the students, both past and present, who have enrolled in our school, continued studying Japanese language diligently and sometimes recommended our school to their friends. I thank all the teachers and staff working hard for the school.

To show my gratitude, tonight I’d like to give everyone a gift. It is a “Tool for Success”. I think all of you have a dream and want to realize your dream. I know that your dream is to speak Japanese very fluently. Now I’ll show you how to accomplish it by sharing my experience.

When I set up this school 25 years ago, I did not have special talent, big background or big capital, but I had a big dream. I wanted to bring up the school to be very popular in Singapore. So I wrote down what I should do to realize the dream.

Firstly, advertise our school in The Straits Times newspaper everyday. During that time no one knew the name of Bunka Language Pte. School. So I decided to advertise in The Straits Times everyday because there was no internet at that time.

Secondly, organize the curriculum and teaching materials very effectively so that students can master Japanese very quickly.

Thirdly, help students not to just study in the classroom but also enjoy. So I planned cultural events to introduce Japanese culture.

The staff and I worked on these things everyday. Slowly, people got to know of Bunka Language Pte School. A few years later our name became well-known to those who were interested in studying Japanese. As time went by, our school got more and more popular and finally my dream came true.

Set a concrete goal

I want you to follow these steps to realize your dream. Only daily small efforts help you to succeed.

If you want to speak fluent Japanese, you must set a concrete goal. For example, to pass JLPT Level N3 this year or pass Level N1 next year depending on your present standard. Then write down what you need to do, like expand your vocabulary or improve listening skills or kanji writing and work on them everyday.

Visualize your effort

I recommend you to prepare a table in A4 size and put 1st to 31st in the first column and put “Items to work on” in the first row. The table is named “to-do-everyday list”. Items to work on are things such as “learning one new word”, “listening to a Japanese CD for 30 minutes”, etc. At the end of each day, put a tick in each box if you did it on the day so that you can visualize your own effort. At the end of each month, count the number of ticks in each column. If you have more than 25 ticks in each column, praise yourself. If you continue doing this, your Japanese standard in three months’ time or six months’ time will be higher than the present one for sure. Eventually, you will achieve the goal that you set.

100% sure to succeed

I do not know anyone who has failed to achieve his/her goal using this tool. If you use this tool “to-do-everyday list”, you are 100% sure to succeed and your dream will come true. When you feel like dropping out, just remember me. Remember that I started Bunka from zero. Remember that only daily small efforts help you to realize your dream.

I am sure that you will be speaking very fluent Japanese when I come back to see you next year.

I went back to Japan in 2003 and now I have a new dream. So I set a concrete goal and I am making small effort everyday. You and I together gambarimashoo!

Thank you very much.

Mineko Ebihara

“I think that making mistakes as well as avoiding mistakes is also important because we can learn something when we make a mistake. These days, I enjoy making mistakes.”

Message by Ms Mineko Ebihara ,
Founder of Bunka Language School,
at its 20th Anniversary Dinner,
Sunday 28th August 2005

Konbanwa, minasan.

First of all, I would like to say “Thank you” to the management for inviting me to the 20th Anniversary Party. I am very honoured to attend this wonderful party at The Singapore Recreation Club. It is such a nice place.

Two years have passed since I left Singapore. Honestly speaking, my memories of the days I was in Singapore are slowly fading and they seem like a figment of my imagination. But last evening when I arrived in Singapore, everything suddenly came rushing back. All the memories of the 19 years I stayed in Singapore, struggling to set up the school twenty years ago, preparing for lessons every day, teaching in classes, scolding people, and praising, of course,… All these memories came back to me and they are so real as though they had happened just a few days ago, and not many years ago.

Having lived in Japan for two years, I have re-adapted myself to the Japanese culture and life style. But Singaporean culture and life style are already a part of me, so I feel very comfortable here in Singapore, just like I have come home. Much to my surprise, I have realized that I love Singapore very much.

Those who know me very well may be surprised when I say I love Singapore very much because during that time I used to complain about Singapore and Singaporeans; “Why so slow?”, “Why rubber time?”, this and that… and I often scolded others for making errors and mistakes. I was like that just because I aimed to be perfect and minimize mistakes and troubles. This kind of attitude may be accepted in working situations but in our daily life away from work, it is not always good.. I think that making mistakes as well as avoiding mistakes is also important because we can learn something when we make a mistake. These days, I enjoy making mistakes.

I want you to apply this when you study Japanese. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. You won’t get injured and no one will scold you because of your mistakes. For instance, if you greet “Konbanwa” in the morning, will you be killed? I don’t think so. You will still be alive and greeted “Ohayoo gozaimasu.” And next morning you will never say “Konbanwa” again because you have learnt. So don’t be afraid of making mistakes.

The more mistakes you make, the faster you master Japanese.. I guarantee it. Please enjoy making mistakes and GOOD LUCK!

Mineko Ebihara

“Don’t go after the money. If you chase the money, it will run away. Instead, focus on your duty and put yourself in others’ shoes when you work.”

Message by Ms Mineko Ebihara ,
Founder of Bunka Language School,
at its 18th Anniversary Dinner,
Sunday 17th August 2003

Konnichinwa minasan.

Good evening everyone! I am very pleased that the school has such a big anniversary party today and I can send this message to you.

A few months ago, I met a Japanese lady who was teaching Japanese in NUS and she asked me what I was doing in Singapore. I said I was working in a Japanese language school. She asked me which school. So I answered “Bunka Language Pte. School.” Then she said “Bunka?! I hear that Bunka is very good and many people take JLPT from Bunka every year.” Who would imagine this happening 18 years ago when I opened this school at Delfi Orchard?

The background, educational level, purpose to study Japanese and the motivations of the students when they start the beginners’ course are more or less the same in any school. Yet, after a few months, Bunka students become much better than the other school students at handling the Japanese language. Why?

The reason is that you, our students, have acquired a very solid foundation of the Japanese language through learning by our own unique patented “New System Japanese” approach. It is not because we teach you a wider vocabulary or that we use high-tech teaching aids. No, it is simply that this New System Japanese makes learning Japanese much easier! Some of you may have been studying Japanese for only a few weeks, but please believe that you have already acquired much more knowledge and understanding of the language than the other school students do. My wish is that more and more people master Japanese and understand Japan, our culture and people… having more fun and using less effort through using our method.

I have lived in Singapore for nearly 20 years till I left in June this year. I noticed that Singaporeans are very enthusiastic for success and to become rich. Today I give you some advice for success. Don’t go after the money. If you chase the money, it will run away. Instead, focus on your duty and put yourself in others’ shoes when you work. “Others” means your customers, colleagues and supervisors. The result of this approach to work and life is that you will be rewarded with money and success. For example, I was trying to make the Japanese study for foreigners as simple as possible, to minimize their effort and pressure. In trying to make learning easier for others, I eventually invented the method “New System Japanese” and even got it patented.

I also tried not to increase the school fee. Actually the last time when I increased the fee for elementary 1 from $160 to $170 was 15 years ago. Our textbook is still $9 since 1987. As a result of this approach of focusing on the needs of others, our Bunka Language School has achieved a very good reputation as I mentioned at the beginning of this message.

This year, our school has a big improvement in management. To reinforce the school management, new local directors have joined our school. They are from the educational field and our school is going to add a new orientation not only to the JLPT and international standard, but also in the local educational system. This will certainly benefit those going for Japanese language study at GCE “O” level.

Finally, your purpose of learning Japanese may be varied, but I hope that all of you enjoy and continue studying Japanese for a long, long time.

Thank you very much for coming here today. To those who are not here I also like to say “Thank you for supporting us all these years.”

Mineko Ebihara