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Going from Nothing to Intermediate Japanese in 3 Months: The Story of Mike Filioso - My Student

Note: This will be a work in progress, but I just wanted to get the ball rolling on this article.

I was at work when I got a notification from my inbox for Simple Gaijin. And what I got... was one hell of an introduction email, asking me to take him in for lessons. The following email is what I got....


NAME Michael Filoso

EMAIL (Redacted)

PHONE NO. (Redacted)

SUBJECT Looking to start taking lessons

MESSAGE こんばんは外人先生!

My name is Michael Filoso, I am sophmore at SMU in Dallas but I am from Flower Mound as well.

Learning Japanese has always been a dream of mine since I was a child, but I did not get serious about it until a few weeks ago. I am looking to complete the Japanese Minor here at SMU, but unfortunately it requires 3 years of Japanese classes (1 year of Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced) and I only have 2 years left before I graduate. To get around this, I want to be able to take the school's placement test and place into Intermediate Japanese next semester (starting August 2021). I have taught myself Hiragana and Katakana, about 150 kanji, and most of the basic phrases for greeting. I assume I would be able to skip Unit 1 and get straight to Unit 2?

As I mentioned earlier, I want to be able to place into Intermediate Japanese at SMU by next August. Here is a PDF of the textbook they complete by the end of beginner Japanese so you can get a feel of the pace of the class and what I'll need to be ready for intermediate. (File Redacted)

I am willing to do whatever this takes to make it work! 6 or 7 lessons a week with high intensity learning speeds is not out of the question. I absolutely love this language, and would love to be able to complete the minor at SMU.

Thank you Gaijin, I look forward to your response!


I was immediately intrigued, but a little skeptical. Sure, it's not unusual for me to get emails from people asking for lessons. But I was skeptical to see if this guy was as serious as he claimed to be.


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