Testimonials from Parents and Students 


SMNG is VERY dear to our family; in fact, we consider SMNG ~ its teachers, fellow students, and parents ~ home.  The school's traditions have become something we look forward to and have become a big part of our family's traditions.  I always felt living in Japan made me a better person ~ more grounded, kinder, and sensitive to my surroundings.  I'm grateful to SMNG that we were able to expose the children not only to the language, but its rich culture and social expectations.
Elizabeth N, parent














Naoko I, parent

San Mateo Nippon Gakuyen is a very enriching environment that has a very welcoming community fitting for anyone looking to learn Japanese. It is a very involved community that works hard to give the students the proper experience of both learning the language and the culture. The classes are comfortable and help you get to know the people you are with throughout the years. This allows for people of any level and/or any age kindergarten to 12th grade to learn at the pace that they need, regardless of their prior experience with Japanese. All of the teachers are native Japanese speakers, which solidifies the learning experience. The activities done in festivities such as the cultural classes and the New Year's calligraphy show the students legitimate Japanese traditions and experiences outside of Japan. Overall, I definitely recommend going here, as it helped me improve my Japanese and inspired me to work even harder to learn it. I was able to use my skills that I learned recently when I went to Japan as of the summer of 2018, and it definitely made the trip a lot more memorable.

Anna M, Class of 2018

SMNG was an important part of my life during middle and high school; on Saturday mornings for nine years straight, I was lucky enough to be a part of this special community where teachers showed a dedication to teaching and students a dedication to learning. It was a great place to not only learn my mom’s native language, but also become fully immersed in Japanese culture, which was definitely a highlight for me. The number and variety of activities— tea ceremonies, calligraphy lessons, field trips to the Japan town festival—are a true testament to the commitment of the SMNG staff and families to sustaining a strong educational environment.


I truly enjoyed my time there, making diverse friends and witnessing first-hand a community that is successfully run by both teachers and parents alike. Everyone was so involved in all the activities and made sure that students received proper attention. As just one example, staff made it possible to send select students to Japanese speech contests in San Francisco, a tradition in which I was fortunate enough to participate and that continues today. And for high school students specifically, it was a very supportive community during the college application process as well.     


I highly recommend SMNG for the opportunities it affords all students of the Japanese language—whether of Japanese background or not.


Mika C, Class of 2009