S.M.i.L.E Niseko Japanese and English Language School S.M.i.L.E Niseko Japanese and English Language School

Welcome to S M i L E !

This website explains what we do, why we do it, who we are and where to find us.

If you would like to meet us, find out more detail about our courses, our approach to teaching and language learning or have any questions please contact us and we'll do our best to help.    

Why S M i L E ?

People living in Hokkaido will not suffer from abject poverty and most will enjoy good education, nutrition and healthcare.

What is likely to limit or enhance their life opportunities (or their 'social mobility') is their ability to communicate in this fast moving, 'Global' era.

As the Niseko area demonstrates, foreign language ability impacts upon educational potential, choice in relation to jobs and career, income, pay and where in the World a person is able to to live, work and play.

In this sense we mean Social Mobility 'is' Language Education ( S.M.i.L.E )

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Our Mission

We, (Julian Bailey and Yoshiko Kitamura) are a British Japanese couple who moved to the Niseko area from London in 2006.

Since then we have felt privileged to be part of a unique International community inside Japan. We see incredible potential for the future through the many young people living here and in turn for the community and local economy.

It's not perfect though. Parents often express concerns regarding their children's future, especially in relation to competence in English in a competitive and increasingly 'International' environment. 

We have also noticed a growing opportunity and pay gap in employment in Niseko. New employees in the 'International' businesses often come here from Tokyo or from overseas because local people simply do not have the necessary English language skills.

SMiLE's mission is simply to fill that gap.

Smile Niseko Strap - wide - transparent background

We provide Professionally delivered English language courses based upon International best practice and methodology. This enables young people to supplement their mainstream Japanese education with 'gold standard' International certification and broaden their life opportunities. 

For parents, local people, retirees, or anyone with an interest and desire to communicate in English, SMiLE offers structured '4 Skills' based courses with opportunities to demonstrate and enjoy progress at your own language level.

For the many local businesses, administrators or Professionals detached from exciting new opportunities through a lack of confidence or skill in English, SMiLE offers courses to help close the gap.

Similar problems exist for the many foreigners now living in Niseko. SMiLE Japanese language education supports current and future foreign residents or visitors who need to, or who aspire to progress in Japanese.

We believe language empowers people. More people communicating more effectively will make the town and the wider area a better place for us to live, work and play.

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Who are S M i L E ?

SMiLE teachers are Julian Bailey (English) and Yoshiko Kitamura Bailey (Japanese).

Julian is a permanent resident of Kutchan and holds a 1st Class Hons. degree from Cambridge University in Education.

He is licensed to teach UK Primary School (Qualified Teacher Status), to teach English as a Foreign Language (Celta and Delta qualifications including the extension for Young Learners). He is a Speaking Examiner for Cambridge Young Learner Exams, Key English Test and Preliminary English Test. He also spent 2 years in Hokkaido public schools as a JET AET.

He is the Centre Exam Manager for Hokkaido Exam Centre JP181. This is one of a small number of Exam Centres across Japan authorised by Cambridge English Language Assessment and the only one in Hokkaido. It enables people to take valuable Cambridge English exams without having to leave Hokkaido. JP181 supports other schools and Universities in Sapporo with teacher development and with Cambridge English Exam Preparation.

Aside from teaching, Julian has had a successful business career with Canon and with Hokkaido Tracks in Niseko. This business experience and interest enables SMiLE to understand the needs of the local business community and help support employees with skills development.

He is passionate about people and communication. He enjoys Hokkaido in all four seasons, its birds, trees and great food. 

Yoshiko is from the small town in Hokkaido but has been able to explore the World through English. Starting with after school English, she was inspired by an overseas homestay and went on to study English in Sapporo after high school. She qualified as a Junior High School English teacher and was a home room and English teacher in the small port town of Hiroo, Hokkaido.

Fifteen years ago, Yoshiko decided to invest her savings and two years of her life in retraining and qualifying to teach Japanese 'as a Foreign Language' under Cambridge University Local Examinations Syndicate. She was the only graduate of the Diploma in Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language to be offered full time employment in a UK public school.

Yoshiko taught Japanese language to British students in the UK school system for 2 years, in UK University and has continued teaching foreign people for the last 10 years here in Niseko. Yoshiko is highly regarded as a teacher of Japanese with foreign students at all levels. She is passionate about teaching and in her own time loves Niseko's trees, scenery and delicious seasonal produce.

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Hokkaido Exam Centre - JP 181

Hokkaido Exam Centre JP 181 is authorised by Cambridge Assessment English

We prepare students for and offer the following Cambridge English exams :

Young Learners Tests ( Pre A1 Starters, A1 Movers, A2 Flyers )   
A2 Key & A2 Key for schools
B1 Preliminary & B1 Preliminary for schools
B2 First & B2 First for schools
Teaching Knowledge Test (TKT)
Delta Module 1

Still at school?

Join our Young Learners course and qualify for 1/3 support from the Mountain Scholarship Fund. 

Cambridge English Newsletter

This is the Cambridge English Newsletter for Parents

Cambridge English Newsletter #12