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About Me


My name is Ben, founder and Head Chef of the Udon Classroom はじめまして


I thought I’d use this opportunity to tell you a little bit about me. Who I am, why I started Udon Classroom.

So let’s start near the beginning, primary school (that’s British English for “elementary school”, y’all). As a geeky kid in the UK, I obsessed over everything Pokemon related! This was my first introduction to the land of the rising the sun. My interest in Japan evolved into my high school years; falling in love with the culture, folk tales, and oriental mystery behind Japan.

My college years were my first introduction to the Japanese language. Animes such as Bleach and Naruto got me hooked! My obsession with these animes drove me to seek out some form of self study.

During my 20’s, I used YouTube to search for answers and came across Ken Cannon’s “Japanese Through Anime” course. It was awesome as it covered a lot of basics super fast and he explained things through funny stories. This was a massive influence on my teaching style as every one of his lessons were really engaging and mega helpful.

With a taste for knowledge, I wanted to take things to the next level. I had heard about the “Genki” series of text books. Wow, these books were expensive, but extremely effective! I studied every night and all weekend with a burning motivation that fuelled me through my study experience. Learning Hiragana and Katakana was probably the most rewarding task as I could suddenly read and write almost everything in Japanese.


I had never actually spoke to a real living Japanese person before with my new foundation of knowledge. I was extremely nervous and apprehensive but I knew it was the next necessary step. I found a Japanese teacher in my town who I had a weekly lesson with. These lessons forced me to actually use my Japanese and get used to sounding the words and stringing basic sentences together.

After a while we decided that I was ready for the JLPT N4 test so I took this in London and passed! Wooo. I felt a great sense of achievement in doing this and the feeling of success spurred me on to my next step! Let’s go to Japan.


So at the age of 21, I booked a plane ticket to Tokyo and a few hostels. In the September of 2014 I was in Japan for the first time. OMG! It was the best experience of my life. All of a sudden this language that only existed in my text books had come to life. I was using it, all be it slowly, to ask things, buy things, check into hotels, and even to make friends.




I was hooked! “This is the most amazing place in the world!”, I thought to myself. I have to live here!

So as soon as I came back, I applied for a teaching Job with a company called Nova. I had my skype interview and got the Job. I was absolutely buzzing! Studying harder than ever, I had two months to prepare and get ready for this adventure of a lifetime.

When I arrived, I was shown to my little Japanese style accommodation in a town called Takesato in Saitama (next to Tokyo). Being dropped in the deep end, not knowing anyone, was the best thing that ever could have happened for my Japanese ability. I was forced to communicate with Japanese people having nothing else to fall back on. I still continued to study every day with the textbook series, “Minna No Nihongo”, and can honestly say that this was the point in my life where I improved the most.


I made some wonderful friends and had some amazing experiences, I even got to sing at a Japanese wedding! This was a time in my life I will never ever forget.


After coming back home I went to take the JLPT N3 test and failed, largely due to my Kanji ability. It’s just like skipping leg day! Skipping Kanji day is not cool. It sucked! I felt demotivated and took a break from Japanese.

At this point I felt like I could have quit Japanese forever, but I didn’t. It was an important lesson for me to learn to come back stronger and keep going no matter how I feel. So a year later I went back and passed, woo!


I decided to start Udon classroom at the end of 2018 to help people like me take their first step into the Japanese language and have fun at the same time.

I am now aiming to take the JLPT N2 at the end of this year, with my overall aim being N1 in 2020!

I hope you enjoyed reading this little story about me and I really hope you enjoy my efforts in giving something back to the community!