Looking to go to FFLC to learn Japanese?
If you are thinking of going to FFLC, there are a few things I would like to share with you first.
The first bit of this is that the rules were rather strict, mostly because this school represents a large amount of students that come to Japan simply just get a VISA to be able to work and in the end they stop going to class because they are working too much, and if they don’t go to school, the school gets in trouble. So because of that everyone is condemned to strict attendance policies and there is very little wiggle room if you ever need it.
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The school also smells horrible. Especially when they turned on the AC in the class rooms, it smelled like someone poured a bucket of urine into the machine before they turned it on, and because of that the whole school started smelling like that all the time, and honestly while this isn’t a complete deal breaker, when you add in the rest of the reasons into the equation it just becomes really too much!
Third thing is several of the teachers I had were incredibly rude! I’m fairly certain I was either older than some of these teachers or around the same age and they treated me like a kid from high school! They didn’t need to be like this, but some were (I had 2 really fantastic teachers here though, I won’t belittle the help they attempted to give me!).
Fourth thing is that if you’re looking to come to this school to get a diploma in Japanese, think again. The chances of most people sticking it out here is pretty low, and then on top of that, many of these people who did attempt to go all the way still didn’t get the diploma at the end of the VISA. It’s much much longer from what I’m hearing than just the 2 years to get it like they advertise and many have students have wasted a lot of their time. Which is a lot of work for nothing.
Fifth reason is that if you are slow at picking up the language, or even just slow at picking up a grammar points, you could (MAYBE) get help from a teacher if they actually care, but many do not to the extent that you may need them too. The teacher that helped me out I really appreciate because I was falling behind, however I soon discovered I needed more personal care towards my Japanese so that’s why I ultimately wanted to look for another school. FFLC told me that I could just wait 4 months and then try that specific lesson again when it comes back around.
Now, I hope I don’t need to explain how ridiculous that is. But I will some what. Basically what they said was, just deal with it and then in 4 months time you can pick up where you left off. However, during that 4 months I still have to go to class and I’d have more and more problems and frustrations building until I could finally try again, which includes silent ridicule from both the teachers and even the students (and that was still in the beginning of the course, imagine what it’s like later on!). That’s just down right cruel to even suggest that honestly. I hope you can see the problem here, I was already getting really depressed around this time and then telling me to just deal with it is pretty harsh.
Just waiting it out was not an option because I was called out every single day about not knowing the language, I wasn’t able to just sit there and absorb it, I was basically humiliated every single day! It would be okay to have this as an option as long as there were more options to get more help and to be able to catch up or keep progressing (like other schools provide their students!).
Fifth reason is that they are riddled with extortionist type behavior towards their students (which include: dormitories, their diploma claims and payment towards the school).
How do I know? I know this because this is the #1 major problem I ultimately had with them (and the reason I’m writing this article)!
It was about 3 or so months into going to school there. I told them that I knew I had to go to another school who could provide me the help I needed, they then told me I had to pay them for another semester to leave. I knew I would be out the current semester and I was okay with that because THAT IS FAIR! I’ve owned my own business for around 10 plus years and I don’t fret them on that, however what they did next is what really exposed their true colors.
Before I could leave they drilled me military style in a small white room with 2 people from the school to try to get me to stay, which included threats on our VISAs. I was able to use some old information from when I was in elementary school to show I had learning challenges, in which I was in special education, I had some late development in communication, didn’t mean I was stupid, however it was enough to be able to get them to lift their boots from our necks just enough to let us go to this other school.
But not before demanding we pay them another full semester (and this was for 2 people!). However there were ZERO contracts signed or even presented saying that we needed to pay them this money. This is where the extortion is plain as day. They just wanted to squeeze a bit more out of us before letting us go.
Here is a few screen shots and messages from other people about FFLC:
Here is a comment from their Go! Go! Nihon YouTube video:
NOT RECOMMENDED, I studied there 1 year and half. The moment I (and other friends) decided to leave the school they asked (the school) us to pay money we were not supposed to pay (a lot of money). Their answer is always the same: “we made a mistake”. The dormitory also is very expensive compared to Fukuoka prices, the same room the school give you for 50.000 yen can be rent for just 20.000 yen contacting real estate agencies. The dormitory also try to increase the electricity bill.
FFLC seemingly uses foreigners lack of Japanese law to attempt to maximize their profits, despite they have no right to do this. Which is another reason, NOT to trust them.
So in the end my wife and I simply were extorted (These comments above show more proof that we are not the only ones this has happened to). Like stated before we were able to get out of the situation but at great cost. I still can remember it like yesterday sitting there while they ran their mouth about not being able to transfer us to the new school unless they “agreed” to it which meant we needed to pay them 6 more months of school for their approval. They tried giving us documentation showing we agreed to pay a full year (which I provide below and you decide), but there was NOTHING in writing nor anything signed saying that this specific contract that we agreed to pay for a full year. So they extorted us for a recommendation to change schools even when my personal mental health and Japanese learning career was on the line, they didn’t care.
Now on to the proof:
The contract on the left, states that the payment I made for 6 months (for myself and my wife), wasn’t going to be refunded. In which we agreed and accepted. But this contract has nothing to do with having to pay them for anymore semesters.
Comparing this to renting an apartment, we never even officially signed a 1 year lease, if anything it was a 2 year agreement (via VISA), we signed up (which is not in the contract verbiage) for payments 6 month at a time as that is a full school term. Terms at FFLC are dictated by the fact that they restart every six months for new students, and they even told me to wait that time for the new term to restart my classes from the beginning.
For example renting an apartment you sign the lease and put down your deposit, and in our case we paid 6 months in advance (which is not stated in the verbiage as a partial payment for a 1 year agreement). After living in the “apartment” for 3 months, the apartment was not suited to our needs. We gave notice that we were leaving, we understood that the 6 months payment that we previously paid was going to be kept sort of like a security deposit.
BUT NEVER HAS AN APARTMENT/LANDLORD DEMANDED EVER AN ENTIRE YEARS WORTH OF RENT FOR APARTMENT!
Despite that even if that was the agreed upon assumption, where is the contract verbiage stating our liability for a full year of payments? Citing a third party website doesn’t count as suitable contract agreement for payment, and therefore should have been added to the ACTUAL signed contract, with what a full term means, how much it is, or if was a partial or full payment.
JUST AGAIN TO RECAP, WHAT YOU SEE ABOVE IS “THEIR PROOF” OF WHY WE NEEDED TO PAY THEM AGAIN!
IN THE END THERE IS ZERO CONTRACT VERIBAGE TO PROVE ANYTHING! IT’S ALL HERSAY & VAGUE VERBAL AGREEMENTS.
THIS JUST GOES TO SHOW HOW UNCARING THEY WERE AND WE WERE LEGITIMATELY SUFFERING AT FFLC, AND WE WANTED OUT AND WE ALREADY OVERPAID THEM BUT THEY DEMANDED MORE FROM US!
You think something as intense of “NEEDING” to pay another full semester to leave would
have some more solid documents showing this is a real school policy!
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Since we felt there were no valid justification or contracts to their demands for more money and most of all that our dream of living in Japan and learning Japanese was in total Jeopardy (holding our VISA over our heads), my wife and I sought out legal consultation. We found a free consultation in Hakata, and went to it, the guy spoke totally in Japanese but he had a translator, but in the end he was way too understanding and said he wanted $1,000 just to give FFLC a call. So in the end, we felt that not only we would have been out $1,000 for the lawyer being unsupportive but also out an additional $6,000 for having to pay the ransom that FFLC wanted.
So in the end, we felt we had to pay it to continue staying in Japan.
Another thing about this school that starts to make them even more fishy and a bad option to choose from is that I also tried to leave a review on their Facebook business page and then all their “loyal” students (which we’re only a few) started to threaten me physically replying to my review and verbally abusing me. It got SO bad, they deleted their Facebook review page for awhile, which was showing up #1 in Google for their school name, but they had to because those replies we’re so viscous and unwarranted for explaining my situation. It’s ridiculous that they allowed other students to act like some kind of Gestapo towards a review about them when it was 100% between us and them.
I would highly recommend staying away from FFLC to protect your future dreams of moving and staying in Japan.
UPDATE APRIL 2019: They since got their Facebook review page back up and requested those who verbally harassed me (some with physical violence threats) to remove it. Now it’s pretty much just my review of FFLC now.
FFLC at it’s core is wrapped up in illegal activities and I would love to see them go out of business or at least be confronted and made to change their ways and stop meddling in peoples dreams. I may be slow with learning a language but I’m a genius on many other fronts, which is the reason I’ve been working for 20 years off and on to continue my dream of learning Japanese and living in Japan, they didn’t care about my well-being, all they cared about was money!
Shame on them, it’s sad they had to be this way! I will continue throughout into the future to expose their ways as long as they are a Japanese language school and I will help others find better options than FFLC in Fukuoka! And there are plenty!
UPDATE FEB 2022 (first wrote this article in June 2017): Since this page has gone up I’ve helped many different people inside FROM FFLC try to leave without getting ripped off. But have also helped 100+ people (stopped keeping track!) now steer away from FFLC by contacting me, it’s not a pat on the back, I’m just very very serious about helping others protect their Dream of Japan, because if you go with this Yakuza (Gang) like Japanese language school, you have a greater chance of being extorted or treated with disrespect! I have much better suggestions for you all over Japan for schools to go to, you can contact us by writing a comment, or going to the enroll page and signing up.
What are the good things that have come from this experience?
Nihon Scope has gone from an experiential blog of Japan to a registered Japanese company called “Nihon Scope Unlimited GK”, we have a Travel Agency license, we are a real estate investment company as well as an import and export company, but something that should interest you the most is we are now (and have been for a while) a legitimate company that has been helping people from all over the world go to school in Japan.
We help people (like you) find schools that will suit with your personality and the criteria and needs you have for coming to Japan. FFLC has a VERY strict personality and those who make it through honestly either like or need that type of treatment, most people find it to be dehumanizing and stressful to work with their staff, teachers and the structure of their classes and of course their overall way of doing things (mostly ripping people off).
I’ve been personally attacked by many of the students I went to school with because the school lied to them about us (my wife and I) and what really happened, I’ve attempted to talk and reason with these past fellow students who have YouTube videos and articles about the school, but they of course have no leg to stand on as it’s heresy from a group of thugs (FFLC) and there is no real experience there of what they are claiming.
So we went from being victimized to becoming a full fledge company in Japan. I used this experience to grow and to be able to help others avoid the traps of schools like FFLC. At this moment in time this is the only school I’ve worked with that has been like this (as well as for our students we’ve helped get placed in other Japanese schools). If for any reason we find anymore like this, know that I will make sure to write a review for them too!
PS: If you need help enrolling for school in Japan allow us to help you CLICK HERE.