Some English conversation schools are increasingly tailoring classes for students who want specific training, such as dealing with customers or full immersion in American culture.

One such school, Goover English School, places students with families at U.S. military bases in Japan so that they can chat about news, music and food as if they were in the United States.

Tokyo-based Goover has contacts with families at four U.S. bases in Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture, including Yokota Air Base and Camp Zama.

Students pay ¥3,500 for a 50-minute one-on-one lesson. There is also a one-time course sign-up fee of ¥35,000 and a monthly fee of ¥5,000.

“The things students see (at U.S. bases) are different from those in their everyday life, so they can learn about the cultural and social background” of American life — as well as practicing their English, said Atsushi Suzuki, the school’s president.

Many of Goover’s students have a specific aim in mind: Some plan to study abroad or use the language in their work, Suzuki said. Some of the school’s clients hail from as far afield as Hokkaido and Kyushu.

Another Tokyo school, We Inc., offers the experience of English conversation in scenarios such as a visit to a clothing store, restaurant, hotel, beauty shop or real estate agent. Instructors and students act as customers and workers, respectively, and converse in English.

The company bills the classes as “customized,” and finds that about one-sixth of its 600 students take them.

Kei Ishikawa, who is in charge of business strategy at We, said people wanting to learn English come from a wide range of backgrounds.

“We developed it believing we can help students learn more practical English by meeting their individual needs,” he said.

A survey by Recruit Lifestyle Co., which publishes the “Keiko to Manabu” education courses magazine, found that English tops the list of subjects both men and women want to study.

“Demand for situational English conversation lessons will grow stronger” as Japan prepares for an anticipated increase in foreign visitors for the Tokyo Summer Olympic Games in 2020, said Nahoko Negishi, the magazine’s editor-in-chief.

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