Kumon is a method of learning established by high school maths teachers Toru Kumon back in 1954. These days you can't walk down the street without tripping over a Kumon franchise. The Kumon method is normally associated with children who need to work on their Japanese or maths skills, but as JET Programme ALT Natalie Cumming explains, even adults can do it!
I live in the inaka, so I don't have access to a bit Japanese language school. So I recently signed up with the local Kumon school to study Japanese. I tried doing the CLAIR book but I didn't like the structure of the textbooks. You may know that the Kumon method is usually aimed at primary school kids, and is a special method where you learn at your own pace. It's famous for the maths course but a lot of the kids at my school study English, and some even French. You listen to a CD, then fill out worksheets. I find the worksheets really great because each new grammatical topic or kanji is laid out really clearly, and you basically work through the sheets, filling in the blanks, for about half an hour a day. As you progress through the levels, the work gets harder, so you're not slowed down by other people in a class, or rushed ahead when you're not ready. You have to get 100% on each worksheet before you can move on, and you correct any mistakes you've made yourself. The downside is there's not really a spoken component - you sometimes to read aloud to an instructor, but you don't have to really converse. Still, if you want to get your grammar up and learn vocab, it's really useful. After only one month I'm understanding heaps more of what goes on around me!
It's also fun because I get to go to class with a bunch of 5-12 year olds, and I'm actually at the same level as them for, say, kanji. It's a thrill for them because they get to come up and use the English they've just learned on me. It's about 8000 yen a month, and you go twice a week. If you decide you want to do the JLPT, or try your hand at a Japanese primary school kanji competition, they help you out with practice materials. I'm going for the ninensei kanji level test next week - ganbarunakucha!