Classes began on April 5th. The first week was basically reviews, as well as meeting out new sensei. We have three sensei, with two periods of morning classes five days a week. On Monday we have Tokumoto-sensei, who’s probably one of my favorite teachers. She speaks English well, and as such can explain grammar points and their nuances well, making them much easier to understand. Then on Tuesdays we have Yoshikane-sensei, usually for reading comprehension. He’s a bit strange, but he’s a good guy and really tries to help us out a lot. The remaining three days (grammar/listening, kanji, and project classes) are with Obara-sensei. She is a bit more strict than the other two sensei, but she also explains things very well, even in Japanese. The classes are challenging, but they’re not terribly hard, either. It’s a very nice balance, and a breath of fresh air compared to last semester in JAPN 313 and last year in JAPN 301. God, that was terrible.
I’m also taking two culture classes, each one day a week. On Monday, 4th period, I have Japanese Business Practices with Shima-sensei. This classes is so informative it’s not even funny. Plus Shima-sensei speaks both Japanese and English (he lived in California for a good portion of his life), so I get a bilingual class, plus he has all these interesting stories of working with international companies looking at the Japanese market (like Jamba Juice, Burger King, McDonalds, and In-n-Out). He’s also a really nice guy, and I enjoy his class a lot. Then on Wednesday, 3rd period, I have my International Relations and Diplomacy class with Meguro-sensei. He speaks English, and the class works by having us look at current events in international relations and doing presentations on it weekly. It was most interesting because we got to do stuff on the Futenma base issue, as well as the resignation of Prime Minister Hatoyama.
Classes thus far have been an interesting experience, but I’m glad I’m taking what I am. I look forward to learning more.