Today was my first day of Japanese class, and I’ll admit that it was rather intimidating.Yesterday I bought the required textbook and workbook (book 1 of the Genki series), and I’m now comfortable with 20 Hiragana characters. The teacher asked us to preview a few of the greetings from the beginning of the textbook and to listen to the accompanying CD track to practice our pronunciation.
Even though I previewed and practiced the 18 phrases several times (much more than most of my class, I’d wager), I was still rather nervous for the first day of class.
My first impressions of the teacher are excellent. She makes a point to speak mostly in Japanese (although she repeats herself in English a lot since we are all clueless beginners), and she told us that she wants us to speak primarily Japanese in class whenever possible. Terrifying, but an excellent language teaching strategy. I wish my Chinese teacher also employed that classroom policy.
She also not only makes the entire class repeat new vocabulary after her, but also points to specific people and has them say the word alone. That helps her correct one-on-one pronunciation, and also creates a pressured situation that ensures everyone is focused at all times.
She also stated that this class would require 1.5 hours of studying every day outside of class. While I’m not sure how accurate that is, I am definitely going to try and put in as much outside time as possible previewing and reviewing for each day’s lesson. She said that she wanted us to already basically understand everything by the time we come to class, so that we could then just practice using those new things in class.
I am really excited to have a class that has a speaking focus! I’ve never experienced that before — even my Chinese classes have never prepared me much for the speaking aspect, since they focused more on learning characters and grammar.
I’m still rather intimidated by the class. I haven’t felt this panicked “ahhh help I can’t read any of this” feeling for 5 or 6 years, when I began studying Chinese and Korean. I’m determined to pick up Hiragana and also Katakana as quickly as possible so I can stop relying on the romanization. I also might watch a Japanese drama to get a better grasp of the flow of the language as well as common greetings and expressions.