Today was my first day of class!
I didn’t really know what to expect, in fact, I didn’t even know which room I was in. It turns out that we were in room A/B (There’s a sliding partition, so you could make two really tiny rooms A and B if you wanted to, but you could only have one row of desks if you did that. As I entered the room, I saw a lot of familiar faces. Many of them were people who spoke pretty good Japanese, so at first I thought I was in the wrong class.
As it turns out, the class covers quite a range of skill. Some of the students have been studying quite a bit, and are pretty good while others need some practice. I feel I fall somewhere near the back of the pack, I’m really weak on speaking and grammar, but I’ve got a decent vocabulary which supports me. My pronunciation is also pretty decent, so I don’t think that this is holding me back as much as some of the other students.
Today’s lesson was a little erratic. First, we covered hiragana which I studied the night before, then we lept into introductory sentences along the lines of “Good morning, my name is Bob. I am from America. Nice to meet you.” This was all new territory for me, so I’m going to have to study this stuff tonight. Next we wrote down our names in katakana (the alphabet used for foreign names), which we haven’t studied yet, so it’s kind of strange to be teaching us hiragana and expecting us to know katakana when one usually learns them the other way around. We then broke into groups and practiced our introductions. Finally, we got back together and studied a bunch of vocabulary about half of which I know, before the period ended.
The school day was broken into two periods each taught by a different teacher and each lasting 2 hours with a break every hour. The second period started out with a listening lesson and a repeat of half of the material from the first period. Then we broke into more, different (ugh!), vocabulary and covered the basics of how to ask what different things were, and how to say “a book of Japanese”, “a card of the bus system”, or “my book”, all of which use the same construct in Japanese. Finally we were assigned homework and sent on our way.
So my homework for tonight is to do the easy 20 minutes of homework required by the class plus about two hours of repeating the stuff I just learned today in class. This is totally manageable, but I’m worried that I may find myself slipping behind if tomorrow brings another 2 hours of stuff they expect me to already know.