Now that the weekend has arrived I finally have some time to update my blog. This last week has been very busy for me. The rapid pace in the lessons kept up for the first two days of the week, but has finally slowed to something more manageable. In an effort to stay on top of my lessons I formed a study group last Friday, and we have been meeting every afternoon this week. This cut into my prime blog updating time, so I’m going to have to find a new time to shoe horn it in. Overall, my life has settled into a regular routine of waking up, eating breakfast, going to class, going to lunch, returning to school for the study group, and then returning home where I have just enough time to do my homework before Emi comes home. My evenings consist of running around the track at the park, eating dinner, and going back to sleep.
On Monday we found that the class had dwindled down to 12 students. This was kind of a surprise, and the first study group meeting that afternoon spent a bit of time talking about it. The new student who arrived in the recently vacated seat on Friday never returned, perhaps she was scared off. On Wednesday we were all surprised when one of our students returned, so we are now at 13 lucky students. I’m pretty sure that we won’t lose any more students at this point.
I got quite a shock on Monday when I was called out by one of the teachers during break and asked how I was doing. It’s true that I’m still working pretty hard just to get by, but I didn’t think that I was doing that poorly. It turned out however that she was more interested in the study group I was forming. Although the group was hardly a secret, I was surprised that the teachers were even aware of it as I had still to ask if we could borrow a room in lieu of camping out at a coffee shop. It turns out that another student had told them about it as proof of their motivation to improve their performance in class.
I feel that I’m still struggling in class, I’m getting all of my homework in, but the grammar is getting me down. I feel like I forget all the words when they are spoken to me. The good news is that we’ve gotten to a point where all the other students are having to struggle too.
There is one guy who is ahead of all of us in a way which suggests that he has covered all this material before. I just can’t believe that he is studying extra hard or is studying a chapter ahead of us, he knows the material too well. The really annoying thing about this guy is that he prides himself on being able to answer every single question the teacher gives as quickly as possible. The end result of this is that he shouts out the answers, even when someone else is called upon, and during readings, he yells out the sentence in rapid fire, completely out of step with the rest of the class. I don’t know if it’s his age (he’s the youngest in the class at 17) or the way schooling works in his country, but I do know that he’s getting on everyone’s nerves. If I were in his place, I would remain silent giving the rest of the students the opportunity to get the most out of the class. As it his, he’s kind of denying the other students the chance to learn.
We have a test coming up on Monday covering hiragana. I wasn’t too worried about it at first, but now I am because on Wednesday we got our first sample test. It’s not actually a hiragana test at all, but a test on vocabulary and spelling. Worse yet, the format of the test consists of the teacher reading off a list of words and sentences and expecting us to write them down in hiragana. My problem is that I’m a slow writer; one of the many reasons I turned to computers early on was that it takes me forever to write things by hand. Of course, doing so in Japanese takes even longer. However, most of the teachers do not leave enough spacing between the sentences for me to madly scribble them down. I fear that there will be the double jeopardy of having to write the characters neatly, which is difficult at speed. The idea of doing poorly on a test because I wasn’t able to write fast enough really upsets me. I don’t mind doing poorly if I don’t know the material, but knowing that I’d do fine with a just a little more time gets me pretty angry.
I’ll let you all know how the test goes.