Today was the first day of classes. I am in Japanese 300 (I was expecting 102 or 201, so…I’m impressed.), East Asian Geography (which hopefully fulfills credits for WSU), and North and South Korean Societies. That might not sound like much, but the Japanese portion consists of four classes: the core instruction, kanji (Chinese character) work, reading comprehension, and a self-lead practice class. All in all, I’m taking 10 credits of Japanese classwork. (eek!) I’ve also wanted to take Korean here, but I decided it was a really dumb probably not a good idea. Besides, it conflicts with my class schedule. But I talked with a senior today who recommended the Korean club/circle as a place where I could start learning it.
After spending a week getting to know other foreign exchange students, I recognized almost everyone in the class. I have a few friends in my section, and met a few more today. Too girls live on my floor, and I’ve met them both. One seems to be a bit stronger than I am, but I feel about on par with the other. There’s also a Korean who I keep running into on campus. Everytime I talk to him, I wonder where he learned English–he’s got a bit of an accent, but he’s got the laid-back American bad-boy down pat. He swears left and right in all the proper places as casually as any American student, and I always do a double take. Also–AIU’s Spanish teacher is in our class, which surprised me. His name is Carlos, and he’s from Argentina originally, though his English sounds native. Talking with others after class, we all thought he spoke very fluidly. I think he must have learned Japanese by dealing with collegues and residents on an everyday level, without too much formal training.
The class seems to be split between skillful and stumbling. I’m definitely in the lower half, but I’m happy with that so long as the Sensei allows me to stay in the class. I followed well enough today that I would be disappointed to drop into a lower class because it would be entirely review and I want to learn some new things. Hopefully it will be difficult at first and then I’ll settle into it. So I’m going to study hard for Monday’s review test and use my Japanese a lot in general. がんばって！
*wanders off to contemplate Korean*
Japanese word of the day: kanji / かんじ / 漢字 (kahn-jee) Chinese characters that were imported in Japanese written language aprox. 1000 years. May retain sound or meaning of the original character or neither.