Elementary Japanese A

May 2011

Overall, Hamada sensei's class was a rough introduction to the Japanese language. To start, the class should have focused on hiragana and katakana before even touching the books, which were all in hiragana/katakana. The books themselves are quite useful, that is, if you know the script!. Hamada sensei provided "Supplementary Materials" on Courseworks, but believe me, they are not JUST supplementary by any stretch of the imagination. They are quite necessary, but should not have been! The class was introduced to the books BEFORE the student had any familiarity with hiragana or katakana, the supplementary materials were essential in order to print out a romanized portion of the book, which included chapters 1-4. This was only the beginning of what would be an unnecessarily lengthy and confusing "introduction" to the class let alone the language. That's the last thing anyone needs as the semester "evolves" later on. Familiarization of BOTH writing scripts are absolutely crucial before embarking within the unfamiliar territory of Japanese. During class, hiragana was the first thing we were introduced to. Unfortunately, the class was instructed that memorizing the katakana was OPTIONAL. This would have created a complete catastrophe (in our class at least) if one chose not to memorize it. I'll explain my reasons for this further on. This particular class with Hamada sensei did not FOCUS on the script first and then the book afterwards. The entire class was scrambling to switch focus between 3 primary goals from the outset. These included memorizing how to write hiragana, memorizing Japanese words (romanized), and grammar structure. Since the student was not able to read hiragana yet, one had to read and write everything in romaji. Obviously, such a lack of structure and organization will only detract from the actual learning experience. It would not have been bad if it were just words and grammar AFTER completely memorizing the script. But for me, it was sloppy and ruined the class experience. This pattern of discord continued until the very end. I could not in good conscience follow along with the class like this! He made the class more work than it had to be. Because of this Hamada sensei was a tough act to follow. Why would I say this? Well, I stated before that he gave students the option of memorizing completely the katakana script. As it turned out, katakana had a significant role to play with respect to quizzes, tests, and exams. Do yourself a favor and learn the characters AFTER hiragana! Not knowing both scripts will certainly cause one to lose points on tests. He was misleading with respect to this. Also, the listening comprehension played a much larger role on exams, in particular, then the online language labs really prepared the student for. The syllabus, while organized and easy to follow, was condensed with the aforementioned material. The "Supplementary Materials" could have been excluded to free up more time to practice reading hiragana. Afterwards, Chapter 1 should have been introduced right from the book, focusing on vocabulary and grammar. Grammar during the course was primarily glossed over very quickly via PowerPoint instruction. Doing that won't teach anyone anything. Second to learning the scripts themselves, this is the most important factor in understanding how to actually construct a sentence in Japanese. These two things are the absolute fundamentals! More time should definitely have been set aside to learn grammatical rules IN CLASS along with questions and answers without the damned insinuating comments from the professor, which was also a problem. His attitude was smiles one moment and mockery the next! Hamada sensei is accustomed to teaching higher level Japanese as well DURING THE SAME SEMESTER. Obviously, his patience will run short when it's time to teach the lower level classes again. Whether you take these risks or not is entirely up to you. Personally, I think the whole curriculum needs to be reevaluated in terms of organization. That is unless the course is designed by Hamada sensei. In which case, I would simply tell you to choose someone else!

Dec 2008

Park Sensei is a good teacher. She cares about her students and is really approachable. Although she teaches off the slides, but it is actually helpful that she tries to make students remember as much as possible in class, rather than spend extra time outside of classroom. She will ask students to practise as much as possible in class. Sometimes the style maybe a little repetitive and dry but I think it helps a lot especially for people who don't want to spend a lot of time after class to study.

May 2008

Noguchi sensei is a good teacher, and did very well teaching Elem. Japanese A this past semester. She is patient when one makes mistakes (which tends to happen quite a bit since Japanese isn't the easiest to learn) and is pretty engaging in class. She is also able to get the class to respond pretty well when participation is required. So overall I would recommend her. As for Japanese itself, the language has a good flow but I'm left wondering who thought it would be a good (*&^ing idea to come up with 3 separate (*&^ing alphabets for the same (*&^ing language. With that said, it is definitely fun to learn.

Mar 2008

she is a fine teacher not worse or better than others. I haven't felt like she was annoying or anything.

Jun 2005

Nazikian sensei is a wonderful teacher--she's funny, caring, and most importantly, a great teacher! She goes at the right pace, constantly reviews materials, and her sense of humor just adds so much color and fun to the class. Highly recommended if you'd like to learn the language well and at a relatively slow pace. Honestly, I walked out of every class feeling happy =)

Jun 2004

Saito-Sensee is a wonderful teacher. I am Japanese and I am familiar with the work ethic of the culture as a whole, so I can appreciate her perfectionism and meticulous attention to detail. However, if you want to learn this language - she is the way to go, if she's back next year. She is kind and fair, despite her demanding workload and strict classroom rules. She wants to hear your questions, she wants you to understand and she will never explain anything to you as "Well, it's just like that in Japanese and you have to learn it." If there is a reason, she will find it for you if she does not know why something is, and she will explain it to the best of her ability. She is funny and engaging in class. The class itself is fast-paced though and very difficult, so it thins out quickly. Saito-Sensee's class started with nearly 30 students and I think by the end of the year there were about 15. She sees RIGHT THRU people and she knows who is in the class because they want to be, and who is in the class because they took it on a whim. She will make EVERY effort to help you though, so utilize her office hours when you need to. She appreciates this effort.

Jun 2002

Sato-sensee is such a great teacher. He's really nice and funny and very helpful. I've never had a class that was more fun than his! I think everyone in the class loved him. One thing to note, though: Sato-sensee, as are most other Asian language teachers, are strict about grading criteria and policies.

Feb 2002

GREAT. Sato-sensee is such a great language teacher. He's one of the few teachers here who maintains my faith in classroom education... His classes are very interactive, with a lot of stupid jokes, and very easy to understand. To be honest a class with Sato-sensee doesn't feel like a class--it's like an hour of fun.