Eguchi-sensei was such a joy to have in Zoom school. I take classes late at night where I am, so I thought I'd be dreading coming to class after a long day — but after the first few Japanese classes, I found myself looking forward to class every day. He has such great energy and enthusiasm for teaching that is infectious and encourages you to work hard. Eguchi-sensei adapted to the virtual format so well; he found new ways to incorporate online platforms and digital projects in the curriculum that didn't feel forced and worked well. He also puts in a lot of effort to ensure that we understand the nuances of the language and answers our questions with great examples and clarity. He also responds to emails promptly and seems to care about students' wellbeing. He reaches out when you miss class and asks how you feel if you seem sick. The best thing about Eguchi-sensei, though, is his easygoing disposition. He has these little mannerisms that make him such a likable person (I can't explain it but you'll understand if you take a class with him). In short, he is a very engaging professor who tries his best and is endearingly kind. If you're taking Japanese at Columbia, take it with Eguchi if you can!
Nittono sensei is a really kind woman and a good teacher. I was disappointed to see some mixed reviews because I think most people in my class agreed that she was great. She is passionate about the material (and wants you to be too) and gives beautiful, detailed feedback. She clearly has a sense of humor and keeps class light-hearted. She's even a little quirky; every day she asked what special/obscure/cute holiday it was in Japan (acronyms that are often derived from the dates). If you try to contribute and make a little bit of an effort, you will do well, I think. We regularly read through passages assigned for homework while in class, which didn't feel like the most efficient use of time. She explains the grammar well and will answer ANY and EVERY question. Take advantage of that! I rarely turned things in late so I can't speak to if she's a stickler about deadlines, but she's reasonable and the assignments are clearly outlined on the syllabus so there's not much ambiguity. During our final oral exam, she kept the mood light and cracked jokes so that it didn't even feel like an oral but a conversation. Do not hesitate about taking her section!
Park-sensei is the best. I had Nittono-sensei for my first year, so I was shocked at how laid-back Park-sensei was. She tells us what's going to be on our daily quizzes,so we don't have to study every single thing we've been learning! (Shocking, I know.) So, pretty much like every other Japanese class, you have a quiz every day, and you learn material incredibly quickly - as in, one day you learn it practice it, and that's all you get, except the nightly mountain of homework. But the great thing about Park-sensei is that she really cares about her students, and makes sure to meet with us outside of class, and forgive us if we forget our assignments, and generally just act like a nice person. She's also really quirky - sometimes she practices her flamenco routines while we're taking our quizzes, and she tells us great little anecdotes about her life. We're learning a lot, but going to Park-sensei's class really just feels like having a mellow study party four times a week.
If you can take Sato-sensei's class, DO IT. He is by far one of the most energetic and engaging teachers of a foreign language I've ever had the pleasure of learning from. He's quite good at teaching kanji- something which, sadly, others neglect- and is always happy to explain something a little further to make sure you get it. I honestly don't understand how we managed to get in as much as we did; we went over everything so thoroughly! At least in the semester I spent with him, Sato was interested in reading different types of material in order to develop our flexibility; we read Japanese stories, answered advice columns, and went over a couple of pages of photocopied manga. He's big on mnemonic devices (dog meat over a fire!) and employs some.. interesting methods of helping us figure out what he wants- for example, if we're supposed to use 'walk' in a sentence, he'll march around the room with exagerrated motions. As fantastic as the experiences I've had with EVERYONE in the Japanese department... Sato-sensei takes the cake.
Park-sensei is a pretty good professor. She's really adorable and funny and she gives a lot of cute anecdotes about the cultural differences between Japan and America. Her lecture style is a bit dry and repetitive, and she teaches off of slides instead of writing on the board so grammar nuances can go by a little too quickly. You will spend ridiculous amounts of time learning grammar but not so much with vocab and basically no practice for the killer translations on the exams so beware. Other than that, she tries to get you to learn Japanese in the most straightforward way possible and is a very efficient instructor.
Out of curiousity and expecting numerous rave reviews, I looked up eguchi-sensei and was surprised to find his reception more critical than I, and I think most of the students in my class, would have expected. eguchi-sensei is a fantastic teacher: enthusiastic, knowledgable, helpful, witty, easy-going, and popular with students, certainly not someone who emanates any sort of "daggers and negative vibes," poised to fry you on on some humiliating grill unless you're obviously not paying attention or doing the work. I had orie yamada for my first year, and she had a stricter attitude by far, as good as she was. what's important to remember when you're choosing a professor for japanese is, I think, their general attitude during class rather than specifics like workload or organization, which will be pretty much the same (rigorous and virtually perfect, respectively), regardless of what professor you have. suffice to say that if you want to get better at japanese enough not to be afraid to participate, by all means take eguchi's section if you can. I would particularly recommend his class if you're the type to ask a lot of "why" questions about grammar, as I've heard he's a grammar specialist, and he always seems to come up with a pertinent and thorough answer. his "engrish" ain't half bad, either.