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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Live from the library

Tuesday, my longest day.

I'm now on my lunch break having just had my first "Introduction to Life and Environment" class. I think I made a good choice there, it's quite interesting, focusing upon the impact of humans upon the environment etc. It's pretty simplistic stuff, perfect for someone who doesn't speak the gauge terribly well. More importantly though, the teacher is female, and relatively young.

Before you cry out, "But Joseph! What about *Twinkle*?!", let me elaborate on why my preferred sensei is of the young female variety:

I've found that young (36 and under) Japanese women speak a lot more clearly than Japanese men of any age. They don't mumble their words like a thick wooly jumper might were it to speak, nor do they use the archaic language of the older male staff. Furthermore, they are much more inclined to engage with their students, rather than simply read from a manuscript whilst gazing out of the window (I'm not quite sure how the old men manage to do these two things simultaneously, but they do).

And yes, young female teachers do tend to be easier on the eye than the grey-haired professors.

We were told that the use of mobile phones in class is permitted provided it is done under the desk and does not distract others. Long text conversations should not be engaged in, but making arrangements for lunch etc is OK. Sleeping in class is also OK, but no snoring. It is not necessary to take notes, as everything is on the powerpoint handouts.

This is good news, as it gives me the time I need to tap away at my two dictionaries - the Nintendo DS Lite for the kanji, and the Casio ExWord for the technical terms that the DS doesn't have English translations for (that's why you shouldn't buy a Nintendo DS for studying Japanese).

My next class is the second of two weekly sessions that I have in Japanese -> English translation. This is actually designed for Japanese students, and thus is quite challenging. Having said that, I'm not alone: almost a third of the class is made up of exchange students, and all but two of us do not have either English or Japanese as a first language, so compared to them I have it easy.

The final class of the day is with the very genki Ikeda sensei whom we had last semester. That's all about new grammar and sentence structures, which form the core of our entire learning experience. It's following this that I will start to get an idea of just how much homework we're going to have this semester. It's looking pretty harsh already!

After uni I'm off to Nihonbashi for my part-time job as an English teacher. I'm looking forward to tonight's classes; the students are very enthusiastic and open, which makes a world of difference.

Anyway, best get on with some reading. You know, I'm really noticing a difference now, it's very exciting!

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