May 25, 2003

semester in review

HUM530 Chinese Civilization, Mary Scott - I love Professor Scott! I took her Japanese Culture class my first semester at SFSU, and that played a large part in helping me decide to change my major to Japanese. That class was awesome, and so was this one. She has obvious enthusiasm for the material, and I find it contagious. She brings in slides that are immensely helpful to understanding the material. When she says she likes a book, it makes me want to read it. I often visited her for office hours, and we would ramble on about not only China but also my unyielding interest in Japan. One problem, though, is that she's always trying to do too much. The end of her classes always seem rushed as we try to squeeze the last juices of time out of the semester before it ends. Her classes have a lot of reading material (well, not that much compared to how much I had to read when I was in high school), but she has only a few short writing assignments which she is very generous with in terms of grading. I could go on and on about her and her class. Hip and cheery, Prof. Scott always gets a thumbs up from me!

JAPN250 Intensive Study of Kanji, Takamatsu - This was my second semester taking Kanji. I think I'm supposed to know around 1000 now... hmm, in actuality, it's probably more like 200. No surprises for this class. Just memorize the stuff, and try to use it so that it'll stick in the head. Takamatsu-sensei is a fun teacher; however, she's never available for office hours, and she basically leaves everything up to you to do (she just checks your work). I really feel like I'm remembering the Kanji better now, though. I think that I've done some much
Kanji memorizing that my brain has gotten used to retaining the information. Also, I like to think of the Kanji class as the course that brings the varying levels of Japanese studying students together since it consists of 3 (or 4) groups of varying Kanji levels. It's like the melting pot of the Japanese department.

JAPN301 Japanese Conversation, Sato - Sato-sensei is so cheerful all the time. Whenever she came to class, there'd be a smile on her face. She's always patient with students, explaining very carefully and making sure that we understood what she was saying--even when she was using relatively simple vocabulary. We'd go step-by-step through everything and she'd answer all my nit-picky questions. The listening assignments were difficult, but she'd pretty much hand-hold us through that too. Also, we got to do skits in class, which I
always find refreshing. What other language major lets you goof off in weird scenarios in front of class? Classes like this remind me how fun learning Japanese is.

JAPN302 Japanese Reading/Grammar, Mori - If 301 was a big cheerball of a class, 302 would be the opposite--well, at least with Mori-sensei. I really didn't think Mori-sensei had a sense of the concerns of students in the class, what level they were at, or that she even cared that much. I could never get time to schedule office hours with her since I had 301 during her hours! Her explainations in class were inadequate (for example, she didn't fully explain to us toori) and many times difficult to understand. The class was taught almost completely in Japanese, which was difficult for students coming straight
from 103 but not completely impossible--just taxing on the brain. It's interesting, however, that I've talked with other students who have taken classes other than 302 with her, and they've found Mori-sensei to be a likeable instructor. That may be so, but I don't recommend taking her 302 class. I really don't feel like I've gained substantial proficiency from taking her class like I did when I took 103 (and also 301). Maybe because hers is a reading/grammer course, and I've been mainly focusing on conversational Japanese.

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