Since I’ve been home, I’ve spent a significant amount of time going through all my worldly possessions and – sometimes at the insistence of my mother, sometimes at my own insistence – throwing out what I don’t need or want anymore. I weeded out all the unnecessary books. Most of the stuffed animals can go. All my toy figures can go. I’ll try to sell some of the comic books. One thing I will keep is my college notes. Not all of them, but the ones that matter, and my Japanese notes definitely fall into that category.
I hadn’t studied Japanese before college, so I can pinpoint the day I began to study the language – June 25, 2001. For some reason I chose to study Italian my freshman year. Halfway through the first year, I knew that I’d made a mistake and that I really wanted to be studying Japanese. Initially I looked for study abroad programs, even going as far as asking my Italian professor to write me a letter of recommendation (!). In the end I signed up for the intensive summer course, because it was the only way I could get credit for the work.
I had class from 9AM to 1PM five days a week. Additionally, we were supposed to do six hours of study and preparation outside of class each day – 10 hours a day! I remember calculating the workload at some point, and each day amounted to a week of study during the normal school year: it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it, and it enabled me to catch up with my classmates.
It’s been 超懐かしい to look through my old notes. The image above is the first page of my first legal pad. As you can tell, nothing got by me:
I also found the very first hiragana I ever wrote:
And my very first kanji:
I’ll be digging through my notes over the next few months to see if I can glean any nuggets of wisdom that I’ve forgotten over the past nine years.
Interesting stuff. That makes me wonder if I have anything from past classes at my parents’ house.
All your toy figures? Did you have any Transformers?
I remember once in an older post you recommended people shouldn’t do such an intensive course. Do you still feel that way? If you had to do it over again and you didn’t need to worry about getting the credit, would you still take the summer course?
I ask because I’ve been toying with the idea of doing some kind of similar course. I didn’t have the opportunity to take Japanese in college and have been doing my best to try to catch up to my friends who did. I’ve been thinking something like this might be a good way.
sixmats – I had a lot of X-Men figures for some reason. Tons.
Joe – I think I might. I knew nothing about SRS, and I don’t think programs like Anki even existed, so I’m sure that you could ensure a good number of reps even with an intensive course as long as you have the right study methods. Ideally you combine SRS and the right study methods with a reasonably paced course and immersion on your own time.
Although, now that I think about it, I might just go to Japan and try to do a basic course there. I think being in Japan is helpful, not key…and it’s definitely fun.
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At my first lesson I also learned this words und “Watashi no namae wa Basia desu”. This notes is the very nice memento. :o)