My Japanese Class: What to Expect

Lesli Patino
May 8, 2019

Hi everyone,

While I’m sure people would much rather hear about my weekend escapades, I would like to provide more information about how my Japanese class is structured. When I thought about what I would have liked to know when researching programs, I thought I’d like to know a little more about how Japanese classes were conducted.

First, I’ll begin with placements. Placement tests take place almost immediately. The first test has two parts. The first part of the exam is meant for beginners to see whether you belong in Japanese 1, 2, or 3. The second part of the exam confirms if your starting line begins at Japanese 3. If you placed into 3 or above, you have to take a second exam that confirms your placement. I think it's pretty effective. Just be aware that you need to know the same amount of kanji required of each level or be pretty darn close.

Anyway, I placed into Japanese 2. I was a bit hesitant, because I had already studied some of the grammar in Genki II, but as the semester progressed, I realized that there was more new grammar than old. It also really solidified my foundation in Japanese grammar. I admit it; CJS’s placement was perfect.

Three days out of five, we have about three hours of Japanese class. The first class at 9:20 a.m. is focused on grammar. This class is focused on every aspect of language acquisition except reading and writing. While we do write on occasion, that aspect remains a priority of the reading and writing class. Our grammar class consists of listening comprehension, vocabulary quizzes, grammar practice, and conversation practice.

Early in the semester, our professor brought some Japanese student volunteers to talk with us for at least half an hour. Since the first session, this has happened almost every Friday. This might be nerve-wracking for some, but I assure you that the Japanese students have been nothing short of patient, kind, and funny. I enjoy talking to them. They also are open to becoming friends! It really is great conversation practice!

Tests consist of two chapters. If I recall correctly, they are about 50 minutes long. Each test consists of a particle section, grammar section, reading and writing section, and a listening comprehension section. Instructions are in Japanese.

The reading and writing class consists of learning kanji, reading comprehension, and writing compositions. Class almost always starts with kanji practice. We review previously learned kanji, practice listening comprehension while practicing the kanji, and then we learn new kanji. We learn five new kanji per class. We have small kanji tests (worth ten points) about every two weeks. Each Genki II chapter comes with a reading, and we spend a few classes on each reading. Usually, we read the story and answer the homework questions, then we spend class time answering the questions abd testing our reading comprehension, and sometimes we have activities related to the reading. Other times, we spend class time working on our compositions’ outlines.

That is basically my Japanese class’s structure! There are some other fun activities that we do. One honorary mention is our skit. They have us partner up/get into groups and create a skit. The skit can be about anything. It just needs to include enough grammar points and be from 4-10 minutes long. You write two drafts, and on the third week you present it to the entire Japanese II class. It is a lot of work, but it is so much fun. It also is very memorable.

Anyway, that’s all I have for now! By the way, all three Japanese II professors have been great!

Until next time,


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Lesli Patino

<p>I like rainy days. Once I saw a triple rainbow. I'm just a female Latinx low-income student studying abroad in Japan, learning to navigate an environment completely different from home. Let's get this パン.</p>

2019 Spring
Home University:
Amherst College
Elgin, IL
Latin American Studies
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