Well, it’s been a while since I started Japanstudies at the university, and let me tell you; it wasn’t what I had expected it to be. First of all, it was much more fast paced than I had thought. So fast paced in fact, that it took me well up to three weeks to finally get used to the amount of work and the amount of time I had to put into it.
One of the things that was hard for me then was the reading of the texts in hiragana and katakana. I spent the entire summer vacation memorizing all the characters and even now I still tend to forget some. So reading was a chore, though nowadays it’s the retrieving of the characters from my memories when I write that can still be a bit tricky. For instance, I wanted to write house (うち） which is ‘uchi’, but for some reason I couldn’t remember the hiragana character for ‘u’. So I wrote birthday （たんじようび）which has the character ‘u’ in it, but I didn’t even think when I wrote it down. Weird right?
Anyway, I’m getting up to speed and I’m sure I get the grammar and know most of the words from our vocabulary, and reading/writing hiragana and katakana is going well, but the one thing that is tripping me up is kanji. The Chinese characters. We need to learn 25 new ones every week and I have a very bad memory, so this is very hard for me. I’m hoping to catch up by reading and writing kanji rigorously, but I have no idea if I will pass the final exam in December. I hope so.
This week is midterm week and yesterday I had my first (actually second, because the first one was a computerized test for History of Japan) midterm for Japan in the 21st century – sociological perspectives. I think it went well, but I’ll just wait for the results before I do my happy dance. The next one, Area Studies, is tomorrow and I have a feeling that one will go well too.
I’m now finally used to the pace of Japanstudies and overall I’m very happy I decided to study Japanese and everything that comes with it. I’ve wanted it for a long time and I’m finally doing it. I’m just a bit bummed that my writing and my reading are suffering because of it. I usually read one book a week, but right now it’s taking me a month and probably will take even longer. My writing has stagnated as well, because of my schedule and all the homework. But I guess I have to make sacrifices to do what I really love to do. And that is study Japanese.