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  • Rico Wong

Week 1

Hi everyone :)

First things first, I'll give a brief background:

1. I'm doing an intensive group beginner Japanese course, 4 classes a week and each class lasts for 3 hours. 12 hours a week is a lot.

2. I've never studied Japanese before (I just knew a few phrases) and I have zero experience with kanji / Chinese characters.

3. I've been a full-time English language tutor since the start of 2013

4. My vlog (Instagram) will talk more about my feelings and the blog will talk about the studying habits, the language practice itself and my views as a teacher.

Visit my Youtube channel if you want to watch weekly video updates of the blog:

4.5 This is my first time ever writing a blog :/

With that all being said and done, I'll tell you about my first week of Japanese lessons o_o

Studying in class

**The day before the first class, I studied a little hiragana (Japanese phonetic writing system) by myself. The preparation helped a lot! I could follow the pace of the class well.**

On the first day, I walked into class and I sat right in the middle of the classroom, directly facing the whiteboard because it's so annoying when you can't see properly!

Following the teacher's instructions was easy because I knew what they wanted to do. We went through standard exercises and there was a lot of memorising to do - which I'm not very good at!

Teacher's comment - to improve memory there are a few methods

1. Using a song (auditory learners)

2. Using pictures/images (visual learners)

3. Writing it by hand many...many...many times (reading/writing learners)

4. Moving your body (kinaesthetic learners)

I've found that I use different ways of memorising depending on the topic. For days of the week, I will use a song. For time expressions (today, yesterday, tomorrow) I gesture with my hands to remember the vocabulary.

For hiragana, I use an app that gives a picture to help read it correctly - then I need to write it again and again and again....

Reviewing after the lesson

This is super important.

I have to review after each class so I can organise the vocabulary, any new grammar and any example sentences properly. I rewrite all my notes in a separate book so it looks much cleaner (I'll add a picture to show you the difference!). This helps me to understand better and I'm more likely to keep looking at my notes in the future.

Teacher - "No one wants to look at my messy notes!"

However, I need to increase the amount of practice time for reading/writing hiragana and I need to increase the speed of recall. So, for this weekend I will focus on recalling sentences and vocabulary faster. Fast enough to become automatic! (Hopefully...)

Teacher vs Student

One major thing I have noticed is that I am full of confidence in the classroom ( far. Ha!). That's probably because I'm comfortable being in a classroom and the setting is familiar to me.

I got some listening exercises wrong but I didn't mind because I know it doesn't matter at this stage. More practice is the answer. I think keeping up my confidence is key.

Finally, because it's a group class the lessons are very structured so not all of the exercises will be useful. The example this week was a listening test for numbers. I'm never going to need to listen for a number like '209,743'. There is no context for that type of situation so I shouldn't feel bad if I can't hear the number being said (yet).

I should be able to listen to it as my general Japanese improves. No sweat!


So that's pretty much it for this week. Wish me luck for the future :)


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