In other news, I had my first Japanese class today. Mom was wrong about the composition--it was typical community college, late teens with a handful of older folks.
JA 250 is called "Practical Japanese". It's basically an easy course to get the basics down or brush up if you're rusty; it's repeatable. (I suspect that one of the guys sitting near me was probably taking it for the third or forth time in a row, considering his comments about how boring it was.) There are two TAs, both native speakers. The teacher, Izumo-sensei, is female, and oddly enough has better English pronunciation than either of my two Asian computer science teachers--go figure.
Today...well, we covered the basic concepts of Japanese grammar (word order, particles, adding ka for questions). We also did some stuff with a hiragana table...a rather intimidating-looking 46-item table which we're apparently supposed to memorize by the end of the course. Then we covered a basic dialogue:
- Hajime mashite.
- (your name here) desu.
- Doozo yoroshiku.
When she was taking roll, she was doing so with Japanese pronunciation, and was asking for nicknames if we had any. When she callled "Brenton" (my real first name--I usually drop the -on because it sounds pretentious to me), I decided not to correct it to "Brent"--I suspected that would require what I will creatively name a "vowel kludge". After class, Jas informed me that "Brent" would have been turned into "Brento" anyway, so it wouldn't have been any better if I had corrected her.
Interesting things learned from this class:
- When I guess how to pronounce a foreign word without knowing, I need to not let it get stuck in my head that way. ("desu" is the culprit here--apparently the 'u' sound is practically silent.)
- It's probably okay to wear otaku stuff--I saw someone wearing a Trigun shirt.
- The teacher recommended that we watch Japanese TV, so I now have an excuse to watch anime. Go me. Don't think "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge" counts, though, since it is without a doubt the worst Japanese dub ever. ;^)