Ratings for Japanese 1B
Based on 27 ratings for the instructor(s) that have taught this course.
Comment: If you've taken Japanese 1A at Berkeley, this is essentially the same course - but of course with more advanced grammar and such. The only difference is that there is an additional writing assignment in which you learn the Japanese writing format and write a 3-4 page essay using the grammar and kanji. The sensei read over it and return it with revisions or call you in to office hours to give you extra help and then you change it and turn it in again. You end up submitting it about 3 times. Honestly, the first draft is sort of hard because you need to decide what to write about and cover all the grammar, but after that the rewrites are pretty straight-forward and simple. If you haven't taken Japanese at Berkeley, here's the breakdown: Every week you cover a new chapter, and so we start the week by taking a 5 question vocab quiz to make sure you studied the vocab list BEFORE we start learning the chapter. Each week/chapter also has a grammar and kanji homework assignment do. The kanji one can take time because you need to copy the kanji over and over, but it's easy because all you really do is copy the kanji from the book and depending on how you do things, you may choose to memorize it at the same time (I usually don't bother memorizing it until the day before a test, haha, besides you can learn a lot of the more common ones just by using them so much). As for the grammar assignment, all you do is answer questions using the chapter's grammar patterns. It's usually about 4 questions and if you understand the grammar takes about 5-10 minutes. Although sometimes I have had trouble determining what the questions are asking since it's all in Japanese. Every other week, we take a written quiz that covers the past two chapters and nothing else. The front page is usually kanji related (writing the correct kanji or writing the reading of a certain kanji in hiragana) - you also must recall a couple words written in katakana, the second and third pages are usually grammar related (much like the in class exercises or grammar homework), and the back page is a reading followed by true/false questions. On the weeks there is no written quiz, you write a script with a partner using two weeks of grammar, memorize it, and perform it in front of the class. You then also take a 5 question listening quiz. Nothing to difficult really so long as you can memorize your script (the sensei go over your script with you at office hours and so as long as you change what they tell you to you won't get docked points for "doing it wrong"). Lastly, aside from the composition I mentioned at the beginning, we have an Oral Interview. You and an assigned partner go in during the last week for ten minutes and you randomly choose a card with a topic on it and must talk about that topic for as long as you can using as much vocab/grammar as you can while a sensei listens (you usually get 2-3 topic cards). At the end the sensei will usually also ask a couple questions but at the beginning they talk to you without grading it so that you can get warmed up/feel comfortable. Anyway, I seriously LOVE this class. The sensei are hilarious, fun, and very helpful - you definitely learn a lot. Even though you have about 3 different sensei a week, I've loved every one I've had. I feel like if I actually put the time into studying for this class I have no problem getting A's or high B's on the tests. I've considered this and 1A as not easy A's, but A's I know I could get so long as I put work into it. Memorizing kanji in a short period is something I'm very good at though and so I've seen people struggle in this class much more than I have that put in just as much work. That being said, kanji IS difficult, and so is all of Japanese and so not picking it up right away is pretty common. Regardless of your grade in this class however, I still insist that it is really fun and you can get very close to the people in your class because you see them 5 days a week. It's sort of like your own little family.
Submitted June 6th, 2012