Jeffrey Smith ﾔ94
･JPN 101 through 302, Anthoropology Major/Japanese on Secondary Concentration???
･After graduating from Bates I immediately entered the JET program and came to Japan in August, 1994. I worked in Izumi City, Osaka prefecture,for one year. I declined the offer of a contract renewal for the following year when they initially asked me in January of 1995 but after spending some more time here I decided that I wanted to stay. That was one of the best decisions I have ever made because I fell in love and I am getting married to an amazing Japanese woman I met in the spring of 1995. (His wedding was in August 15th, 1998. –Ofuji)
･ After meeting her I was even more determined to stay in Osaka and aggressively pursued the monumental task of finding another teaching job. Luckily I had made friends with the head of the junior high school division of the Osaka Prefectural Board of Education and he was able to get me a job in Higashiosaka City. I have been there ever since, working in one junior high school. I have also begun working as a translator and rewriter on the side.
･How helpful your study of JPN has been after you graduated Bates–While my major was anthropology and though studying Japanese changed my life I would have to say that my study of Japanese has been unbelievable helpful. In fact, it is the very reason why I am able to do what I am doing today. If I had not studied Japanese I certainly would never have come to Japan! Studying Japanese shaped my life after my graduation and expanded my horizons… literally!
･I refused to give up studying Japanese while I was at Bates although at times I probably should have because it takes so much time to get it into your head. During my last year at Bates my study of Japanese suffered greatly because I had to focus on my major thesis. This is something that I still wish had not happened but I am glad I stuck it out.
However, I would have to say that Japanese class was one of the most interesting for me because it always forced me to think as opposed to other lecture-focused classes that are basically passive. If you really want to gain an understanding of Japanese you have to drive yourself to take hold of it — it is far and above more active than any lecture course you could ever take.
The biggest mistake I made when I studied Japanese was to avoid the Japanese Language table. I think that it made me really nervous and I sometimes had so much other studying to do that it was difficult to focus.
I don’t know if it is possible but I would suggest a total immersion weekend or day or week or whatever. This would require some difficult logistics but would probably result in a much greater overall level of
speaking ability for the students.