This time I’ll share with you guys some of my experience during the Japanese Course in Mexico City. In the last post I mentioned a Japanese course (is a must to attend), the 日本語の学校 (nihongo no gakkou = Japanese school) is located in Coyoacan, so convenient! I can get there on the subway ^_^
The school is the ICMJ Instituto Cultural Mexico Japón it is a really small school, my first impression was: “This is smaller than my former Japanese school NICHIBOKUGDL, what an old building!, but then I thought “WTH is free!”.
January the 9th it was 9:30 sharp and we got about 20 minutes introduction given by the principal, explaining what the Japanese course will cover, the names of the 先生 (せんせい = sensei), and what the expectations as a student were. Ganbarimasho!
The first class was an intensive repetition of OHAYOUGOZAIMASU! HAJIMEMASHITE! and other common phrases. It was a little bit painful watching my classmates trying to repeat what the sensei was saying since nothing was written by that time. But my classmates sure have been keeping up 😀 !
Around 11:00 there was a Japanese test for whom ever had any Japanese knowledge. I was there for over an hour and I think I only answered 40% >_<, in the end I was told I could skip the CONACYT grammar classes so I got into Japanese 102! The downside is I need to be up and shiny at 5:40AM or I won’t make it on time because the class is at 7:00AM @_@
If you don’t have any knowledge about Japanese, don’t worry! That’s the whole intention of this intensive Japanese 101 course specifically designed for CONACYT trainees: you’ll learn katakana and hiragana (sorry, no kanji at least that’s what we’ve been told).
The CONACYT course is Monday-Friday 9:30-3:00PM and is divided as:
- Grammar and Vocabulary 9:30AM-11:00AM
- Grammar and Vocabulary 11:15AM-12:30PM
- Japanese writing (hiragana and katakana) 1:00PM-2:00PM
- TPR (Total Physical Response) 2:10PM-3:00PM
There are 10 to 15 minute breaks between each section and there’s a 30 minute lunch break at 12:30PM.
We were split in halves, not sure if it was to ease the flow of knowledge (IDK) or because the facilities are just too small, look at the size of the classroom!
Super small classroom “El Cartel” group
Groups around 16 trainees were created. I got group A and the other group was B. We needed to choose a name for each group, in the past there were the Guacamole and the Wasabi groups every generation Mexican and Japanese related themes. Group B decided to be Yakuza, so we came up with El Cartel disregard the link if you want to, let’s say is a generic Mexican Cartel.
I’ve been skipping the grammar and vocabulary classes but it is really similar to what I’ve seen in the first 14 lessons of Minna no Nihongo. Maybe the first 7 lessons but hell in 2 weeks!
Regular ICMJ students get all the required material: book, copies, audio. The book is actually created and published by the ICMJ.
I am almost 80% sure the listening CDs (and tapes!) are the voices of some of the teachers.
I guess CONACYT is covering my fee ’cause I am currently attending to the Intensive Course Mo-Fri 7:00AM to 8:30AM for the past 2 weeks.
Well, expensive? OK? I think it is if you actually have to pay for it, I don’t think I would, I mean I don’t think I could pay that amount.
In the ICMJ all teachers are Japanese people, really kind and patient. I’ve been enjoying the past 2 weeks. But hey! They sure are strict when writing is involved I got most of my hirganas with “balance” mistakes 🙁
I have no idea about learning or teaching techniques but I think the TPR class is really weird! We need to do what’s been told to us by the sensei, related to colors, forms, clothing, body parts, some other adjectives, adverbs.
Excuse my Japanese please! These are some uncompleted phrases I’ve understood so far:
- Onaka o tataite kara kata o tataite kudasai! Please “hit” your stomach and then your shoulders.
- Shirokute Marukute Chiisai kaado no ue ni kurokute ookii seetaa o ??? kudasai (I don’t remember what verb is used but I believe it means put or place) Please put the black, big sweater on top of the white rounded big card. (Did I get that right? IDK).
These pics will make more sense, we gather in a circle, the sensei tells us individually or all together what to point, touch, get, move, etc. Notice group Yakuza is all neat and clean and my group, well we bara-bara (onomatopoeia for shuffling??) the cards.
I think is been really fun 🙂 you certainly don’t need any Japanese knowledge but sure it is better if you at least know hiragana and katakana so you can focus on improving your writing and enjoying the class.
Everything counts, you need discipline to learn a new language: practice practice practice. I don’t want to discourage you guys, but in Japan you won’t see anything in hiragana U_U, you’ll see written kanji and okurigana but at least you’ll be able to survive knowing some basic phrases after this course.
I’ve been enjoying the super intensive 102 Japanese course we’ve studied around 40 kanjis in 2 weeks from which I knew around the half and that took me 3 months to learn. So would say it is a really fast pace! I really like my sensei she’s super cute and patient.
And finally, this pic from last Friday, we had Obento for 85 pesos Itadakimasu!
I sure hope this gives you a better overview of what the Japanese course in Mexico City involves. If you do well here, sure you won’t struggle that much during the one in Nagoya (I think I talk for myself here u___u)
BTW I’ve been trying to post my photos from my trip to Japan so stay tuned ^_^