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Thread: Language study program - how difficult is it?

  1. #1
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    Default Language study program - how difficult is it?

    I've read a little about the Japanese language study program and am excited to participate in this to improve my Japanese. My concerns are:
    1. How difficult is the Intermediate level? I can speak a little and read basic kanji from high school Japanese but haven't done so for about 5 years now...
    2. How difficult is it to manage the study workload whilst working?

    I wanted to get some thoughts and advice on this so that it's one less thing to worry about when settling into the program.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Are you talking about the CLAIR Japanese course through JET? It's horrible. The textbooks don't explain anything. They say, "This means ----, here are some example sentences (in which things are conjugate differently at some points but we don't need to tell you why!), now have two pages of practice problems. Off you go!"

    My advice, set up your own study schedule, get yourself a reputable Japanese textbook (Genki is my suggestion for beginners, and either Tobira or Shin Kanzen Master for intermediate), and if you need something to study for, study up for the JLPT.

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    If there like the previous years, then beginner is stupid easy and intermediate is a pretty big jump up (while still being useless and a terrible textbook).

    As for study workload.... I guess that all depends on yourself to be honest. I know somepeople who can't be arsed to find 30 minutes to study a day, and others who will drop several hours/day in to it.
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    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Man, the beginner starts off stupidly easy and them takes a big jump half-way through. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I really struggled after book 3.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

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    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    I didn't think they were that stupid, if you look at the title, "Japanese for JETs", I wouldn't think of it as a stand alone course but rather a supplement to your studies that teach you words and phrase specific to your job.


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    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    Man, the beginner starts off stupidly easy and them takes a big jump half-way through. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I really struggled after book 3.


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    I agree. Books 1-3 introduced a lot of grammar, and then book 4 has you looking at whole paragraphs. It's definitely a big jump.

    I recommend going with the beginner course.

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    Senior Member Kdes23's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnny View Post
    Man, the beginner starts off stupidly easy and them takes a big jump half-way through. Maybe I'm just dumb, but I really struggled after book 3.


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    Here's an example of Day 1, Week 1 of Book 4 in the beginner series. Maybe it'll give you an idea of what to expect
    http://i.imgur.com/GBscbCV.jpg

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    They use romaji through the entire beginner course.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  11. #11
    Perpetually confused. johnny's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Which actually makes it harder IMO. I find it easier to read the hirigana with the kanji + furigana.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    Teach them something new?? Are you mad? All you do in Japan is rehash the same stuff over and over for 15 years. Hello song, what do you like sports? and fruit basket. The holy trinity of English education.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Word, that shit was painful to read.

    Seriously people, with any kind of SRS and a few hours a day you can learn hiragana and katakana within a week. The more you read it, the more cemented it will become. Avoiding it for that long is crippling yourself completely unnecessarily.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Romaji is ridiculous to try and read. Why do they do thiiiiiis? Not that it has anything to do with me...
    いいみで

  14. #14

    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    pretty sure they use romaji all the way up until the 'advanced course' and then every kanji has furigana under it...

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    Gizmoduck - blatherskite Gizmotech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    pretty sure they use romaji all the way up until the 'advanced course' and then every kanji has furigana under it...
    Nah,intermediate is hiragana and furigana under new kanji. Much better for learning but still a shite textbook.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cytrix View Post
    Organising anything with ALTs is like herding cats on catnip

    Quote Originally Posted by Antonath View Post
    We Jeeperneez are express all emotion through money. Wedding is happy money. Funeral is sad money. Izakaya is friendship money. Girl-bar is almost-sex money. But babby-borning is bery happy money, as no babby in Japan. All babby is special so we is givings much money as presento for babby.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kamirose View Post
    Are you talking about the CLAIR Japanese course through JET? It's horrible. The textbooks don't explain anything. They say, "This means ----, here are some example sentences (in which things are conjugate differently at some points but we don't need to tell you why!), now have two pages of practice problems. Off you go!"

    My advice, set up your own study schedule, get yourself a reputable Japanese textbook (Genki is my suggestion for beginners, and either Tobira or Shin Kanzen Master for intermediate), and if you need something to study for, study up for the JLPT.
    I agree wholeheartedly, and with most of the criticisms posted on this thread.

    My wife is a beginner and started with the beginner books, but already knew hiragana and katakana. Having to continue reading romaji all the way through book 6 made her feel like she was regressing in her Japanese ability. If you can, skip the beginner at all costs. You can probably get it from another JET for vocab or grammar points, if need be.

    Most of those necessities are covered in the pre-departure "Japanese for JETs" book. Considering that the language course doesn't start until October, with a bit of self-study you'll be ready for intermediate by then.

    I did Advanced, which was in hiragana/katakana, but the pacing was terrible and the exercises a chore. I pretty much skipped reading the books by 5 and 6, just completed the tests. Now that I'm back to studying on my own I feel like I'm learning again.

    Kamirose has made good recommendations for other texts. In addition, I'd recommend the Nihongo So-Matome series. They're geared towards the JLPT, but useful for every day study too, I think.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    I'm basically going to echo what everyone else has said. I decided to start with the beginner course because it had been 7 years since I had studied Japanese. However, I still knew katakana and hiragana.

    Because the entirety of the beginner course is in Romaji, I felt like I was regressing. Halfway through the second book I gave up and decided it wasn't worth the time or brain power - I was already learning a lot of what was in the book anyway on my own at school, and decided just to focus on my own self-study plan.

    Unfortunately I can't vouch for the later levels, but if they're anything like the beginner level in organization or in the way information is presented, I think there are much better methods available.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    The advanced course has a good amount of grammar patterns that I hadn't learned elsewhere, but 98% of the vocab was useless. Aside from the odd word about New Year/Bonenkai etc I didn't really learn anything. I did use the kanji book to study, although it isn't required at all - it was good review.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    What exactly are these courses? Are they CLAIR mandated training or something? Someone mentioned that they got grief when the coursework wasn't being completed or something like that. I obviously plan on studying the language while I'm over there. I'm not planning on utilizing resources that aren't going to help me. Am I expected to sign up for some of these courses regardless, and turn in homework?

  20. #20
    chill yo coop52's Avatar
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    Default Re: Language study program - how difficult is it?

    They're free courses provided by CLAIR. They send out forms to sign up for whatever level you want fairly soon after you get here, and if I'm remembering it correctly, there isn't an option to refuse the course. Some BOEs really care about their ALTs completing the course while some don't really care. CLAIR itself doesn't seem to care. They keep sending the books whether or not you've actually completed any of the tests.

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