Monday, November 09, 2009

Thursdays with sensei

Last Thursday (Nov. 05), my Nihonggo Night Class officially started. NIA (Narashino International Assoc.) found me a volunteer teacher after two weeks of waiting. And thanks to (ever-reliable) Google for leading me to their site.
I came across NIA late September when boredom nudged me to get out and do something with my life. Something productive. Something that would oil my now-rusty brain. As the foreseeable future of work won't be (currently, is not) as hectic as I expected, leaves me a lot of free time after.
It occured to me that I can't think of anything more productive -- and interesting -- than honing my Nihonggo.
So, one September night, I searched online for nihonggo lessons nearby. (Nearby is defined as within Tsudanuma area or not farther Chiba). The search results were many and when I browsed on NIA, found the perfect schedule that would not compromise office hours. Found the contact person's details and the next morning, sent an email of introduction and explained my intention to take up the Thursday night class. Before that day ended, I received a reply from them asking me to come to their office for registration and fill some form.
(Their office is just a station away from my nearest station. Score!)
The form, as what I've observed, is an assessment on my level of Nihonggo comprehension. This will probably serve as their guide as to what approach to use. After completing my registration, they told me that it will take two weeks for them to look for a volunteer teacher. Thus, I patiently waited and hoped for a good female teacher.
Just as what they promised, two weeks after, I received an email from them to meet my sensei. I was looking forward to meeting her, then found out sensei is a he. (Note: They don't address people with Mr. or Ms., making it impossible to know the gender at that instant. They address adults with {insert: family name} + san). Except for my case. People at work call me by my first name + san; thus, i always insist it to be used since.
Sensei is a kind-looking male of about fifty y/o. We exchanged little introductions. He then showed me the classroom and told that only Nihonggo will be used while inside. (Later, I found out that the huge classroom is shared by a lot of volunteers with their foreign students.)
About my first session, I was ambivalent but more of excited. Excited because even days prior, aside from the new book, I also bought supplies like eraser, post-its, etc. I even left the office 15 minutes before 18:00, only to arrive around 18:05 which was 25 minutes ahead my session schedule. I was like a kid coming to school for the first time.
While in the course of our session, he sometimes wrote in Kanji (so might as well try to take mental note on them), and spoke quite rapidly in Nihonggo. Often, I would just nod when I hear a familiar word but sometimes, I frankly asked him what he means by what he just said. He, in turn -- perhaps realized it was our first session -- explained it in English. Next time, I will not ask. It won't help me.


Nashe^ said...

All the best!

Private French lessons here are taught solely in French... and the teachers will only translate when you're really clueless. Haha!

Tam said...

oh, I'm so happy for you!
I want to learn nihonggo too and go to Japan someday soon. I'm even considering putting my degree on hold for a bit, I'm so tired of my life right now! I'm scared of looking back and feeling that I didnt go after my dreams and made the most of my life *sighs*
Keep having fun!