Twenty Ten Fall Down

The grades are in and thus marks another semester behind me. It also marks down my first full semester at the University of Kentucky. Not much change from my previous two years experience, but the big college definitely does offer up a different atmosphere. And because all of my classes were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I was on campus for a good majority of the day; between classes, studying in the library and such, working on projects in the computer labs, &c. It reminds me, I had contemplated moving closer to campus last year, and that’s still on my mind.

I wouldn’t say that this semester was much more difficult than the previous ones, but it did get pretty busy towards the end there. I was able to manage both my work and school schedules pretty successfully tho I think. Now that I’m focusing on my major requirements, the subjects of my classes are getting all the more interesting. To add, after talking with my adviser earlier in the year, I switched my major over to the new Japanese Language and Litreature one that UK started offering this year. In addition, I will be combining that with Economics, for a double major.

Advanced Japanese I – If I can say anything, it’s that I’m fairly consistent in my performance. With that said however, I am a little bit behind from where I think I ought to be. Just got to push myself a little harder here. I do plan to complete the next three levels of Japanese (as required by my major), and perhaps after that I’ll do a bit of study abroad. I any case, I’ve got a good idea of my strengths and weaknesses and hope to improve upon them over time.

On our last two tests in the class and on the final there were a couple of paragraphs of Japanese text that we had to translate into English. I won’t say that I had fun doing them, but I kinda liked doing it. As with working harder on the other areas I need to improve upon, I think this is an area that I might focus more on during my spare time.

To make note on one last thing for this class. Over my college career I’ve managed to incorporate my interest in Japanese music into at least one of each my semester’s classes; whether it was writing essays for English, or giving speeches for my Public Speaking class, or putting together a presentation for my Asian History class, &c, I’ve tried to fit it in and have been successful in doing so. This time I gave a presentation in Japanese about my trips to Hawaii/Japan to see Berryz Koubou. I’m glad that I’m able to somewhat tailor my learning experience around my own interests.

Japanese Culture: Meiji to Present – A little slow at first, I guess because there was a bit of overlap between this class and my history class, as in, we were given overviews of the pre Meiji era. The culture class covered a bunch that the history class did not however, and the history class went into a lot of detail not covered in the culture class. Win-win in the end.

I had mentioned that I was worried about the amount of reading that would be required for this class, but as this is a subject that really interests me, I found doing the readings to be not a problem at all. I even managed to read two books over Thanksgiving break, heh (long plane rides to and from Japan). So yeah, the reading issue isn’t an issue at all really.

One thing really stick out to me about this class, tho it might be biased by the teachers use of vocabulary… Japan’s modern history sure is filled with a bunch of contradictions, ironies, dual mentalities. I know I’m being a little vague here, but it’s all quite interesting once you start getting into the details of Japanese society and culture. I’m definitely looking forward to continuing to learn more about these topics.

History: Japan at War – I definitely wouldn’t call myself a history buff by any stretch of the word; and while it does hold a great interest to me, it’s definitely not one of my stronger subjects. That said, I very much enjoyed learning the detail about Japan’s modern wars. I don’t think I had many¬† assumptions about Japan’s war time history, motivations and such before the class, but the class really did get me thinking about it. Our final exam included an essay question that basically asked, with regards to Japan’s involvement and continuation of war, “Why?” It’s a complex subject and I could have seen this class split over two semesters to cover a lot of the material.

Yasukuni Shrine

Yasukuni Shrine

During Thanksgiving break I went to the somewhat controversial Yasukuni Shrine, which was an awesome spot to tie everything together. Seeing everything up close, how Japan tells the story and otherwise how the hands on experience enhanced the classroom experience was great. It’s one thing to go to a shrine and appreciate it for what it is, but with all of that history and knowledge it made it all the better.

Economics and Business Statistics – The pace was slow before the midterm, but afterward things really took off. It had been over a year since I took my first statistics class, but I don’t think that was much of a setback, for me anyway. Deviating a bit from the theory aspect of economics, this class was more hands on math heavy stuffs. While I did well in the class, I’m looking forward to switching back to the more theory focused stuff.