J-Live in Retrospect

By Gabe Mogzec

J-Live was an event that I attended November 11th, 2018. J-Live is a speech competition for college students to showcase their proficiency in the language. For me, only studying Japanese for a little over a month, I was left with an extreme language gap between me and the contestants presenting. I was very surprised at how much I did pick up. I could pick out certain phrases and certain words, and though not able to understand completely, I was able to pick up what the subject of their speech was. J-Live also had many other ways of experiencing Japanese culture, all of them being captivating in their own way.

From when I’m writing this, it has been just under two months since J-Live has happened, and during that time, my progress in learning Japanese has advanced. I’m proficient in Katakana and I’ve learned many new phrases and words. I know for a fact that if I went to J-Live now, I would be able to pick up much more. As, I continue to learn and study Japanese, I’m curious in attending J-Live 2019.

Sharing appreciation

Before winter break, we asked students to take time to express appreciation or recognize the accomplishments of one or two of their Japanese Plus classmates. The results:

Angel: Asa, thanks for always having a smile on your face. It’s really nice talking to you. You make the learning environment brighter.

Maria: I like how Angel tries hard and takes lead of our group. I also appreciate how both Carlos and Luis did the performance the other day alone.

Cyrus: I like hearing Alexx and Theo’s Japanese, because it sounds close to what I’ve heard in media.

Asa: I’m thankful for the encouragement of Lucca for helping me practice and also Che for being the person to help lighten the mood and make me laugh.

Chetachukwu: Carlos is a nice and funny person. It is really helpful and helps me grow educationally. Asa is a funny soul and I like her skirts.

Alexx: I’d like to thank Che for always being on point. She did a lot for our group and was really responsible. I’m glad I have her in my group. I’m also thankful for Gabe who always works really hard. He inspires me to push myself even harder.

Gabe: Jonah, keeping the class always positive and giving heartfelt thanks to visitors. Alexx, for helping a ton in my group, especially during the skit.

Jazmin: I would like to thank Theo and Elena for helping me a lot when learning my katakana. They always make me laugh, and I’m glad to have them in my group.

Katie: I’m really happy that Asa is here with me since she told me about this program and that she’s been with me this whole entire time, even if I am annoying to her. I’m also really happy that Jazmin is here since I can ask her about Japan since she has been there and that she is someone I know who can be there for me.

Jonah: Carlos is very optimistic and a good friend always willing to help. Kenny seems to always want to learn and never bummed and is fun.

Arjernae: I’m proud of Alayshia for being dedicated and not quitting even with people telling her to. I’m proud of Cyrus because he’s one of the few people I see and he acknowledges me when I come to class. Also he’s becoming more open and not as shy as he was in the beginning.

Theo: Jazmin is a very hard worker and I really respect her drive. Alexx has a strong grasp on the language and I find her very impressive in general.

What are you most proud of?

Before winter break, we asked our Japanese Plus students to reflect on their time in the program so far, and to share what they felt most proud of. Here are they answers:

Angel: I’m proud of the onigiri that I made and improving in katakana.

Maria: I am most proud of the self-introductions we have learned.

Cyrus: I guess just being able to talk to new people and not be a complete mess.

Asa: I’m most proud of me mastering katakana but mostly gaining more courage to speak out and meet new people.

Che: The fact that I memorized all my katakana. I know most of my combinations.

Alexx: I’m most proud of my speaking abilities in terms of public speaking. I’m not very good at speaking loud and clear, so I’ve been really happy with how far I’ve come.

Gabe: I went from knowing one Japanese word to being able to introduce myself and knowing katakana.

Jazmin: I’m most proud of my speaking skills, because I’ve improved a lot since the last time Eshita sensei taught me some phrases when I was in “Japan in DC.”

Katie: I’m really proud that we finished learning katakana and mastering it. I really thought it would take a long time to learn.

Jonah: Learning katakana and meeting with new people.

Arjernae: Learning basic Japanese is what I am most proud of (katakana, introduction, writing).

Theo: Probably the feeling of mastery over a different alphabetical system to the point that I recognize meaning relatively quickly.

Facebook group and learning katakana

By Gabe Mogzec

Ever since the start of the program this year, we have all been a part of the private Facebook group for the class. Since then, it’s been used for many different things. The most useful part of the group is that we can get updates about any upcoming events that are happening, or even just updates about the next class. Another great feature about the group is that anyone can upload to it. Photos, articles, and videos can all be shared by anyone. It does make it feel like a small community sometimes. Every week a couple articles are posted, varying from world events that involve Japan, or just lists of little known facts, both of which are interesting to read.

Lucca has uploaded a custom quizlet that has been a huge factor in helping me, and probably many others study their katakana. Learning katakana has been a very unique experience for me. When I was learning French, we used the Latin alphabet, but now I am learning a new alphabet that I have no previous knowledge of. Not only that, but I will have to learn 3 different alphabets if I want to be fluent in reading and writing. I wouldn’t say katakana is easy, but with enough drive and focus, I have been able to adapt to it. So far, I have really enjoyed being part of Japanese Plus, and I’m very excited to continue it.