Well, during the first 5 days of school, the focus was on learning to read and write all 71 hiragana (though only 46 of them are original symbols. The other 25 are slight variations of those first 46), and putting them together to form various words, and then round it off with a test at the end, which was today. That’s right, only 5 days to learn them all. But, I studied hard, and managed to more or less learn them all by heart. I don’t get the test back until tomorrow, but I’m sure I did reasonably well.
We have also learned a vocabulary of 50 Japanese words (many of which I already knew from before), the names of the 7 days of the week, a few phrases and sentences, and how to count to 9000 (though I could already count to one million from before, so. :-P). Next up is katakana and, I think, some starting grammar, as well as continous expansion of our vocabulary. Kanji learning doesn’t start until at the end of the month (though that’s only a week and a half away…), from which point we will be steadily learning new kanji all through the year, with the goal being to have learned 512 of them by the end, 128 of which we will learn during the first three months.
So yes, the pace is fast, and there’s no time to be lazy. Having a high motivation is probably a huge plus. But there’s a lot of variation at least, with the focus being on both reading, writing, vocabulary and speaking, instead of just one or the other, and the teachers are also very good. All the teaching is done only in Japanese by the way, in case you were wondering, and no, the teachers don’t really speak English, except a tiny bit. 😉 This actually works well though.
This is my hiragana table that I use:
This is an example of me practicing writing hiragana, with my less than great handwriting (I don’t think I’m too bad though, according to my teacher my hiragana writing is actually pretty decent overall)…:
And finally here are some random examples of me practicing writing actual Japanese words in only hiragana:
That last one is from today’s homework. That’s how you write the 7 days of the week in hiragana in Japanese.