The Reconnaissance Japan Program

Elective Courses

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Tutorial: Spring, Fall; 1 credit

Students are encouraged to proceed in their studies according to academic goals and study plans set individually with support and advice from the instructor. The content of this course differs by individual, focusing on overcoming weak points or pursuing language-related topics of special interest. In principle, students learn at their own pace; however, group activities may be organized according to student needs. In this course, students are encouraged to: (1) think about their Japanese-language needs and how to best meet those needs; (2) proceed in their studies according to their goals; and (3) evaluate outcome(s). Through these activities, the course aims to help students discover their own learning style and cultivate an independent learning attitude for future studies.

Kanji I, II; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

These courses for students with a non-Chinese language background are offered at two levels: for those at level 2 or the equivalent in the core curriculum (Kanji I); and for those at levels 3 to 4 or the equivalent (Kanji II). Emphasis is placed on providing students with alternative approaches to kanji through various tasks such as dividing one kanji into its components (e.g., radicals), grouping kanji, and studying the morphology of kanji, rather than rote memorization.

Elementary/Intermediate Pronunciation; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for students at levels II (b) and III (a) in the core curriculum introduces students to the basics of Japanese pronunciation. They learn about various features of the Japanese sound system such as vowels, consonants, rhythm, intonation, and accent through various activities such as voice performance and training, singing, and writing Haiku poems. Each class meeting starts with light warm-up stretches to help prepare students for vocal activities. The course also aims to improve students' general speaking skills.

Speaking I, II, III; Spring, Fall ; 1 credit

These courses for students at levels 3 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focus on improving knowledge of basic vocabulary, expressions, grammar, oral skills such as asking for clarification or confirmation, and the use of facial expressions and gestures for effective communication. Advanced students improve oral communication skills to adjust their speech to situations and audience, to cope with challenging situations involving negotiation, to discuss complicated social issues or feelings and to appropriately use expressions rooted in cultural differences. Native speakers of Japanese participate in this class as volunteers.

(NOTE: Students are placed in appropriate levels. The oral proficiency levels may be different from overall proficiency for the core class. Those who wish to register for this course must take a placement for "Speaking" classes (i.e., I, II, or III). Generally, "Speaking I" corresponds to an overall proficiency of "3b" or higher.)

Writing I, II, III; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

These courses for students at levels 3 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to write simple notes and email, state their opinions using appropriate expressions and grammar, and eventually fully participate in academic activities (e.g., giving presentations in seminars and writing papers) with Japanese students. Students acquire the vocabulary and expressions necessary to structure compositions logically.

(NOTE: Students are placed in appropriate levels. Writing skill levels may be different from overall proficiency for the core class. Those who wish to register for this course must first take a separate placement for writing courses. Detailed information is provided at the JLP Orientation and on the online course syllabus. Generally, "Writing I" corresponds to an overall proficiency of "3b" or higher.)

Reading I, II, III; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

These courses for students at levels 4 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to rapidly process large quantities of authentic Japanese written material. Students read various materials on society and culture to improve their reading skills. "Reading I" focuses on speed reading large quantities of material, whereas "Reading II" and "Reading III" have the additional goal of achieving deeper understanding of the material. Those who plan to continue to study Japanese at a higher level in the following semester are strongly advised to take one of these courses.

(NOTE: Students are placed in appropriate levels. Reading skill levels may be different from overall proficiency for the core curriculum. Those who wish to register for this course must first take a separate placement for reading courses. Generally "Reading I" corresponds to an overall proficiency of "3b" or higher.)

Elementary: Experiential Activities; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for beginning students at levels 1 to 2 or the equivalent in the core curriculum centers on activities outside the classroom. Its goals are to: help students obtain the linguistic knowledge and skills necessary for daily life, expose students to diverse forms of expression, allow them to experience authentic Japanese society and culture, help them gain confidence in using Japanese, and have them think about methods of language study outside the classroom. Activities, arranged to meet student interests, may include; shopping, cooking, observing a traditional Japanese event such as a local festival, making an appointment by phone, and paying a home visit. Normally, each activity is conducted following preparation in class or at home. No textbook is used, and transportation expenses, admission fees, and other actual costs are borne by the students themselves.

Elementary & Intermediate Grammar; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for intermediate students at levels 3 to 4 or the equivalent in the core curriculum helps students make appropriate use in various situations of the basic grammatical items learned at the high-elementary level (e.g., passive and causative verb forms and constructions, particles, expressions relating to time, demonstratives, honorific language) and gain competence in varying their language according to situation while learning differences between similar grammatical items and expressions. The course focuses not only on daily colloquial communication but also on written communication. It helps students acquire the grammatical foundation necessary for high-intermediate and advanced levels while also working to enlarge their vocabulary.

Intermediate: Experiential Activities; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for intermediate students at levels 3 to 4 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focuses on activities outside the classroom. Its goals are; to expose students to diverse forms of expression, allow them to experience authentic Japanese society and culture, help them gain confidence in using the Japanese language, and have them think about methods of language study outside the classroom. Activities, arranged to meet student interests, may include: shopping, cooking, observing a traditional Japanese event such as a local festival, making an appointment by phone, and paying a home visit. Normally, each activity is conducted following preparation in class or at home. No textbook is used, and transportation expenses, admission fees, and other actual costs are borne by the students.

Intermediate: Modern Pop Culture; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course is for intermediate students at levels 3 to 4 or the equivalent in the core curriculum. Students learn about contemporary Japanese popular culture through "J-pop" music, movies, dramas, animated films, fashion, and other forms of "youth culture" (wakamono-bunka). The course aims to help students learn new phrases and expressions that would normally not appear in language textbooks and to deepen their understanding of contemporary popular culture. In class, native Japanese-speaking guests are available as a "learning resource." Students are encouraged to talk and exchange information with the guests in order to learn about contemporary popular culture through authentic interactions with Japanese people.

Advanced: Experiential Activities (a); Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum is based on activities outside the classroom. Its goals are; to expose students to diverse forms of expression, provide them with opportunities to experience authentic Japanese society and culture, help them gain confidence, and have them think about methods of language study outside the classroom. Activities, arranged to meet student interests, may include observing a trial at a local court, visiting and collecting information at a travel agency, observing a traditional Japanese event such as a local festival, making an appointment by phone, and paying a home visit. Each activity is conducted following reparation in class or at home. No textbook is used. Transportation expenses, admission fees, and other actual costs are borne by students.

Advanced: Experiential Activities (b); Fall ONLY; 1 credit

This is a service learning course.
This course is for advanced students who are at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core Japanese program. The course centers around activities outside the classroom. Its goals are to (1) expose students to various aspects of Japanese society, (2) allow them to re-examine the realities of their home country and the world, (3) draw their attention to the issues that the whole world has to work together to solve, and (4) help them gain confidence in using the Japanese language to express their ideas. Activities may include exploring the local shopping arcade (shotengai) or participating in other volunteer activities involved with the local community. Normally, each activity will be conducted in the week following the discussion about the topic in class. No textbook will be used, and transportation expenses, insurance premium, and other actual costs will be borne by the students themselves. Some activities may be scheduled at night or on weekends.

Advanced Grammar; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course is for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum who have completed their study of intermediate Japanese and are thus proficient in daily communication, but wish to master the grammar necessary to make use of more elaborate expressions. Specifically, the course focuses on items such as compound elements at the end of a sentence, conjunctive expressions, adverbs, and other expressions not easily looked up in dictionaries, together with complex sentences that contain complicated modification relationships. Students are expected not only to expand their grammatical knowledge, but also to acquire the means of studying grammar through short conversations and compositions, e.g., by formulating questions on the basis of a hypothesis, obtaining help from reference books, exercise books, and people around them.

Advanced: Occupational Communication; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum helps students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to communicate better in Japanese in office situations or part-time jobs. The course focuses on how to contact people, report information, hold conferences, make presentations, wait on or speak with customers, and negotiate, whether over the phone, in person, or in writing. One other important goal is to have students think about customs and the nature of human relationships and communication through examples of problems, complaints, and successes in the workplace (and particularly in the multicultural workplace).

Advanced: Modern Pop Culture; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focuses on contemporary Japanese popular culture: "J-pop" music, movies, dramas, animated films, sports, fashion, and other forms of "youth culture" (wakamono-bunka). The course aims to help students learn new phrases and expressions that would normally not be taught in a formal classroom situation, and to deepen their understanding of contemporary popular culture.

Advanced Terms in Geography and History; Spring, Fall; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum provides various exercises and assignments for students to learn the vocabulary and expressions used in geography and history as taught in Japanese elementary and junior high schools. The course aims to help students (1) comprehend university lectures in Japanese, newspaper articles, and TV news, and (2) comprehend and master the vocabulary and background knowledge necessary for daily communication.

Advanced: Academic Essay Writing; Spring, Fall; 1 credit)

This course is for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum as well as for dgree-seeking students in their second year or higher who wish to further improve their academic writing skills after completing "Japanese Language Foundations AI." (It is recommended that RJ students register for "Japanese (Writing)," rather than this course, unless they are specifically interested in improving skills in writing academic essays.) Students practice writing in a clear and logical manner at both sentence and paragraph levels in a suitable academic style. They then learn step by step how to put their paragraphs in a logical order.

Advanced: Listening/Note-taking; Spring ONLY; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focuses on skills necessary to understand university lectures for native speakers of Japanese. Note taking, watching videos of real university lectures and learning to briefly summarize class content based on one's own notes and classroom materials, all prepare students to understand university lectures on their own. In the process students learn to evaluate their Japanese language skills objectively, allowing them to elevate their overall language ability.

Advanced: Expressions in Japanese & Chinese; Spring ONLY; 1 credit

This course is for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent of the core curriculum. Native Japanese speakers with advanced Chinese language skills are also welcome. Students practice translating Chinese newspaper articles, literary works, business documents (e.g., letters and company literature), and technical/ medical documents (e.g., specifications and manuals) into Japanese. Students are expected to produce natural translations based on mastery of sentence structures and vocabulary. Translating involves many difficulties stemming from the differences between the two languages in the areas of grammar, vocabulary, and culture. Students perform translation tasks as homework and then present them to the class for discussion. The instructor provides explanations and feedback as needed, but for the course to meet its goals students must complete the tasks assigned before each lesson.

Advanced: Newscasts and Newspaper Articles; Fall ONLY; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focuses on various issues related to contemporary Japan through newscasts, newspapers, and class discussions. Students also acquire knowledge of journalistic expressions and narrative styles commonly used by the news media. Students deepen their understanding of issues and acquire relevant vocabulary through the complementary use of news broadcasts and newspaper articles.

Advanced: Expressions in Japanese & Korean; Fall ONLY; 1 credit

This course for advanced students at levels 5 to 6 or the equivalent in the core curriculum focuses on differences in pronunciation, vocabulary, expressions, grammar and conversation between Korean and Japanese, studying them systematically from the viewpoint of contrastive linguistics. Each class focuses on a theme requiring particular care, based on error analysis by native speakers of Korean. In addition to linguistic issues, the class also notices differences in the cultures and ways of thinking of Korea and Japan, with the goal of deepening mutual understanding of these two societies.

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