Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Present

Tuesday would be the only day I go to school this week and next, and guess what? I get a package. There's no one on campus, no one in the department, except me and the chair.

"It's either work or an important Christmas card," I tell Mr. Fedex.

"It's from a Xianting," the delivery dude said and looked at me in anticipation.

Aaah, Xianting. A former student who graduated a year ago. She was one of the best and most insightful students I had in my Lit in Translation course. She often came to office hours to say "hi" and chat a bit, and we got to know each other pretty well considering that she never studied anything else related to Japan. She told me that she wanted to invite me to a "distinguished student dinner" last year, but refrained as it conflicted with my late class. I ended up going anyway when another "recognized" student asked me. I never pass up a free dinner.

Anyway, I saw Xianting at the end of Finals period last year. She came by the office to say "good-bye" and that she enjoyed the classes from her "favorite teacher." We hugged and she left for bigger and better things on the West Coast. Besides the occasional random comments on Facebook, that was the last time I heard from her. Until Tuesday.

"Ah, my girlfriend in California," I smiled at the delivery dude.

He grinned as I signed for the package. He descended down the hall seemingly pleased at the thought he was delivering joy instead of work over the holiday season.

I knew better, of course. As any experienced professor could have easily deduced, inside the package was a request for a letter of recommendation. *sigh*

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Current Schedule

Click the office hour or course for details. If the hours are inconvenient, feel free to email me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Growing Pains

Since the inception of the Japanese Language and Literature Major Program in 1996, the goal has been: 1) To provide Japanese language instruction to all GW students that meets real-world objectives, goals that realize language proficiency in real-world situations. 2) To provide education in Japanese literature and culture to GW students that encourages diversity in thought and flexibility in opinion. 3) To establish a regionally and nationally recognized program by graduating competent students in the field of Japanese language and literature, and by disseminating cutting-edge research through publications by its faculty.

Over the past five years, we have striven to fulfill these goals, and the results suggest that we have had a degree of success, given our resources. With three full-time faculty, we have 1) improved the quality and timeliness of instruction so that the average student can reach the advanced language levels and still expect to graduate in four years (sometimes three); and 2) maintained a consistent number of Japanese Majors and a lower attrition rate. Since Spring '03, we have maintained a consistent number of Japanese Majors. In Spring 2003, there were 20 declared majors; in Fall 2008, there are 20 declared majors. Enrollment in advanced Japanese courses has also remained consistent. An average for fourth year Readings in Modern Japanese (JAPN 107) has been 16 students, and Literary Japanese (JAPN 109) 12 students―with 18 students this year. We have also addressed a previous weak spot―no highly advanced Japanese courses for students who entered GW with advanced placement or have studied abroad―with the course Advanced Conversation and Composition (JAPN 121-22).

And yet, we suffer from growing pains as expanding is proving to be a difficult. My main concern is a lack of course offerings that go beyond basic language an literature instruction and highlight the specialties of full-time faculty. Our goal of encouraging diversity in thought and flexibility of opinion is partially addressed through advanced language and literature survey courses. However, these do not take full advantage of the resources available in the program and at the university. Specialized literature or linguistics courses would provide our students with greater insight to Japanese and an opportunity to broaden their minds to different ways of thinking. It would have the added advantage of fostering pride in faculty efforts, encourage further research, and compel them to stay on the cutting edge of their field.

The dilemma: Not enough time. The full-time faculty members carry a teaching load that is equal to or greater than those of similar programs at others institutes. Prof. Tsujioka carries a 3-4 course load; I teach 3-3, a well as a proseminar course that I cannot count toward my teaching load (JAPN 198). Prof. Hamano's indefinite reassignment to the Language Center simply compounds the problem. In an ideal situation, the hiring of two full-time faculty would allow the program to grow, produce and contribute.

One full time position would be a hire to cover the void left by Prof. Hamano's reassignment. A specialist in Japanese linguistics or Japanese literature with experience or expertise in language teaching would fill this vacuum. The second hire would be for a teaching specialist for language instruction. This position would reduce the continual need to rely solely on part timers and stabilize instruction with staff who would have a vested interest in the advancement of the program. Further, it would partially free full time faculty to teach courses in their own field of specialty, thereby privileging students, creating opportunities for advanced research―and greater visibility for the University, and lay the ground foundation for a possible graduate program.

As you might discern, I'm simply wishing...

Friday, December 05, 2008

Tale of Genji

Next Fall semester, I have an extra slot to teach.... ha! Like I need more courses to teach! I've applied for the Dean's seminar to teach a course on The Tale of Genji.

Genji, the Shining Prince, was not just about a dilettante and playboy, although I can understand such comments by students in a survey course of Japanese literature. But when a student compares this icon of Japanese literature to a suspect on MSNBC’s “To Catch a Predator”—even in jest—I am compelled to consider a course dedicated to a deeper appreciation of one of the masterpieces of Japanese literary history, The Tale of Genji. A Dean’s Seminar would provide an appropriate venue for such a course.

Misconceptions concerning the Genji are not limited to my students. The Japanese novelist and nun, Setouchi Jakuchō, regards Genji’s actions as more than seduction: “It was all rape, not seduction.” If Setouchi—a recognized “expert” on classical literature in Japan—can make such a comment in a New York Times interview (1999.05.28), then comments such as those uttered by my students should not surprise anyone. Using an abridged version to accommodate a survey course, that covers more than a thousand years of poetry, chronicles, diaries and essays, simply compounds the problem. All available abridged versions primarily cover the early chapters when Genji is young and sexually active. As a result, even an astute reader such as Virginia Woolf fails to capture all that the Genji has to offer. In a review of the first volume of Arthur Waley’s Genji translation, Woolf writes: “Some element of horror, of terror, of sordidity, some root of experience has been removed from the Eastern world so that crudeness is impossible and coarseness out of the question, but with it too has gone some vigour, some richness, some maturity of the human spirit.” (Vogue, Late July, 1925) Such conclusions, based only on the first few chapters, are unfortunate but inevitable. Time, effort and, of course, reading the entire text are necessary to appreciate fully the Tale of Genji.

The Genji, written by Murasaki Shikibu (b. ca. 973-d. ca. 1014), provides a view into the culture of the Heian court, a place both foreign yet somehow familiar. For example, political power was controlled by a branch of the Fujiwara family, a control based on political maneuvering: Through the mid-Heian period, Fujiwara leaders arranged for their daughters to become the primary wives of succeeding emperors, ensuring their position as imperial advisor/regent by virtue of being the grandfather of the crown prince. In the Genji, this legitimacy is challenged when the Genji—charismatic and beautiful since birth—is born of a lesser imperial consort. His mother is literally bullied to death and the emperor’s primary wife reveals herself to be an evil step-mother, coddling her own son the crown prince while tormenting Genji. The emperor, all too aware of the situation, ensures his son’s safety by assigning Genji to a distant branch of the imperial line, thereby disassociating him from any issue of succession.

However, knowledge of the political and cultural realities of the time is not the only requirement to appreciating the Genji. Japanese literature is notorious for its open-endedness. Anyone who has read “In a Grove” by Akutagawa Ryūnoske—later made into the film Rashōmon—will have experienced the Japanese sense of non-closure. This is certainly the case in the Genji, in which the main character dies with one quarter of the story remaining. The narrative continues, focusing on Genji’s descendants and how they are influenced by his past actions, whether by karmic affect or a confluence of circumstances. The effect on the reader is an appreciation of the open-endedness of life as portrayed in a story that seems to continue on regardless of the absence of the protagonist. Life goes on no matter who dies.

A course on the Tale of Genji will deal with topics such as these, through readings of the main text and selected secondary sources. The main text is a recent translation by Royall Tyler (2001). The fact that it is in translation should not detract from any appreciation of the tale; Tyler has provided a translation that is remarkably faithful to the original, making it just as accessible as the Genji monogatari translated into modern Japanese for college students in Japan. Secondary sources will provide insights that will lead to deeper discussions and analyses of the story. Ultimately, the course will reveal the vigor, richness and maturity of the human spirit in the Genji that was lost on Woolf, while encouraging diversity in thought and flexibility in opinion for GW Freshmen through an understanding of a world centuries away.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Okonomiyaki party

We had our annual okonomiyaki party for bungo students. Yes, we had fun as usual.

Previous Courses

The following are the syllabi for previous classes taught at The George Washington University. Some of the information may be outdated; it is provided here only as a general guideline when deciding which class to take. Requirements pertaining to a given class in a given year can vary. Current syllabi--hard copy or Blackboard link--will be provided in class. For courses and course description of all Japanese courses at GW, see the the University Bulletin Course Catalog.

For specific questions or further information, contact me at: hanami{at}gwu.edu

To read a syllabus, click on one of the following links:

Sunday, November 02, 2008

On composing haiku

On November 1, I woke p at 4:30 in the morning--people who know me would be shocked at this--showered and dressed, and waited for my ride to pick me up at 6 AM to take me the annual conference for FLAVA--Foreign Language Association of Virginia--held in Richmond, VA. The teacher and current president of MAATJ--Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese--drove the two hours from Northern Virginia to Richmond, where I gave the Keynote talk on composing haiku for K-12 students at the MAATJ chapter at the FLAVA conference. Those in attendance were primarily elementary to high school teachers, mostly from Virginia, with a few from Maryland.

I talked about strategies of how they might teach haiku composition in Japanese to their students. I covered the basics, of course: 5-7-5 structure, season words, etc. I also suggested strategies to excite students: No grammar in haiku!!!! I also suggested compositional principles to jazz up their poems.

Actually, I have been the judge of their annual haiku contests for the past three years and told them that some of their students were very imaginative and often conveyed many of the techniques found in haiku written by the master, Basho. One technique might be called "funneling" as in the following poem by Basho.

あけぼのや白魚白きこと一寸
In the dawn / the white fish, it's whiteness / one inch

The poem suggests a loneliness born of an image of a single puny white fish with the dawning sky as its backdrop. The technique is to begin the image with something large--the dawn--and funnel into a smaller size--a school of whitefish, then focusing on the size of a single fish by looking at its color--or perhaps its absence of color, especially in contrast to the red sky of dawn.

A high school student from Langley High produced the following.

つよい風 たこをすいあげ くもの上
Strong wind / blows the kite up / above the clouds

This poem also suggests a desolate loneliness represented through a kite. A strong wind (large presence) pulls the kite into the sky above the clouds, the kite, of course, getting smaller as it ascends. The image of a kite dominated by the wind suggests a desolation, and the progressively smaller kite is a lonely site indeed. And yet, it is a beautiful image.

In any event, it was a nice meeting and I had a nice albeit embarrassing time. I get kind of flustered when people kind of fawn over me: "Oh sensei, this way please." "Oh sensei, would you like more coffee?" My old man used to like this kind of attention, but I find it awkward as I don't really see myself as worthy of any special attention.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Alumni Weekend

This semester has been hectic. My colleague has been reassigned and most of the work we had divided between the two of us has been placed in my lap. It's the end of the 4th week, and I can't wait 'til Christmas. But then, I always say that around the 4th week.

Anyway, this weekend was Alumni Weekend at our school. I started this Friday participating in a workshop on the issues of teaching Chinese characters. It was interesting enough as the faculty members from Chinese, Japanese and Korean all had different approaches and methods of teaching. The basic philosophies are so different. In Chinese, there are a kazillion characters to learn, but they are usually read in one way, whereas in Japanese, each character maintains its original Chinese pronunciation--although it has been altered significantly by the Japanese--as well as a Japanese pronunciation that was applied for semantic meanings. To make matters worse, depending on when the character and concept arrived in Japan, there can be two different Chinese pronunciations, and if there are related semantically there can be two (or more!) different Japanese readings.

女: female. Chinese: nyu. Japanese: (Chin) nyou, jo; (Japn) onna, me.

Anyway, the workshop was nice enough. From 3 PM, I signed up to stay in our department to welcome any alumni who decided to drop by for Alumni Weekend. But as we were setting up our conference room, we noticed a large suitcase tucked under the desk we keep in the hallway. A colleague and I asked the others if they knew anything about it. No one knew. The suitcase was rather dirty, pushed beck beneath the desk in an obvious attempt to conceal it, and had a sticker on its side that read: "Screened: Dubai International Airport." We decided that maybe security should take a look at it.

When the campus police came, they immediately determined that it was suspicious, they blocked access to the area--which actually blocked us into our corner of the building--and contacted their supervisors who then came to confirm the threat. The building was evacuated and we descended down the back emergency stairwell. Soon, the campus police presence was everywhere, sirens whirred as police vehicles cordoned off the streets around the building, and explosive-sniffing German Shepherds went in and out the building.

After two hours it was safe to return. As we waited, my colleagues and I talked with a member of the Homeland Security response team--yes, they took this very seriously--and he said they had identified the owner of the suitcase. I suppose we'll read about who and why soon enough in the school newspaper--I don't expect it to be even a blip on the media radar on a day when the Obama-McCain debate dominated the news cycle.

I was hoping to get some grading done while waiting for any possible alumni to show up, but the events of the afternoon squashed that plan. But ultimately, there was no bomb and everyone was safe. I guess that was as good a way to start the weekend as any.

PostScript: I did get to meet two alumni this weekend--Allison and Clark Munson. They seem to be doing fine, enjoying married life and successful careers.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

If you teach it, they will come

最近仕事が目が回るほど忙しくなったけど、それでもこの仕事が好きだ。好きな専門――古典文学、平安和歌、文語など――を教えられるし、いつも若者に囲まれているから、最高だと思う。うちの学校では日本語・日本文学も専攻にできるので、懸命に学生をリクルートしたり、日本へ留学させたり、大事に育てているつもりだ。

授業では、僕は熱心だ。学生が僕と同じくらい熱くなるためだ。日本文学は面白くて美しいだけではなく、有意義な文学だ、と主張する。言葉の意味は固定している、と思うようなアメリカ人に、日本文学のテキストの意味の柔軟性を見ろ、と。言葉の意味が文脈によって変化することを把握すれば、政治のプロパガンダやニュースの操られ方も分かってくる。文学は勉強のし方によっていろんなものを得られるぞ、と励ます。

しかし、この前、予想外のことがあった。

日本語は難しいから、文学を教える場合、どの大学では、英訳による日本文学 (Japanese Literature in Translation) のクラスは必要だ。これは入門みたいなもので、アメリカ人の学生にとって、初めて日本文学を味わえるチャンスだ。よって、日本語がまったくできない学生も結構いる。

しかし、今学期、日本語のできない、日本文学も文化も知らない学生二人が僕の授業に出席して、後で日本に留学したいと相談しに来た。日本語は知らなくても留学できますかって。先生の講義を聞いて興味がわいたって。日本に行ってみたくなったんだって。

はっきり言って、とてもうれしい。でも、本当に日本へ留学してそこで悪い経験してたら、僕のセイになるのかな、と心配で心配で。

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

JAPN 111 Japanese Literature in Translation (2008)

PURPOSE The course is a survey of premodern Japanese literature discovered through assigned readings and films. It aims to encourage diversity in thought, flexibility in opinion, and an understanding of the role of texts in forming ideas as represented through Japanese literature.

REQUIREMENTS Every student must be registered in JAPN 111. There is no prerequisite for the course. Every student will be expected to have completed the assigned readings by the day assigned. In general, each class will involve a brief lecture—which may include the background, historical context, and possible interpretations of the assigned readings—and group/class discussion in which students will be required to participate. Every student must complete all assignments—reviews, essays, creative assignments. Every student must take all quizzes. The student who cannot attend class due to emergency or illness is still responsible for any assignments due for the class missed. There is no make-up quiz. All readings are in English.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENTS Success in the course is contingent on the students' performance in all assignments and exams. Assignments will also be posted here on Black Board. You will be required to do the following:

  • Short essays—Each essay should be 1000 words, +/- 50 words. See formatting below for specifics. (100 points each) An Essay is a critical response to a specific question. An essay should be viewed as a mini-paper consisting of an introduction, a body, grounds for and support of your position, and a conclusion. Reference to other sources to support your position affords a convincing argument.
  • Participation and Creative assignments—Credit for participation is based on proactive contributions to in-class discussion--Questions or unrelated comments are not generally considered contributions. Tardiness and absences is considered partial and no participation, respectively. Creative assignments will reflect literary works read for class, including--but not limited to--diary entries, personal essays, and poems--including our poetry match. (Participation 50 pts; Assignments 40 pts, Poetry Match 10 pts)
    • Poetry match in which all will be expected to contribute two poems. The match will consist of two teams with captains and readers. Poems will be judged by your peers. Captains and judges will be volunteers who will still have to contribute a poem. Volunteers will receive the appreciation of the instructor... (W-A, T-B, L-C for each poem)

  • The Genji lectures Presentations of key chapters from the Tale of Genji. Presentions will be done in groups. The instructor will designate groups and assign chapters. Each presention should be approximately 15 minutes and may take any form the group decides. The key is to grasp the essential issues of the chapters and present them in a understandable way. Previous students have put on skits, news shows, game shows and puppets (yes, really)... (100 pts, of which 50 is by your group members/peers.)
  • 11 Weekly Online Quizzes on Blackboard—Questions will be multiple choice, true false, matching and short answer. Questions will be taken from all readings and lectures prior to the week of the quiz. While all quizzes focus on more recent material, in general, they are cumulative. Quizzes will be online for a 24 hour window from 6AM Tuesday to 6AM Wednesday. There is a 15 minute limit for each quiz and a quiz can only be opened once. If your computer malfunctions, or you otherwise cannot take the quiz, you may take a hard copy make-up quiz in my office by Monday before the next quiz. Questions on make-up quizzes are different from online quizzes. Your lowest quiz score will be dropped. See below for makeup policy. (20 x 10 = 200 pts.)
  • Midterm exam—The midterm is an in-class exam that will reflect the quizzes but will also include a creative assignment and IDs. There will also be a take home essay component. (200 points)
  • Final Exam The Final will be a take home exam equivalent to two essays/assignments. (200 pts)

QUESTIONS The instructor maintains an open door policy—if my office door is open, feel free to come in. If you have further questions or concerns, please see the instructor during office hours or make an appointment. All students are encouraged to come by and visit.
Blackboard: All communications and schedule changes will be on Blackboard. Please go to gwu.blackboard.com, log on to this class. and familiarize yourself with it. BE sure to check Staff Information for my “real” email address.

Grading will be based on total of points of all required assignments, 1000 pts. equaling 100%.

  • Grading on participation and in-class assignment will be based on the student's effort and demonstrated knowledge of the reading material assigned that day.
  • Makeup policy—There is no makeup exam except in cases of verifiable emergencies—i.e. Doctor’s note, accident report, police report. One quiz may be made up for any (or no) reason. A second makeup requires a verifiable excuse or is subject to a 10% penalty. No more than two makeup quizzes. Makeups must be made up within one week. In-class assignments cannot be made up. I will drop the lowest quiz grade, with the exception of makeup quizzes which cannot be dropped.
  • Late assignments— Tardiness is not tolerated, but late assignments will be accepted WITHIN ONE WEEK of due date. In case of verifiable emergency—illness or accident—you will be entitled to a one-week grace period. Be sure to contact the instructor ASAP with appropriate verifiable documentation. Late assignments without an acceptable reason and documentation will be automatically downgraded by 10%. If you cannot make class due to an emergency, hand your paper in early or have a friend hand it in for you. Ultimately, however, you are responsible for the submission of your own paper.

Formatting Careful thought should be put into ALL submissions--Essays, and Final exam essays. Grades for all submissions will be based on the following critieria:

Structure
  • ntroduction, including topic/theme/aspect to be discussed.
  • Body one, expansion of topic/theme/aspect; including reason for choice, argumentation/position, supporting documentation.
  • Body two, evidence to support position.
  • Conclusion, summary of paper.

Clarity

  • Correct speling (oops, I mean, spelling).
  • No typos.
  • Appropriate diction, which means understandable word choice and usage.
  • Adherence to English grammar, including subject-verb agreement, and the absence of run-on or incomplete sentences.

Response

  • Originality
  • Insight

Generally speaking, high grades (A) will be given to those who fulfill all three of the above successfully; good grades (B) to those who fulfill two of the three, and average grades (C) to those who fulfill only one.

Advice

  • Clarity is of great import. If I have to read a paragraph (or the entire paper) twice to understand it, then your structure or grammar is not clear. Each word, sentence, paragraph and section must make sense with each other as the paper builds toward a conclusion. Consider having a friend--one who is not in the class--read your paper to see if she/he can understand it.
  • Avoid the stream-of-consciousness approach to writing. Consider preparing a one-page outline. Being able to see the structure of your paper in one glance will give you an idea if your thoughts are logically connected.
  • Originality will influence your grade as well. Typically, students regurgitate what has been discussed in class; while this is not necessarily bad, it lacks originality. Previous students who have received high grades approach questions from a different angle or take an original (some may say argumentative) position.
  • Some students have submitted structured papers with very original topics, but ill-advised diction or sloppy grammar have doomed them to a B.
  • Similarly, other students have had original topics and a flair for words, submitting papers that were actually enjoyable to read. However, if they failed to provide documentation or evidence to support their position, then their structure was weak (they submitted a personal essay instead of an academic paper) and did not receive a high grade.

If you have any questions, please fell free to come and see me. However, refrain from asking me to proofread any draft (which some students, amazingly, have done).

Formatting

  • Word count should be strictly observed.
  • Do not attach a cover sheet.
  • Put your name on every page. You do not need to provide your student number, name of course or instructor on the first page.
  • A brief title is appropriate for all submissions; a regurgitation of the question/issue is not.
  • Type and format ALL submissions in a manner consistent with college-level work. You should:
    • space lines a minimum of 1.5, maximum double.
    • make all margins one inch.
    • use font size no smaller than 12 points; font face of Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier.
    • indent long quotations.
    • italicize or underline book titles, use quotation marks for article titles, format citations appropriately.
    • do not provide a bibliography since citations should be complete.
  • If you are unfamiliar with formatting, follow the guidelines found in the MLA Handbook, The Chicago Book of Style, or any other recognized guidebook on academic style.

Text: Required

Steven D. Carter, comp. Traditional Japanese Poetry : An Anthology, Stanford University Press, August 1991. PL 782.E3 T7 1991 ISBN: 0804722129

Helen Craig McCullough, trans. Classical Japanese Prose: An Anthology, Stanford University Press, August 1991. PL 777.115 .C57 1990 ISBN: 0804719608

Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji, abridged, Royall Tyler, trans., Viking Press, 2001.
Text: additional

Various chapters/articles will be distributed in class or through Blackboard.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Introduction to Bungo (2008)

Purpose Introduction to Classical Japanese is a course that aims to familiarize the interested student to classical texts in Japanese. It will explain grammar and expose the student to "authentic" Japanese. The course will be conducted mainly in English.

Requirements Every student must be registered in JAPN 109. No auditor is allowed. Prerequisite for the course is JAPN 106 or equivalent.

  • The course will offer instruction in basic literary grammar, focusing on the conjugations of verbs, adjectives, and auxilliary verbs, as well as case particles, conjunctive particles and emphatics. This will lead to readings of early modern texts that incorporate this style.
  • Ultimately, this training should prepare the student to read early modern texts, such as pre-WWII government documents, newspapers and journal accounts which were written in literary Japanese.

The course will include readings, grammar / vocabulary / translation quizzes, and two exams. All quizzes and exams are cumulative.

  • Class participation is mandatory; consequently, regular attendance is required. A total of three (3) absences for the semester is allowed for cases of illness or emergencies. The student will be required to read and translate any portion of the assigned text or be prepared to discuss or explain the grammatical structures under discussion. Your participation will be graded on your attendance and preparedness.
  • There will be one group power point presentation reviewing grammar prior to the midterm; evaluation will be partially peer-graded.
  • One quiz may be made up for any (or no) reason. A second makeup quiz requires verifiable excuses—i.e. doctor’s note, accident report, police report—or is subject to a 10% penalty. No more than two makeup quizzes. A quiz must be made up within one week. The lowest quiz grade is dropped, excluding makeup quizzes. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Each quiz will be collected promptly 15 minutes after the quiz is distributed, so do not be late for class; you will not receive extra time.
  • There will be two midterms, and an in-class final. There is no early final, so do not schedule a flight home during finals period except in case of emergency. There is no makeup for any exam except in cases of verifiable emergencies.

Text There is one dictionary required for the course; and should be available at the bookstore. Other texts will be distributed in class.

  • 金田一春彦編、『現代新国語辞典』学研

If you prefer, you may use any of the following dictionaries as well.

  • Kitahara Y., ed. Zenyaku kogo reikai jiten, Shougakkan.
  • Sato S., ed. Yousai kogo jiten, Meiji Shoin.
  • Koujien, Iwanami shoten.
  • Kokugo Daijiten, Shougakkan

Optional Text—available through most Internet book sellers.

  • Helen McCullough. Bungo Manual. Cornell East Asia Series, 1993. ISBN: 0939657481

Tentative Grading schedule Midterm exam 25%, quizzes 25%, project 10%, class participation and attendance 10%, final exam 30%.

Blackboard All communications and schedule changes will be on Blackboard. Please go to gwu.blackboard.com, log on to this class. and familiarize yourself with it. BE sure to check Staff Information for my “real” email address. Do not use my gwu account.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact the instructor during office hours, after class or make an appointment. E-mails are always welcome.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Intertextually speaking

Japanese is so intertextual. Everything spoken relies on the listeners understanding of a wide range of cultural and social elements. Nouns and verbs are abbreviated without a thought, and grammatical sentences that are perfectly fine in Japanese would be nonsensical in English.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

JAPN 107 Readings in Modern Japanese

Purpose The course, Readings in Modern Japanese, aims to broaden the Japanese reading ability the student is expected to have acquired to this point, as well as bring up for discussion aspects of contemporary culture as seen through contemporary literary texts and essays. It will go beyond the grammatical lessons and pattern practices of basic Japanese and expose the student to "authentic" Japanese.

Requirements Every student must be registered in JAPN 107. No auditor is allowed. Prerequisite for the course is JAPN 008 or equivalent.

The course will offer shorts stories and essays of Murakami Haruki for reading and discussion concerning any socio-cultural insights. The student will be required to prepare, read and translate any portion of the text assigned. The student must also be prepared to discuss pertinent issues regarding any work assigned.

Class participation is mandatory; consequently, regular attendance is required. Student participation will be based on attendance and preparedness. You will be evaluated by obvious indicators of preparedness, such as your ability to read text smoothly, to recognize kanji readings, and to demonstrate a least a modicum of understanding of the text.

During the course of the semester, there will be weekly quizzes—on Tuesdays there will be vocabulary quizzes based on completed readings, and on Thursdays there will be text quizzes based on the readings. There will be occasional sight passage quizzes. One quiz may be made up for any (or no) reason. A second and third makeup quiz requires verifiable excuses—i.e. doctor’s note, accident report, police report—or is subject to a 10% penalty. No more than three makeup quizzes. A quiz must be made up within one week. The lowest quiz grade is dropped, excluding makeup quizzes. Quizzes will be given at the beginning of class. Each quiz will be collected promptly 15 minutes after the quiz is distributed, so do not be late for class; you will not receive extra time.

There will be two midterms, and an in-class final. There is no early final, so do not schedule a flight home during finals period except in case of emergency. There is no makeup for any exam except in cases of verifiable emergencies.

Text The instructor will provide reading texts. The following dictionary is required: 金田一春彦編、『現代新国語辞典』学研.

Tentative grading schedule The Final grade will be determined as follows: 10% class participation/preparation; 30% All quizzes and in-class assignments; 20% + 20% Midterm exam; 20% Final exam.

Blackboard All communications and schedule changes will be on Blackboard. Please go to gwu.blackboard.com, log on to this class. and familiarize yourself with it. Be sure to check Staff Information for my “real” email address.

Japanese Online Most computers can display and produce Japanese. In Windows, XP you need to install the Japanese in Regional Settings. On a Mac, you can activate Japanese under System Preferences => International.

If you have further questions or concerns, feel free to contact the instructor during office hours, after class or make an appointment.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

My Office


Messy as usual

I gotta stack of papers to grade: Midterms for Bungo (literary Japanese) from last week, and today's Lit class midterm. Well, it's the 12th week of the semester so its really a latter-term exam. I do this to bring relief to my students. They are usually drowning in study during the 7th through 10th week when every other profs gives midterms. My students don't have to worry about my courses until now, when they have nothing else to do... well, relatively nothing else to do. It also allows me to test them on more stuff, exactly eleven weeks worth of stuff. I mean, what's an exam if its not comprehensive, right?

Okay, okay, I'm going. Back to work...

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Onigiriman Philosophy

We are the sum total of our individual experiences. As a consequence, everything we think, say, and interpret is "tainted" by our ever-changing thoughts through our never-ending negotiations with the world. While we may try to cling to objective "facts", these facts are meaningful through the prism of our own experiences. As such every memory we recall, every event we interpret is our own subjective perspective of the truth.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Curriculum Vitae

TEACHING EXPERIENCE
9/96-Current
The George Washington University, Washington, DC. Assistant professor for the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures. Instruction and lectures on Japanese language (all levels), literature, film and culture; Japanese Major Advisor; Acting Coordinator for Japanese Language and Literature (2008).

6/95-8/95
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Instructor for the Department of Asian Languages in Intensive Third-Year Modern Japanese. The course dealt primarily with improving Japanese reading ability to prepare students for advanced work and research, and focused on non-textbook sources, including essays, magazine and newspaper articles, and literary short stories. (Also 6/88-8/88 and 6/93-8/93)

6/89-11/89
Development Associates, Cupertino, CA. Developed and taught introductory conversational Japanese course. Course designed for professionals interested in understanding basic Japanese.

6/89-8/89
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Teaching Assistant for the Department of Asian Languages in First-Year Modern Japanese. (Also 6/87-8/87)

10/85-3/86
University of California, Los Angeles. Teaching associate for the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in Advanced Modern Japanese.

10/83-6/84
University of California, Los Angeles. Teaching assistant for the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures in Elementary Modern Japanese. (Also 4/86-6/86)

OTHER WORK EXPERIENCE
1/91-3/93
National Institute for Research Advancement (Sôgô kenkyû kaihatsu kikô), Center for Policy Information Research. Secretary for overseas affairs. Responsibilities included correspondence with overseas research institutes, and the development, coordinating and editing of English publications.

EDUCATION
9/86-3/97
Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Graduate Division. Ph.D. degree in the Department of Asian Languages. Concentration: Medieval Japanese Poetry. Dissertation topic: The Priest Jakuren and his Poetry.

1/90-3/91
Nihon University, Tokyo, Japan. School of Letters and Science. Conducted dissertation research in the Department of Japanese Literature as non-matriculated research student. Concentration: Shinkokin Poetry.

4/83-6/86
University of California, Los Angeles. Graduate Division. Master of Arts degree in East Asian Languages and Cultures, June, 1986. Concentration: Classical Japanese Literature.

10/84-9/85
Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan. Institute of Language Teaching. Non-degree Advanced Specialized Japanese. Concentration: Japanese language.

6/84-8/84
University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Summer program in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. Intensive Elementary Modern Chinese.

4/81-3/83
University of California, Los Angeles. Bachelor of Arts degree in Japanese Studies, March, 1983.

9/75-1/81
East Los Angeles College, Monterey Park, CA. Associate of Arts degree, general education, June, 1980.

AWARDS
  • Nominated GW University Service Award, 2010.
  • Robert W. Kenny Prize recipient, 2010.
  • Nominated for the Bender Teaching Award 2006.
  • Nominated for the Bender Teaching Award 2003.
  • University Facilitating Fund Grant. Funding to promote the research of faculty at The George Washington University. 2002-3
  • Japan Fund Grant. Supplemental dissertation research funding awarded by the Institute for International Studies, Stanford University. 1991
  • Stanford Graduate Fellowship. Awarded by the Graduate Division of Stanford University. Three-year full tuition and stipend. 1986-89
  • UCLA Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award. Awarded by the Academic Senate Committee on Teaching for performance as a teaching assistant in first-year Japanese instruction. 1984
  • Chancellor's Achievement Award. Awarded by East Los Angeles College in recognition of academic achievement. 1980

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: Publications, Papers and Presentations
  • “Teaching and Composing Haiku in the Classroom.” Keynote speaker at the Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese at the Foreign Language Association of Virginia Annual Conference, November 1, 2008.
  • “Context and Intertext in Japanese Literature,” Foreign Service Institute Training Center, Arlington, VA, May 2008.
  • "Loosening the Links: Considering Intention in Linked Verse and Its Consequences," in Matsuo Basho's Poetic Spaces: Exploring Haikai Intersections, ed. Eleanor Kerkham (New York: Palgrave Macmillan), 2007
  • "Composing Haiku and Senryu." Greater Washington Association for Teachers of foreign Languages 2006 Fall Conference, 2006.09.
  • "Identifying Elements of Japanese Culture Through Film." Mid-Atlantic Region/Association for Asian Studies Conference. 2003.10.
  • "Reading, Writing, and Creating in Japanese on a PC." The Seventh Virginia Japanese Pedagogy Workshop. 1999.06.
  • "The Priest Jakuren and His Poetry: A Reflection of Late-Twelfth Century Poetics." Diss. Stanford University. 1997.03.
  • The Washington & Southeast Japan Seminar; paper on Interacting with Tradition: Intertextual Engagement in Shinkokin Waka, at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. 1996.11.
  • "The Confidence to Live! Experiencing the Buraku Liberation Movement." Translation of story by Kariya Ryuichi, in Diversity in Japanese Culture and Language, John C. Maher and Gaynor Macdonald, eds. (London: Kegan Paul International), pp. 178-201. 1995.
  • Tama International Friendship Club. Tama City, Tokyo. Volunteer translator for newsletter, "Information for Daily Life in Tama City." 1993-94.
  • NIRA's World Directory of Think Tanks 1993, National Institute for Research Advancement. Coeditor. 1993.
  • International Crossroads (periodical), National Institute for Research Advancement. Coeditor. 1991-93
  • "Japanese Court Poetry in the Noh Plays of Zeami." Journal of Asian Culture, Vol. X. University of California, Los Angeles. 1986.
  • "The Priest Jakuren." Journal of Asian Culture, Vol. VIII. University of California, Los Angeles. 1984.

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: Committees and Other University Service
  • Acting Program Coordinator for Japanese Language and Literature, East Asian Languages and Literatures, GWU. Fall 2008.
  • Serving as Library Representative for Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, GWU. Fall-Spring 2001-Current.
  • Served on Language Center Study Group, and Chaired Pedagogy Subcommittee, CCAS, 2003-04.
  • Committee on Technology, Co-chair, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, GWU. 1998-2004.
  • Student Appeals Committee, Columbian College of Arts and Sciences, GWU. 2003.
  • Athletic Council, GWU. 2002.
  • Japanese Language Instructor Search Committee, East Asian Languages and Literatures, GWU. 2002.
  • Website Coordinator, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, GWU. 1996-2002.
  • The Luce Scholars Program, Preliminary Screening Committee, GWU. 2001, 1997, 1996.
  • Rhodes Scholar/Marshall Fellowship Preliminary Screening Committee, GWU. 2000.
  • NCAA Certification, University Steering Committee, GWU. 1998-99
  • NCAA Certification, University Subcommittee for Academic Integrity, GWU. 1998-99
  • Contemporary Japanese Studies Search Committee, The Elliott School of International Studies, GWU. 1997-98
  • Served as Departmental Computer Liaison to Computer Information and Research Center (CIRC). 1996-97.

PROFESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: Japanese Related Activities
Ongoing
Co-edited Japanese Language Program Newsletter. Dissemination of current news and information for students studying Japanese. 1-2 per semester.

2006 - 2008
Haiku judge. Mid-Atlantic Association of Teachers of Japanese. Judged and commented on Haiku composed by students from elementary to high school who study Japanese in the Mid-Atlantic region.

2002
Co-coordinated The Twelfth Mid-Atlantic (formerly Virginia) Japanese Pedagogy Workshop. Workshop focusing on creative strategies to engage students in the Japanese classroom. (June 1-2)

2000
Served on the Fulbright Memorial Fund Scholarship selection committee.

1999
Recited and commented on two poems by Matsuo Basho on Washington DC public radio WETA (90.9FM). (April 30)

1996-99
Reconfigured Japanese Language Program. Reconfiguration and restructuring of the current program to accommodate the new major in Japanese. Current accomplishments: accelerated pace of instruction to prepare students for upper division courses and independent research.

1997
Co-coordinated The Seventh Virginia Japanese Pedagogy Workshop. Workshop designed to share and exchange ideas on the effective use of "authentic" material in the classroom. (May 31-June 1)

1998
Presented talk to Downtown Jaycees (Junior Chamber of Commerce) Washington, DC. On "Sakura, Cherry Blossoms in Japan" in preparation of the Cherry Blossom Festival.

ORGANIZATIONS
Current
Association of Teachers of Japanese, Boulder, Colorado.

Current
Association of Asian Studies, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Current
The Washington & Southeast Japan Seminar, Washington, D.C.

1987-88
Stanford University, Department of Asian Languages. Graduate representative.

1983-84
UCLA Graduate Students Association, Communications Council. Vice-president and treasurer.

1983-84
UCLA East Asian Languages and Cultures Graduate Association. Graduate representative.

Introduction


I'm an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University. I teach Modern and Classical Japanese Language, as well as Classical Japanese Literature.
My current duties as an instructor focus on enhancing the reading abilities of advanced students. This includes reading contemporary fiction that is relatively easy to comprehend: 村上春樹 Murakami Haruki, 星新一 Hoshi Shin'ichi, etc. I also encourage students to learn bungo, or classical Japanese; besides reading the Classics such as 伊勢物語 Ise
monogatari
or 方丈記 Hojoki in the original, bungo is a must for those who want to conduct research in Japanese history, political science or economics using pre-World War II sources.
My research interests focus on the influence of texts and contexts on reading, particularly as they pertain to late Heian and early medieval Japanese court poetry.
Once upon a time at UCLA: Clockwise from back left, Hillary, Terry, Stephanie, Alan, Weiyon, Masaya, Roger Ebert, Kim, Yuka, Tsukasa, Yan, Yasuko, Ken and unidentified. (I can't remember her name. Can someone remind me?)

Brief Bio:

Born in Los Angeles, CA. Graduate of Loyola High School, East Los Angeles Community College (AA), UCLA (BA and MA), and Stanford University (PhD). First learned how to speak Japanese effectively at age 17 at Mikawaya, a Japanese confectionary in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles. Learned to read and write Japanese during college. Research interests include Late Heian poetics, renga linked poetry, and Japanese film and pop culture. See curriculum vitae for more detail.

More unnecessary information

There really isn't much more to know about me. But if you're interested in detail, take a look at my Curriculum Vitae, although there really isn't much to it. I also have a family homepage that I try to keep up. You can also email me at my school address, but know that you do so at your own risk; I am notoriously bad at answering my mail, as my students will gleefully attest.
Updated 2008.12.07

Contact

Scroll down for links to his classes. Click on About Me for personal stuff, like where I went to school. Did you know it took me forever to graduate?
Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures
  • Academic Center, Rome Hall 457.
  • Phone: 202-994-0050
  • E-mail: hanami{at}gwu.edu
  • facebook
  • twitter

Office Hours

Or just drop by anytime my door is open.
CURRENT STUDENTS always get priority over others.



Updated 2009.1.17 iLhAnaMi

Sunday, January 13, 2008

JAPN 112 Japanese Literature in Translation (2008)

PURPOSE The course is a survey of modern Japanese literature discovered through assigned readings and films. It aims to encourage diversity in thought, flexibility in opinion, and an understanding of the role of texts in forming ideas as represented through Japanese literature.

REQUIREMENTS Every student must be registered in JAPN 112. There is no prerequisite for the course. Every student will be expected to have completed the assigned readings by the day assigned. In general, each class will involve a lecture—which may include the background, historical context, and possible interpretations of the assigned readings—and group/class discussion in which students will be required to participate. Every student must submit all required work listed below. The student who cannot attend class due to emergency or illness is still responsible for any work due for the class missed. There is no make-up exam. All readings are in English.

INDIVIDUAL ASSIGNMENTS Success in the course is contingent on the students' performance in all assignments and exams. Assignments will also be posted on Blackboard. You will be required (tentatively) to do the following:

  • Class participation and assignments—All students are expected to have read the material for class; level and accuracy of participation in any discussion will be noted and evaluated. Impromptu homework and in-class assignments—such as haiku poems and group work—will be graded as well; in-class assignments cannot be made-up. Absences will be graded as non-participation. (10%)
  • Quizzes—There will be 11 weekly quizzes. They will consist of multiple choice, fill-in and short answers. The quiz will be online through Blackboard Tuesdays for a 24 hour period from midnight to midnight. Be sure to take it. See below for makeup policy. (20%)
  • Essays (@ 1000 words)—There will be two essays, critical responses to specific questions. An essay should be viewed as a mini-paper consisting of an introduction, a body--grounds for and support of your position--and a conclusion. Reference to other sources to support your position affords a convincing argument. (30%)
  • Late-term exam—There will be one midterm late in the semester—Wednesday of the 12th week. It will consist of questions similar to those on the weekly quizzes, as well, IDs and a short essay. (20%)
  • Final Exam—Final exam will be take home exam that will include Identifications and an essay. The exam will be available on Blackboard 48 hours prior to the date and time of the scheduled exam. (20%)
  • Graduate students taking the course for graduate credit will also be required to submit a research paper. See instructor for further detail.
  • Formatting should be consistent with college-level work. See Grading Policies below.

Grading Policy

  • Grading on participation and in-class assignment will be based on the student's effort and demonstrated knowledge of the reading material assigned that day. In-class assignments cannot be made-up.
  • Makeup policy—There is no makeup exam except in cases of verifiable emergencies—i.e. Doctor’s note, accident report, police report. One quiz may be made up for any (or no) reason. A second makeup requires a verifiable excuse or is subject to a 10% penalty. No more than two makeup quizzes. Makeups must be made up within one week. In-class assignments cannot be made up. I will drop the lowest quiz grade, with the exception of makeup quizzes which cannot be dropped.
  • Late assignments— Tardiness is not tolerated, but llate assignments will be accepted WITHIN ONE WEEK of due date. In case of verifiable emergency—illness or accident—you will be entitled to a one-week grace period. Be sure to contact the instructor ASAP with appropriate verifiable documentation. Late assignments without an acceptable reason and documentation will be automatically downgraded by 10%. If you cannot make class due to an emergency, hand your paper in early or have a friend hand it in for you. Ultimately, however, you are responsible for the submission of your own paper. Be sure to contact the instructor ASAP with appropriate verifiable documentation.
  • Final grade will be based on the total of all assignments, weighted accordingly as outlined above. In case of verifiable emergency—illness or accident—you will receive a one week grace period.
  • Submissions—All submissions will be graded for content—structure, clarity, substance—and for appropriateness in formatting, especially with regard to citations.
    • All submissions should have a solid structure, clarity—i.e. correct spelling, appropriate grammar—and substance—i.e. good insights and/or originality is not reflected in a regurgitation of class discussion or the readings.
    • All submissions—essays, assignments, homework—must be typed.
    • Word count should be strictly observed , +/- 50 words—i.e. a 1000 word essay should range between 950 to 1050 words.
    • Do not attach a cover sheet.
    • Include the following: your name, the due date, the word count. If you are using MS Word, click on Tools, then Word Count; it will automatically count all the words in your document. You do not need to provide your student number, course or instructor name.
    • A brief title is appropriate for all submissions; copying and pasting the question/issue is not.
    • Type and format all submissions in a manner consistent with college-level work. Follow these guidelines:
      • Space lines approximately 1.5 spaces.
      • Set margins at one inch.
      • Use font size no smaller than 12 points; font face of Times New Roman, Arial or equivalent.
      • Indent long quotations.
      • Italicize or underline book titles, use quotation marks for article titles, format citations appropriately.
      • A bibliography is unnecessary in a short paper since citations should be complete. Citations for books used in class are unnecessary, but an inline page referent is obligatory
      • For other formatting issues, follow the guidelines found in the MLA Handbook, The Chicago Book of Style, or any other recognized guidebook on academic style.
    • A brief title is appropriate for all submissions; copying and pasting the question/issue is not.
  • For more information on structure

QUESTIONS The instructor maintains an open door policy—if my office door is open, feel free to come in unless I am speaking to another student. If you have further questions or concerns, please see the instructor during office hours or make an appointment. All students are encouraged to come by and visit.

Blackboard: All communications and schedule changes will be on Blackboard. Please go to gwu.blackboard.com, log on to this class. and familiarize yourself with it. BE sure to check Staff Information for my “real” email address.