Welcome to Kisetsu

Kisetsu textbook

Welcome to Japanese,
Welcome to Kisetsu.

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Welcome, everyone! Opening this textbook is a small but significant step on the road to a prosperous and profitable relationship that may last a lifetime: a relationship with the Japanese language, culture, and people. Picking and choosing school courses is not always easy with all the choices and scheduling conflicts to consider, as well as the possible implications your selection may have for your future. So it is only natural if your are still wondering whether you made the right choice when you decided to begin studying Japanese. We think glancing at what immediately follows may clear this up for you. Take a look!

Gain an understanding of the language and culture of a neighbor across the Pacific.

Japan has become both a valuable friend and a fierce competitor of the United States in the past several decades. During this time the Japanese have embraced many aspects of the American popular culture, as well as its democratic values. They have also kept a close eye on our progress in computer technology and studied the American social infrastructure. Americans, on the other hand, examined the Japanese practice of consensus building, their efficient garbage recycling, and effective police system. They were also impressed by the possible connection between diet and longevity. Opportunities for collaboration and mutual enrichment between the people of these two countries have been abundant. However, dealings between the United States and Japan have been sort of a one-way street when it comes to studying each other’s language and culture. While almost all school children in Japan study at least six years of English, the opportunity to study Japanese has not been readily available to their American counterparts. Although the United States is one of the countries most studied by Japanese, Japan remains an enigma to many Americans. To make our associations and interactions more mutually profitable, we need to meet each other halfway, rather than expecting the Japanese to learn the America way. After all, they are a neighbor just across the Pacific.

Learn one of the ten most spoken languages in the world.

Japan is an island nation. The Japanese archipelago is believed to have been separated from the Asian mainland some 10,000 years ago. This secluded environment has meant that the Japanese language has, throughout its history, been spoken almost exclusively in Japan by the Japanese people. Despite this, Japanese is one of the ten most spoken languages in the world. This is, of course, understandable when the size of Japan’s population (over 120 million) is taken into consideration, but the number of Japanese speakers outside Japan has been increasing noticeably as the global economy expands and travel and migration become more affordable and frequent.

Be a better learner and acquire skills you’ll use for a lifetime.

Studying a language as different from English as Japanese will expand your mind and broaden your intellectual horizons. Gaining insight into and understanding of the cultural nuance, the mindset, and the thinking behind the language is a challenge that calls for involvement beyond just memorizing words and the sentence formulas. You will frequently have to examine and reflect during your learning process and make necessary the adjustments to render it more suitable to your own style and needs. You may have to strive to develop a good guessing ability to enhance your comprehension or become better organized to raise your efficiency. Whatever the adjustement, it is bound to make you an innovative, independent, and self-directed lifelong learner.

Wear a cool pair of glasses with bicultural lenses.

It’s often said that one of best ways of learning about yourself and your heritage is to study something entirely different. Studying Japanese will allow you to see your own language and culture in a whole new way and lead to a renewed appreciation of them. In addition, you will gain the kind of perspective that enables you to see things more objectively and distinguish thoughtfully examined views, assumptions, and conceptions from those tinted with hasty stereotyping. Studying Japanese will also equip you with an ability to see things as if you were wearing a magical pair of glasses that give you a whole new view of the world. With these glasses you will see things, feel emotions and construct meanings the same way people who are growing up in Japan do. When you take them off you will realize how much we are alike in many respects. So give yourself a pair of glasses with bicultural lenses. The benefits and potential for you are unlimited.

Study of one of the fastest growing subjects in US precollege schools.

Japanese has been one of the fastest growing subjects in US schools for the past several decades. According to the Modern Language Association, the enrollment in college Japanese courses in 1990 was 45,717, a twenty-six-fold increase since1960, when a mere 1,746 students studied Japanese. By 1990, Japanese was the fifth most commonly studied foreign language in American colleges. Enrollment at the secondary level started showing a noticeable increase in the 1980s. According to the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, enrollment in Japanese language courses at public high schools alone went from 8,557 in 1985 to 25,123 in 1990. This figure increased an additional 70 percent to 42,290 over the next four years.

Prepare yourself for career opportunities that are truly stimulating and rewarding.

All the traffic and exchanges between the Uinted Sates and Japan, from official and diplomatic to individual and grass roots has strengthened the ties of friendship and mutual dependency between the two countries. The combination of this with the expansion of the global economy and international communication and the vital role both countries play on the world stage means that opportunities for a whole new set of careers and adventures are available to those who become proficient in the Japanese language and knowledgeable Japanese culture.

Join an active, dynamic, and creative community of language learners.

Chapters in this textbook are linked thematically to create a meaningful movement from beginning to end. Each chapter follows a progression of learning that culminates in a series of projects and open-ended simulations. In these sections you will be working with your peers to make plans, share tasks, monitor progress and create something meaningful. Your teacher will not be constantly spoonfeeding you. Your fellow students will serve as resourceful coworkers and constructive critics along with your teacher. Learning here is neither an isolated effort for say, a perfect score on a vocabulary quiz, nor a passive absorption of knowledge. It’s a dynamic, community activity.

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