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I took Prichard's Japanese 60 class thinking it would be cool to learn about samurai and stuff. It isn't what you expect, but it's not that bad. This class is an easy A, but not an automatic A. There is still a lot of reading and weekly forum journals, but if you put the effort, its easy to ace. The course has more of a overall understanding feel, rather than specific facts. You'll learn about the politics, social life, and culture of every japanese period. If you want a quick overview, just search "japan periods" on google. There is a lot of reading for the class, but you don't really have to memorize it. Each week is usually 1 or 2 chapter pdf's that have about 30 book pages each. Along with that, there are anywhere from 4 to 9 article pdfs, ranging from 3 to 13 pages long. But the articles are only expected to be identifiable on the tests, as in a "here's an excerpt, which article is it(multiple choice)." and the questions for the chapter are short answer (5 sentences) that will be like "explain how the blah blah political system affected the social aspects of japanese life in this period." very broad, so you have to understand the overall feel of each period, rather than specific facts. the tests also have ids.
But with all this, the class isn't bad at all, because he gives you a study guide with the exact questions on the test, only thing is there is a lot on the study guide and he'll only ask you about half of it on the test. As a lecturer, Prichard is AWESOME! always manages to keep things interesting and casual, and is very cool. a lot of quirky and interesting comments. Will often threaten a quiz or actually give out a quiz to enforce reading, but they don't go on your grade, so it's actually just a really great strategy to keep kids on track.
This class is pretty awesome, but you learn more about japanese histories as a whole, and not just wars and samurai. So if you're an "otaku" don't expect to be amazed, but it's still very interesting. To be honest, I barely read anything weeks 5 to 9, and crammed for the final. Oh, and the final is not cumulative. midterm on first half of info and final on second half. Anyway, this class is awesome, but a lot of reading if you actually read it all.