The prof: Weinstein is a solid professor and lecturer; he goes through his slides (which he also posts online) very thoroughly and gives clear explanations. He knows his stuff super well and tries very hard to impress upon the students why/how it's relevant to the world beyond Japan. He even brought in a Board Member of the Bank of Japan to speak with us, which was neat. And like the below reviews have mentioned, he's just an all-around endearing dude.

Difficulty: the material itself might not seem too complex or straining, but the exams can be tough. You need to have a thorough understanding of everything he covers in order to do well. If you're looking for an easy class to fulfill your Econ elective or Global Core, this is not it. But if you genuinely put in the effort, your grade will reflect it. Class ends up curving to a B/B+. You'll have an easier time if you have a stronger understanding of international & macro concepts though.

Overall, if you want to learn something outside of the norm and don't mind putting in some effort, no harm in taking this class.


Readings: There's a lot, but the only ones you really need to do are the papers that he references in his lectures. Book readings you can forget about.

Class participation (10%): but you don't have to.
Midterm (20%): fair to hard. Avg: 48/77.
Final (30%): fair to hard. Avg: 121/178
Paper (40%): Though it's a big paper, a lot of work, and clearly worth a lot, I personally thought it was only really as difficult as you made it for yourself. You don't need to write about anything complex or do any crazy analysis (I certainly didn't, and I did pretty well against the average), but you do need to show that you've thoroughly wrangled with the topic. And definitely take advantage of the TAs--they were super helpful when I was trying to pinpoint a feasible subject. Avg: 64%