Okay, you seem to have failed to understand what I said. Japanese is my second language. I'm very good at it. But I would much rather just skip the entire translation process and just skip straight to my native tongue.
Besides, the year in middle-school and high school programs weren't even directly linked to each other, so ninth grade was just the same stuff we learned in middle school and some extra stuff, too. The MS class was just a little novelty class that wasn't taken entirely seriously. As a result, we didn't even actually write in hiragana until half-way through the year. So, you're right about my middle-school year. In retrospect, it was a bust. But in high-school, that's where the gloves came off. Most of our curriculum included grammar and kanji. Vocab was moderate, but not that extensive. Because you gotta remember that grammar, alphabets and vocabulary are three totally different areas of study, and require different ways of processing. I once had to write a three page, hand-written synopsis for Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and all I needed was a dictionary. I'm good at making sentences and interpreting different meanings and conjugations of verbs, and I'm pretty solid at writing kanji (I know over 300 as of now), but vocab is a bit different, because a single length of a vowel sound is the difference between saying "aunt" and "grandma". So, subtitles can be very useful. I can easily get the jist of what people say, but I don't want to be like a kid again, watch a movie, sorta understand what everyone says, only to grow up later and go, "Holy Shit! I missed soooo much dialogue and meaning!" (I'm looking at you, Babe and The Sandlot!).