Among other things I do to promote Japanese culture and language, one thing I should not forget to mention is Japanese conversation evening. I hold this social evening once every other month, at a Japanese restaurant in Manchester city center. I usually manage to get 10 to 20 people, and have a wonderful time socializing with like-minded people.
It started a few years ago, when one of my friends, who had been to Japan on the JET program asked me to hold something like that, to provide people like him an opportunity to speak in Japanese in a non-threatening environment. I still remember the first one I held. At the request of the Japanese restaurant I decided to use at the time, the get-together had to be during day (as it was the quietest time at the restaurant). So I set the time from 3pm to 5pm on Saturday. Then only 2 people showed up!! Basically the one who asked me to hold it and his fiancée. I was hugely discouraged, and did not want to think about it for a while. So I left it some months, until I was asked yet again from some other source. OK, this time, I will hold it in the evening. I decided so and used a different restaurant. Then, it was a success! I had about 15 people, and everybody had a good time over Japanese food.
Most people who are interested in Japanese language and show up at my conversation evening have been to Japan for various reasons. The main reason by far is to teach English in Japan, either by the JET Program or working for a private language school. There were some people who went there on the Working holiday, and yet another people were living there for some years working for a Japanese company. There was one person who went to Japan to work at a care house for elderly people. Of course there are also many people who visited Japan on holiday, and fell in love with Japan. And yet another people have never visited Japan, but are wishing to visit there in the near future. All these people, some fluent in Japanese, and some can’t speak at all, get mingled and enjoy each other’s company.
As a Japanese, I feel so grateful for the fact that all these people love Japan so much and wish to go there again whenever an opportunity arises. I did not realize how wonderful it was to live in Japan, until I left there. Silly me. Now I’m one of them, wishing to go back to Japan to live there one day.
If you live in the Greater Manchester area, I will welcome you to join us at this conversation evening, so please contact me. I believe anyone who likes Japanese language and culture is a good, sincere, and genuine person. I know it’s a bias. But, hey, don’t you like Japanese culture too?