Sunday, November 28, 2010

An international Evening: Sakayuri Sensei's international party

Peter Here,

I always love meeting new people from many different countries and backgrounds, so when Arakawa Sensei told me about Sakayuri's International Party on Saturday, November 20th, I leapt at the chance. It was a group of 9 people including me, but only one other was a native English speaker; the rest were from Taiwan and China. This meant that the only way to communicate was through Japanese!

We started off slowly, a mixture of shyness and unfamiliarity slowing the conversation a little, but after a quick trip to the local Supermarket (Mami-mart, or 'まみマ-ト') for supplies and alcohol, we started to loosen up a little and soon everyone was happily talking.

People were a mixture of university graduates, undergraduates and language students on a work programme, and it was interesting to hear how different everyone's story was to mine; after hearing many people give their reasons to why they are in Japan it always strikes me as how unique and special the internship is.

Eikaiwa (English Conversation) teachers appear to come to Japan because they have little keeping them in their own, or the lure of the high-paid teaching tempts them in. But I see that a lot of these people don't have anything to aim for, to try and attain here. University or language study students do have that, but their life is experienced more in a microcosm inside Japan, rather than being given the ability to be more involved in Japanese Life. The Internship offers a goal in itself and gives plenty of opportunity to achieve personal targets, such as tournament results or grading, but further to this it is all done in a totally open and supportive atmosphere. You are involved in Japan, not closed off from it, which helps make new friends and immerse yourself in the culture. It truly is something great.

Because many of the guests were with home stay families in nearby Miyashiro City the party didn't run too late, but enough was drunk and eaten to make sure everyone had a great time and left full of food and conversation!

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