Student Staff Leader
At the beginning of April, I held my first event called “Special Language Café: Kansai Dialect”. Having lived in Kyoto and fallen in love with Kansai’s culture and language I was very happy when I got the approval of the full time staff at ICC to organize this event and share a little bit of my passion for Kansai with the rest of Tokyo.
My goal was not only to make people interested in Kansai’s dialect, but also raise awareness of Japan’s different subcultures and hopefully make people want to experience more of Japan outside of Tokyo by visiting these places.
The event started by me giving a general overview of Kansai’s dialect, the way grammar and words are changed, but also talking about my own experience living in Kyoto for almost 20 months. After my talk we had two more talks given by the Kyoto Student Association of Waseda as well as my good friend from Osaka, Daiki. I was very happy that the supporters shed some more light on different aspects on the subcultures of Kyoto and Osaka and shared their experiences living and growing up in Kansai. Daiki has always been great at public speaking since I’ve known him and also did not disappoint this time: His episodes of going to school in South Osaka were hilarious and got the whole room bursting out loud in laughter.
After the presentations were over, it was the participant’s time to be active. First they played a game to try to guess the meaning of Kansai words and expressions in teams. Both international students as well as Japanese were able to learn many new expressions. Since the ICC’s lounge was quite packed with participants and we only had a limited amount of Kansai-jin supporters, we did run into a small shortage of support and some groups had to guess a little longer until they got helped by the supporters, but all in all everyone seemed to be having a good time.
After having practiced some Kansai dialect first hand, it was time for everyone to participate in a quiz hosted via the App “Kahoot”. Participants got questioned about Kansai’s words, comedy, culture, food and more. While no one managed to get a perfect score, a few people did come close and won prizes in form of Japanese sweets that were shared with the team members and friends.
During the final part of the event, the “free café time”, I was delighted to have gotten approached by another former international student of Kyoto University of Foreign studies, where I had been an international student for three semesters. It turned out he studied only a couple of semester before me in Kyoto and we even shared some common friends. It was great to talk to someone who lived through a very similar time in Kyoto.
Finally, in the end I had one more surprise waiting for me. A teacher of Waseda’s Japanese Education Department, Matsui Sensei was also present and approached me to ask if I could give a similar talk about Kansai in her class. In the spring semester of 2019 she happened to be conducting a class on Japanese dialects – a perfect match with my event I held at the ICC. One week later I therefore went to her class and gave another presentation, this time in Japanese, in front of her class. It was very well received and was a lot of fun. What’s more I met the same international student from Kyoto again in her class!
After all was done and things had settled down, I am very satisfied with how things turned out. Thanks to the help of the ICC and various supporters, I was able to hold a great event about Kansai and spread my love for it to many people. I got people interested, made new acquaintances and had a fun time altogether!