Opening a Japanese textbook to learn the language would get your theory skills as solid as a rock. But what about actually using it? Regardless of whether you’re travelling to or living in Japan, you would want to be able to put your skills to good use. The question is, then: how?
It sounds like an easy task to meet local people to practice your Japanese with. Little did you know it actually isn’t effortless at all! Not to worry, there’s this wonderful thing called the Japanese language-focused gathering. This type of gathering can consist of speaking or writing in Japanese, or just talking about Japanese in English. There are all types of language gatherings that covers any sort of event you can think of.
Then the next questions follow: what is it, and how do I get into it? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is your one-stop to all you need to know about the matter!
What is a Japanese language-focused gathering?
As it suggests, a Japanese language-focused gathering is a gathering that’s committed to the Japanese language. There’s no rule to the flow of these sorts of gatherings. It’s not like a curriculum in school. It can be anything under the great blue sky! One thing’s for sure, no two gatherings will ever be the same.
If you’re wondering who goes to these gatherings, the answer is basically anyone and everyone. From local Japanese people to expats and foreigners like us, everyone’s welcome to participate! You’ll meet people near and far. But regardless of where we come from, we’re all here and using our Japanese language skills!
What happens in a Japanese language-focused gathering?
Japanese language-focused gatherings can target the different usages of the language. Some gatherings can be all about conversing in Japanese. Even with that, these gatherings can be categorised into different fluency levels or topics. So you don’t have to worry about being intimidated by big words!
Some can be about reading, and the same categorisation applies. It’s exactly like a book club, only the books, or “hon” (本), are in Japanese.
Level up your Japanese language-focused gathering game by attending some that kill two birds with one stone. Some gatherings are a group of people cooking or painting together, and at the same time practicing Japanese. What better way to master your language skills than doing something that you love while at it?
Why go to a Japanese language-focused gathering?
The question shouldn’t be why, but why not? It’s a fun way to learn Japanese while not actually learning. You’ll be surprised at how much more you pick up when you’re out and about using it instead of being cooped up in a room with your textbook.
Not only are you improving your language skills, but you’re also making friends! Who doesn’t like making friends? Japanese language-focused gatherings expand your social circle in this great, wonderful country!
Ways to find Japanese language-focused gatherings
At this point, you’re convinced about this whole Japanese language-focused gathering. Now, you’re wondering how you can go about finding them. You don’t have to browse around the web for hours because we’ve already done that for you! We’ve even made things simpler by collating it into a list! Here are the top five ways to find some Japanese language-focused gatherings:
1. Meetup App
The Meetup app is one of the best ways to find Japanese language-focused gatherings. The layout of this app is so easy to maneuver. There are so many “ebento” (エベント) going on at one point that your calendar is going to be packed in no time. You can filter the events based on what you’re looking for under specific categories like sports or arts. If you don’t have anything in mind, browse by the date to see all that’s going on that day or in the week.
If you’re interested in a group that hosts events and gatherings catered to your interests, you can even follow that specific group. You’ll get notifications when they post a new upcoming event. There are some recommended groups that are perfect for Japanese language-focused gatherings. Tokyo International Friends is a group that consistently hosts great gatherings focused on spreading the knowledge of Japanese culture and language.
2. Facebook Events
You would never have guessed to use Facebook to find Japanese language-focused gatherings. This platform is, in fact, one of the best ways to search for them. Facebook is packed with groups and pages that are always hosting events to bring people together. Both local Japanese people and foreigners in Japan are part of these Facebook groups!
Just like the Meetup App, there are groups that host specific events like study sessions or casual cafe chills. What makes the Facebook groups stand out is that there’s a group chat where you’re welcome to converse in Japanese in it any time!
While the first two are free options, this is one that may require a bit of extra cash put in. Regardless, it’s still an ideal way to find some Japanese language-focused gatherings. Take a class in something you are interested in. It can be an art class, a cooking class or a martial arts class. These classes can be in full English, but some can be in basic Japanese all the way to fully fluent Japanese. Isn’t that a great way to practice your listening skills?
What’s more, you’ll be leaving with a few extra friends of the same hobbies! These classes are rather easy to find. It’s literally a Google search away! As there are various classes offered out there, filter them by area and price to suit your preference.
4. Accommodation Company-Organised Events
Depending on where you’re staying, the company that hosts you may or may not have events organised. A foreigner-friendly company that hosts various share houses and apartments would definitely have them. There’s bound to be a gathering or two each week that gets people mingling. Even hostels have some sort of event organised!
Usually, these sorts of gatherings are more of a casual chit chat over drinks. You’ll be able to make friends and you’ll definitely be able to use your language skills. Some companies do offer more specialised events that introduce you to Japanese culture like a karaoke gathering.
5. “Gaijin” publications
Look at local publications aimed at foreigners, or “gaijin” (外人), travelling to Japan. Some Japan-based magazines and websites have a section that lists out all the events going on that week or month. Everything from concerts and parties to art exhibits, these publications cover them all! Some recommended publications are Time Out Tokyo and Tokyo Weekender for happenings in the capital city.
While it is not exactly a Japanese language-focused gathering, it is a great way to put yourself out there and meet like-minded people. It’s also a chance for you to put all your theoretical Japanese skills to use, especially if you’re going to an event that is fully local. It’s not a bad idea to brush up on your friend-making skills, either
Are you sold on the idea of Japanese language-focused gatherings yet? Books and exercises can nail your grammar and vocabulary down, but this is the easiest way to ace your communicating skills in Japanese! While at it, you’re building yourself a wonderful circle of friends in the country! What are you waiting for, then? Get going and sign up for some!