For an introductory blog post (in Japanese) about my CIP, click here.
Some of the primary goals of the CIP are to get exposure to Japanese culture, improve Japanese language skills, and be involved in a community of Japanese people outside of the internationally-minded perspective of the KCJS study abroad student context. As a result, I was initially worried about the legitimacy of my CIP, participating in the Kyoto Esperanto Association, due to its seeming lack of adherence to these goals. Speaking Esperanto specifically means I’m not speaking Japanese, and Esperantists from any country tend to be outside the mainstream cultural norms of their country, in this case Japan.
Nonetheless, in actuality I’ve found immense value in my CIP. The Kyoto Esperanto Society is surprisingly active, and they have inspired me to continue my journey with the Esperanto movement. In addition to meeting weekly at the Esperanto Kaikan to study, speak, and talk about Esperanto, I’ve also been taking advantage of unique opportunities that the group has provided me.
This month I traveled to Okayama prefecture for my first Esperanto conference, namely the Twelfth Annual Chugoku & Shikoku Esperanto Congress. There I was able to meet many people, make new friends, and get a taste of what Esperanto looks like on a larger scale. In fact, I was lucky enough to meet the organizer of next year’s International Youth Congress, an international gathering of Esperanto speaking youth that takes place every summer in a different country. Next year’s congress is scheduled to take place in Nara, and my experience in Okayama has motivated me to find a way to attend next year’s congress.
On December 3rd, I will be giving a short speech as part of an event to celebrate the birth of Esperanto’s creator. The event will be from 1:30pm-4:30pm in Ooyamazaki (大山崎町) and is open to the public. My talk will be about how I came to be interested in Esperanto as an American who speaks English, largely considered to already have become an international language. For more information, please view the event flyer (Japanese).
So tell me more about your interactions with the Kyoto Esperanto Society. You mentioned that normally any Esperanto speakers are outside the cultural norms of their country – was this the same with the Kyoto folk?
Also, while I can’t make it to the event, and would probably be staring at you as if you’d bizarrely sprouted a splendid handlebar moustache like a proper gentleman anyway, have fun! Will you be giving the speech in Esperanto?
The backbone of my interactions with the Kyoto Esperanto Society is meeting once a week for the beginner Esperanto class that the group holds. The lesson is supposed to take up around 1 hour, and then we have an hour for just chatting.
But I’ve been lucky enough to go to a few other events such as the Esperanto congress I mentioned in the post. It’s been really fun overall!
Yea, I think I’d say that although the people in Kyoto Esperanto Society subscribe much more to Japanese cultural norms than, for instance, and regular American would, I think that it could be said that they are also slightly different from your normal Japanese person. Part of the ideology of Esperanto is being internationally minded and also seeing past normal social barriers as a result of equality and acceptance. Cool stuff!
I have already given the speech at the event at the time of writing this comment (sorry you missed the mustache), and I have to admit that the speech was in Japanese. Although Esperanto is a much easier language than Japanese, my Japanese ability > Esperanto ability…and we also wanted everyone in the audience to be able to understand, as the event was open to the public, not just Esperantists! ;P