Giovanny Jorge: International Language Exchange

I would imagine my CIP experience was very different from my fellow KCJS students, at least I would hope so. Coming to Japan I was really excited at the prospect of joining Doshisha’s orchestra, especially since I have not played in about three years. However that did not go as planned as detailed in my previous blog. Of course after that fell through I had to look for a different CIP to join which led me to the Doshisha Figure Building Club and the Music Game Club.
Doshisha’s Figure Building Club (模型研究会)seemed like an amazing opportunity to expand my already growing hobby of building Gundam. The emails went well enough, although I could not understand the phone call at all. This turned out to be a precursor for how the club would end up being, a complete lack of understanding. I went to the meeting with a Gundam in hand, knowing that at the very least I would come out of it with a new figure for my desk, but I did not expect the massively awkward atmosphere that lied in wait for me. While trying to make conversation with those around me in the three and a half hours I was there for, I was greeted with one of either two possibilities. Possibility one: a conversation would start and I would have no idea what the other person said or possibly two:  I would be ignored. Either way, I did not leave the club a happy camper nor can I say I learned anything besides the fact that building Gundam is an excellent way to distract yourself from the awkward situations.
On to the Music Game Club (Do it!音ゲー) then. The meeting room is basically an ovular table, set up like a conference room, with no games set up. The members were really sweet though I could not understand them very well. I think that if I had another KCJS student with me it might have gone a lot better. I was just a little disappointing that the club does not actually play games at the regular meetings. What I learned here was that in America if I were to hear about a music game club, then I can assume that they play games during the regular meetings, unlike here where they just spoke about their interests.
The CIP that I have gone the most to is a language exchange meeting which I go to with a few other students. Those people are really nice and they make a huge effort in making sure we understand the conversation. Unfortunately, since it took about three months to finally settle on the 交流会 I have not had the chance to learn many new words or make new friends. The reason why it took so long is that coupled with our workload and the obvious desire to sight-see and experience Japan outside of classroom walls, I really did not have the time to actively search for something that fits our needs, schedule, and financial constraints. All in all the CIP program is a good attempt at giving us opportunities to expand our Japan experience, but at the end of the day the program is basically handing someone a book of school activities and saying, “Find something soon, because you’re being graded on it”. If you can not end up doing something you really want, in my case orchestra, then you still have to do something regardless of whether you are interested in it and I believe that is a pretty big flaw.

4 thoughts on “Giovanny Jorge: International Language Exchange

  1. I see, it is kind of rough if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away. In my kyudo, I also haven’t really had any opportunities to make friends (you don’t really talk when practicing). I finally found a more social circle I want to participate in, but given next semester’s scheduling, I’m a little worried how it will work out.

    All in all, was there something of value in the 交流会?Were you able to make some friends through that?

    • At the very least 交流会 was a fun, consistent way to complete the CIP requirement. Though I would not really say I’ve made friends with the people there, I don’t regret going there….I wish I could say the same for 模型研究会と音ゲー。

  2. Shame that music game club didn’t turn out too well. Well hey, at least you got to play a lot of Taiko at Shinkyogoku… (you and Chang…. *shakes head*)

    Haha, joking aside, I do feel that the CIP activity idea feels a bit too regimented and restricting, and think your mileage may vary depending on your proficiency in Japanese. At Kyuudou, my CIP, I haven’t really talked to many people or made many Japanese friends either. It’s a rather difficult hurdle to overcome, especially as the foreigner who can’t fully understand what’s being said. もう少しがんばって見よう!

    • Yeah definitely. Much like other aspects of the program, your experience varies dramatically depending on how well your Japanese is. I really wish it wasn’t a requirement because it does put a strain on people who’s Japanese is honestly not very good. I can safely say that my CIP experience would be all good if A) I understood what was being said and convey what I wanted to say appropriately or B) had someone else with me to help understand.