After participating in a street dance circle at Kyoto University for the first couple of months, I eventually had to pick a new CIP activity due to the street dance circle’s one month break. During that time I also attended many of the events held by DESA, the Doshisha Exchange Student Association, and decided that this would be my new CIP. Many of the students in DESA are exchange students which may be discouraging to some who really want to improve their Japanese, but there are many Japanese students that are interested in meeting students from other countries as well.
DESA has hosted a variety of events including watching a Sumo wrestling tournament in Osaka, a food and video game night, going to see eerie demons at the Setsubun festival, and eating all you can eat shabu shabu at a restaurant served by ninjas. Besides the official DESA events, there were many opportunities to hang out with DESA members like random hikes, dinners, etc.
Every event was a great opportunity to practice Japanese and learn about Japanese culture that you normally wouldn’t learn in the classroom. For example, in the Kansai region it is popular to perform boke (playing dumb) and tsukkomi (pointing out mistakes), a comedic art that comes from manzai. This was a great way to learn about Japanese humor, which at times, I do not understand at all. I’ll admit that performing jokes in another language is quite difficult, but it is entertaining despite the challenge.
Compared to egoistic dancers, the street dance circle, DESA was more welcoming with a laid-back ambiance. Most likely due to the structure of egoistic dancers, it was difficult to interact with other people who danced different styles. I mainly interacted with those who practiced popping and locking. There also was definitely a senpai-kouhai relationship amongst some group members. As a new member in a group, it was hard to connect with certain people.
Overall, DESA has been a great opportunity to not only make new friends, but to experience and learn various aspects of Japanese culture. It’s unfortunate that there is only a month left to spend in Japan, but I hope I will have more opportunities to hang out with DESA members before the semester ends.
Hey Kev! All in all, it seems like you enjoyed both of your CIPs, but it seems that joining DESA was for the best. I know you have a passion for dance, but from you tone above, I sense that DESA was more fun because the people were more open. This is the first time I’ve heard about your dance group in some depth, and I’m quite surprised that you found it hard to connect with certain people. Especially that you mentioned DESA was more laid-back, because when I think of dance teams, I think they are PHYSICALLY tiring and the dancers are serious about their art form, but they’re are usually very cool people (which is “laid-back” in one sense of the expression). Did you happen to make any lasting relationships with some of the dancers? Do you miss the dance circle?
Hey Chelsea! Although I talked to a couple on facebook a few times, other than that I haven’t kept in contact with the people in the dance circle. I do miss the dance circle though, I haven’t dance in awhile and I should get back to it!