As I said in my previous blog, it has been very difficult to have a regular CIP activity this semester due to the fact that school was not actually in session the majority of the time. I have been to my CIP from last semester, the Kyoto Daigaku music circle EMBG, once this entire semester (I had another chance to go as well, but I happened to be sick that day). They are starting again next week, so I will probably go again and with any luck it won’t be too awkward.
Because of the limited activities of EMBG this semester I have been participating in some of the activities of DESA, a cultural exchange circle at Doshisha. The only problem is that DESA does not have activities every week, leaving me with nothing to do. The several events I have gone to with DESA, including a nomikai and a video game party, have been very fun and I have had opportunities to talk to Japanese students, but nevertheless feeling like a true member of the group has been a bit difficult due to the lack of regular meeting times.
I think that in the future it might benefit KCJS to stress the high likelihood that daigaku circles might not be the best idea for second semester (especially to full year students like myself who may want, as I did, to continue their CIP from the first semester) because of the discrepancy between the American and Japanese school years. If I had known this at the beginning of this semester I may well have looked for a different CIP early on, rather than sticking it out and settling with a slightly less than rewarding experience.
It must have been interesting to be able to compare different circles with each other. Did you notice any differences between the two circles? Did you feel like different kinds of students join them, or were they more or less the same?
When I first went to EMBG events last semester I was surprised by how “normal” (and by normal I mean slightly more American-seeming) the students in that circle were. They seemed a bit less serious and more laid back than I was expecting from Japanese college students (especially Kyoto Daigaku students). Also, of course, they liked non-mainstream music (for Japan anyway), which I thought was cool. I could talk to them about the music I liked, and they wouldn’t come back with something like “oh, I just like J-pop,” or “I like Taylor Swift!” (although some of them probably do). As for DESA’s students, I don’t think I’ve really had enough interactions with them to judge their attitudes etc.
Yeah, I ran across the same problem — I’m glad you’ve brought it up on the blog. What kind of CIP would you have done other than a circle? A class? Unfortunately English teaching has the same restrictions. What was the one activity you had with the music circle? If you’ve already gone to the recent meeting, how was it?
I probably would have tried to join a class, or private lessons or something. I’m interested in pottery so I might have tried to do that. The most recent time I went to EMBG I didn’t realize that they were just having a live show that day. I stuck around for a few minutes but then I left because I couldn’t find anyone I knew. The time before that was fine though. They use a classroom as a practice room and have a drum set and several amps, and people just kind of jam. It’s really loud, but if you don’t mind that (I have earplugs) it’s fun. Hard to actually hold a conversation in there though.