I have chosen to be an English teaching assistant as my main CIP for this semester. Due to the discrepancy between the American academic calendar and the Japanese academic calendar, I was unable to continue volunteering at Kaisei Junior High School, and thus I joined an English-conversation circle (club) in Kyoto called Klexon.
I went to Kaisei five times. The first time, I felt that the class period was quite long, and by the last time, the it seemed that the class went by extremely fast. The most rewarding aspect of this experience was the conversations I had with the students; although during the class period, I mainly spoke English, before the class (during their lunch break), I spoke and shared my experiences with them in Japanese.
Interestingly, the Japanese students learning English in a classroom setting appear to have similar difficulties as English speakers learning Japanese. For example, verbs like ageru, morau and kureru, which all have a deictic fuction often marked by a preposition in English, are often difficult for students learning Japanese. Likewise, the students in the class appeared to have trouble with the prepositions in English.
I have only gone to Klexon twice, but I have already found it to be a good experience. The Japanese people in the circle are all there to improve their English ability, and thus they are very open with foreigners, and are happy to make new friends. For example, after the first meeting, I was invited to get some food with some of the other members.