For this semester, I joined the 京都まんが教室 for my CIP. Although the course fee is a little bit expensive, I’d say it’s totally worth it, mainly because it is where you could have a real cultural communication with people who really understand you.
The most precious thing I experienced from this CIP is the feeling of getting into a real Japanese circle where I belong. Different from the general anime or manga club I’ve joined in the US, this class is more like a doujin-based fan circle. Since most of the students in the manga class are young ladies around the same age, we mostly watch same types of anime and have interests in same kinds of stuff(e.g. shipping). Thus, there are never too many topics to chat about, from which I get to pick up a lot of unique language that is only used within the Japanese anime-fan circle. However, since it is kind of an advanced course, the format of “teaching” almost doesn’t exist. Basically, you just draw whatever you like in every class, and the instructors will give some personal advice and instructions on your drawings. Since I don’t have any essential knowledge of drawing anime characters or manga before, the level is way too high for me. (Other students are all doujin artists.)
Therefore, here is my advice for those who might be interested: If you love anime/Japanese pop culture, and want to experience the feeling of really being one of the Japanese anime fans, don’t hesitate to participate in the manga class. However, if all you want is to learn how to draw manga and do not have any essential knowledge, I would suggest taking a more formal course that focuses on teaching basic skills of drawing manga.
Hi Hibiki, good to hear that you had fun with this circle! I was wondering if you could share any observations about how your interactions with the students in this circle compared with other Japanese university students you may have met outside (this circle). Thanks!
Hello! Thanks for the comment. I think it is just the difference in topics. For example, in the manga class we always chat about anime doujin and comic cons, while with my lauguage partner, we also talk about personal life as well as historical and social issues.
Your CIP experience sounds very socially fulfilling. Despite the fact that it was an advanced class, it is nice to hear that you were able to form connections on the basis of a common interest. I am wondering whether there was any rotation of members, or if it was the same group every time?
Hi Emily! Thanks for the comment. Basically there are different people joining the class according to the dates, but at the same time there are certain members who go to every class, so I became closer to them.
That sounds pretty interesting! In all likelihood, you would probably never get the opportunity to find such a niche community in the United States, particularly one composed of young women. How did you find out about the class? Also, as someone who doesn’t take many art classes, I find it really interesting that the class was conducted without formal lessons and mainly relied on the personal supervision of the instructors.
Hi Jordan! Thanks for the comment. I also think it is a precious chance to get into such a special community. The information was on the CIP instruction sheet, since there were previous KCJS students who joined this class.