During my time at KCJS, I participated in a Japanese-English Conversation program called Klexon. Klexon is similar to speed dating. People sit in rows facing each other, and then talk for ten minutes until they have to switch partners. After about 6 cycles, everyone is randomly placed into groups and group conversation begins. A piece of paper with the week’s topic of conversation is handed out at the beginning of the session. However, one does not need to talk about the conversation on the sheet; Klexon is basically free conversation.
In Klexon, I noticed that most Japanese people are learning English because they believe it is a necessity for their job, so their motivation to learn is quite high. Also, since they know that this is a conversation program, I feel the Japanese people in this program are more comfortable with talking to foreigners and generally are not as shy as Japanese people outside of the program. Therefore, there is no need to have worries about conversing because they are quite easy to talk to.
Although KCJS is a program to learn Japanese and Klexon is a program to help Japanese people speak English, I chose Klexon with special purposes in mind. Those purposes were to learn more about Japanese culture from different perspectives, to make Japanese friends, and learn more Japanese from them. During the program sessions, you can talk about anything with the Japanese people, so I took this liberty to ask them about Japanese culture that couldn’t be learned about in a class or in a book. For example, I learned about different dialects around Japan and popular slang Japanese people were using. At the end of the program, I would invite the people I was paired up with to go out drinking at a bar or an izakaya. This was a great way to strengthen our bonds and become friends. Also, we would speak in Japanese, so I was able to practice my Japanese conversation quite a lot. I highly recommend choosing Klexon as a CIP because it is fun, you can learn a lot, and most of all, make many Japanese friends.
Wow, sounds like a great experience. Since Klexon is a place to interact with Japanese people in English, did you feel like you were able to better understand the culture than when you talked with Japanese people in Japanese?
Yes! I did find it better to understand Japanese culture when talking to them in English than with Japanese. That’s because certain topics about Japanese culture like politics, sports, etc. have many new vocabulary that I have not learned yet, so it was easier to talk and learn about them using English.