Tara Satnick: Klexon

For my CIP, I registered for Klexon, a club based in Kyoto that provides opportunities for Japanese people practice their English-speaking skills. I chose this group because I was interested in meeting new people and helping others improve their English language skills. Through Klexon, I have been able to meet Japanese people of all different backgrounds. Beyond that, I have been able to talk engage in a variety of topics with them, which has given me tremendous insight into Japanese culture.
My favorite part about Klexon is that it is has taught me so much about Japanese everyday life. The conversations I have at Klexon are very casual, so my partner and I usually start by sharing about our week or day. A specific element of everyday life that particularly surprised me was the way that some of the members talk about their jobs. I had always been under the impression that, because Japanese people generally work very hard, they must have a lot of respect for their work. As it turns out, this was not the case for many of the members I met at Klexon. I heard from several members that they either hated their jobs and planned on quitting or had just recently quit, which I was not expecting. Due to the strong work ethic and polite nature of Japanese people, I quickly assumed that most Japanese people care a lot about the type of work that they do and are very committed to their jobs. However, by talking to people at Klexon, I learned that there are many Japanese people who actually hate their work. Listening firsthand to Japanese people talk about their daily experiences has helped me see that many stereotypes about Japanese society are actually untrue for many people.
Another interesting lesson I learned from attending Klexon meetings is that many people take longer than others to shift from formal to casual style speech. For example, within minutes of meeting certain members, they were using casual style speech. These people were usually very outgoing and friendly, so they felt more comfortable using conversational speech. Shy and quiet members, on the other hand, tended to wait longer before using conversational speech. Since arriving in Japan, I have struggled to figure out when to use casual style speech when speaking to Japanese native speakers, but Klexon has taught me that there is no strict set of rules for speech style. The style of speech you choose depends on your relationship with the other person, but it also largely depends on your personality and your comfort level with the other person.
Overall, I have really enjoyed my time at Klexon. I found all of the members to be extremely welcoming to me and grateful for my willingness to help them practice English. I would recommend Klexon to anyone that is looking to meet a lot of new Japanese people and have opportunities to practice your own language skills, as well as opportunities to help others with theirs.

One thought on “Tara Satnick: Klexon

  1. It’s fantastic and impressive that you gained so much insight on Japanese life just by attending Klexon. It’s always a challenge figuring out if it is acceptable or not to start using casual speech, but it sounds like your efforts paid off and that you were able to figure out a way of determining when to make the switch.
    It also sounds like you gained a valuable look into what life is really like in Japan for ordinary people. On the surface Japanese society seems to perpetuate the idea that everyone in Japan dutifully works hard without complaint nor desire for rest, but after scratching the surface, that stereotype could be nothing further from the truth in many cases.
    Were there any other interesting things that you learned about Japanese life that surprised you?