Chat Lounge-- English Classes in Kamaishi (18, April 2013)

 On 17th, April, three volunteers working in Kamaishi launched English conversation class, 'Chat Lounge'.  


chat lounge

Not knowing quite what to expect from the participants of the beginners chat lounge, we prepared for all levels and eventualities. Upon reception of the participants who were, of course, very much on time, with the exception of one participant who was 45 minutes early, they were already communicating in English.

The extent of humbleness of the Japanese people would be very much exhibited at this session. Having previously been warned by the participants themselves, that they were at an extreme beginners stage, ab-initio if you will, the outcome could not have been more of a surprise. Upon commencement of the session the participants began to introduce themselves with phrases we had planned on teaching them during that session.

Despite a few pauses in speech, which I think was down to confidence and not in ability, the participants happily introduced their names, where they are from, there hobbies, and one gentleman in particular began to name species of birds, needless to say who was quickly moved to the advanced session. All in all, a wonderful start, with a great group of people, who I hope will part of this chat lounge for as long as we have it.


After the experience of the beginners class, we were all quite excited about the advanced class, because the beginners had already set such high standards, the advanced would be a wonderful opportunity to really engage with the participants and exchange openly in an informal warm setting. And the participants did not disappoint, immediately conversation exploded as participants not only introduced themselves, but talked about their lives, how the tsunami’s affected it, their families and their passions. The honesty that was flowing around the room was so refreshing and exhilarating. From past life experiences to simple motivations for joining the chat lounge, one of which being that living in Kamaishi does not give much opportunity for one to engage with a native English speaker, concluding this statement with, “we are blessed for this opportunity.” I think that says everything about the richness of the exchange, for all of us, and the success of the first chat lounge event. 

Report: Dennis Ngoga (Volunteer from Rwanda)

prepare for the 'loinge'



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