It’s amazing how one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re in the middle of something really precious and fun.
Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a one day event called Japan Habba or 日本祭り。Habba is a Kannada word for festival. This is a great opportunity for anyone interested in Japan or Japanese language to meet and interact with Japanese nationals living in the city.
I had first heard about Japan Habba last year. Since it was my first time I wasn’t sure what to expect. I saw people doing cosplay, stalls selling kitchen knives, information desks with brochures of different Japanese universities etc. This time however, I wanted to go as a volunteer.
Thanks to a friend I became a volunteer for Japan Habba 2016. Volunteer meetings introduced me to this huge Japanese learning community in Bengaluru that I knew existed but never had a chance to interact with. I had always felt alone trying to learn a language not many people were interested in learning. Thanks to this event I’ve met so many interesting people and I hope that one day I’m able to reach their level of proficiency.
I also took this opportunity to buy a couple of Japanese novels. Although I’m not really sure of the level of Japanese used in them I’m hoping to greatly improve my reading speed. One of the books was a suggestion by my friend. It’s called 私が殺した彼女 by Ryo Hara and she owns a copy of it as well. We’ve promised to share our notes on it soon.
Japan Habba introduced me to a Toastmasters Club run by the same volunteer group. It’s the only one of its kind in the city. What makes it really unique is that it is open to people learning Japanese. The main agenda of the club is to get people to speak Japanese without any hesitation. The club has Japanese nationals as members. So while we have to talk in Japanese, they must talk in English and at the end of it all each of us receives feedback from the appointed members.
I had the chance to attend a meeting two weeks back and it was amazing. I really need to work on my speaking ability and this place is an excellent platform to practice it. In the first meeting I was asked to introduce myself to the members. Now, I didn’t mind doing that. What I did mind was that I had to do it in Japanese. Even though I knew the basic phrases for the same, I found myself too nervous to do it.
It was such a strange experience and it made me realize how much I really needed this. I want to join the club and I know it in my heart that it’s a great opportunity. Hopefully my nervousness doesn’t get the best of me and I manage to go to the next meeting.