Sunday, 17 October 2010

Japan meets Sukottorando

I almost forgot!

I got an email from the Scottish JET Alumni Association yesterday morning about a Japanese-themed event at a high school in town with food and workshops and stuff. Since I'd been wanting an opportunity to meet Japanese people but hadn't done anything about it, I decided to go along.

There were no signs or other indications outside the building that there was anything going on inside, so I wasn't sure if I'd got the information mixed up. There were people showing up intermittently, though, so I followed behind a family of four. They went up to a reception desk that was manned by none other than the my old high school headmaster, who'd retired in the year or year after I finished high school. My first time back in a school in Edinburgh and it's my old headmaster who's there to greet me. We chatted a bit (he seemed to recognise me after I asked if it was him) and it seemed the reason for his being there was that his sons have connections to Japan - both have taught there and one is married to a Japanese lady.

I went downstairs into the bowels of the school, where a stage of sorts was set up in what I guessed to be a foyer-cum-cafeteria. There had been a fashion show and there was some singing of Scottish folk songs and Japanese folk songs, with explanations about how many Japanese ones came from Scottish ones that made their way over after Japan opened after the Meji Restoration. They also sang the theme from Laputa: Castle in the Sky.

There weren't actually many Japanese people manning the stalls - the majority of them were staffing the kitchen (apparently Japanese playgroup mums) so I didn't know how I was going to get any J-hongo practice in. Eventually I plucked up the courage to randomly talk to a guy wearing a red happi coat and we chatted a fair bit. He's a consul working at the consulate (duh!), but not the main consul. I don't really understand how it works. It says consul on his business card. He seemed disappointed that I didn't have any of my own. Gotta get on that. After CELTA. Business cards are cool.

Anyway, he said he hadn't had a chance to get into studying English and his wife was the same, so I sent an email offering my services. Networking ftw.

I didn't stay long after talking to him since that was my main objective: talk in Japanese. Mission Accomplished.

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