Yu-chan is a young graduate student. She had played a role as the leader of the English Conversation Club until last month since the first leader has gone to the U.S . She’s gone to the U.K to study peace and conflict studies at a university. Actually, I’d never heard of the subject until I met her, and I haven’t understood what the hell it is yet, to be honest.
There was a farewell party for her at the end of last month at Elephant’s Nest, the British style pub, in Fushimi. I haven’t heard from her since then. I’m wondering what she is doing by now, whether she’s already began going to the university or has tried to visit some real pubs in the U.K.
Yu-chan and I met first at a conversation club at an English language school last year. We had a nice chat because she is so nice and friendly. But we didn’t have many opportunities to see each other after that. Probably two or three times, I think. I was a daily class student and she came to school at night and weekends.
I, maybe I guess she also, thought we’d have some chances to meet at the school the last time we met at the school, but we couldn’t. The language school went bankrupt and closed suddenly year ago last October. I went to the school on the very closing day although I hadn’t already been a student there. Then I met her there again.
Actually, one of my ex-classmates was also there, and he and Yu-chan decided to start a conversation club, where anyone could join and practice speaking English for free. Many students lost their school, but some of them never gave up and tried to find the way for a new place where they could keep studying. And I was also invited to the club. Lucky!
It seems that we sometimes look and sound weird because people all of whom look like Japanese speak English at cafes. In fact, one day when we spoke English at a Starbucks near Nagoya Station, a white male, who had been sitting next to us, addressed us before leaving, “You sound weird because you are talking in English in spite of that all of you are Japanese!!” things in fluent Japanese, smiling.
To tell the truth, we felt self-conscious about speaking English next to him. He wasn’t sitting alone. Actually, he was teaching English a woman at the place. You know, there are many English schools send their teachers for having lessons on a one-to-one basis at cafes. The man added, “Keep up studying English!!” in Japanese, and left, waving.
As a sad memory, one woman came to us and said, “I don’t know you’re studying or something, but this place is not for studying or chatting. This is for eating!” when we were talking at a Kentucky Fried Chicken in Sakae. She looked really upset and stormed off. Maybe we talked up a storm about romances or something…She might be on a bad day…
We’ve kept the conversation club for almost one year. During this time, our conversation sent many our companies away abroad, mainly to the U.S and U.K. I hope we’ll be keep having this club until at least Yu-chan comes back to Japan. I look forward to hearing from her about her life and many interesting episodes in England.