Japanese Language Table

Japanese Language Table attendees sit and practice speaking the language with native speakers. The table is a product of the Japanese Student Association. 



Eight students gathered Dec. 7 in JB Hunt Hall for the last Japanese Language Table of the semester. They ate Japanese snacks, chatted about random topics and practiced speaking. Many students attended regularly, made friends and improved their language skills through the semester.

The Japanese Student Association, a UA registered student organization founded in 2006, hosts the event. Meetings take place once a week at JB Hunt’s Main Studio Space.

The language table allows students who are studying or interested in Japan to practice Japanese and learn about the country with native speakers. At the language table, committee members play a short YouTube video to teach one Japanese conversational sentence at the start of the meeting.

Later, students divide into three groups: elementary, intermediate and advanced. At least one native speaker joins each group. Students talk about random topics using the sentences they learned initially, and they learn many new words as they talk.

The purpose of the language table is to offer those who study Japanese a place where they can enjoy practicing and to help more students get interested in Japan, said Reira Shibata, a freshman and a member of JSA who is also in charge of the language table.

Many attendees find the language table helpful and enjoyable.

“I have come to the language table about eight to 10 times and I have liked it,” freshman Kai Brudnak said. “It’s a good chance to practice my Japanese because I’m half Japanese, but I’m not certainly fluent, and I’d have to text all the time to my Japanese family members, so this is the good way to keep on top of it.”

Brudnak has learned more slang and has been able to talk to people who are his family members, and learned how friends talk to each other, he said.

Brudnak is excited to come back to the language table next semester. He also hopes to be an officer and get involved more in the language table, he said.

Ian Avellanrsa, a sophomore, said he thinks all aspects of the language table are fun.

“It’s just more practice for me because outside of the class, we don’t really get to talk in Japanese and no one really uses it,” Avellanrsa said. “Here, talking to native speakers encourages me more to speak the language and that makes me feel a lot more confident in my speaking ability.”

Avellanrsa said he has learned a lot of useful words that people use in their daily life.

“I think seeing the same people once a week, you start getting familiar with them, so I think it’s something special about the language table,” he said.

Samantha Roth, a sophomore, attended the language table for the first time Wednesday.

“I think it was very insightful because we don’t usually get a chance to speak Japanese outside the class,” Roth said. “Getting to hear conversations which I don't know the exact context and guessing them are really fun.”

The language table officers are also satisfied with the outcome of the language table for this semester, such as Hinata Todoroki, a senior and director of the language table.

“I saw everyone was enjoying learning Japanese at the language table,” Todoroki said. “Even students who recently started learning attended, and I’m happy that we could offer a helpful opportunity for them.”

Shibata said she was happy to get to talk with many attendees throughout the semester. Even though translating each language to teach was a little difficult, it was a pleasure for her that many students came to the language table and got interested in the language and the country.

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