Going offline with Nihongo no Mori

Posted on by 2 comments

I wrote about the Nihon­go no Mori group (日本語の森) before in a pre­vi­ous blog post — they are a Wase­da stu­dent group who pro­duce YouTube videos teach­ing Japan­ese gram­mar, vocab­u­lary, spe­cial lan­guage top­ics (e.g. region­al accents), etc. Their videos were extreme­ly help­ful in my N1 study and I strong­ly rec­om­mend them to any­one look­ing for alter­na­tive study mate­ri­als. Their non-JLPT videos are also pret­ty enter­tain­ing to watch and give a glimpse into var­i­ous Japan­ese cul­tur­al top­ics (who doesn’t want to learn about Samu­rai?).

Last week they held an ‘オフ会’ (offline meeting/party) in Shibuya and I decid­ed to attend to meet the stu­dents (teach­ers!) and thank them in per­son. I invit­ed my friend Aysel who hap­pens to be a Wase­da (exchange) stu­dent and who became an imme­di­ate fan of 日本語の森 after I linked it to her. We knew the event would be record­ed (and made into a YouTube video) so we were a bit ner­vous, but it turned out to be very fun and we were able to meet some inter­est­ing peo­ple here in Tokyo!

They rent­ed a large room and had chairs arranged in rows, with a desk for the teach­ers at the front. Hon­est­ly, the set­up looked a bit like a press con­fer­ence at the UN rather than a YouTube par­ty! They gave us a goody bag as we entered the room and we took some seats. The event start­ed a bit lat­er than expect­ed so we had a chance to talk to the oth­er peo­ple in the room. Unsur­pris­ing­ly, they were all non-Japan­ese (from many dif­fer­ent coun­tries!) study­ing for JLPT. I even found some­one from Viet­nam! But decid­ed against try­ing to com­mu­ni­cate to them in my poor Viet­namese — at this point, my Japan­ese is def­i­nite­ly a lot stronger!

There wasn’t real­ly an oppor­tu­ni­ty to talk with the teach­ers direct­ly — instead we spent most of the time play­ing three games. The first was a vari­ant of Rock Paper Scis­sors / Janken (たたいて・かぶって・ジャンケンポン), with the added rule that the win­ner has to grab the (inflat­able) ham­mer and hit the los­er on the head, while the los­er has to grab the hel­met and wear it to pro­tect him­self. The teach­ers gave us a demon­stra­tion and then we joined in after­wards. If we won against a teacher of our choice, we got to take a pic­ture with them — I chose and won a pic­ture with Yuha-sen­sei! It felt like we were tak­ing pic­tures with pop idols rather than ‘ordi­nary’ uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, but I didn’t let that thought ruin the fun… I await the day some­body takes part in a con­vo­lut­ed game of Rock Paper Scis­sors just to win a pho­to oppor­tu­ni­ty with ME!



Aysel was not so lucky...

Aysel was not so lucky…

The sec­ond game was the ‘Wasabi Chal­lenge’. They put large amounts of wasabi inside a sin­gle piece of sushi (out of many), and the teach­ers each took a piece in turn and ate it. The job of the rest of us was to guess who had ate the wasabi-filled piece, from the facial expressions/reactions of those eat­ing. We also played a reverse ver­sion of the same game — all except one had large amounts of wasabi while the sin­gle piece had none. They were pret­ty good at act­ing so I couldn’t real­ly tell who it was — as expect­ed for a YouTube group! Aysel took part in the stu­dent ver­sion of the game, fool­ing almost every­one with her class act­ing skills.

Aysel taking a mouthful of wasabi... Or is she??

Aysel tak­ing a mouth­ful of wasabi… Or is she??

For the final game, one of the teach­ers placed mys­tery items in a box and the oth­ers took turns to guess what was inside by touch­ing it with their hands. The audi­ence could see what was inside (gen­er­al­ly ordi­nary stuff like soft toys, pen­cil sharp­en­er) but we gave our best (over)reaction to put off the per­son guess­ing. At one point there was a piece of raw chick­en in the box, whose tex­ture would have sure­ly freaked any­one else out, but Mis­ato-sen­sei was sur­pris­ing­ly unfazed and stayed extreme­ly calm — 余裕!

I don't like touching raw chicken even when I know what it is...

I don’t like touch­ing raw chick­en even when I know what it is…

After the games we took more pic­tures togeth­er and filmed a short clip with every­one danc­ing. They said they would be using that clip at the end of every(!) Nihon­go no Mori video to encour­age peo­ple to sub­scribe. I am very hap­py to have par­tic­i­pat­ed in this event, even if there are some embar­rass­ing moments cap­tured on video. I think study­ing Japan­ese is incred­i­bly impor­tant for any­one who wants to be here for the medi­um-long term and I sup­port any ini­tia­tives bring­ing for­eign­ers one step clos­er to flu­en­cy!

2 comments on “Going offline with Nihongo no Mori

  1. Thank you very much it is very hel­ful.

  2. Yeah, final­ly, I got the best resource to learn Japan­ese freely, hon­tou ni ari­ga­tou goza­ima­su

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *