Walking with Mark, TMC all over the world
Vol. 4 Nichibei TMC
Do you dream of being able to becoming bilingual in English and Japanese? If yes, why don’t you knock on the door of Nichibei Toastmasters Club, which meets twice a month, at the very center of Manhattan.
It’s the one and only bilingual (Japanese/English) toastmasters club in New York!
The venue is only a few blocks north of 42nd street, facing the world-famous fabulous fifth(5th) avenue!,”between 44th and 45th streets”.
Go through the security gate, use the elevator, and walk into a roomy, cleanly modern conference room where Japanese president and officers are waiting to welcome you warmly.
The style of desk placement is like a school classroom.
Through big windows, you can see 180-degree views of the Manhattan city. The setting sun casts its pinkish glow over the sky.
Approximately half of the club members are Japanese nationals (The Japanese female member outnumbered Japanese male members). The Japanese female members are young, vivacious and smart. Their demeanor is demure yet determined, displaying sparkling intelligence and integrity, proving themselves to be “Yamato Nadeshikos”. On the other hand, the Japanese male members are all handsome, modestly well-mannered gentlemen.
Manhattan is the center of hurly-burly world of business, so you must always prepare yourself as if you are in a battle field.
The members and guests are all seriously eager to learn communication skills, because they must represent themselves well enough in both English and Japanese, or New York City will eat them alive!
Only Nichibei Toastmasters Club provides you with opportunities to enhance your bilingual abilities, and its existence is vital.
Speaking of non-Japanese members, some once worked, some stayed or studied in Japan, some learned Japanese language and culture, and some currently often do business with a Japanese company. They are actively participating in the club meetings.
The guests’ introductions at the outset of the meeting were colorful.
I realized they had something in common: They all need to be better communicators in order to survive.
In addition, the club members are frankly honest, I must say.
In my self-introduction I said, “I serve as the president of an English speaking club in Paris”, then female members gave me a surprise look, almost as if I don’t look like a person living in Paris. Their faces registered pure disbelief,,,”Paris?,,,You,,,? ” ,,and I did enjoy that!
The members and guests live and work in New York speaking English 24-7. It is no surprise that most Japanese members speak English smoothly and lively.
They focus on what to convey rather than how to say something in English.
Therefore, the speeches are adequately concrete, clear and practical.
Not least, evaluators enumerate three good points in a concise manner at first. Then they suggest three points for improvement meticulously. This method almost meets the European standard evaluation guideline.
In Japanese speech session, I was most impressed with non-Japanese members’ polite deportment and graceful delivery, which I thought was beautiful.
-Rhythmical, explicit and lively articulation;
-Dignified, sincere manners even more than the average Japanese; and
-Words and phrases carefully chosen and effectively employed, sincere attitude along with facial expressions as if they experience once in a lifetime magical experience.
The language flows relaxed and a few refreshing expressions were used: “Invigorating autumn day”, “healthy record of growth”, “beautiful (lovely) days”.
One of the non-Japanese members said to me “When I visited temples and shrines in Kyoto or Kamakura, I felt the experience of uniqueness of the Japanese Oxymorons first hand: “Quiet Fervency” Two words beautifully conflict with each other. I introspected myself how little I knew about Japan.
I remembered then that world- famous sightseeing spots such as “Japan Alps” “Kami-Kochi”, “Karuizawa” were discovered and publicized to the world by visitors from other countries.
Eventually, I could learn a lot from Japanese and non-Japanese members.
Dear Bilingual Toastmasters Club members in Japan, I would suggest that you attend a “Nichibei Toastmasters” meeting whenever you can.
And if possible, let’s impress native English speakers with our modest however a strong expression that is very Japanese.