Nihongo Matsuri on the Oudegracht

Mea, a Vietnamese residing in Utrecht, penned this delightful account exclusively for our website, recounting her experience at Nihongo Matsuri on the Oudegracht in Utrecht.

Nihongo Matsuri on the Oudegracht took place at “in de 3 krone”

Nihongo Matsuri on the Oudegracht in Utrecht

A month ago, I participated in an incredibly captivating workshop, Nihongo Matsuri, organized by ONK (Oranda Nihongo Kyoshikai) and Japan Fans. It was my first time attending an event by Japan Fans.

Initially, I felt a bit nervous because my Japanese skills were absolutely nonexistent, but the instructors were incredibly kind. I had anticipated merely observing without much interaction. However, to my surprise, there were plenty of engaging activities and games, keeping me entertained throughout the entire session.

Even with my zero-level proficiency, I quickly learned and practiced many useful Japanese phrases and words. I could introduce myself, stating my name, nationality, birthday, occupation, and more. I also learned how to inquire about others’ personal information. Furthermore, the teachers’ energy was remarkably infectious; they remained cheerful throughout, inspiring the group effortlessly. I aspire to emulate this enthusiasm in my own work!

Following the icebreaker game, we played a little shop simulation, which was incredibly fun! The instructors provided us with Japanese play money for shopping. Since moving from Vietnam to the Netherlands, I’ve rarely used cash, so this alone was amusing and enjoyable. Despite making numerous calculation errors, my team received generous discounts from the instructors. I “purchased” many items and engaged in delightful conversations. Though it was play money, I felt quite affluent, and who doesn’t love discounts!

As an added bonus, I also practiced some Dutch with fellow participants. Some were also learning Dutch, and I thoroughly enjoyed conversing with them.

After the small group activities, we all participated in a final game: “じゃんけんぽん” (Jankenpon), the Japanese equivalent of rock-paper-scissors. Winners received lovely gifts from the instructors. It was incredibly amusing. Though I didn’t win any prizes, I had a blast, and that was the true victory for me!

Thanks to Nihongo Matsuri on the Oudegracht, I discovered a highly useful website for learning Japanese for free, created by ONK (Oranda Nihongo Kyoshi, Japanese Teacher in the Netherlands). I aspire to read Japanese manga and books someday, so this website is incredibly handy for me. Additionally, there was an introduction to calligraphy classes that I’d love to attend someday.

In conclusion, I thoroughly enjoyed this workshop. The warm atmosphere and informative content made it outstanding. I can’t wait for the next events by ONK and Japan Fans!

If you enjoyed this account, you can follow Mea on her lovely Instagram page: “Mea Things“.

Mea, Nihongo Matsuri Oudegracht, Japan Fans, BudoGirl, Japanese Arts & Culture Centre Utrecht, Japans Cultureel Centrum Utrecht
Drawing of Mea and her two kitties by BudoGirl design.