Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル

November 15, 2023 English Café in Oguchi and Shiramine

 Hello everyone. I’m James Taylor, an English teacher at ICT.
 For the last three years, I’ve been holding a regular event at the Oguchi Community Centre called English Café. It’s a chance for local residents to get together and learn some simple English while also enjoying a cup of tea, a snack, and a chat.
 Last year English Café was a monthly event, and the focus of each session was useful language for travel, or a particularly relevant event, such as Christmas or New Year.


 This year, the first English Café was held on Tuesday, 12th September, 2023, but it was slightly different from previous events. This time, we had two guests from the United Kingdom (my parents!), who showed photos of the village where they live now, the town where they used to live (where I grew up), and other interesting parts of British towns that tourists don’t usually get to see. There were 8 guests from Oguchi and Shiramine, as well as the two Community Centre staff. Everyone had lots of questions about various aspects of British life, such as housing, education, shops, architecture, and many more.


 The other big difference from previous English Café sessions was that instead of starting at 3 o’clock, this one started at 11 oclock, and the Community Centre staff ordered Hakusan Geo bento lunches for everyone from Hotel Gooin in Ichirino Onsen. The bento was full of local ingredients, such as wild boar meat, maitake mushrooms, fish from the Tedori River, and wild mountain vegetables. Not only that, but each of the portions was designed to represent a famous sightseeing spot in the Hakusan Tedorigawa UNESCO Global Geopark. In the photos you can see the bento itself, the information leaflet, and the picture that was stuck onto the front of the box.



 The following evening, our guests from the UK went to Shiramine to host a special event for the local children in Shinjoji Temple. There are only 10 children in the whole of Shiramine Primary School, 11 in the nursery, and about a dozen more who attend Hakurei Junior High School, which is just down the road from ICT’s Hakusanroku Campus. For this event, 15 children and some of their parents came along to hear a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, eat British-style pancakes, and set off sparklers. For the last three summers, weve planned to hold English Café for children in Shiramine. Unfortunately, each summer it has been cancelled at the last minute due to COVID-19. Fortunately, this year we were able to organise and successfully hold an event that everyone enjoyed – several children even went back for more pancakes; others were able to practice using English to start conversations with our guests!

 次の日、2人のイギリス人のゲストは白峰の真成寺で子供たちのためのイベントを行いました。白峰小学校の児童は10人しかいなくて、保育園児は11人、そして12人ぐらいの中学生がいます。(中学生は国際高専 白山麓キャンパスの近くにある白嶺中学校に通っています。)今回、15人の子供たちとその両親が来て、「はらぺこあおむし」の英語版の読み聞かせや、イギリス風パンケーキを食べたり、花火を楽しんだりしました。3年前から毎年夏休みに白峰の子供たちのためにイングリッシュカフェを予定していましたが、コロナウイルスのせいで毎回中止になってしまいました。今回みんな楽しく英語とふれあえてよかったです。ある子供たちはパンケーキをおかわりできて、英語でおしゃべりもできました!



 Then, on Wednesday, 4th October, we held an almost-regular English Café in the afternoon. I say “almost-regular because it took place inside ICTs Hakusanroku Campus for the first time. 9 people from Oguchi and Shiramine, including two first-time attendees, gathered in the lobby of the Innovation Hub to discuss books, films, and YouTube channels they like. The change of location was nice, and local residents were excited to be able to see inside ICT.



 English Café is not a big event, but it’s an enjoyable and valuable opportunity to build positive relationships between ICT and the local community. The staff at Oguchi and Shiramine Community Centres always put a lot of time and effort into organising and publicising English Café, and this year we also had the cooperation of Shinjoji Temple in Shiramine. I’m grateful for their support and looking forward to future events.


James Taylor

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