Laugh and learn! Japanese language school for foreigners teach real Japanese with manzai comedy

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Tokyo language school shows students a kind of Japanese that you won’t find in textbooks, but that you will definitely want in your skill set.

One of the big obstacles to learning Japanese is that Japanese manual does not always match how the language is actually spoken. Of course, sometimes it is, but the style of Japanese you will learn in most classrooms is a formal and appropriate way of speaking. This is useful if you are talking to a hotel worker, restaurant waiter, or co-worker, but when speaking with friends or other casual interlocutors, spoken Japanese grammar and vocabulary bends to become a lot. more lively and more expressive.

So while it is essential to start with a solid understanding of appropriate speech patterns, it is nice to find a school willing to teach less formal forms of communication as well, like the one in Tokyo. Hotsuma International School Is. Over the past few years, our Japanese-language reporter Seiji Nakazawa has had many opportunities to spend time with foreign students from Hotsuma who have come to Japan to study the language, but last week was the first time we ‘he sit in a classroom, and the lesson was unlike any he had ever seen before.

â–¼ Seiji’s Pakistani friend Raza, a Hotsuma student, was happy to see our reporter, although a little disappointed that this visit was not related to a run on the beach or free fried chicken.

As Seiji took a seat at the back of the class, he noticed that the instructors seemed particularly excited, and that’s because they are actually a pair of professional actors! japanese husband Manu and Swiss wife Shira together form the duo French, specializing in Japanese two-person comedies called manzai.

French teaches a special class at Hotsuma called Learn Japanese with Manzai. They start by explaining some of the basics of the art form, like how most gags require one person to play a stupid role, while the other reacts with shocked seriousness to their partner’s shenanigans. Because manzai are structured like a conversation between two people, the tone is relaxed and conversational, just the sort of thing that most Japanese classroom lessons lack..

â–¼ Manu, who speaks five different languages, explained everything in clear, easy-to-follow Japanese.

The French then ran a quick example before handing over their homework to the students: pair up and create, then perform, their own manzai numbers.

Seiji enjoys laughing as much as the guy next door, but he couldn’t help but wonder if the Hotsuma students could pull it off. Comedy cannot be rigid and formal. It needs to be loose and energetic, with timing, inflection and emotion all key. Even as a native speaker of Japanese, he would have a hard time if someone told him to create his own manzai act, and he couldn’t imagine doing it in a foreign language.

But Hotsuma students jumped into the project, with their instructors on the verge of offering help and providing feedback.

Finally, it was time for the students to perform their manzai sketches…

… and of course…

… They were funny!

Learn Japanese with Manzai

For Seiji, who speaks only Japanese, it was heartwarming and inspiring to see the students working hard not only to communicate, but also to make people smile with their advanced Japanese skills, and to have come to Japan for do it. “After completing their courses at Hostuma, some of them will seek employment, while others will apply to other educational programs in Japan,” says Seiji. “Chasing their dreams won’t be easy, but I think this time in their life, when they studied and laughed so hard, it’s a memory they will cherish, and I hope they all smile at the future too. “

Related: Hotsuma International School
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