Each semester, students in the Japanese program anticipate the event of the season: the bi-annual Red Pit party. Students and faculty members gather to celebrate their achievements, indulge in a delicious meal, and share their collaborative, creative projects.

Student presentations take different forms, exhibiting the knowledge of the Japanese language and Japanese culture they have learned throughout the semester. This year, presentation topics ranged from different types of Japanese noodles, to Japanese population aging, to a skit about a boy with amnesia. While much of language learning involves disciplined memorization and repetitious oral drills, these presentations provide students taking Japanese with a fun way to apply their knowledge to real-life situations, preparing them for instances in which they will use the language in conversation, such as when they study abroad.

Second-year student Sam Cho ’21 says it is exciting to witness “everyone’s knowledge of the language and confidence in their speaking abilities evolve,” beginning with skits using simple grammar structures in the first year to brief lectures on social issues in Japan by their third or fourth year. Cho also remarks that it is great to know that the program is such a small, close-knit community.

The Red Pit party is just one event that the program holds each semester. To inform students culturally as well as linguistically, the Japanese program holds many other out-of-class cultural events, such as calligraphy and origami workshops; students outside of the programare welcomed and encouraged to attend. Additionally, the program hosts a weekly language table in McEwen, where students of all class levels and faculty members gather to practice the language (no English allowed!) over dinner.

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