Friday, 9 November 2012

Guide Section

Up to this point, I have mostly been associated with the Conversation Section of my university's English Club, for basically no other reason than that they happened to pick me up first. And that's fine, because most of them are pretty cool, and I've managed to make some genuine friends after sifting through the weirdos and the Anglophiles. But, hey, I decided not to formally join the club because I wanted to keep myself open for other opportunities, right?

The main quirk that sets Guide apart from the other two sections is that from time to time on weekends they take groups of foreigners to various sightseeing spots around Kyouto. You would logically think that at least a few members would therefore be aspiring tour guides, but I have yet to meet one. They shouldn't be hard to find, either, considering that it is for some reason larger than the other two combined, with over fifty members. It seems that originally there no divisions, but they got divvied up when the three foreign English teachers started having differences of opinion, one exchange leading to a fistfight and subsequent restraining order, which I can only imagine means that staff meetings are conducted by handwritten notes and teaching schedules arranged by awkward phone call, so that the two in question can maintain the requisite distance. All three then followed this up by utterly losing interest in their respective sections and never involving themselves with their day-to-day affairs ever again, rendering the whole differentiation thing meaningless.

But I had heard reports that besides this key difference they were otherwise functionally identical to Conversation, which turned out to be completely untrue. Both sections utilise the "speech," whose actual English meaning would imply a single participant reciting something in front of the group but is used here to indicate pair work in which one partner rambles on about some completely trivial topic for a little while before being interrogated on their assertions, then switching roles. Some of Conversation's typical activities are free talking, light role-playing, and 2-minute speeches. Guide Section discussed an English news story, translated a passage of a difficult book, and did 5-minute speeches.

In short, Guide Section is more like a study group, and Conversation Section is more a place to dick around as much as possible. Guide's topic of discussion tonight was "Kyouto," Conversation's was "which is a better place for a first date, a horserace or a hotel." You can probably guess that I will not be visiting Guide Section too terribly often in future, as well as which one I observe to have the higher aggregate level of English ability.

I don't even dare delve into Discussion Section, whose section chief also heads English Club overall. They're said to be strict as a classroom and run until 10 pm. On the other hand, there's one cutie who may possibly lure me in, though I am receiving mixed reports on her, one girl telling me "I know her pretty well, and she's a little loose," and another saying, "I've only talked to her once, but she definitely isn't," leaving me at a loss as to what to believe, not that I mind anyway.

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