Japanese classes at Charlton House

Have you ever considered learning Japanese? Watched Japanese films or had an interest in anime or manga? Or have a girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse that is Japanese and just want to learn a bit of the lingo? A closely kept secret in Charlton, it seems, is that at Charlton House during the weekdays anyone can go along and study Japanese. I don’t know about you, but I was quite surprised by this as I didn’t know there was such an active Japanese community, despite seeing the beautiful garden at the house.

The classes are run by the IIEL (Institute of International Education in London) and although they are designed to teach teachers who want to teach Japanese, I believe anyone is invited to go along and it doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced speaker.

There’s a one time registration fee of £18 but after that, the classes are free if you take the teaching classes otherwise they’re free. I spoke to Clay Harris who has been going along to the classes, and he told me that he had met such a diverse cross-section of people and called it, “London at its multicultural best, all ages and backgrounds.”

People who have been to the classes have said there is a real sense of community there – and what a great use of Charlton House! The institute holds cultural evenings there sometimes where some of the students give a presentation about an aspect of Japanese culture in English and there is also an annual sports day there!

I wasn’t aware there was such an active Japanese community in Charlton, but if it’s right there on our doorsteps, it seems like a great opportunity to try something different and meet new people. I shall certainly be giving it a go if time permits! Let me know if you’ve been, what you think about it or if there’s anything I’ve missed out.

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The marathon’s final entrant…

In last place in this year's marathon...
I managed to miss Lloyd Scott crawl along Charlton Road, but I just bumped into him on Woolwich Road, as he attempts to be the London Marathon’s slowest finisher. He’s crawling the route on behalf of Action For Kids, and you can read more about his adventures on his blog. Can’t be fun in this weather…

Meet Charlton’s German baker – every Saturday

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Something you might not be aware of, especially if Saturday mornings are non-existent to you. Stefan (pictured), your friendly German baker, drives his van from its base in Kingston all the way to our neck of the woods.

PhotobucketStefan explains that the only reason he started coming to Charlton was because “three years ago a German lady in this road asked us to make this our very first selling point”. In fact, looking at his website that’s exactly what lots of other people have been doing. Over the years Stefan has increased his circuit of London to over fifty stops a week – all because people can send him these requests. Do you reckon I could ask him to park further down the hill to save my legs?

But joking aside, Stefan offers freshly baked bread at a very convenient time and location. 8.00am – 9.20am on Saturday mornings means a quick weekend stroll is now one of my main priorities. I can assure you the bread ist wunderbar and is sold by its percentage of rye content. Another must is the pretzels (pictured) not to mention the extensive array of cakes – try the plum crumble.

Take a trip this weekend and you won’t look back. He’s very approachable and is willing to explain any of the German delights that his van has to offer. But remember to get there before 9.20am or else he may have whisked off to his only other South East London stop – Forest Hill. Here’s a map of where he plots so you don’t waste vital time wandering aimlessly. Fantastisch….

wellington gardens bakery

Open mic comedy night at Charlton House

This summer’s Horn Fayre seems to have survived the cuts, and organisers are getting ready for it by holding an open mic comedy night at Charlton House on Friday from 7.30pm.

The winner will be offered a chance to perform at the Horn Fayre in June, and all proceeds from the event will go to the Samaritans.

Audience tickets cost £5 – you’ll have to bring your own drink – and to register, call 8856 3951 or e-mail charlton.house@greenwich.gov.uk.