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.