10 Tips for a Successful Japanese Language Panel

by Buddy Lindsey

mrws29

Doing a panel at a con can be a bit stressful if it is your first one, heck anywhere if it is your first. So here are a few tips to help with doing a panel on Japanese language if you have never done one before or just want to improve.

1) Plan – This is fairly straight forward you need to plan. A good idea is for say a 50 minute format plan 4 items you can bloviate for about 10 minutes on leave the last 15 minutes for discussion and Q&A. Yes that math doesn’t hold up, but you will usually talk faster than in your prep and will usually get done quicker so there is extra time.

2) Bring materials – Bring books you have or friends have trying to bring several things you can pass around that show ways of practicing the language. Bring some fun stuff too.

3) Teach something, usually basic introductions are enough – Teach some Japanese so people are able to say at least something. Explain the significance of the introduction along with how to properly say it. Also get them to say it too.

4) Teach a few common anime words – your at a con so lets face most people watch anime. Try to break down a few common phrases and words that you hear a lot, but don’t necessarily catch the meaning of easily. ex: kowai vs kawaii

5) Speak Some Japanese – Lets face it you need some authority, unless you are Japanese, so start out the thing by saying a few sentences in Japanese then translate it.

6) Have a Japanese person present – This one is more difficult than the rest, but can really add to it if you can nab one, importing japanese people is usually hard fair warning. However, they can answer a lot of questions since they are fluent by living the language than most fluent by learning the language.

7) Discussion/Q&A – This can be awesome or fail. If you have an enganged audience you can answer question for hours. However, you can also have a dead audence that is just there to listen and won’t ask a thing or say a thing unless prompted. So, have some questions ready and try to get the audience moving a little.

8) Handout with lots of resources – Usually there are going to be a couple of serious learners present or serious to be learners. Most people are there because they want to learn the language quick or are intrigued. Always aim for the serious learners so come up with a handout that has bunches links and description of why they should go there.

9) Give an untranslated book away – I know personally when i started I was constantly looking for untranslated stuff to consume and get an idea of what is going on with this crazy language. Giving away an untranslated manga or book can really have a boosting effect in helping people to learn because now the have genuine Japanese material. Plus, it is fun to get free stuff.

10) DO NOT talk about Japan – Heresy right? Well the quickest way to derail a good conversation about learning the Japanese language is to start talking about japan. Remember most people there aren’t truly concerned about learning the language and those are the ones that will incessantly ask about japan if you start talking about your travels there. While learning culture and about Japan is important you are in a language panel.

What are some things you can suggest to help others with doing panels at conventions?

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