Yusentei Garden Seminar Report
The event started around 9:00 am in front of the Yusentei Garden in Fukuoka and the arrival of the students and their teacher around 9:45 am. The group then proceeded to the main building where the seminar was scheduled to start at 10:00 am. The seminar started with a short introduction by the tour guide and an introduction of the staff. The introduction included the explanation of complicated English terms related to the garden. The presentation was given by the staff in Japanese and simultaneously translated into English by the tour guide as an English comprehension exercise for the students. The event continued with a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, an origami exercise and finally a tour of the garden. The objective of the event was to give the Japanese students an understanding of their own culture, also with regard to later tourism activities.
The purpose of the event was to familiarize the students with their own culture and also to teach them the English terminology associated with it. Since the students are aiming for a tourism career, this information and exercises are of practical use for their future careers. Especially the participation in the traditional tea ceremony is a useful knowledge, which is interesting for both foreign and domestic tourists.
The small size of the group and the fact that it was a closed group was positive. The students had noticeably more fun at the event and participated actively in the program points. Furthermore, all students had at least a basic level of English and could follow the translations of the tour guide. In general, it was an open and interested group of students, who even occasionally initiated a conversation in English, out of interest or to test their own English skills. Weaknesses were therefore hardly noticeable, the group behaved in a disciplined manner and the seminar could also be held on time without any difficulties. Only the temperatures were a bit strenuous, since it is an open building and the temperatures at lunchtime were very warm and humid.
The seminar was a great success, all students enjoyed the program and participated actively. The place itself is a wonderful, quiet traditional place and is perfect for such events with small groups of people. Also, during the presentation and the tour through the garden the students followed the staff and tour guide without any problems. At the end of the seminar, the students showed interest and asked questions to the tour guide and tried to talk to me as a foreign observer in English.