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Japanese Events in NYC – Nihongo Dake Dinner – 11/11

November 18, 2009

The Nihongo Dake Dinner is one of the few regular events in New York City designed to bring both Japanese and non-native Japanese speakers together. Currently run by Jon Hills for JETTANY (http://jetaany.org/), he’s also the founder of Hills Learning (http://hillslearning.com/default.aspx), a language school based in Grand Central, New York City.

The Nihongo Dake Dinners have always been a part of JETAANY, at least for JET’s who have been in New York City for the past few years. However since last year the dinners had stopped, with no one willing to take the reigns of organization. Then from June of this year the dinners began to take off again, with a dinner happening on average per month. They usually have regular attendance of about 20 people, which consists of half native Japanese and half non-native Japanese speakers.

The most recent Nihongo Dake Dinner took place at an Izakaya called Onya. There after speaking with the very knowledgeable and capable management staff they agreed to create a set menu of typical Japanese Izakaya dishes: deep fried tempura style food, along with edamame, oden, kara-age, etc. We also each were served a complimentary drink for “kanpai,” a very fun way to celebrate the end of 2009.

The best part of the night, as with most nights, is the intimacy felt by having a small group with a common goal: cultural exchange. Onya added to this by reserving an entire floor just for this event, which included our own bar, two waiters, and plenty of space to stand up and mingle. All in all a memorable night, but after 4 hours of speaking Japanese the organizer (myself) found it better to retire for the night than proceed to a nijikai of Karaoke. There’s always next year.

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