Nanzan University Festival and N-Crew (南山学祭と N-Crew)

Ashley Bell
November 18, 2014

IES Abroad takes us on trips and to shows inside and outside of Nagoya to help us adjust to life in Japan, but adjusting to being a foreign student has been rather difficult. With my Japanese not being as good as I would like it to be, being able to be a part of a school in another country that does not speak English takes a lot of effort. Don’t get me wrong, my experience has been more than fun and I am becoming better at speaking in Japanese, but I wanted to branch outside of the 外国人 (foreigner) zone and really become a part of my new university.

November began with the Nanzan School Festival (南山大学祭). Each day was filled with performances, games of various sports and food sold by school clubs. I went to the festival not just to enjoy it, but also so perform in it. At the beginning of the semester, a couple of friends and I joined the dance club, N-Crew. The club does a variety of dances from house to hip-hop. For the past month and a half, I have been going to practices and learning the dances for the opening portion of our school festival performance. At first, going to practices was kind of awkward, especially since I was only one of 5 foreign students who was joining and had no prior dance experience.

As time went by, I began to feel more accepted as a part of the club. I would get acknowledged by senior members that I did not know (either with an おはよう or an お疲れ様でした) and became friends with people who were as talented at dancing as they were kind. The more time I spent in my new club, the more I also came to realize how supportive everyone is. I entered the club feeling very unsure about how it would be learning and performing choreographed dances,  but I gained a lot of constructive criticism and received a lot of positive energy to keep trying and do my best. Everyone was also really patient in explaining things that I did not understand and took the time to make sure that I knew I was a part of the club.

The school festival followed a difficult week of long practices, but performing was so much fun. The theme for the performance was the first Toy Story movie. Each dance was inspired by a particular toy character, as well as a genre of dance. Many people came out the see us, including my host family, and the performance overall was a success. Since the school festival is now over, N-Crew has weekly practices were we get to learn a dance from different genres of dance. I did not think I would still be a part of N-Crew after the school festival, but since dance has paved a way for me to become a more solid part of the Nanzan community, I am definitely sticking with it. 

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Ashley Bell

<p>Hi, my name is Ashley Bell and I am a Junior Political Science major at Santa Clara University. I&#39;ll be spending my spring semester in Nagoya, Japan and am very excited to share my experiences with you. I hope you enjoy seeing Japan through my eyes!</p>

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