- 4 min read

Fukui Toastmasters Club

LOL at the One & Only Toastmasters Club in Hokuriku

If you happen to be marooned in Fukui, or fed up because no matter what you say in English you can't be understood and so you find yourself mumbling to yourself, "Where should I go to feel like a human being again?"; worry no more. There's an oasis waiting just for you, which is, Fukui Toastmasters Club.

If you are an American, or are interested in public speaking or making presentations, you might have heard the name, "Toastmasters Club". This club (Toastmasters International) is a non-profit organization first founded in 1924 at a California YMCA, to give tranining to Americans (native speakers of English) who felt awkward speaking in public. Since then, it has grown into a mammoth speech club, which has around 14,350 clubs in 122 countries, and more than 290,000 members. Here in Japan there are about 144 clubs with almost 4,000 members.

You may be wondering, "Mammoth Speech Club, O.K., but what exactly do they do anyway?" As this is a speech club, they make speeches of course. Yet, the most significant difference between other English Conversation Schools or Presentation Schools and Toastmasters Club is there are no teachers/instructors to teach you. There are very thorough manuals, however. And in Toastmasters meetings, participants practice and learn skills by filling a meeting role, ranging from giving prepared or impromptu speeches to serving as timer, evaluator or grammarian. Each speech and meeting is critiqued by a member in a positive manner, focusing on what was done right and what could be improved. In this club, everyone is a teacher and a student at the same time.

OK, now let me introduce Fukui Toastmasters Club, aka, "Oasis of English Speakers".

Fukui Toastmasters Club is the one and only Toastmasters Club in the Hokuriku Area, and was founded only 1.5 years ago. One of the members of the club happened to be 'marooned' in Fukui, found there was no Toastmasters Clubs there, thought, "Oh, there isn't one? Then I'll start one!" and started up the Club. For your information, Toastmasters Club has an excellent manual-based program which enables anyone to start up a new club anywhere in the world.

The Fukui club has about 20 Japanese members, from young to old. Although their English level varies, every one of them speaks English at the meetings. Native English speakers are, of course, welcome to join or visit. One of the attractive features of this club is its exceptional cheerfulness, rare to be found in snow regions. They are always laughing from the beginning of each meeting till the end. Guests are always welcome with warm, open arms. The other 'attractive?!' feature of this club is its uncountable numbers of drinking parties. They find 'excuses' such as, "Welcome party", "Farewell party", "Guests are coming!" and plan a drinking party. They even have a 'Drinking Party Planner' in the club. Members' careers are unique and colorful, ranging from office workers, housewives, university students, graduate school students, university professors, prefectural government officials, foreign company worker, interpreter, newspaper reporter, to a Buddhist monk.

If you are frustrated because you don't have places to speak English in Fukui, or are desperately wanting to be understood in English, or you are buried under snow and depressed, or just want to laugh out loud, or just want to have fun at all, Fukui Toastmasters Club is the place to go.

The club meets every Tuesday (excluding holidays) at 19:30 to 21:00 in Bunkyo Campus of University of Fukui (#206 Lecture Room in Education and Regional Studies Building No.1). Guests are always welcome, free of charge. Visit their homepage, make an appointment and just drop in to spend a hilarious night with the club's cheerful members!

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