Japanese students learn English with Cosplay twist

Filed under: Tacos — S. @ 1:30 am

The Akihabara district has given us many things over the years: shops, maid cafes, and a trilogy of movies proving true otaku have no clue what to do with a woman. (Seriously, go read the reviews if you don’t believe me. There are people with even stronger morals than Hank Hill out there.) Now Akihabara has unleashed its strongest challenger yet combining English lessons and cosplay to create: Cosplish! No, I’m not kidding.

The target audience for this school is not only geeks (otaku in Japanese) but also a more general clientele, said Suzuki — and even though the teachers all wear costumes, it is not mandatory for students to do so as well.

Cosplish mainly sets out to teach “practical” English, including slang, and also features two unique courses described as Otaku Eiken (geeky English proficiency) and Moeng (“cute English,” derived from the Japanese “geekspeak” word moe, a variant on kawaii, the “pure” form of “cute”). “We don’t intend to say we will provide an education that enables students to go to Harvard,” said Suzuki, adding that he wants to provide a space where people can have fun, talk about their interests and learn practical English — and hopefully “spread Akihabara culture far and wide.”

A glimpse of his vision was on show during free trial sessions held on Feb. 24 at the school in Akihabara, where a casual and cordial atmosphere reigned supreme.

“Welcome to Maxima Broken English,” Cosplish teacher Mimmi Schwalbe kicked off the dummy lesson, wearing a pink spaceship-crewlike costume modeled on outfits sported by the character Sayla Mass in the extremely popular anime “Gundam.”

The beginning of the trial that featured three sessions was just like a regular school, with Schwalbe asking each student their name and occupation.

However, not many teachers would follow that by asking: “What’s your favorite anime or manga?”

Don’t expect this to catch on in America any time soon. Universities haven’t really grasped the anime-related course ideas fully yet and ADV would just turn it into a Spanish class.

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