Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Assayer of Student Opinion.

The Prospector

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required
Prospector Poll

Are you going to be surfing the web or the waves this summer?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Learn Japanese at local bohemian cafe

Veronica Enriquez/The Prospector
JVB’s Bohemian Cafe offers Japanese lessons every Tuesday at 8 p.m.

A small group of reluctant college students have come together to learn Japanese without the time capsuling nature of a classroom lecture. They take place at Joe, Vinny and Bronson’s Bohemian Cafe.

Joaquin Gutierrez-Murgia, senior operations and supply chain management major, is a regular attendee of the weekly Japanese lessons.

“Even though I’m doing this for fun, I hope to eventually do business in Japan,” Gutierrez said. “Which is why learning the language is the first step into making that happen.”

Fernando Gonzalez, a graduate who studied language and linguistics as a major, has been a Japanese language teacher for more than a decade and he has been teaching a small group of interested individuals since March.

“I lived in Japan for a year,” Gonzalez said. “I began to catch up on it and I have been speaking Japanese for almost 13 years now.”

Not only has Gonzalez received his third Japanese proficiency certification, he is now in the process of working on obtaining a more difficult fourth certification.

“Although I currently work as a barista at the Starbucks downtown, I became a linguistics teacher every Tuesday night from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Joe, Vinny and Bronson’s Cafe,” Gonzalez said. “I work on my weekly lesson plan, set up my projector and white board, ready to teach strangers and friends some Japanese phrases, pronunciation and important vocabulary.”

The class itself started as a personal trade between Gonzalez and a friend. In exchange for art lessons, Gonzales would give her Japanese lessons. Coincidently, the classes would always take place at Joe, Vinny and Bronson’s Cafe out of convenience and for the relaxed setting.

“It was because of our frequent visits to the cafe, when people started taking note of our regularity and one day some individuals came up to me and asked me if I could offer a a class lesson,” Gonzalez said. “After that, the word of mouth spread and every Tuesday I saw one more person add to the original group, coming for a quick one-hour class.”

The class costs $5 per class with the first lesson being free. Aside from this, the cafe gives out a 10 percent discount to anybody attending the class and because the cafe serves both coffee and imported beers, anybody with a particular drinking habit is invited to join.

“The bar itself, though an unorthodox classroom, has definitely done its part to help with the class,” Gonzalez said.

Split in two, the cafe is arranged where one half of the bar is strictly for ordering beverages with small tables nearby, while the other half is solely dedicated to seating, which serves as a classroom every Tuesday. The cafe also plays very light electronic jazz that filters through any conversation, providing a rhythm that doesn’t break the concentration of the students.

“The reason I decided to come, was because I heard that the class was being offered at a pretty cool place and thought why not just try it out?” said Chris Fernandez, a UTEP alumnus. “Also, I thought it was a good opportunity since UTEP nor EPCC offer a Japanese course.”

Moreover, Gonzalez keeps the class fun and entertaining without losing the priority to learn.

“Currently, the class has learned and practiced Hiragana and Katakana, both forms of writing Japanese,” Gonzalez said. “The class is very interactive and the key to learning in it is active participation.”

If anyone has the motivation and time to pick up a new language, the way is being paved at an affordable price and at an uncommonly welcoming and inviting classroom setting.

Joe, Vinny and Bronson’s Bohemian Cafe is located at 824 N. Piedras St. For more information, call 915-564-1899.

Jaime Quesada may be reached at [email protected].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Prospector Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Activate Search
Learn Japanese at local bohemian cafe