When the town was full of the Christmas mood, I took a ride on Yamanote Line on December 23 last year. I was hurrying up to get to Shibuya. In the train, many young couples and salaried workers were seen chatting away merrily with each other, some already red-faced with drinks at just past 7 p.m. My destination was Salon 8 at Dogenzaka, where members of the English newspaper associations from Chuo University, Aoyama Gakuin University, Keio University, International Christian University (ICU) and Doshisha University were to have their first exchange meeting.
I had to be a bit emotional as things had developed surprisingly fast. It was only in May that Hakumon Herald revived after 15 years of suspension, and we were having this meeting. I was excited as well as surprised that Hakumon Herald was going to preside over the meeting. At the same time, I was worried if we could talk squarely with editors and writers from other newspapers, which included ones that have been officially recognized by their school authorities, ones that are financially better off and ones that have a longer tradition. After getting off at Shibuya, I couldn’t find the meeting place and I was afraid I might not get there in time. That made me irritating.
I somehow arrived at Salon 8 to find about 30 students already seated around a table. The meeting started with an address by Chuo’s representative. At first, all the students looked nervous and talked only with colleagues from their own school. But as time elapsed, they burst into lively conversations as if they were old friends. I realized they could easily understand each other as they were like-minded and shared the same aspiration.
The gathering made it clear to me that other campus newspapers are more or less in the same situation as Hakumon Herald. Some of them have just made a restart after remaining dormant for years. Others have managed to survive with strong backing from their alumni. My earlier anxiety was gone.
One of the interesting topics discussed at the meeting was whether we should publish our newspaper on the Internet or in print. For example, both ICU and Aoyama Gakuin currently opt for the print. But Aoyama seemed to be eyeing a shift to electronic publication. Conversely, Keio and Chuo which rely on the Internet are aiming to switch over to the print. I felt all universities have new challenges in mind.
A fun time goes by fast. As we kept talking, we were coming close to the time for the last train. Everyone noticed it. This exchange meeting didn’t end in only talking. We came to share the idea of writing joint articles that can be put on individual newspapers and holding a joint welcome party for newcomers. I saw a bright future for the campus English journals.
Written By: Yudai Kodera