I was about to go to my first-ever French language-exchange gathering in Fukuoka. I had invited along my friend Max, intent on keeping our French fort et bien vivant — alive and kicking.

We got off the elevator on the third floor of a building in Chuo Ward and approached Sam’s Bar TalkEigo, the location of the event. Suddenly, it dawned on us that we were possibly heading into an all-native-level mish-mash of French conversations. All the same, we crossed our fingers, opened the door and stepped into the simple, pleasant space.

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