Wow...all of my seniors are Japanese here. Though some classes are taught in English at university, Japanese language is considered as an important tool for our daily life as long as we are in Japan.
Sometimes it is difficult to share our view in class, but here, out of the classroom, is a good place for some students to express their own opinion with friends and teacher.
In Japan it is quite common to go out for a party or a small gathering with friends and professor. Thus the relationship is quite open.
However, some professors or laboratories don't have such activities and it doesn't mean it is boring. It might be good in one way or another. Therefore, students enjoy their lives in many ways in Japan.