今年の干支 巳年 ちなんでなのでしょうか、
We went to Ishite temple in Matsuyama last weekend. It`s an interesting temple because it has a long tunnel with buddha statues inside and there is a rock at the end of the tunnel. According to legend the temples name was changed to Ishite-ji or 'stone-hand temple' after the a lord`s son`s tightly-clenched hand was opened by a priest from the Annoyō-ji to reveal a stone inscribed 'Emon Saburō is reborn. I can`t imagine that it was the same stone as the one at the end of the tunnel. If the child had held that stone in it`s hand, it certainly would have made clapping noisy. Joining the hello song at the start of my children`s lessons would`ve been deafening!!
It is one of the 88 temple`s of shikoku and it`s worth a visit.
去年は教師がアホみたいに風邪をひきまくり、生徒さんにも心配させる始末だったので、しっかりこのとうどで無病息災を祈ってまいりましたよ。今年は、SUPER HEALTHY でいてくれっ！！！
I was kindly asked by the people at `Mr Partner` magazine if I`d like to take part in an interview. The interview appears in this months edition. I have posted the translated interview below and underneath I will include my answers to the questions in English.
What brought you to Japan?
I have had a strong interest in the Japan since my childhood. There used to be a TV program in which a British comedian would come to Japan and describe latest trends and pop culture. On the one hand, I found those shows fascinating, but at the same time I did realize that I was only really seeing an exaggerated version of the country. There aren`t really samurai or `demon kogure` wandering the streets. I came here to discover the real Japan.
What made you to decide to become an English teacher?
What is most appealing about teaching is that fact that you can directly impact upon people`s lives. Sometimes I doing counseling sessions so that students are aware of their progress and also what they should concentrate on in order to improve their abilities. During a session with a child student and their mother, in my second year in Japan, the mother told me that her child`s favorite subject had become English because of my classes, and then the student herself agreed. In England as a student I would never have admitted to enjoying any of my classes, so I was speechless when the student told me herself. I don`t know what that student is doing now. I have moved several times since I last saw her. I like to think that she is still enthusiastic about English, and it is these kinds of interactions that were the reason I became a teacher.
Would you tell us what you'd like Japanese people to know about the U.K.?
(What or where of the U.K. do you recommend to Japanese people)
I could recommend numerous places. I frequently recommend Arundel to my students. It`s a beautiful town built on a hillside with quaint secondhand and fudge shops, and a castle and cathedral to boot, but something that is very close to my heart is English chocolate. Every time I go back home I always make sure to stuff my suitcase with cases of fudges, nougat, liquorice and sweets. I eat them until my stomach is sore and if I can bear to part with any I let my students try a few too. Liquorice is an acquired taste, but it’s a taste that I associate with my childhood and its one to experience while you`re staying in England.
Do you think you communicate well with Japanese people?
I don`t feel that I have had many problems communicating ideas. When I first came to Japan I may have used some cultural references that were too specific to England, and I recall having to act out `cockroach` to staff at a convenience store to buy some spray late at night, as I didn`t yet know the word in Japanese. I do have difficulty with some Japanese names. My jaw is too relaxed to produce a correct Japanese `a` sound. It becomes a very British `uh`. Also, one of my best friend`s last name is Fujii. There are two i`s in that word, but for the life of me I have no idea how I can possibly pronounce them both. I end up either sounding like a scratched record or I give up and she becomes the iconic mountain.
Would you like to stay longer and keep working in Japan forever?
Japan is my second home. I have a lot of things I still want to achieve while I`m here. I still haven`t been to Okinawa. I still haven`t climbed Mt. Fuji (with one i). I would like to continue to be as positive an influence on my students futures as I can be.
What is the most important thing when you give lesson to children.
In my opinion, the most important thing next to having fun in class, is to challenge students to push their limits. Don`t let them think they can just sit back and switch off in class. If children feel that a class is too easy they are going to get restless, so throw in surprises for them, raise the bar a little from time to time.
Would you tell us what greatest point of your hometown are.
My hometown is a small village on the South coast called Selsey. It is famous for fishing and there is a festival held by the local lifeguard every year where the lifeboat is anchored about 100 metres from the shore and the public are challenged to brave the strong currents and cold seas to swim out to the lifeboat. I have been told there are hot chocolates waiting for those who make it. I don`t know anyone who has ever tried it though. It`s far too cold.
There used to be a soap opera filmed in Selsey in the 80`s. I made a guest appearance as a new born baby. Apparently it took a whole day of filming because I cried for 9 hours straight. They never asked me back.
What did you learn in the U.K.?
Having seen all of Hayao Miyazaki`s movies of the time, along with all of Pixar`s great films I decided that I would take Computer Animation in Uni. I also took Japanese classes at the time, but with coursework and the various essays of my major I was only ever able to greet people
Where is your favorite place in Japan?
The Shimanami Kaido in Ehime. There are loads of interesting art museums, as well as historical museums about pirates and samurai, famous salt water hot springs, temples, and once a year there are small ferry boats to a small island with ruins of a pirates fortress where you can enjoy beautiful cherry blossom.