|Interview with Jeremy Lim, INT 4
Q1. What makes you interested in
learning the Japanese language? Why are you so passionate about
A1. When I was much younger, I have been captivated by Anime and
the intriguing stories and memorable characters that Anime offers.
But at that time, I didn’t know they were Japanese cartoons
as they were mostly aired on the local television networks dubbed
in English or Chinese. Some favorites that come to mind are Digimon,
Pokemon, Akazukin ChaCha, Cardcaptor Sakura and Yu-Gi-Oh!.
Years later, and after learning how to surf the internet, I found
out that these cartoons were Japanese Animation or Anime. From
then on, I developed a ravenous appetite for Anime, watching anything
that I could get my hands on.
It is from Anime that I began to learn more about Japanese Culture
and found it to be exceedingly fascinating. Similarly, my love
for the language grew from there.
One of the reasons that I have such a passion for the language
is because I want to be
able to understand and appreciate Anime and other Japanese Cultural
products without the aid of subtitles. I also aspire to become
a professional translator one day.
Q2. What are the things you like
about the language?
A2. I like the fact that one is able to gain insight into the
nuances of a culture through the language. For instance, the manner
of speaking and the honorifics convey the polite and respectful
nature of Japanese society. The structure of the language is also
easier to comprehend as compared to say Chinese.
Q3. Which culture or subculture
do you like best? Chado, ikebana, anime, cosplay, gaming, manga?
A3. Other than Anime, I do occasionally read Manga and have dabbled
in other areas such as the aforementioned Chado (Tea Ceremony)
and Ikebana (Flower Arrangement). I think Japanese culture is
quite fascinating and it is pretty difficult to say which I like
best until I have the opportunity to experience all of them.
Q4. How did you come to know of Bunka? Who recommended you?
A4. To be dreadfully honest, I didn’t really do much research
in the selection of schools. I simply entered ‘Japanese
Language School Singapore’ into a search engine and picked
one. Evidently, I made the correct choice.
Q5. What do you think of Bunka’s
way of teaching?
A5. Aside from the wonderful teachers and learning environment,
I really think that their teaching methods are far better than
others. Instead of a heavy emphasis on memorization, Bunka's method
allows one to understand the forms of words and the structure
of sentences from the get go. I believe that this is critical
to getting a good, solid foundation as their teaching method allows
one to form one's own sentences and understand why certain sentences
are structured in certain ways.
Q6. Are you progressing to your
A6. I would hope so! (^.^) However, I would love to go faster
although I am aware that there is something that you cannot rush.
And learning the language is one of them.
Q7. Who is your teacher?
A7. Ms Miho Namba a.k.a. Namba sensei.
Q8. Any interesting thing to share
about Namba sensei?
A8. Namba sensei makes every lesson a joy to attend. She not only
brightens up the class with her humor, her quirkiness and smiles
but also make her lessons fun, entertaining and relaxing. I think
that this is essential for a conducive learning environment. Namba
sensei is a phenomenal teacher that ensures every question and
doubt that the class raises is answered. What’s more, she
would thank the questioner for asking. This makes the students
feel very comfortable when they ask the questions.
Q9. What are the things that make
the class enjoyable? What are the things that make you look forward
to coming to class every week?
A9. Aside from gaining more knowledge of the language, I look
forward to meeting up with my classmates every week. I have had
the pleasure of making numerous friends. A number of them share
my interests in Japanese popular culture while many others are
learning the language for a multitude of other reasons. Of course,
I also look forward to Namba sensei’s lessons because they
are pleasurable, informative and enriching.
Q10. Based on your personal learning
experience, what would you advise people who are learning the
language? Do you advise people to take up Japanese language?
A10. Absolutely. I highly recommend and encourage anyone who is
interested in the Japanese language to take it up. Although it
is challenging, I think you cannot go wrong with picking up a
new language. After all, you never know when that knowledge can
come in handy. For those who are learning the language and finds
it daunting, I would advise them to persevere. Keep at it until
you reach a level where you can survive in Japan without a guide
Q11. If you can have a meal with
any one of the Japanese actors, politicians, singers, artists
etc, who would you like to meet?
A11. Being an Anime fan, there are a myriad of people from the
industry that I’d like to meet such as Directors, Animators
and Voice Actors. If I had to choose, I would like to meet some
of my favorite voice actresses as they play a pivotal role in
giving life to the Anime characters that I cherish. The top two
that come to mind are Mizuki Nana, the voice of Fate Testarossa
from Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, and Chihara Minori, the voice
of Nagato Yuki from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu.
Q12. Besides learning Japanese,
what other Japanese related things do you enjoy doing?
A12. Eating Japanese Food! Katsu Curry, Katsudon, Zaru Soba, Shoryu
Ramen, Karaage… I love them all!
Q13. What is the thing you would
like to do most if you are in Japan now?
A13. Undoubtedly, shopping in Akihabara!
|Pauline's Full Interview, (PA3)
Q1. What first brought you to start
A1. When I was in my early teens, I was already
attracted to this language and its culture. However at that time,
my parents could hardly afford to let me take up any courses that
were not within the school’s syllabus, so I have to put
the interest on hold.
Many years after, about 6 years ago, a friend loan me a Japanese
anime series called Inuyasha which consisted of over hundreds
of chapters. While watching this anime, I realised some subtitles
just doesn’t seemed to “match” with the speech
and action of the various characters in the show and in other
chapters, the subtitle's were missing… !! This frustration
sort of triggered my desire to fulfil my childhood dream again
to learn the language…. (^o^)
Q2. How has learning Japanese enriched
A2. It has made my friends and colleagues in awe of me for being
able to “translate” their newly purchased products’
usage instruction into simple English for them… hahaha….
(except for the difficult ones… of course I have to seek
and get help from my sensei in Bunka)…. (^_~)
Honestly, I thought the phrase : You “cannot teach an old
dog a trick” would apply to me… but having pick up
the challenge to study Japanese, it certainly has proven this
saying wrong; although my brain cells have to work twice harder
than my younger course mates’ to learn a language which
uses 3 different types of written characters : Hiragana, Katakana
and Kanji… !!
Q3. Why did you choose to study
A3. I’ve searched through the newspapers for every school
that offered the course and even went online to their website
to check out the syllabus and details of the schools. What attracted
me to Bunka was the way the webpage was designed. Most importantly
it was very updated with the latest course dates for each levels
including the explanation of language proficiency each student
would attain upon completing each course and at what level the
student would be able to enter for the international exam. It
also showed the various photos of the cultural events which appeared
to me that the school is really serious about teaching and imparting
the Japanese culture to its students.
Q4. You are a keen supporter of
our cultural events. What do you like about such events at Bunka?
Q4. The cultural event has a fun ambiance in the classroom as
compared to our normal class lesson. Through this event, we get
to know the teachers better in a more relaxed environment and
along the way, get to make new friends from other classes too.
Under the teachers’ care and demonstration, we also learned
the proper way in making Japanese food like sushi and onigiri…
as well as being taught the way to create lovely calendars, origami,
and cute greeting cards from coloured papers. Some events also
include Japanese games which would come in handy to entertain
children at home too…. (^_~)
Q5. Care to share an experience,
if any ,when your ability to speak Japanese came in handy.
A5. There’s this funny incident that happened to me and
my classmate. One day on our way home after class, a group of
Japanese men boarded the same bus as us. Out of nowhere, one of
the guys spoke loudly (in Japanese) that he could not understand
why he was not able to move into a not-too-narrow space to stand
between his 2 friends … he said that by looking at the space,
it should be big enough to fit him in but when he tried, he has
to turn sideways to move in (without having his body touching
his friends’)… he ended by saying to himself (aloud)
: has he became so fat ??? Hearing this both my classmate and
I tried very hard not to laugh and when he and his friends caught
sight of us looking away suppressing our laughter, they realised
we were able to understand his comments and start to speak with
us… My classmate did most of the conversation with them
as she’s very good while I tried my best and we were able
to exchange small talks about their visit here in Singapore. That
was a nice experience and certainly motivated me to want to speak
as fluently as my classmate… !
Q6. To end the interview, with all
the experience in studying Japanese thus far, do you have any
words of encouragement for the other students studying Japanese?
A6. It is very important to have a strong basic foundation of
the Japanese language so pls try to be very attentive in your
class starting from Elementary to Intermediate levels. Memorise
hard on the grammar structure in these levels and when you reach
Pre-Advance levels, it would help you to understand the more complex
sentence structures… I have also learnt that if you don’t
have any Japanese friends or colleagues to practise the language
with; it’s best to watch Japanese animes or dramas; as this
will help you to improve on your listening skill. However, as
my spoken proficiency is still not as good as I have hoped, I’m
trying to follow my sensei’s advice that we need to speak
out more often and not be afraid to make mistakes as the sensei
will always be there to help correct us.
My greatest regret is : I wish I have paid more attention in my
Elementary and Intermediate classes in Bunka… (>_<)….