Cafetalk Featured Tutor Interview

Nana, Kyoto

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Nana, Kyoto Tutor Interview

Q. Hi Nana, Kyoto! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. May we ask you to briefly introduce yourself? Please tell us more about your hometown and the area where you currently reside.

A. I am truly honored to have the opportunity to speak in this interview. My hometown is a quiet neighborhood in the west side of the Imperial Palace in Kyoto, which is also where the Emperor's summer residence is located. The shaved ice at a nearby cafe ''Toraya Karyo'' is one of the joys of returning to my hometown.

First, please let me introduce my career. After graduating from university, I worked at an overseas division at a general trading firm, where I collaborated with people from all over the world, sometimes in friendly competition. After working there for a long time, I relocated to Tokyo 10 years ago for a job transfer. I then began my career as a professor and student assistant in the laboratory of the Joint Department of Advanced Biomedical Science and Engineering, Department of Integrated Mechanical Engineering, University and Graduate School of Science and Technology. I am currently working for an American-based international IT firm in Tokyo while also learning every day to contribute to society on a global scale. For this reason, I have spent most of my career overseas, as well as in Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo. Naturally, my background which includes working in a lab has helped me develop a deep understanding about the challenges and desires of each learner. This is what initially sparked my interest in the education field.

Q. What motivated you to become a tutor on Cafetalk?

A. In December 2019, I traveled to New York to obtain a fitness certification in the US. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I had to give up on receiving my certification. However, I made the most of the time I had there, and started studying English on Cafetalk. This is where I met an American university professor who would later have a great impact on my life. She was also a trainer at a major gym in the US. I opened up to her about my personal life and all of my thoughts and feelings. She told me how much she enjoyed teaching Japanese at Cafetalk and being in the education field. This is how my journey to become a certified Japanese language teacher began. I truly hope that students will find a teacher on Cafetalk who will have as great an impact on their lives as she had on me.

Q. What are you usually up to when you're not teaching on Cafetalk? What are your hobbies and interests?

A. To unwind from work, I enjoy spending some “me time” relaxing in my apartment. Reading books, watching movies and TV dramas, listening to music, and doing whatever I feel like at the moment is the perfect way to relax and unwind. I also almost always prepare my own dishes, and I have always been a good cook. However, my interests are not limited to my own kitchen. When I travel abroad, I enjoy attending cooking classes in the country that I am visiting and learn their recipes. Such experiences have not only enriched my palate and soul, but have also given me the pleasure of bringing back the atmosphere of other cultures back home.

In addition, I have always had a keen curiosity and friendly attitude about engaging with people from other countries. This personality of mine has driven me to seek connections with people from different countries in a lively fitness community. As a form of self-care, I attend training sessions at a gym, where I jog and swim four times a week. Connecting with people from all over the world with differing cultural backgrounds who share the same passion through training is truly a meaningful and enriching time for me.

Q. A lot of students are probably curious about the atmosphere in your lessons. What can a student imagine a lesson with you to be like? What’s your teaching style?

A. My number one goal is to provide an insight on real-life Japanese culture, the way Japanese think and feel, the intricacies of how they work, and how to overcome them, which is not something that can be easily achieved through a quick Google search. At times, the conversation may go beyond a typical tutor-student relationship and go from a friendly bond to a friend-like conversation. Of course, I will also help you improve your communication skills, expand your vocabulary, and assess your grammatical accuracy. I specialize in business Japanese so I can help you improve your speaking and presentation skills as well. I can also provide reading methods by using the Interpreter Training Method.

I urge you to clarify what you would like to learn and your specific learning goals. This will allow me to tailor the session to your individual needs. I have a deep respect for the cultural background of your country, and I believe that the best way to make progress is to learn in a way that suits your preferences. Please learn freely in your own way.

Q. Finally, would you like to leave a message for your current and future students?

A. Please free yourself from studying hard during our time spent together. There is no need to force yourself to speak Japanese. If you are shy, there is no need to actively look for topics of conversation either. If you need to take a break from lessons, it is perfectly fine to have a blank from doing so.Please think of it as a chance to develop your communication skills with a Japanese person and leave it up to me.

All you need is a passion to experience Japanese culture and some motivation to communicate effectively. It is a great pleasure to be a small yet meaningful part of your life when you come and take my lessons. Learning is a two-way process and I have gained valuable insights from my students as well. I hope that we can have a positive chemical reaction between our diverse backgrounds and cultures. May we create a life and journey as we grow and share our experiences with each other. Let’s learn and grow together.


Nana, Kyoto

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