A.I’m 25 years old. I’m from Arizona in the U.S., although I’ve lived many different places. I went to university in Vermont (next to Canada), and during that time also lived in Mexico and Colorado for a while. Later I moved to Wakayama, Japan. I love traveling and exploring new places! This year I am planning my wedding with my fiancé. We are going to get married this summer in California. While I was in Japan, I sewed my wedding dress with friends. It’s almost finished ☆*:.｡. o(≧▽≦)o .｡.:*☆ My goal for the future is to get a Master’s degree in sustainable development, and do development work in Mexico. That means improving things like education, water supply, public health programs, etc.
A.Right now I’m in Oaxaca, Mexico, which is my fiancé’s hometown. We met here 4 years ago when I was a volunteer English teacher for youth at his workplace. Oaxaca is a really beautiful city with cobblestone streets and old stone buildings. There’s a vibrant art scene here and lots of music as well. The climate is warm in the city, so it’s perfect for a winter vacation. You can even swim at the beach on Oaxaca’s coast in the winter! I think a lot of people in Japan and other Asian countries don’t know much about Mexico, so I wrote a column about Oaxaca. Take a look if you’re interested!
A.I love languages, so in high school I studied French, and then in college I majored in Spanish. After that, I thought it would be interesting to teach languages, so I went to Japan to teach English. I was there for 2 years, teaching junior high school students and adults. It was a lot of fun, and I wanted to continue teaching when I left, so I started teaching on Cafetalk! Although I’m a language teacher now, I’m still learning new languages myself. I’m working on my Japanese and French, and I just started studying German! I hope I can share the joy of learning new languages with my students. It really opens so many doors and changes the way you see the world when you study a different language.
A.These days in my free time I go running in the hills. There are great views of the city! I’m also taking classes in bookmaking. The books we’re making are very old-fashioned. It’s really exciting to see the whole process of how books were made before modern machinery. I’ve always got some arts and crafts project going on: painting, knitting, sewing, making woodblock prints… Since I try so many different things, I’m not very good at any in particular. I just have fun and enjoy being creative.
A.No, there’s nothing for students to prepare. They just need some paper and pens, and I will bring everything else we need for the class. Since there’s no extra work, I hope students can simply relax and enjoy the lesson, and meanwhile learn some English! Depending on the game we play, students will practice speaking, listening, grammar, spelling, writing, and learn new vocabulary. So this is a great way to improve your English and a nice break from studying very hard.
A.The main feature of my lessons is flexibility. I like to bring materials that are good for the level and interests of the particular student. Usually in the first lesson I ask a lot about the student so that I can think of what kinds of materials to prepare for them. Of course, some students only want to have conversation, so for these students I send lots of notes after the lesson so that they can review.
A.My advice to students is this: If you’re nervous about speaking when you’re learning a new language, the best thing to do is practice a lot – even by yourself. Practice a self introduction and asking questions in the bath, or find some youtube videos and repeat what they say. This will help you with pronunciation and to learn the way a native speaker says things. However you decide to practice, do it a little bit every day, even when you’re not having class. Every time you practice you get better! I think it’s wonderful that all of you students on Cafetalk are working so hard to learn a new language, although many of you have families and jobs. Keep trying hard! As we say in English, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.