Dan Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi, Dan! Please tell us about the city of Bakersfield.
A. Bakersfield is a city about 250 KM North of Los Angeles California. This area is very well known for it’s agriculture. Corn for animal food, table grapes which are for eating, and onions are the biggest products that are grown in this area. Bakersfield is also known for its’ oil production.
- Q. May I ask about your career?
A. I worked in the oil industry for 44 years. I started working in the oilfields working with a repair crew, changing pumps in oil wells. Later I was promoted to the level of supervisor of operations on an offshore production platform. Offshore platforms produce oil out in the ocean. As a supervisor, my tasks were to interview personal for a variety of projects. This also required me to make up budgets for the projects and that the projects met all government guidelines. At times, I had as many as 30 people working for me in a wide variety of jobs. I held this position for over 25 years, and then retired. Now, I play the stock market and teach English conversation.
- Q. What brought you to Tottori-ken, Japan?
A. When I was in my last year of high school, I took a course in Japanese history. It was about the time of Nobunaga, Hideyoshi, and Ieyasu. I found that the old history of Japan was so interesting, I just had to visit Japan. I wanted to see Osaka Castle, and Kyoto. After high School, I met a Japanese friend who was going to school in Los Angeles. When I mentioned that I wanted to come to Japan to tour around, I was invited to stay with his family in Yonago. I came to Japan in 1962. During my time in Japan, I met some people that ran a private English school. They asked me to come and teach English conversation. That was my first time I had taught English conversation. While living in Yonago, I met a local girl that we became good friends. In 1963, we got married. At that time I decided that we had better move back to the U.S. Where I could get a good job.
- Q. Do you have any interesting stories which you had experienced while in Japan?
A. My greatest experience was when I first came to Japan by ship. The ship landed in Kobe. All I had was an address in Yonago, and the name of my friend. I took a taxi to the train station. At the train station, I saw where I could buy train tickets. I showed them the address where I wanted to go, and a girl took me to the local JTB office. With the address I gave them, they decided what tickets I needed, then the girl took my back to the train station. She told me what track to go to and the train would be there soon. The train arrived and I got on and my adventure really started. I could not speak Japanese. I did not think to ask how long the trip would be. The train left Kobe train station about 11 am. By about 1 pm I started wondering about how much longer it was going to take. Soon, some school kids got on the train, and one of them could speak a little English. I showed them my tickets, and they said that I had several hours before getting to my station. By about 4 PM a train conductor came by and he said that my station was next. I grabbed my two suitcases and followed him. The train stopped at a small station, the door opened and he said good bye. When I got off the train quickly left and the station manager came out and said hello. He asked me if I wanted a taxi, and I said yes. When I looked around, there were many school children looking at me and I could tell they were confused. I asked the station manager why they looked so confused. He said that the train I was riding was an Express and never stops at this station. They think you must be very important. Then he asked me, “who are you”? I said I was just an American traveler, not sure where I was going. I got the taxi, and after about 20 minutes, got the the address where my friend lived. I could only think,, what an adventure.
- Q. Where do you want to visit next?
A. My next trip to Japan, I would like to return to Nagasaki to spend a few days, and also visit Kagoshima.
- Q. What are your hobbies?
A. I live in a private lake complex where I waterski and wakeboard most of the year. In the spring time, I enjoy riding my mountain bike. I also enjoy traveling.
- Q. You have a lot of characteristic lessons such as “Nutritional Supplements” and “Discuss U.S. Stock Market and Economy” Do students need knowledge about them before hand to take these lessons?
A. Students do not need any knowledge about any of the subjects that I teach. Many of my students that want to discuss the stock market, have no knowledge about stocks or how to track them. I use easy English to teach all subjects. On any subject that I teach, I invite questions to discuss the subject, and sometimes do roll playing.
- Q. Which lessons do you recommend for beginners?
A. For a students first lesson, they should take conversation English Chat. That way they can talk to the tutor, and the tutor can get to know the student, and what the student wants to learn. Some students want to learn English theory and some have special needs to use English. If a student needs to use English for their job, I want to pattern the lesson for English conversation that will be used in his/her job. If a student is going to travel to an English speaking country, I will make the lesson about travel. Most all of my lessons are custom for the students needs.
- Q. Could you leave a message for our students?
A. Just like in Japanese. How you read and write Japanese, is not how you generally speak. English is much the same. When we speak English, we use phrases that change the meaning of the words in the phrase. When we use the phrase, “That looks hot!”, it means, that something looks great. This phrase is seldom written, but is spoken frequently. To learn a language, you must use it. Don’t worry about mistakes. Schedule a lesson, and practice your English, and I’m sure you will learn more from the tutor.