Cafetalk Featured Tutor Interview


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LISA HAYASHI Tutor Interview

Q. Hi Lisa, how are you! Thank you for taking the time for this interview. Can you introduce yourself first?

A. Hello! Thank you for having me. I am Japanese, but I lived in Taiwan for 6 years when I was a kid. Thanks to that experience, I am very interested in languages, and now I am working as a Japanese Tutor here at Cafetalk. I try to make Japanese language lessons fun and interesting for my students. In my conversation lessons, I use my own material to help students learn about real spoken Japanese and about Japanese culture and society. In the news lessons, students read articles according to their level - to deepen their reading comprehension and speak freely in Japanese about the topics. Having lived in Tokyo for over 25 years, I have a standard Japanese accent.

Q. We heard that you know a lot about sightseeing in Tokyo. For anyone comoing to Tokyo for sightseeing or to study, what are the three highlights that you would recommend?

A. With pleasure! Let's see, three highlights..!
The first one would be the Chidorigafuchi Greenway during the cherry blossom season. There are about 260 cherry trees planted and you can walk through a tunnel of cherry blossoms. There also is a boat ride where you look up at the cherry blossoms from the water. At night, everything lit up, which also looks fantastic!
The second one is Meiji Jingu Gaien during autumn. There are about 150 gingko trees lining both sides of the path, and when the leaves turn golden, it's quite breathtaking. It's also in a good location as you can walk there from Harajuku or Aoyama.
The third place is a bit different to the others, it's the Ginza - Marunouchi area in December. Large trees are projected on the walls of buildings and the streets are lit up, making the whole city look very festive. It's also really fun to stop by the Department stores and pick up some delicious holiday season sweets and desserts!

Q. Your news reading lessons are very popular. Can you recommend some newspapers depending on the level and purpose of the lesson?

A. Yes, of course! First off - for beginners, I recommend reading NHK news on a site called NEWS WEB EASY. It is uses easy language, has Yomigana (the little hiragana over Kanji) and is a great way to get accustomed to Japanese. On request, I can also provide an audio file of me reading it out loud.
For intermediate to advanced students, I often choose local newspapers, depending on their reading ability and learning objectives. There are fewer complicated sentences, so they don't have to give up (laughs) and can usually read to the end. I also use it as an opportunity to get them talking about how the situation is in where the student lives.
I also use articles from major newspapers such as the Nihon Keizai Shinbun and the Sankei Shinbun for very advanced students, and from time to time I work with video news transcripts written in the ""desu-masu"" style for those who want to strengthen their business Japanese.
If it's your first time, I will provide you with a few samples and let you choose which article you prefer.

Q. You are a very busy mum, do you have any hobbies or interests that help you relax?

A. I actually love to read books in the bath! (laughs) I've been doing that since I was in high school, it helps me recharge. Which is also the reason why most of the books I own are wrinkled. Of course I wouldn't read borrowed books in the bath! Reading is also my main hobby, so I always have a book with me, even when I'm not in the tub. Sometimes I can't take my eyes off a book and my kids will get a little upset, telling me to stop reading all the time! (laughs).

Q. A lot of students wonder what the vibe is like during classes. How would you describe your lessons?

A. People tend to think that I am "very serious", but I do my best to mix in a good amount of chit-chat with my students. I try to get the students to speak in Japanese as much as possible during the lesson. Even when I am speaking, I ask the students to interrupt and tell me if they have any questions. I'm actually quite a nervous person, so I think I'm more nervous than my students during the first lesson (laughs). Before I teach, I do some stretching and vocal exercises to ease my nerves!

Q. Do you give your students homework?

A. I try to cater to my students needs. If they ask for it, I will do it, but if not, I recommend that they review what we did in our lesson together. I use a Google Document to share my explanations and what was said, so that students can review immediately after the lesson. If they have any questions, they can shoot me a message! I believe it's important to review and give feedback as soon as possible, so you don't have to wait until the next lesson.

Q. Are there any countries you would like to visit next, or something you would like to learn?

A. I would love to visit Spain some day! But I don't speak much Spanish (laughs). Rather than studying Spanish, I'm interested in living there for a short while while going to school, and to see how the locals live. My grandfather, who I loved very much, used to say that Spain was his favourite country after travelling all over the world, so I've always been very interested in Spain.

Q. At last, do you have a message for your future students?

A. Private lessons at Cafetalk are a place where you can learn in a way that caters to your unique needs and something that wouldn't be possible at school.
If you are interested in taking a lesson with me, please talk to me about your needs and objectives! I believe that the lessons are a joint effort between me and the student. I will do my best to provide you with lessons that are tailored to your learning goals and requirements. Let's have fun learning Japanese together!



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