Hello everyone! I’m Maï
I currently live in France with my husband, working as an abacus instructor
in Paris. Abacus
was a component of the Terakoya
(temple school) curriculum. Let’s have fun learning it together!
Research shows that abacus use is highly efficient in developing the right side of the brain
The right side of the brain is necessary for drawing pictures, writing, and other creative endeavors. Although doing calculations normally uses only the left side of the brain, the abacus also uses the right side of the brain because it requires users to flip beads with their fingers and paint a picture of the abacus in their head when doing mental calculations. It’s difficult to train the right side of the brain through regular, everyday activities, which makes the abacus one of the few methods available for training the right side of the brain.
It is said that 80% of Tokyo University and Kyoto University students have studied abacus before!
Likes: traveling, lounging on the beach, hiking, jogging, piano, calligraphy
Favorite quotes: art brings bread, knowledge is power
Licenses and certifications: junior high school teacher’s license (social studies), high school teacher’s license (geography and history, civics), master calligrapher, National Abacus Proficiency 5 dan, Mental Arithmetic Proficiency 3 dan
《Why did I decide to teach abacus in Paris, the city of lights?》
１. I was shocked by French people’s weakness in math (and mental calculations). Do French people struggle with subtraction…?
8−3＝□.... If a Japanese person saw this equation, they would be able to answer “5” immediately, right? However, this is the way the French think: 3+□＝8….how much do I have to add to 3 in order to make it 8? In other words, French people think in terms of addition in order to do subtraction. This of course can cause errors when counting change. If you go to a cafe, you will often see workers counting coins one by one before giving them to the customer.
２. There aren’t any abacus instructors around here...
Since I live in France, I often refer to an online community for Japanese people who reside in France when looking for information. That site has a message board where people can post things freely, and I saw many posts such was “I want my child to learn abacus,” and “I’m looking for an abacus teacher.” It seems as though there aren’t any abacus schools in Paris. Isn’t it disappointing when you want to learn something but can’t find anyone nearby to teach it to you?
３. "Just do what you love!"
Before coming to France, I worked as an Import/Export Coordinator at a Japanese company in California, USA (that’s right, I wasn’t an abacus instructor in America).
I did like the work itself, but if I had asked myself “Can I do this for the rest of my life?” “Do I love this job?” then the answer would’ve been no. I had a similar job before moving to America where I spent around 8 hours a day staring at a computer. I did that job for about 7 and a half years, thinking “I don’t want to be doing this kind of work forever.”
At the brunt of all of this, I met a man. Thanks to his influence, my values and my life suddenly began to change.
(at that point I didn’t imagine that we’d end up getting married and living in France together)
He was a car designer. He had loved drawing since he was a kid and embodied “doing what you love.” He has been telling me “just do what you love!” ever since we first met.
Up until that point, I had never felt passionate about my job or proud of my work. I definitely wasn’t doing what I loved back then.
I began asking myself over and over again…what is it that I love?
And that’s how I became who I am today.
《Why did I decide become a tutor on Cafetalk?》
I was very impressed by this system allows tutors to offer whatever lessons they can, and students to learn whatever they want, no matter where they are in the world as long as they have internet access.
I would like to open up my abacus lessons to children who do not have access to a nearby abacus school, or to children who live abroad and do not have the opportunity to learn how to use the abacus.
Translation: 3/2016 - Cafetalk