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Chaminade University of Honolulu (Other)
I have so much passion for the Japanese people and the Japanese language that I have spent the last 24 years of my life learning as much as I can about them. My experience started with college courses at UCLA and progressed into summer cultural exchanges and then into living in Japan for almost half of my adult life. I bring a unique set of skills and perspectives to tutoring Japanese; though I am Japanese by race, I grew up speaking only English (I am the fourth generation of my family born and raised in the US) and only started learning the language at the age of 20, so I have firsthand experience of attempting to master this difficult language at a later stage in life. I am keenly aware of the frustrations but, more importantly, I know the reward of learning Japanese and that it IS possible to become proficient in the language even with a late start. I am a facilitator and a cheerleader rolled up in one!! Furthermore, my years of living in Japan fully immersed in the culture allow me to make important cultural connections in my language teaching and makes you, the student, smarter about the society and smarter about the people who speak Japanese so that your are more effective in your communication.
I have amazing Japanese teachers from college to thank for my strong foundation, and I have the opportunities I took to live and work in Japan to thank for my continuing Japanese language education. Right out of college, I moved to Japan on my own to teach English in a Japanese high school, and my room and board was provided via a one-year homestay with a local family. I became confident enough in my language abilities after that year to start working at the front desk of a hotel, and it is there that I learned formal Japanese, a skill that many Japanese language learners don't get around to acquiring because it can be so difficult. I eventually returned to the US but continued to work for companies - including Japan Airlines - that required Japanese so that I could maintain my skills. While working, I went back to school to obtain a teaching certificate in elementary education. After earning my certification, I returned to Japan and started teaching English again; simultaneously, I studied Japanese diligently in preparation for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) and passed at Level 1 (the highest level on a scale of 5 to 1). Since then, I've returned to the US and taught ESL to Japanese students, gone back to Japan and taught English to members of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Forces and taught Japanese to military spouses stationed there, and returned to the US again and taught high school Japanese in the Arlington Public Schools system in Arlington, VA.
My method is simple: start with the very basics (or wherever you happen to be), build your confidence, ground you in the cultural context of the language so you feel more connected to it, and then keep building. I have so much passion for the Japanese people and the Japanese language that I have spent the last 24 years of my life learning as much as I can about them. My experience started with college courses at UCLA and progressed into
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