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Student Interview: Tony Hoar
Declan: How was your lunch?
Tony: Good. Nice sashimi set.
Declan: Today is your last day, and you have just finished the Japanese Language and Culture Course.
Tony: That’s right.
DM: OK. Let’s start with where are you from?
TH: I live in Perth, in Western Australia, but am a bit of a nomad. And Perth can be very hot, especially in summer. Bali is OK, but can be a bit boring at times.
DM: Before you came back to Japan you were in Portugal?
TH: Portugal, Hong Kong, Perth, Hong Kong, Japan.
DM: One of your sons lives in Hong Kong right?
TH: Yes. He’s been there about 15 years.
DM: Your program was highly customized, how many teachers did you interact with each week?
TH: 3 teachers each week.
DM: How were your teachers? What was the experience like?
TH: Great. I felt I made a fair bit of progress.
DM: You had three classes each morning 4 days a week, and then lunch with an instructor. How were the lunch lessons?
TH: Fun conversation practice. Lunch was different each day. Sushi. Chikubu was good. Civic center was good.
DM: Tip Top cafe?
TH: Pretty good value.
DM: Your main text was Minna no Nihongo?
TH: Minna no Nihongo Book One and a bit of Book Two. Just the Japanese version not the translation. Some supplementary materials and homework.
DM: Were all of your lessons conducted only in Japanese?
TH: All. Occasionally when stumped I used an English word and received a subtle nod. But even the teachers who could speak English explained every thing in Japanese.
DM: You also did a field trip each week. What were some of the highlights?
TH: The sake brewery.
DM: Which ones? Handa, Shibata or Tenjingura?
TH: All! And the Musical Instruments Museum in Hamamatsu was great. Everyone should see that museum. Studying the progression of the mechanics of the harpsichord and piano keys was fascinating.
DM: What were some other highlights.
TH: The trip to the forests in the east. Tenon-ji was interesting, and the scenery and graves at Kirikoshi.
DM: How many times have you studied in Aichi now? You’re becoming a local.
TH: This is my 5th time. I think. I caught up with a friend in Nagoya. Did some independent travel.
DM: Where did you go?
TH: Up to Shinpuku-ji. And a bonsai exhibition. Some of those little trees are over 100 years old. So that was interesting. They are very expensive though.
DM: You stayed in a apartment. How was it?
TH:: Clean, and close to the school. Kitchen was a bit small but I didn’t bother to cook much. Not with the large lunches.
DM: How did you come to school each day? On the rented bicycle?
TH:: Yes. It only took about 5 minutes at most.
DM: Did you sleep in a bed or futon?
DM: Was that OK?
TH:: I was a bit stiff during the first week, but then OK. Having a western style pillow helped.
DM: What are your plans now?
TH: Bit of travel. Then leave Japan on the 19th. Hong Kong, Bali, Paris, Budapest, Prague, then Berlin and then Ireland.
DM: Busy man. Which part of Ireland?
TH: Dublin, and then down to Cork.
DM: Where are you going before you leave Japan?
TH: Hokkaido. I have the JR rail pass, so changing in Tokyo, I’ll take the shinkansen up to Aomori. Stay there a night and then head over to Hakodate.
DM: Are you confident now about asking directions and traveling independently?
TH: Pretty much with directions. And ordering food is OK now, except when the menu is entirely in kanji.
DM: Good. OK. Well thank you for participating in the interview and good luck with the travels.