By Kenny Nguyen
It was our third week of class and Sally, one of the program directors, brought in someone she recently met near her high school. His name was Simon. He told us about how in middle school he got into Japan because of JUMP comic books, and in middle school started to learn the basics of Japanese in order to be able to read and speak Japanese. He was a really fun guy and brought a positive atmosphere to the classroom. Simon was really helpful, and he helped me write katakana since it was my first time learning it and I was struggling.
After having our Japanese lesson of the day, Sai-sensei, the name Simon told us to call him by, told us a little bit more about his connection to Japan. He talked about how he started to learn Japanese in middle school but when high school hit, he started to stop trying to learn the language. Then in college he started to re-learn that language, since he had the opportunity to teach in Japan. Having Sai-sensei talk about his past really connected with me. He told us that if we were going to learn the language then we have to get more invested and not just learn it because of anime or anything simple. Back in middle school I used to love anime, and I tried learning Japanese because of it, but once high school hit and I didn’t have the time for anime anymore, I started to lose interest in trying to learn Japanese.
But then over the summer when I was traveling in Asia, I realized just how amazing and beautiful the culture was, which reignited my determination to learn Japanese. Having Sai-sensei in the classroom will really be amazing since he is able to connect with us since he experienced the same things we did. But also it’s always nice to have an extra hand around, especially when you’re learning a new language. So having Sai-sensei around will help me be able to better write my katakana and have someone to talk to in Japanese so he can critique it. So I look forward to our next class together and hope you continue helping out our class so we all can become better at Japanese!
Doozo yoroshiku onegaishimasu!