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Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show. Today’s guest is Aira.
Aira was born in Tokyo. And her mother was from America and her father was from Japan so she had an interesting language situation when she was growing up.
At university she studied Spanish and after graduating she spent two years in Canada. In Canada she did WWOOFing for a year and she worked at an art gallery for a year. Her most recent job has been (working) as an announcer at FM Niseko.
I was really happy that she agreed to be a guest on The Daily English Show. I asked her about her situation growing up and also about working at FM Niseko.
Was it difficult to speak English and Japanese on the show?
Difficult. It was really difficult, yeah like talking in front of mic. Talking in front of mic is ... Just talking in front of mic is really difficult. But then you have to talk in Japanese and English. Two languages. And you have this information. And information comes in ... And it can be, how can I say... it will be easy to talk in Japanese. But here’s new information. And you have to translate it. That ... And in that moment, well, then, it was really hard.
Had you worked in radio before?
No. No. That was my first time. And you know I get so nervous in front of camera or mic.
So. Yeah, when I started, it was so terrible. I was just like, almost fainting.
Kia ora in Stick News today a 13-year-old girl is the national texting champion of the United States.
This American teenager won the national texting championship on Saturday after she typed the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in 15 seconds.
The prize was 25,000 American dollars.
The texting champ she said she was going to go shopping and buy lots of clothes.
And that was Stick News for Monday the 23rd of April.
conversations with sarah
#220 Did your parents speak to each other in English or Japanese?
Step 1: Repeat Sarah’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah’s lines and talk to Aira
Sarah When you were a child, what language did your parents speak to you in?
Aira Well, well, my mother always spoke English to me. But I always talk to her in Japanese. So, I think I’m good at understanding - hearing and listening. But I didn’t get enough chance to talk and express ... so I’m not really good at talking.
Sarah Did your parents speak to each other in English or Japanese?
Aira Um, both. Mixed. Like my mother talk in English, my father in Japanese. Like that.
Sarah Can you give me an example of how growing up in a bilingual environment affected you?
Aira So, purple. Purple? I cannot pronounce it right now. Well, it’s, it’s called “murasaki” in Japanese. But my mother at the time couldn’t say because it’s a little bit hard for English people to say murasaki. So she always told that colour “purple”. So I thought that colour was purple. And I was talking Japanese all the time in my how do you say, elementary school. But the colour I thought that was purple, in Japanese ... Am I making sense?
So I was like, like “my favourite colour” (I’m talking in Japanese) “my favourite colour is purple”. Purple was the only English and the other places, other thing was Japanese. And all the other kids couldn’t understand what is purple. What yeah, everybody thought, I was like ... what is this girl saying what is purple? Yeah.
Sarah Were there any disadvantages?
Aira Oh, disadvantages. Well, it’s Japan. So, I’m not saying all Japanese people but lots of Japanese doesn’t like the thing different than you.
So, I was different from other people. So, lots of kid tried to attack me because my mother was American. But I thought that was a really stupid thing to do. But, yeah, I learnt lots from that point.
Sarah How were your English classes at school?
Aira I was terrible. Yeah, I think Japanese English class, Japanese ... how do you say, English class in Japanese school is not really good. It’s ah, it’s just like reading textbook and writing down ... writing, writing, writing. Spelling, spelling, spelling. It’s not really interesting and you have to talk, I think. You don’t ... If you, if you don’t talk you won’t learn I think.
Sarah Did people expect you to be good at English because your mother was American?
Aira Yeah, everybody thought I will, I would be good student. But how do you say, I was so shy and I didn’t want to be a good student. So, I didn’t want to get a good prize. Prize? What? Good score, score in my test. So, I did it ... intentionally. I did it really bad.
Sarah When you were living in Canada did you remember a lot of English from your childhood?
Aira Well, maybe yes. Cause, well, when I got there, first time, my English was really bad. I couldn’t even say “would you keep this for me” or that kind of easy thing, I couldn’t even say that. But, well, after two months or three months it just came out. So maybe it was from my childhood. I don’t know, it just started to come out.
Sarah If you have kids what language do you think you will speak to them in?
Aira Ahh, well first I have to brush. brush up my English. Otherwise I’m going to be telling the kid bad English. But when I get good at English I want to talk to that kid, talk to that kid in English and my husband could talk to that kid in Japanese. And I think, yeah. Well, when I was young I think I really had a good experience. Like when you are young your brain is really soft so you can, how do you say, learn anything, everything. So, yeah, both language.
Growing kids in both language will be nice, I think.
Sarah What do you think is a good way to study English?
Aira Well, I had a chance to read Harry Potter. Harry Potter book. And that was really interesting. And at the time I couldn’t talk English. But I wanted to read the book. So I tried really hard, really hard. And how do you say ... Each time you understand a line, it’s really run. And it gets interesting more and more. So first textbook, how do you say, the thing you learn English from, has to be interesting I think. And that gives students to how do you say, motivate, how do you say, motivation. Yeah, I think that’s it.
And like experiencing something. Like ... I grew up in Tokyo and there’s a base, I think air force base, called Yokota air base in Tokyo.
And I don’t know if you can visit there anymore but when I was young I had a chance to visit them. When was it? Um, on Halloween, I guess. And it was so interesting. And then, you want to talk with those people and you want to know. What they are thinking ... And you want to know their culture.
And that’s the start I guess. You have to be interested.
You have to be interested.
track: Beautiful Eyes
from: Napoli, Italy
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo