Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Show 604 Monday 7 January

Watch today’s show at YouTube or BlipTV.

Hi, I’m Sarah, welcome to The Daily English Show.

Today’s guest is Jamie. He is from New York and he’s lived in Japan for about 4 years.
He’s lived in Okazaki which is in Aichi and he’s now a student at a university in Tokyo but he’s taking some time off this winter to go snowboarding in Niskeo. I asked him why he decided to come to Japan.

I really liked the language. The sounds especially. German languages are so rough, but Japanese seems really, really smooth. So it was the pretty language that brought me over.


Kia Ora, in Stick News today, the Marshall Islands have a new president.

The Republic of the Marshall Islands is a Micronesian island nation in the western Pacific Ocean with a population of around 62 thousand.
The official languages are Marshallese and English.
The islands got their name from an English captain called John Marshall who arrived in
Since then the Marshall Islands have been controlled by Germany, Japan and the United States. And since 1979, they have been self-governing.
Today, the 4th president of the Republic of the Marshall Islands was elected.

And that was Stick News for Monday the 7th of January.
Kia Ora.

at Loaf Lounge

with Akira

(The Snow Report at Loaf Lounge is usually on Friday's show - but last Friday there was a special show, so it's on today's show instead.)

How long have you been snowboarding for?
Ah, I think more than 15 years.

How often do you go snowboarding now?
Actually, I live in Sapporo that’s why I go snowboarding more than 10 times per year.

Where do you usually go?
Um, Rusutsu or Sapporo Kokusai snowboard area.

How many times have you been to Niseko?
This is my third time to be here.

What do you think of it?
It’s lovely, but it’s slightly tough for snowboarders because of lots of mogul.

conversations with sarah
#364 How did you learn Japanese?

Step 1: Repeat Sarah’s lines.
Step 2: Read Sarah’s lines and talk to Jamie.

Sarah How did you learn Japanese? Did you know it before you came?

Jamie Yeah, I knew a little bit. I studied at college for two years and then I dropped out and went to a Japanese language school for a year and a half.

Sarah So you studied at university in America for two years?

Jamie Yeah, one year in Boston and then I left that university to go to Columbia in New York. And then I left there to go to language school.

Sarah What did you have to do to get into a Japanese university? Did you have to pass a certain level of Japanese?

Jamie Yeah, um, there’s the Japanese Proficiency Test the 日本語能力試験 and I went ahead and took the first level of that. I’m not sure it really made a difference because most Japanese universities, from what I was able to tell, really want foreign students to join. So as long as you’re foreign and you can speak a certain, with a certain fluency, which they tell from an interview or maybe from a written essay, then they’re eager to get you in.

Sarah Why is that?

Jamie I think cause, first of all they don’t have many Japanese students, because of the declining population. And also, because they’re really eager to introduce their students to a more international population, student population.

Sarah Has it been difficult keeping up?

Jamie A little bit. Some of the lessons weren’t that hard. Like the literature ones, because I like to read. But then, the economics class and the international relations classes were difficult. Especially because the professors, the male professors, love to talk about their lives and where they’ve been and tell weird stories. And I just sort of zone off during those.

Sarah Do you find you have to work harder than the other students to keep up with the readings?

Jamie Yeah the reading definitely takes me maybe 3 or 4 hours for just 10 or 11 pages, when it’s a real thick economics book. But, otherwise I can usually tell what’s going on in class. What’s difficult, is expressing myself in a question. Making sure that I ask what I really want to ask and it doesn’t get misinterpreted by the teacher.

Sarah So, you’ve experienced Japanese and American universities., how different are they?

Jamie ICU actually – where I go in Tokyo – isn’t too different than the university I was at in the US, either of them. If anything, the classes in Japan are smaller. So you get more chances to directly interact with the teacher.
But I think the biggest difference would be in the students. The students in the US seem a lot more independent and self-motivated. Whereas here it seems to be focused much more on group activities. Whether that’s extracurricular activities or the students getting together in study groups outside of class to prepare for an exam.

Sarah Do you get involved with those groups?

Jamie I did for a little, but they’re really wild for my taste. Especially the extra curricular groups.

Sarah What do you plan to do after you graduate?

Jamie It would be really nice to come up and live somewhere like Niseko for a few years and do something like farming in the summer, and then like the guide or instructor job I’m doing now in the winter. But on top of that it would be fun to open a restaurant eventually, a vegan restaurant somewhere.

Sarah Are you planning to stay in Japan for a while?

Jamie Yeah, for a little bit, if they’ll have me.

Sarah Why did you decide to come to Niseko?

Jamie I’d been up here once or twice. The first time I think was in 2003, 2004, when they had all that snow. And I liked it so much I came back last year luckily just at the end of the rain when we got a few snowstorms before the season ended. And I liked it again. So I decided, why not take a little time off from college to come and spend an entire winter here.

Sarah What’s your job?

Jamie I work at, ah, this company which gives guiding and instructing. So I teach snowboard lessons and then I go along with the guides and translate between English and Japanese and back.
It’s pretty nice work especially the guiding work because I don’t have to worry about the customers and where we’re going, I just have to worry about the language issues.

Sarah Where are most of the customers from?

Jamie A lot of Australians. But then there are also many from Singapore and from Hong Kong. And then just the other day we had, or, I had my first French customer. So, not many Europeans, I was a little surprised.

Sarah Is the translation difficult or is it pretty straightforward?

Jamie It’s pretty straightforward especially all the translation they want done is stuff like, “you see those bushes over there, don’t go past them.” Or “have fun on the way down.”

Sarah Finally, do you have any advice for people who are studying English?

Jamie Definitely try and speak as much as possible outside of class. If all you do is study at set hours every week, you’re not going to get as good as you would like. If you can create opportunities for yourself in your everyday life to use it naturally, then you’re going to see a big improvement I think.


today's news
about the Marshall Islands government


show start
artist: BrunoXe
album: aprendiendo desde 2004
track: Mandrake
from: Jerez, Spain
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

the snow report start
artist: Olga Scotland
album: Scotland Yard
track: Absolute
from: Moscow, Russia
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

cws start
artist: San Sebastian
track: Happy Sad
artist site

qa start
artist: ioeo
album: Groovetracks
tracks: groovetracks ending
from: Saint Raphael, France
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

qa bgm
artist: BrunoXe
album: aprendiendo desde 2004
track: Chill Out
from: Jerez, Spain
album at Jamendo
artist at Jamendo
artist site

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