What a coincident!

At our Glocal Plaza, we display items such as kimonos and Ainu embroidery, so we occasionally get visits from foreign tourists.

When I stopped by there, Miss Sakamoto, the instructor, was preparing the materials for an English study session. While we were

chatting and looking over the content, a man who seemed to be a foreign tourist arrived. As we went through the usual questions

about his hometown and travel itinerary, we learned that he was from the UK, now living in Australia, and currently enrolled in

a Japanese language school in the Kansai region. He also mentioned having experience teaching English in places like China.

No wonder he was so keenly examining the materials. With such a background, I thought there would be things I'd like to ask him,

so after inquiring about the origins of Australian English, I brought up something that had been on my mind for a while.

"In Japan, each kanji has its own meaning, and when parents name their children, they choose kanji hoping for their child's future.

But English letters don’t seem to have meanings, so how do parents choose names for their children?"

He replied that while the sound of the name is important, each English name does have an original meaning.

He went on to carefully explain the original meaning of the name Peter as an example.

It seemed he hadn't had many opportunities to talk with others during his long solo trip, as he answered our questions very eloquently,

and our conversation went on for so long that we lost track of time. He was also well-versed in Japanese pop culture and the films of Kurosawa and Ozu,

and we had an enthusiastic discussion about their works and the actors who appeared in them.

Given this, I explained the concept of "ichi-go ichi-e" (once-in-a-lifetime encounter,) as it is passed down in the spirit of the tea ceremony.

What left a strong impression on me was his discussion about the recent decline in safety in cities around the world.

It seemed that one of the reasons he was living comfortably in Japan was because of this. It’s understandable that the increasing number of foreign tourists

often mention cleanliness and safety as their impressions of Japan.

I tried to explain the Japanese mindset, but I'm not sure how much he understood with my limited English ability.

In any case, what a coincidence it was to meet an English researcher just before the English study session.

(Nezu’s Note)
























                                    根津 文博




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