I’ve lived in Japan for a total of 16 years including eight years from 1978 to 1986 and eight more years from 2006 until now. I’ve worked for 3 major Japanese companies, 6 years in Japan and 20 years in the U.S. during which I traveled back and forth several times a year. But this time, I have really enjoyed my life here, working as a teacher in Kobe. I’ve had the pleasure to teach over 320 terrific people at the Smith’s School of English in Okamoto since 2006. Smith’s has provided a very good setting in which I’ve been able to meet many Japanese people of all ages and have many fun experiences.
This week I joined all of my students in the euphoria of Kei Nishikori’s run up to the final match of the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. The semifinal match was especially exciting for everyone. Besides his outstanding and powerful backhand stroke what I was most impressed with was Nishikori’s relaxed and confident use of English in the interview following his match with Novak Djokivic. Here is the interview Link: Kei Nishikori’s Interview after Beating Novak Djokivic in the Semifinal match
As you can see, using no interpretor he answers the interviewer’s questions very calmly and confidently. He is truly one of the best examples of what Japanese young people should strive to become when they learn English from now because the real purpose of English or any language is communication. So I hope that more Japanese young people will see Kei Nishikori as a kind of role model for their generation and strive to become like him: skilled, calm and confident to speak English as a second language in the world. It is a great time to be in Japan, a great time to be an English teacher and I think, the best time to learn English for Japanese students.
Enjoy learning! Enjoy teaching! Enjoy life!
Al Bartle (Head Teacher and Owner, Smith’s School of English Okamoto)
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