STAFF INTERVIEW: Erina Kato (Japan, Instruction Coordinator - OCJS)
Jon: I know you're very busy
with the online center at the moment but could you take a liitle time out for a
Erina: Sure, no
J: What do you do at the
E: I'm the instruction coordinator for the OCJS and
its a fairly broad role. Hard to summarize; its quite a challenge
J: How did you come to be a
teacher at the online center?
E: I am interested in
international communication and I was looking for a job where I can communicate
with people from other countries.
J: I hear you speak
E: I'm not quite fluent
yet but I can get by quite comfortably. I did a masters degree in
International Communication and for my thesis I had been researching young
homeless people in London. I lived in the UK initially for 5 months; 2 months in
Cambridge and 3 months in London. I studied at the same Japanese
teaching school as Suzuki Sensei (Silac Coordinator), but not at
the same time. After that I went to the UK every 3 or 4 months for 10
days or 2 weeks to do research for my thesis; interviewing homeless
J: What did you think of the
E: They were really nice. They all had a
dream to work or study, to better their lives but they couldn't because of
financial or family problems.
J: Do you have
any interesting stories about life in the UK?
E: On my
first day in the UK I arrived at Victoria station in London after a long flight
from Japan which included a 7 hour stopover in Singapore so I wanted to take a
shower. At Victoria train station I asked at the baggage office if there was any
showers nearby. They said there was a shower next to the toilets. As my
towel was in my luggage, I also asked for a towel and had to pay a 5 pound
(sterling) deposit. I took a shower and returned the towel but didn't
get my deposit back. I asked them about it but as I was a bit jetlagged,
and didn't want to make a fuss, I just left.
pounds for a shower, that's a bit expensive!
E: Another time
I went to Leicester Square's Empire Theatre to watch the film Sliding
Doors. Before I went into the movie theatre I saw some women going up to foreign
people and giving them flowers and some paper. A lady approached me and
started talking about religion or something and gave me some flowers and
stuff. Then she asked me for some money. I gave her a one pound coin but she
refused to take it and said 'notes only'. As I didn't have a 5 pound note I gave
her 10 pounds (about 1,700 Yen). 'God bless you! God bless you! she said. I
regularly went to Leicester Square but I knew after that not to take the flowers
all these experiences what did you think of the
E: I loved it. For me, the British people usually keep a certain, proper, distance from
others but it doesn't mean they ignored other
people. If ever I was in trouble, they always lent a hand to help me. The
worst thing about the UK was the prices.....
J: Things can be
expensive if you keep giving your money away to people!
only did that once or twice. Really, everything is so expensive! But
I thought Tesco's (supermarket) was great - very cheap. Perhaps I'll go and
live in the UK someday.........
J: Right, swiftly moving
on............When you're not being worked like a slave by Declan what do you do
in your spare time?
like watching movies, especially British ones. One of my
favorites is Trainspotting, but my all time favorite is Cinema Paradiso. I
also like writing and I prefer to keep in contact with my friends through
letters rather then email because I think that a hand written letter
is so much more personal than something typed on a computer.
J: And your future
E: I only joined the faculty three months so I
haven't thought much beyond the initial academic year of the OCJS. In the future
though I would like to become a teacher who not only takes care of instruction
during class time but also assist in the academic development and research
projects of individual students outside of class; a bit like a
J: Well, thanks for your
E: My pleasure!