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Sakamoto Mai
Sakamoto Sensei
STAFF INTERVIEW: Mai Sakamoto (AIJP)

Due to the critical acclaim of his last interview Brett was dispatched to the AIJP teacher's room to interview his former teacher. (The truth is we thought he could use some Japanese practice).

Brett: (in English) Sakamoto Sensei, can I interview you for the Yamasa Newsletter?
(the reply was in Japanese)
Sakamoto Sensei: What? I don't understand?
B: (in English) Why won't you speak to me in English?
S: (giggles and laughs at Brett)
B: (in Japanese) Can I interview you for the Yamasa Newsletter?

 
(rest is translated from Japanese...)

S: I'm embarrassed and isn't that Jon's job anyway?
B: I thought it was but he's away on business again.... Anyway, let's start. Where were you born?
S: In Gamagori, that's just to the south east of Okazaki near the ocean, I still live there.
B: You went to Gifu University didn't you?
S: Yes, I majored in Japanese, the same as you in a way. You studied Japanese too right?
B: Er yes, but for me Aichi Women's University might have been better......... So why did you want to become a teacher?
S: I first learnt about being a Japanese teacher when I was a junior high school student. I was reading a book and thought "that's it!". From that time on it was always on my mind. I didn't know why but now I understand, I get to meet many different people and talk with them, I enjoy the variety.

B: When did you start working at Yamasa?
S: July last year. I started in the SILAC teaching team.
B: And what were you doing before you started working here?
S: I went to New Zealand to teach Japanese at a high school, and introduce the students to Japanese culture.
B: That's wonderful. Origami cranes for instance? Which city?

S: Ohakune
B: Oka-what?
S: A really small town called Ohakune.
B: Oh?
S: During the winter it's crowded with skiers but in the summer there is only around 600 people, very small.
B: How long were you there?
S: Only six months.
B: You must have some good memories.
S: Yes, on my last day, the students sang a song, in Japanese, made a cake, and held a party for me. I was very happy because their Japanese had improved a lot from when I started teaching them.
B: Did you ever get homesick?
S: Yes, but everyday there were lots of new things to see and do, so there weren't many times that I felt lonely.
B: What was the best thing about living in New Zealand?
S: Deserts. Of course I'm lying!
B: No you're not! New Zealand icecream is my favorite.
S: Yes, but actually the best thing is gazing at the uninterrupted sky, in Japan you really can't see the sky. The sky is blue and the clouds are beautiful.
B: I also miss the southern skies.............
 
(brief interruption to interview and a lot of conversation about southern skies)
 
B: Now you are an AIJP teacher but before you were teaching in the SILAC program. Which is better?
S: I like both. The SILAC program is shorter and more intensive, plus the students are very motivated because they are trying to make the most of their short stay. I really enjoyed the variety of students. But the AIJP program is longer so you can get to know the students better. They are very different programs.
B: Who has been your best student so far?
S:  ............
B: Who has been you favorite student?
S: errrrrrrr
(both laughing)
B: Good answer. Obviously not me! So are there any Australian students in your class at the moment?
S: No, none.
B: That's a shame. [Brett is Australian]
S: No it's not.
(both laughing)
B: Do you have any interests outside of work?
S: Tennis, I play every week and so I'm really brown now.
B: hmm, you've tanned nicely. Do you want to go overseas again?
S: Yes if I have the chance.
B: Well, thank you very much for your time..
S: Your welcome!

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