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Flippin’ your fins, you don’t get too far
Legs are required for jumpin’, dancin’
Stollin’ along down the
What’s that word again? Street
Up where they walk, up where they run
Up where they stay all day in the sun
Wanderin’ free, wish I could be
Part of that world

Songwrites: Alan Irwin Menken/Howard Elliott Ashman
Part of Your World lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

The Little Mermaid and I -英語という足が欲しい-
Chiharu スミス英会話大津校

My son and I went to a movie theatre and watched The Little Mermaid (2023) on Father’s Day. Needless to say, I have seen the 1989 animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures many times when I was a child. At that time, I was watching the dubbed version with my younger sister and couldn’t imagine Ariel singing “Part of Your World” in English. About 30 years has passed. Now I am all grown up and watching this live-action movie with my son in Japan, wondering how I can ignore the Japanese subtitles I cannot turn off in the movie theatre.

父の日。息子と映画館で「リトル・マーメイド」(2023年)を観ました。1989年にウォルト・ディズニー・ピクチャーズが制作したアニメ版の映画は大好きで、子供の頃何度も観ました。当時は、レンタルショップで借りたり、テレビで放送されるのを待ち、妹と一緒に日本語吹き替え版を観ていたので、アリエルが英語で「Part of Your World」を歌う姿を想像したことがありませんでした。あれから30年程経ち、私はもうすっかり大人の仲間入り。生活拠点であるこの日本で、映画館では消すことのできない日本語字幕をどうしたら無視できるだろうと考えながら、息子とこの懐かしい映画の実写版を観ています。

Ariel, played by Halle Bailey, is singing “Part of Your World.” And suddently it took me back to my childhood. I was born in Kyoto and raised in Otsu, Shiga. Even though I grew up here in Japan, I have always felt I was “weird.” Not really fitting in, speaking Japanese felt strange even though it should be my native tongue and communicating with people around me felt awkward. At the beginning of the song “Part of Your World,” Ariel says, “Maybe he is right. Maybe there is something wrong with me.” That was exactly how I felt. Since I was a little child, I have been interested in varieties of people, different cultures and how people interact with one another. And finally when I was 14, I could experience one week of homestay in the US. That was like Ariel popping her head out of the water, seeing the fireworks in the sky, looking at those merry people dancing and having a great time on the deck of the ship. Such a fascinating and exciting experience it was!!!

Halle Bailey演じるアリエルが歌う”Part of Your World “を聴きながら、ふと自分の子供時代を思い出してしまいました。京都生まれ、滋賀・大津育ちの私。日本で生まれ育ったにもかかわらず、日本に馴染めず、いつも自分は「変な人」なのだと感じていました。母国語であるはずの日本語を話すことにも違和感があり、周りの人たちとのコミュニケーションもぎこちなく感じていたのです。”Part of Your World”の冒頭で、アリエルは「もしかしたら、彼は正しいのかもしれない。私がおかしいのかもしれない。」 私の気持ちを代弁してくれていました。幼い頃から、さまざまな人、異なる文化、そして人が互いにどのように関わり合っているかに興味がありました。そして14歳の時、ついにアメリカで1週間のホームステイを経験することができました。それはまるでアリエルが水面から顔を出し、空に上がる花火や、船のデッキで陽気な人々が踊り、楽しい時間を過ごすのをワクワク見つめているようなものでした。ホワイトハウス訪問、ナイアガラの滝観光とホームステイの初アメリカ滞在10日間は、異文化の宝物を集める人魚が歌いあげるように魅力的でエキサイティングだったのです。

And ready to know what the people know
Ask ’em my questions, get some answers
What’s a fire? And why does it
What’s that word? Burn?
When’s it my turn?
Wouldn’t I love, love to explore
That shore up above, out of the sea
Wish I could be
Part of that world

Songwrites: Alan Irwin Menken/Howard Elliott Ashman
Part of Your World lyrics © Walt Disney Music Company

“How can I be part of that world?”

After coming back from the US, I asked myself this question again and again. I just wanted to go there and see my host-family again. I just wanted to know more about that world and talk more. My fins, my family and my country might have kept me safe and “normal” but I yearned for my own adventure driven by authenticity.


I wanted to get “feet” so that I could be part of that world. To make it come true, I did everything. I attended English classes at junior high and high schools and did all my homework. I had varieties of original methods to enjoy at home as well. I prepared homemade word stickers and put them on everything around the house. Also, I listened to English radio programs, read Harry Potter, watched American dramas and so on. Unquestionably my favorite one was attending a conversation school because I could enjoy being part of that world at least once a week.

アリエルのように、足が欲しかったのです。どうしてもあの世界で生きていきたかったから。それを叶えるために、考えられることは全てやりつくしました。中学や高校の英語の授業を受け、宿題は全てやりました。そして、周りに英語を話す人がいなかったので、一人ででも楽しめるような様々な自己流学習法をを試しました。自作の単語シールを家中の家具に張る。NHKの英語プログラムを聴く。ハリーポッターを読む。アメリカのドラマを観るなど。一番楽しかったのは、やっぱり週一回通わせてもらっていた英会話レッスンですね。日本にいながら、”Part of Your World”の感覚で、あの世界に浸れるのですから、楽しくないわけがない。

Why did you come back to Japan after university graduation?”

After graduating from high school in Japan, I moved to Canada alone, entered a university and majored in Anthropology. The four years of my life in Nanaimo, Canada were full of excitement, wonder and happiness. In my 3rd year, I met Edward in the Math Department building at the top of those many stairs. I took unique classes, worked on assignments, and enjoyed my life with those “feet” to the fullest.
Today a lot of people ask me, “Why did you come back to Japan after university graduation?” My answer is very simple. I wanted to see my family and say, “Thank you for letting me go and be who I want to be.” Unfortunately, my King Triton passed away right after I came back to the ocean and could never see me walking with those special “feet.” I could not do what Ariel did at the end of the movie, but instead I sang my “Thank you.”

現在、多くの人が私に尋ねます。「どうして卒業後日本に帰ってきたの?」と。答えは、とってもシンプル。しばらく会えていなかった家族に会って、「私がなりたい姿で、行きたいところへ旅立たせてくれてありがとう。」と伝えたかったから。残念なことに、帰国直後、私のトリトン王は急逝してしまい、”足”で大地を踏み、しっかりと前へ進んでいる私の姿を観てもらうことはできませんでした。リトルマーメイドの映画の最後のシーンを現実で叶えることは出来ませんでしたが、”Thank you”という歌を贈りました。

Our Classroom is That World

Currently I am walking with my “feet” and occasionally using my “fins” in Japan. Because using my “feet” is more comfortable for me, I sometimes cannot “swim” smoothly and feel breathless breathing through my “gills”. Luckily I have our classroom to be part of that world freely. Edward and I leave our doors to our classroom open and welcome anyone who wishes to be part of that world. We are not Ursula so don’t be scared!


私も、初めはつまづき、こけてばっかりで不安でした。”ヒレ”から”足”を生やすなんて出来ないって。でも歩きたかったから、I can’tという 思い込みから抜け出してI can! へ少しずつ前進しました。

Come and join me in my classroom! ご予約はこちら

スミス英会話大津校 Chiharu


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in Chiharu, Ohtsu, Teacher's Thoughts, 先生のひとこと by Chiharu | June 21, 2023 | 4 comments

    • Cheri, thank you very much for welcoming me into your lovely home when I was 14 years old! You and your family were very kind to me and I felt at home instantly. That homestay experience has changed my life 🙂 And yes! I am living my dream!

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