Interview with Chiharu

Interview with Chiharu

Today let’s learn about Smith’s School of English Otsu language coach, Chiharu Kikuta Iwaskow.

Interview by Edward Iwaskow (EI).

EI: Where were you born?

CKI: I was born in Kyoto.

EI: Where did you go to school?

CKI: I went to elementary school and JHS in Shiga and HS in Kyoto then I went to university in Nanaimo BC Canada.

EI: What did you study in university?

CKI: I studied Anthropology, Global Studies, Spanish, Chinese and French.

EI: What languages do you speak or study?

CKI: I speak English and Japanese. I have been studying English, Spanish, Chinese, and French.

EI: What do you do on your days off?

CKI: I enjoy reading books, watching movies, doing yoga and playing with our children.

EI: Who is your favourite Japanese writer? Non-Japanese writer?

CKI: My favourite Japanese writers are Miyuki Miyabe, Yume Makura Baku and Ito Ogawa. I like Mitch Albom, Ruth Ozeki and Esther Perel.

EI: OK, now let’s get serious about English study.

EI: What do you enjoy most about teaching English?

CKI: I have many things I enjoy actually, about teaching English. By far #1 is…. I enjoy seeing students communicating with me or other students, openly and happily. Actually, can I change my answer? I enjoy seeing “aha” moments. That moment when students figure out how to say something. I love that moment.

EI: What advice do you have for someone starting to study a new language?

CKI: Focus on small things that you do each and every day and the feelings that accompany those things. Try to express them in the new language. Have fun with the process of seeing the world in the new language.

EI: What are the good points about your Smith’s school?

CKI: You are always welcome to say what’s on your mind and explore the things that you always wanted to talk about but you could not do it in Japanese [chuckles]. A couple bullet points: everyone at our school is gentle and kind. You can improve your English in any fields that you are interested in, for example business, music, art, coffee, um, math, history, etcetera. Every lesson is catered to your needs. You can enjoy coffee, tea and/or juice, if you like. You can borrow English books any time you want. We have a library. It’s only 3 minutes away from JR Otsu. Our group lessons are small.

EI: OK, now let’s get a little silly.

EI: What is the best music to relax to?

CKI: Olafur Arnalds.

EI: What is the best sandwich?

CKI: Lots of cured ham, you know like “nama ham”? Lots of avocado and blue cheese, on a baguette. I have never encountered this sandwich before, but I think I would love it.

EI: Describe a perfect Sunday morning.

CKI: I am allowed to sleep in as much as I can. After I wake up I slowly make a cup of coffee for myself, listening to peaceful and calm music. And then my husband and children all hug me and say “I love you”. Actually hug me and say “good morning”. That’s better. That’s perfect.

EI: Describe yourself in 2 words.

CKI: Diligent and Empathic.

EI: Thank you for your time.




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