Tomoko Tutor Interview
- Q. Hi Tomoko! First of all, please introduce yourself briefly to our students!
A. It's Tomoko and I currently live in Australia. I moved here in 2011, but, I came from Kobe, Japan.
- Q. Can you tell us about what made you start teaching on Cafetalk?
A. As a student, I was also able to meet a promising online tutor and looking for the lesson every week. This experience gave me the place where I could feel comfortable and I eventually came to want to be the tutor like the one. That's why I started teaching on Cafetalk.
When I was taking an online curse offered by Australian government, I felt the lessons always finished so quick because I could talk about work and hobbies other than study. Even if we didn't see each other in person, I got to know that we could have a lesson both student and tutor can understand each other regardless of where we are. And I always wanted to offer the lesson as the same as I did.
- Q. According to your profile, you currently live in Australia! Do you have any place where only local people could know?
A. The beach and the nearby rocky areas are special spots. Because Western people don't seem to eat much shellfish such as sea urchins and turban shells, so unless you look closely, you may not be aware that there are some shellfish that Japanese people surprisingly like to eat.
Just the other day, I went with my friend when the sea's tide is the lowest, and we caught more sea urchins than we could fill a bucket. The sea urchin that we split and ate on the spot was more sweet and fresh than we had imagined. It seems that as long as there are rocks, they're surprisingly present on any beach. You can relax peacefully on the beach for a day and have a good time as if you were back to childhood.
- Q. When you're not giving lessons on Cafetalk, how do you spend your time? Let us know more about your hobbies and interests.
A.I love to cook. Because I couldn't find any good miso in Australia, I decided to start making it, and now I make my own Koji (malted rice) from rice. I became so obsessed with making miso that I regularly run miso-making workshops for Australians and Japanese people living here.
I'm also interested in natural living, so I've been taking courses in worm composting and permaculture (a natural farming and cultural lifestyle design method that originated in Australia), and I've been enjoying putting what I've learned there into practice at home. Also, since I live near the ocean and want to try surfing this year.
- Q. In your lessons, free talk ones are popular, what do you keep in mind for these lessons ?
A. To create an atmosphere that makes it easy for students to talk. I also try to find something in the conversation that students are interested in and that they would enjoy talking about. It allows students to forget their nerves and speak naturally, so after the lesson they will say, "I felt so relaxed in another language!". I try to give them this sense of confidence and fulfillment.
- Q. For students who are interested in your lessons, could you tell us how your lessons are processed?
A. My teachers and friends from my student days have told me that I am cheerful, chatty and energetic. Anyway, the lesson is always cheerful and the rhythm is good. I get told a lot by students "that I am always smiling", which is true. The lesson is always fun because even if we study, the students feel less worried and can't help but smile too.
- Q. In your own experience, what do you need to do to learn a second language?
A. It is important to have the courage to ask when you don't understand.
- Q. Besides English and Japanese, you also teach calligraphy. What made you interested in it?
A. I learnt calligraphy in Japan, and when I was teaching Japanese as an assistant teacher in Australia, I started teaching calligraphy too. My skills became a tool to introduce my country's culture and I realized the joy of sharing them. I enjoy interacting with local people through calligraphy every time. Since I came here, I have rediscovered the appeal of calligraphy as a part of Japanese culture from a global perspective, and now I want to continue doing it for the rest of my life.
- Q. Your lessons are very varied, what kind of students would you like to see in particular?
A. All students are welcome, but for students who have a specific goal : I will do my best to help you achieve it! If you are interested in studying abroad in the future, I can tell you about my experiences and give you informations about local life in Australia during lessons.☆
- Q. Lastly, do you have a message for your regular students and for those you will meet in the future?
A. I look back at my past and feel that by taking even a small action in the direction I want to go, the things I started were connected before I knew it, and when I realized it, I was closer to my dream, and a lot of times it has come true. For me, it's English and calligraphy. Meeting people you never expected to encounter and have a new path opening up to you is fun.
On Cafetalk, I would like to be able to help students achieve their goals and dreams through my lessons.