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Hearing others' stories can be inspirational! That's why I wanted to start this series of interviews with people who speak English as a second or foreign language.
In this interview, my friend Naofumi (Nao) shares his story about how he learned to really speak English and how knowing English continues to help him reach out into the world.
I hope you can find motivation to see your English goals become reality through reading this interview!
Sabrina: Tell us your name, where you live, what you do...?
Nao: My name is Naofumi Yasuhara. I live in North East Japan. I work at Michinoku Folklore Village. We organize workshops about growing rice, vegetables and green tea (Japanese style) and we host children's circles and traditional Japanese dance events.
You can see where I work here: Michinoku Folklore Village. (in Japanese)
Sabrina: How old were you when you started learning English?
Nao: I started learning English when I was a junior high school student. But...I didn't get anything from school. I only studied grammar.
Sabrina: When and HOW did you really learn to speak English?
Nao: I really learned to speak English when) I went to the U.S. and studied English there in 2005. I went to an English language school in Philadephia for one year, and then stayed in the U.S. for another 6 months.
I really liked the conversation classes, but it was difficult when we had to debate in class.
Sabrina: Why do you like being able to speak English?
Nao: I like being able to speak English because I like to travel and make friends all over the world. I also love reading about and knowing about different American subcultures.
Sabrina: What do you use English for?
Nao: I use English when making new friends, mostly. It also helps when I travel to other countries. I use English to make reservations at guest houses or to ask local people how to get somewhere.
Sabrina: What are some of your favorite ways to practice English?
Nao: I think watching movies is the best way to study because I can learn a lot of words and idioms. And I always repeat after the actors while watching the movies. I'll watch the same movie 20 times or so. After that, I try to use the idioms and words from the movie while chatting with my friends.
Sabrina: What is your favorite phrase or word in English?
Nao: 'One Love' is my favorite phrase. And 'peace' is my favorite word. BOB (Bob Marley) and John Lennon taught us about One Love & Peace. I like these phrases because they mean keeping each other in our hearts and making an effort to love one another.
Sabrina: One last question: What advice would you give someone who wants to learn to speak English?
Nao: Make friends who are from another country and get out of your home country!
Thank you, Nao, for your tips on watching movies to practice English! And traveling is a great way to speak more English. I hope everyone who wants to is able to travel at some point in their lives.
Have you had any of the same experiences as Nao? Do you have any questions for Nao? Share in the comments below!
Learn to speak real, conversational American English with Sabrina, an American English teacher.
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