A LITTLE ABOUT MYSELF
みなさん、こんにちは！(Minasan Konnichiwa - Hi there everyone!) Thank you for visiting my website. I am glad to hear that you are interested in Japanese and my country Japan. My name is Chikako and I'm from Akita, the northern part of Japan.
My journey to becoming Perth's full time specialist one on one Japanese teacher.
Growing up I developed a very strong interest in languages, which I then studied at university. After completing my degree I began teaching in Japan, at an English school teaching English to Japanese students.
In 2008 I moved to Australia, this passion for languages led me into a Japanese teaching assistant position at a local high school in Perth. I enjoyed helping students progress, but I began to notice that in group lessons people always seemed to have different learning speeds, different interests and different motivation levels. I began to see the limitations in group learning environments and to appreciate how beneficial it is for dedicated students to have one on one lessons that are specifically fine tuned for their needs. Subsequently I started offering private language lessons to both kids and adults.
This grew and grew. Along the way I also studied for and passed the Japanese Language Teaching Competency test. This certification is conducted annually in Japan to give accreditation for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language. It is designed to a difficulty level that ensures only 25% of applicants pass.
Teaching has been a wonderful journey. I have been honoured to teach Japanese to hundreds of people in Perth, most of them one on one, and some for many years.
Being inspired by students' journeys I really enjoy meeting people from many different backgrounds, all united by their interests in Japan.
Some students are interested in Japanese music and festivals. Some want to get married in Japan and say their wedding speech in Japanese. Some are Australian business people who want to make their business in Japan run more smoothly. One is a scientist who wants to better communicate with scientists at conferences in Japan. One opened a popular Ramen restaurant in Perth with mostly Japanese staff.
I am inspired by my students' journeys, especially if they are motivated to learn or passionate about a certain topic. I often think about how to structure their next lesson's content to meet their specific goals and needs.
For example, for a student who is high level gymnastics coach, she did regular gymnastics seminars in Japan, mostly instructing small children. In addition to typical language goals, she had some specific gymnastics goals. She wanted to learn more body part names in Japanese, and to better interact with the children. So as part of one lesson, we created a gymnastics warm up exercise where I taught her how to sing "Heads and shoulders knees and toes" in Japanese. Great for her kids to get engaged, (and lots of fun for me to teach her!). This is why I love one on one lessons, they make possible things which are difficult in groups. After all, I doubt the scientist would have found this singing exercise an appropriate use of his lesson time!
I find it rewarding to help people on their journey as they experience a slice of Japan's magic, a culture which began more than 1000 years ago.
My schedule is fairly full these days with long term students, so I can only take on a small number of new students each year. Frankly speaking, if I taught group lessons I would make more money because I could teach more students. However I believe that doing so would prevent me from sharing students' Japanese journeys at the same depth and prevent me from providing the benefits that come from the really personalised lesson content that is possible with one on one lessons.
I am always keen and passionate to improve the learning experience for students. Seeing students progress and achieve their dreams is an absolute joy for me.
Apart from teaching I enjoy snowboarding (always dreaming of the white snowy mountains in Hokkaido which reminds me of my hometown!), travelling, and reading mystery books.