Today a friend came to visit and I asked him if he’d like to do an interview and be a guest on The Daily English Show. And since he was already sitting on the yellow couch, he couldn’t really escape.
Christopher is from Seattle in the United States and he’s the first real-life American I’ve seen since the election so I asked him what he thought about Obama’s victory.
I’m really happy that Obama won. I think McCain would’ve been a fine president. Either candidate would, would’ve been a marked improvement over the last eight years. Um, but I was really happy to see Obama elected, his politics are closer to mine than McCain’s. Um, yeah, and I think it, ah, yeah, I think it marks a new direction for, ah, you know, for the American government. And also, it’ll make it a lot easier as an American to live overseas because, um, you know, for better or worse the, the president represents all of us, as Americans. And, ah, when I was being represented by Bush, I wasn’t the … I was not the most popular person at the party.
Kia Ora in Stick News today New Zealand has a new government and a new prime minister.
Aotearoa is a small country in the South Pacific. Every three years the country has a general election. The latest election was held on Saturday and now there’s a new government.
According to a column in a newspaper called the Herald Sun, National managed to defeat Labour in the election without offering any major policy differences.The article said New Zealanders voted for change with all the reasoning power of a doped slug. The new prime minister is John Key. The article described Key as a smug squillionaire, who beamed with self-importance during his victory speech. And told a story about how he had been a poor little boy who became very, very rich all on his own as an individual.John Key made his millions working as an investment banker for Merrill Lynch where co-workers called him “the smiling assassin”.
And that was Stick News for Friday the 7th of November. Kia Ora.
Chris I first came to Japan in 2000, ah, just to visit, but, ah, I came here, I came back to live in 2002 and I’ve been here more or less ever since. 初めて来たのは2000年で、その時はただの旅行でしたが2002年から生活し始めて、それからは行ったり来たりしています。
Sarah You taught at a language school when you first moved here. Did you enjoy that? 生活し始めたときにスクールで英語を教えましたね。 楽しかったですか？
Chris Yeah, it was nice, it was actually, ah, it was a good introduction, I think, to Japan. Just because right, right away, ah, you get to meet a lot of different people from a lot of different walks of life. And they all have, you know, they all have some English ability and my, I didn’t have much Japanese ability at the time, so … はい、良かったです。 日本を知る良い経験になったと思います。 色んな人生を送っている人たちと出会えますからね。 生徒さんたち全員に英会話の能力がありましたが僕には日本語の能力は当時あまりありませんでした。
Sarah So when you first came to Japan, you didn’t speak any Japanese? 日本へ初めて来たときは日本語が全くしゃべられなかった？
Chris Well, actually it’s, it’s funny, I studied Japanese at university. But, um, so I could read and write pretty well, I mean not, you know, not perfectly, but I knew a lot of kanji and stuff, but I couldn’t order an ice cream cone in Japanese, you know, I just … conversation was not my strong point, so … 大学で日本語を学んだので読み書きは得意でした。 完璧という訳じゃなく漢字を多く知っていた程度です。 それでも日本語でソフトクリームの注文が出来ませんでした。 会話に重点を置かなかったからです。
Sarah What did you do to improve your Japanese once you came here? 日本語上達のために日本に来たとき、どんなことをしましたか？
Chris Um, well, I made, ah, I made a lot of Japanese friends, ah, which is, you know, real easy to do, um, great people here. And, ah, I spent a lot of time studying - my first year or two, I haven’t studied recently. But, ah, the first year or two, I spent a lot of time studying. Ah, and yeah, it … and also, yeah, the studies I did in collage definitely helped me to improve faster, probably, than average. So, um, yeah. 日本人の友だちをたくさん作りました。 ここには素晴らしい人たちがいるので、それはとても簡単でした。 最近はしていませんが１年目と２年目は勉強に多くの時間を費やしました。 日本語学校にも通いましたがそれにより平均より速く上達できたのは間違いないです。
Sarah What do you do now? 今はどんな仕事をしていますか？
Chris Basically I do, ah, systems development. Ah, web applications, ah, internet media. Ah, mostly internet-related technology development, things like that. Um, yeah, I, ah, I run a website for, ah, for people who live in and around Kutchan called The Kutchannel. Um, yeah, I’m happy that, you know, a few people are using that. Um, I, ah, a couple of ah, local companies have hired me to help them implement web applications, ah, reservation systems, ah, just standard websites, advertising, ah, you know their properties or their services. 基本的にシステム開発をしています。 ウェブ・アプリケーション、インターネット・メディア。 インターネット関連の技術開発が主です。 倶知安エリアに住む人のためのウェブサイト『クッチャンネル』の運営もしています。 使ってくれている人がいるのでうれしいです。 地元の会社から依頼されて彼らの資産やサービスのウェブ・アプリケーション開発、予約システム、ただ単にウェブサイトを立ち上げる、宣伝広告などのお手伝いをしています。
Sarah What are your favourite websites? お気に入りのウェブサイトは？
Chris I guess, I think I spend most of my time on, ah, Slate, ah, dot com, which is, ah, sort of like news commentary coming out of the states. Um, I also like the Onion, ah, it’s really dry humour. Um, it’s kind of an interesting concept. Ah, they, they take a headline and then they write the story. So they just distribute headlines to their staff. And the staff take some crazy headline and then just make an entire story out of it. And, yeah, pretty dry but always amusing. "slate.com"というアメリカのニュースサイトを欠かさず見ています。 "the Onion"のドライなユーモアも好きです。 オニオンのコンセプトは面白いです。 ヘッドラインを取り上げて脚本するのです。 言わばただのヘッドラインの配信なんですが、オニオンは可笑しなヘッドラインを取り上げてストーリーを作り上げるのです。 けっこうドライですがいつも笑わされます。
Sarah Do you have any advice for people who are learning English? 英語を学ぶ人たちに何かアドバイスはありますか？
Chris I think it’s just important not to be nervous. I think it’s important to, you know, just get out there and use it. And of course study, especially initially, um, because you, you need those, um, those, you know, building blocks in order to, you know, really fully comprehend a new language. And also the ties that culture has with language as well. I think it’s hard to learn a language if you don’t immerse yourself in the culture a little bit. Ah, I know that for me in Japanese there was a lot of concepts, a lot of words, um, and a lot of grammar and a lot of sayings that I would not have understood if I didn’t have a more in-depth understanding of the culture. 緊張しないことが大切だと思います。 どんどん使っていくのが重要だと思います。 それにもちろん勉強も、特に初級者は少しずつの積み上げが他言語を理解するためには大事です。 それに言語と文化を結ぶことも大切です。 もし少しでも文化に浸かれなかったら、その言語の習得は困難なものになると思います。 もし僕の日本文化に対する理解が充分でなければ、多くの日本の概念や言葉、文法や話は理解出来ないです。
Sarah Why did you decide to study Japanese at university? なぜ大学で日本語を学ぼうと決めたんですか？
Chris Yeah, people, people ask me that question a lot. Um, I studied French. I studied French in, in high school and, ah, I didn’t remember much of it. And I don’t know, I had a lot of, um, a lot of Japanese-American friends, there’s a lot of Japanese-Americans in Seattle. In fact there’s a lot of Japanese, both immigrants and tourists that come to Seattle. Ah, there’s, ah, so there’s a lot of connections between where I grew up and Japan. And so it just kind of seemed like natural, you know, natural to want to learn Japanese. When I chose to study it I had no idea that I’d end up living here for, you know, six, six years or more. Or settling here, which might be the case. So, but ah, yeah, much respect, I don’ t know, maybe it was just fate. それはよく訊かれます。 高校でフランス語を学びました。 今ではほとんど忘れてしまいましたけど。 よく分からないけど日系人の友だちが多くて、シアトルには日系アメリカ人が多いんです。 実際に多くの日系アメリカ移民と旅行で訪れる日本人がシアトルにいます。 つまり僕の育った環境と日本とは多くのつながりがあったのです。 なので日本語を学びたい気になったのは自然でした。 ただ勉強しようと決めた時には、まさか６年以上も日本で落ち着くとは思いませんでしたけど。 ただの運命だったのか、よく分かりません。
As for the NZ election results *sigh* so depressing ... IMO. It seems like NZers did, in fact, vote for change mostly because they got a bit bored. So now John Key is the new PM ... ugh ... apart from the more sinister implications of what he seems to stand for - he has the public speaking skills of someone's drunk uncle trying to give a speech at a wedding. I almost died of embarrassment watching his victory speech ... if this is what Kiwis like, we really must be a nation of "doped slugs". :( On the bright side, NZ is very small, so at least the leader doesn't have the power to screw up the world. :)