2006 September 25 Monday.

英語ができない私をせめないで!―I want to speak English! Book 英語ができない私をせめないで!―I want to speak English!

著者:小栗 左多里
販売元:大和書房

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A beautiful sunny autumn day. My first gig started at 10:00 at the Chestnut Tree Kindergarten くりの木幼稚園.
Today, I had a special treat for the kids. I did the paper theater play 紙芝居 Peach Boy 桃太郎 in English for them.
I have previously made big A3 sized laminated full color flash cards for the performance. At this kindergarten, I have to make a presentation to all of the 200 something students at the same time.
So, instead of sitting down and reading the lines on the back of each card, I put each card on the ledge of the big white board, and walked around holding a microphone, saying the lines ad-lib and making exaggerated gestures so that the kids could guess the meaning of each word from my body language and tone of voice.
I also made special special sound effects with my voice that added meaning to the gestures and words.
The kids loved it! Most of them already know the story of Peach Boy, so the older children were able to pick up English words that I have taught them in previous years, and make the connections.
In a way, I felt like a stand-up comidian, doing a show just for kids. I had a great time as well.

When that was all finished at about 11:00, I drove back to my place, to eat a lunch of brown rice and natto, before going over to the Kagura Citizens' Hall 神楽公民館 for my weekly, 英会話で楽しむ会.
Today, there were four prospective new students, all women, who came to take a look at the class for the first time. Two of the women speak English very fluently, and the other two were closer to an intermediate level of spoken English.
This class has been going on for more than ten years, and some of the original members are still coming every week.
As a result, the long standing members have become very proficient speakers of English, and the topics of conversation are wide ranging.

Today, among the many topics of discussion, was the presentation of a book written by Oguri Saori entitled; "Don't blame me because I can't speak English."
The sub-title reads; "My darling is a non-Japanese, but I can't speak English!!
If you never give up, your English will improve!" When I heard the story of the author being married to a non-Japanese-speaking man, it immediately rang a bell with me.
I am in a similar situation. Even though my wife and I have been married for more than 10 years, we speak mostly Japanese to each other.
This is a great advantage for me, because I can speak Japanese easily and almost effortlessly, without thinking much about it. It is also good for my wife, because she can rest assured that anything she says to me in her native language will be understood by me.


My wife has good listening comprehension of spoken English, because she is with me in the classroom every day, where I am teaching my lessons.
Also, when I am talking about world events, and that sort of thing, I speak to her in mostly English, because it is more natural for me.
She can understand most of what I am saying. However, because 90% of our conversations are entirely in Japanese, she doesn't get much practice at speaking English.
And as we all know, Practice Makes Perfect. 習うより慣れろ. It really is true.
So when Mrs. A. was talking about this book by 小栗 佐多里, I made the comment, half jokingly; "I need to buy this book for my wife!" while explaining our situation as described above.
At the end of the class, Mrs. A. gave me the book and said; "Here, this is a present for you."

Thank you very much Mrs. A!!! 

My wife and I will be reading this book. I know that it is a big seller, and I am sure to glean some gems of wisdom from its pages. Thank you so much for this gift.

After that class was finished at 14:30, I went back to my classroom for straight classes from 15:00 until 20:00. Then, it was time to go over to the local Seikyo Supermarket and get some food and beverage.
As I was walking over to the store, I noticed that my breath was coming out white. Yeah, it really is getting colder and colder day by day. That's autumn in Hokkaido for ya. Short and sweet.

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