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Robert William Long

Apr 29, 2015American, Canadian, Education, Life&Food

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José Cruz: I’m going to interview you. Even though I’ve known you for how long now? I think like 15-

Robert Long: 20 years now

José: 20 years? (20 years) Has it been 20? (20 years). Well, that’s how long you’ve been in Japan, right?

Robert: No, I’ve been in Japan 22 years.

José: And when did you get here José says these four words very quickly and connects the pronunciation of did you to make them sound like “JYUU” (0:13)? (20 years ago) No I- you mean Kitakyushu? (This university) And you started here the same year that I started here?

Robert: That was April, you know, Two thous- 1996.

José: Wow! Oh wow! 20 years that’s amazing. (Mmm) Um, what brought you to Japan?

Robert: Well, I had been to Europe a few times and uh, and you know, I I had scoped things out and it was fine. It was- I wanted to see something completely different and make a little money and establish myself and the world. And it was uh, Japan was the next best stop. And one of my colleagues had recommended me to a person that was- a professor that was working at Hiroshima Shudo University. We got along fine and he recommended me for the position of visiting professor and it took off from there, so I got the job there. And then moved on to Fukui KenKen is Japanese (県) for 'prefecture', where I was hoping to get a job at Kansai DaigakuDaigaku is Japanese (大学) for 'university', which started in October, but I found that uh that I came up as #2 out of 70.

José: You mean in terms of the um the potential candidates.

Robert: Potential candidates (Uh-huh) And so I was stuck in this really hellish Mormon language school um typical situation, soRobert has a conversation habit of sometimes ending his sentences with the word 'so'. The word has no real meaning in this case. (1:35).

José: Well English language schools themselves are an interesting phenomenon in in Japan.

Robert: Well, you have had several stories.

José: Oh I’ve had some very interesting ones. We’ll uh, we’ll get on to that in another thing. But you’re you’re you’re one of these people I call “lifers”. I think people look at me and they think I’m a lifer. I’ve been here longer than you. (Yeah) and uh, well are you going toNote the pronunciation of going to. It sounds like 'GUHNA' (1:55) basically, like, gon- because'KUHZ' is a common conversational pronunciation for because. (1:58) I get this question a lot with my Japanese friends, are are you thinking about staying here long term?

Robert: Well, I have no choice. I have to finish out my ten years to get my Japanese pension, so… yeah.

José: And you’ve just uh, I think you’ve just started paying for a house, right?

Robert: No, I I paid cash for my house.

José: Oh you paid outright for that. (Yeah) Oh, good for you. (I’m free) That’s fantastic.(No debt) That’s fantastic. (So) Fantastic. Um, you have two uh, very very bright sons too, don’t you?

Robert: Yes, one just got done finishing the Kyushu University exam today. I asked him how it went yesterday and…

José: Hm. Oh, for- two days to sit an exam?

Robert: Two days for Kyushu University, yeah.

José: Um, tell me about your current research. What are you up to these days?

Robert: OK so the current research that I’m realising that’s uh, very very important, is um, looking at gender discourse. Now gender discourse is conversations between men and women. And to find how this conversations… how these conversationsRobert realised that it was better to say 'these' instead of 'this' and corrected himself. (2:52) are dysfluent and who has the most hesitation phenomena. Uh, who has the most problems, and also to look at stress levels. So there’s a survey that I would give to see who is more stressed in talking to uh, the opposite sex. I have had, as you have had more um, more conversations with women, “what do you think about talking to men?” and they’ll say, “Oh it’s very troublesome.” And, furrowed brows… And this is one of the population- this is one of the reasons the population’s dropping because uh, no one’s dating (Ahhh) you can’t date unless you have conversations, and if you don’t date you’re not going to have a relationship, and if you don’t have a relationship you can’t get married.

DISCUSSION Robert Long is researching how well men and women talk to each other. Are you good at talking to the opposite sex?

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Petar Milošević

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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Robert William Long image

Robert William Long


Tampa, Florida


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