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Studying in Japan

Mar 14, 2017American, Canadian, Education

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Would you ever like to go to graduate school?


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José Cruz: Ahh just going on (Yeah) to the Japanese then. What brought you to Japan?

Danny Minn: Uh, so when I was in college, I I took some Japanese classes and then I thought wow this is really interesting, Uh it was easy for me, maybe I had that- the ear for it because of my time in uh Okinawa, you know watching Japanese tv (Mm mm) and uh, I saw this opportunity to go on an exchange program in Tokyo (Mm-hmm) and that was it, I said, alright let’s do itan expression meaning something like, “Let’s go!” or, “Let me try my best.” (0:35). And… becausea colloquial pronunciation that sounds like “KUHZ”, sometimes written as ‘cuz. (0:36) I knew that if I went I would get all the credits. They would transfer (Sure and) this would help me graduate also.

José: Get your degree, yeah yeah.

Danny: So I went to Tokyo, Aoyama Gakuin DaigakuJapanese for “university” (0:45). (Really) And that was it, it was just…

José: So you ended up taking most of your credits in Japan and just graduating from, what um, if I may ask, what university were you attending in America? (Portland State University) OK you were at uh, Portland State…

Danny: That was a one year program at Aoyama Gakuin.

José: Ah OK, so you got one year’s worth of credits, brought them back to America, graduated, couldn’t get enough and came back to Japan? Is that the..

Danny: Yeah right. Then, you know, after a year of Japanese under my belt, I thought, oh OK, I can speak but I want to you know, get to a higher level. (Mm-hmm) So (Mm-hmm) I wanted to go to graduate school.

José: Wow. You took all of those classes at Aoyama- I’m sorry, AOYama? (Right) You took all of those classes at Aoyama in Japanese?

Danny: No becausepronounced “KUHZ” (1:35) I- I couldn’t speak Japanese well enough, (Oh OK) so they had several classes that were in English, uh yeah.

José: But when you went to graduate school (yeah) that had to have been all in Japanese.

Danny: That was all Japanese, yeah.

José: How did youdid you: pronounced “DJU” (1:48) -was it a, a bit of a big hurdle for you, bigger hurdle maybe? Or maybe easier than you imagined? Doing all (They gave) of your graduate work in Japanese.

Danny: They gave- they gave me two years to get my Japanese level up, (Ah) rightsome people have a habit of tagging sentences with “right” with an upward inflection so it sounds like a question. (2:03)? I took a lot of Japanese language courses (You went) yeah.

José: You went whole hogan expression roughly meaning, “completely/totally” (2:07) into just studying Japanese for a bit.

Danny: Right and then I took the entrance exam to get into the graduate program (Uh-huh) and I became a graduate student and that was another two years.

José: Wow, and so um just again for the recordan idiom meaning something like, “please give true official information” (2:20), how old are you now Danny? (Oh) Come on come on, spit it outmeaning “say it” when someone is being hesitant about saying something (2:24), don’t be like that. (44) 44 and this, uh the graduate degree was I guess what maybe about 15 years ago, ten years ago?

Danny: Yeah yeah, uh twe-13 years ago, yeah.

José: 13 years ago. Wow, great. And you got your degree and still decided to stay in Japan, never went back to America to live for any extended period?

Danny: Right. I just stayed. I worked in Tokyo for a few years. and then I thought, well, I’d rather work at a university, (Mm-hmm) so…

José: Well, you’re working at one now. Is this your first um, university gig?

Danny: That’s right, yeah. (Really) So when I was in Tokyo I was working at NTT (Oh OK) Yeah, uh you know becausebecause: pronounced “KUHZ” (3:14) they needed bilingual people. (Uh huh) But I did not enjoy that job very much (Yeah OK, alrightyputting “-y“ at the end of certain words, (OKey-Dokey) makes them sound more casual and friendly (3:21)) So…

José: So you said, um I want to teach, you went for your first university interview and landed this jobmeans, “was hired for this job” (3:28).

Danny: That’s right.


Do you think you could do university studies in a foreign language?

What do you think about working at a company that doesn’t use your native language?

Note the different phrases and expressions José uses to confirm and improve his understanding of what Danny said.

Image Courtesy

Dick Thomas Johnson

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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Danny Minn image

Danny Minn


Portland, Oregon


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