Student Interview: Hannah

Pictured: Hannah in the bamboo forest at Arashiyama, Kyoto

Posted: 24th Feb 2023

Welcome to a new series on my blog in which I chat to some Ippo Ippo Japanese students to find out more about their experience of learning Japanese.

This week, I caught up with Hannah, who has been taking part in my Prep for JLPT N5 course since the start of February. ハナさん、ありがとうね!

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Hi Hannah, thanks for talking to me today! My first question is: what sparked your interest in Japan?

Manga and anime of course! I sometimes struggle to imagine a story in my head when reading a book, but the pictures in manga really draw me into the world.

And when did you start learning Japanese?

I did a beginners course in 2019, then took a break. I’ve been focusing on it again since January this year.

Was there anything that surprised you about the language?

How easy it is to say silly things because you got the pronunciation a little bit wrong... Like 私は九歳です (watashi wa kyuusai desu) vs 私は臭いです (watashi wa kusai desu)!

Note from Elly: 私は九歳です (watashi wa kyuusai desu) means "I'm nine years old", whereas 私は臭いです (watashi wa kusai desu) means "I'm smelly"!

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Hannah with her impressive manga collection!

Do you have a favourite Japanese word?

森林浴 (shinrin yoku): forest bathing - I love being out in nature and find it brings a sense of calm and relaxation to my life.

What do you find hardest about learning Japanese?

There's no Latin origin of any words so you can’t guess the meaning from what it might sound like in English.

What do you enjoy most about learning Japanese?

The logical nature of kanji and the (currently rare) moments when I realise I can understand a full sentence.

Would you recommend online lessons to other learners?

Yes 100%, especially through Ippo Ippo Japanese as Elly structures the lessons so well and guides you through what you should study in your own time.

What would a dream trip to Japan look like for you?

Visiting the Kyoto manga museum, Ichiban Ramen, Studio Ghibli Studio and one day...Okinawa!

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Hannah enjoying a taste of home with a Scottish beer at Brew Dog, Roppongi (Tokyo)

And finally: do you have any long-term goals with your Japanese learning?

It would be so cool to be able to watch a full episode of anime without subtitles... plus I would save SO much money if I could read Japanese manga rather than buying translated volumes.

ハナさん、ありがとう!

Hana-san, arigatō!

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