For Goro, first time conversations are “easy peasy”. If he couldn’t tell I was nervous – this was my first time talking to someone from Japan, and my Japanese consists of the words “bonsai”, “karaoke” and “sake” – he sure did a good job of making me feel at ease with his energetic attitude. I learned a lot about Goro and his journey from Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and also the list of English idioms he had picked up from his host family. Traveling nearly 6,000 miles across the globe to learn English, this lively businessman has taken some time to change up his routine and experience something new and different in Denver.
Although he studied English for a few brief years in his teens, learning English here has been much different than when he was younger. “School in Japan is different than here because American students love the school. Students here are more assertive and motivated. Japanese students are more quiet.” He’s certainly caught onto the American school system because he has been studying his new language for a few months now, and he can easily carry conversation with new friends like me.
As many are learning, English is the tongue of international trade – nearly a necessity for any business wishing for success. To communicate with many of their customers and clients, Goro decided to challenge himself and venture to the United States to learn English. He decided on Denver for a few reasons, but mainly because it has a more relaxed atmosphere, much different than his life in Tokyo.
Goro’s “work hard – play hard” attitude transferred well during his journey; between classes he has fully immersed himself in the Coloradan lifestyle. Munching on macaroni salad and potato chips at summer BBQ’s, amongst crowds of purple foam fingers for the Colorado Rockies, bar-hopping downtown to sip the finest Colorado brews and – his favorite – snowboarding. Goro has already visited five ski resorts and speaks highly of the friendly people and fresh pow-pow. Although he loves snowboarding in Japan, he noted that the Rocky Mountains offer a different terrain “there are much bigger ski resorts here,” than in Japan. Bringing his snowboard along for the ride was a wise and well-used decision.
Goro practices English, all day, everyday. His favorite study tool? “Netflix. We don’t have Netflix in Japan.” He watches TED Talks on a regular basis and follows along, listening and reading the English subtitles. He admits that his adopted habit of “Netflix-binging” prohibits him from his reading, but he eagerly promised to always get his homework finished on time. His advice for aspiring English speakers is to “find a way that fits you” to learn, and to “practice English not only in school but also outside, it feels good to go outside to bars, restaurants, sports and snowboarding.”
With his new refined speech, he believes he can communicate with his customers better than before. Goro will travel back to Tokyo far from empty handed – this Bridge graduate will need to find room in his briefcase for his new General English diploma.