Interview with Ms Hasegawa
When we first met Hasegawa-sensei, we thought our hearts would die of an overdose of sweetness. Born in Tokyo, she majored in communication studies and speaks fluently in English. We cannot stop to admire this placid disposition of hers – Hasegawa-sensei, please teach us the ways of levelling up our joshiryoku (女子力 – girl power)!
Why did you choose to work at Bunka?
HS: Because Bunka is in Singapore. I have been wanting to work in Singapore because I wanted to use English to do something or for work. And I like to communicate with people from other countries. Also, Singapore has many races, so it is a good opportunity to work here.
What do you do on your day off?
HS: I mostly go to the library to do my work and plan my lessons.
What do you miss about Japan?
HS: My niece. My niece is turning 5 years old. She is still little. My mum sends me messages and videos of her and I miss her. (laughs) I don’t stay together with her but I often visit my sister to meet my niece.
Where is your current favourite hangout?
HS: I like Bishan. It’s near where I live. There are many shops and a big supermarket so it is a good place to go to forget about work. Just a short trip.
What are “Singlish” words you have learnt?
HS: I know “jom”. It’s Manglish. It means “let’s…” something. Jom makan (let’s eat).
But that’s not Singlish. (laughs)
HS: Lah, mah, okay lah.
What are your favourite and least favourite local foods?
HS: I like chicken rice. My least favourite… I don’t like durian.
Have you ever tried durian?
HS: Yeah, the first bite of fresh durian is good but it gets smelly. The smell isn’t good.
How about the texture?
HS: The texture is okay. It’s just like pudding.
Of all the countries you have visited, which is your favourite, and why?
HS: Every country was good but I especially like it in the northern part of America. I studied abroad in Oregon and the weather there was very cold. So even in summer, it’s still cool. I like cold weather.
What is/are your hobby(ies)?
HS: I like doodling, drawing pictures. Mostly things that look like Taiyou-kun (our school mascot) and other objects.
What will you recommend to people who are planning a visit to Tokyo?
HS: I recommend going to Asakusa. It’s near my house. There are very good souvenir shops. Asakusa is also Muslim-friendly. Muslims can eat ramen there. There’s halal ramen so everybody can enjoy it. It’s very good.
You must have experienced some culture shock when you first came to Singapore. Tell us about them!
HS: Not really. Singapore is just like Tokyo. But in the train, people tend to give their seats to old people or pregnant ladies in Singapore. So it’s very good. In Tokyo, people will focus on their phones or sleep; they do not really care about it. Some offer their seats but some elderly reject them. “I’m not so old” like that (laughs). So, people would firstly think, “is it okay to give up the seat or not?” and decide, “okay, I’ll sit”.
What message would you like to leave to students who are currently learning the Japanese language?
HS: People have various reasons to learn Japanese but I hope everybody enjoys themselves and that the lessons connect to their dreams.
Thank you, Hasegawa-sensei, for taking the time to sit down for an interview with us and this lovely drawing of the admin staff!