Q&A with Ms Shinagawa
It’s Ms Shinagawa’s turn this week! If you don’t already know, Ms Shinagawa is a fun-loving and adventure-seeking individual, and we always enjoy talking to her. Read on!
Why did you choose to work at Bunka?
Honestly, I didn’t know about Bunka at that time. I actually didn’t even know anything about Singapore! After I applied for the job, I checked Bunka’s website and did some research on Singapore, and I thought since most Singaporeans speak English, it’ll be easier to survive here.
What do you do on your day off?
I will usually go out with my friends – watch movies, have lunches and dinners, shopping, and once in a while, I go on a day-trip or two. I do housework too. Occasionally, I will hold dinner parties at my place with my friends.
What do you miss about Japan?
FOOD! I live in a countryside in Japan, so it’s very easy to get reasonably-priced, fresh food. Ice-cream costs only $1 – $2 where I live!
I miss my friends and family too. My friends are having lots of kids and I am always nanny-ing for them.
I also miss my bathtub at home. I want to take a bath!
Where is your current favourite hangout?
I like to go to Salsa pubs. My friend, who is a Latin American, dances Salsa very well. It’s very fun to dance with her, but I cannot dance as well as her…
I also like to attend international events where I can practise and improve my English and make new friends.
What “Singlish” words have you learnt so far?
Ok lah, No lah, Can can, Makan, Tahan, Tabao… My foreigner friends love Singlish. I think it is an interesting language. There’s so much mixture and it’s very flexible.
What are your favourite and least favourite local foods?
My favourite foods are Laksa, Char Kway Teow, Wanton Noodle, Chicken Rice, Char Siew Pau, and Salted Egg Butter Pork Rib Rice from Far East Plaza!
I dislike Durian! Every single time I tried durian, I cried. I don’t really like Japanese food in Singapore too, because they are overpriced… It’s quite sad because I really like Japanese food…
Of all the countries you have visited, which is your favourite, and why?
I have visited more than 10 countries, and my favourite is Canada! There is more diversity, and is more laid-back compared to Singapore. It is also surrounded by beautiful nature.
What is/are your hobby(ies)?
I love movies with happy endings. I love to sleep too (Haha, is that a hobby?).
What will you recommend to people who are planning a visit to Yamaguchi?
Too many places! In Shimonoseki, where I’m from, you can visit Karato Ichiba (fish market), Jookamachi Chofu (castle town), Kawatana Onsen – they serve the famous Kawara Soba – and also, Tsunoshima – it’s an island with a beautiful beach (they have a website in English, you can check it out!) 🙂
In Hoohokucho, you can see countless fireflies. It is a beautiful sight at night, but you should only visit during Summer.
You must have experienced some culture shock when you first came to Singapore. Tell us about them!
I am quite shocked that my students are more knowledgeable about Japan than I am. When we talk about Japanese pop culture and sightseeing places – sometimes even politics – my students know them better than me… It is quite embarrassing. Sometimes they talk about famous Japanese people coming to Singapore, but I don’t know about them…
It is also impressive that everyone speaks more than two languages and they can switch over so quickly!
Like I mentioned before, I didn’t know much about Singapore before I came here, and I’m surprised that Singapore is such an advanced city. When I first came here, I was worried if I could survive since I’m a country girl.
What message would you like to leave to students who are currently learning the Japanese language?
I hope everyone continues studying Japanese, especially when sometimes you feel it is too difficult and want to quit, please don’t give up. Try to practise the language more often. You won’t feel so much stress if you are used to using the language. I hope you will meet some Japanese friends and have good experiences and memories in Japan.
Ms Shinagawa: これからもにほんごのべんきょうをがんばってください！