Q&A with Ms Namba


It’s Ms Namba’s turn! When we hear a classroom bursting out in laughter, we’ll somehow know that the class belongs to Ms Namba. We had a chatty interview with her – check it out below 😀


Why did you choose to work at Bunka?

I came to Singapore many years ago on my first overseas trip. I saw Bunka Language School when I was here and thought, “Oh! Kore da! (This is it)”. I wanted to work here.

When I was back in Japan, for a few years I kind of gave up my aspiration to become a Japanese language teacher as I was enjoying my job. Then, one day, while I was job-hunting online, I saw that Bunka was hiring. I decided to give it a try, and now here I am!

What do you do on your day off?

Sometimes I go out for picnics – Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park, Pasir Ris Park, and some reservoirs. Other times I watch movies. I like movies – it’s a good way to start conversations with my students.

What do you miss about Japan?

Sakura. I only really miss Japan during Spring because I have many memories with my friends and families during this season. Like picnics!

Where is your current favourite hangout?

Doko darou (Where could it be)… If I want to shop, it will be Orchard.

Otherwise, it will be Botanic Gardens and Marina Barrage.

What “Singlish” words have you learnt so far?

“Aiya”, “Aiyo”, “Alamak”, “Cincai”, “Die die must go”, “Bojio”, “Aberden”.

I use “bojio” on my students a lot! I like Singapore, so I want to learn more Singlish. Please teach me! When I learn new Singlish words, I will take notes. (haha)

What are your favourite and least favourite local foods?

I like everything. This question is muzukashii (difficult). Maybe… Satay , Bak Kut Teh and Teow Chew Porridge!

I cannot eat mutton though. The smell is too strong. Chilli crab too – it tastes good but is difficult to eat. I’m lazy (haha). The next time I eat Chilli crab, I will bring gloves.

Of all the countries you have visited, which is your favourite, and why?

United Kingdom. I like Beatles, Fish and Chips and beer. I stayed there for a month.

What is/are your hobby(ies)?

I like to eat and drink while being surrounded by nature – in the park, at the beach. I love to shop and cook too. I usually cook Japanese food, like Nikujaga (meat with potatoes), or Oden (something like Yong Tau Fu).

What will you recommend to people who are planning a visit to Himeji?

There’s a temple in the mountains called Shoshazan. It was where Tom Cruise filmed the movie, ‘Last Samurai’. Please visit! But it’s in the mountains, so you will have to climb… It’s a good hiking experience with nice views!

Tell us about some interesting incidents during your stay in Singapore.

Once, I bought a book shelf from Ikea. As the book shelf was quite heavy, I couldn’t carry it. I was contemplating whether or not I should take the taxi. When I was walking home halfway, it started to rain heavily. I was so lost. Then, a  guy asked me if I needed help. I told him my block number and he carried it back for me. It was raining! I was a bit worried because he’s a stranger, but when we were at the elevator, he asked if it was better for me to bring the book shelf up by myself. He was so kind!

Another time, it was raining heavily (again) and I was stuck at the station without an umbrella. A random stranger – a young man – gave me his umbrella. After giving me his umbrella, he turned and ran away. I shouted at him to ask for his address so that I can return him his umbrella, but he just said, “Never mind.” I wanted his number! (hahaha)

This is a culture shock to me because in Japan, the Japanese are quite shy to help strangers.

What message would you like to leave to students who are currently learning the Japanese language?

In my case, I’m still learning the English language everyday. When I first came to Singapore, I couldn’t speak or understand the language at all. I just said, “Yes!”, to everything. I was so frustrated because I am talkative. But now, I can strike conversations with people.

It’s a difficult journey, but please enjoy the progress. It will be part of your memories.

Ms Namba: Tanoshinde kudasai!