A low beginner Japanese student told me that he can’t really make sense of the book we’re using. We study easy idioms, the simplest of them all. Though he can grasp the ideas, he isn’t familiar with the simple words used in the book. He can’t understand and do his homework without any help and it really gives him a lot of stress. He owns two companies in Japan. He travels whole year round to observe the culture and economy of different countries so he could choose the perfect location where he could expand his business. Last year, he traveled to America but finally decided to go to the Philippines because he realized he needed English to achieve his goals. He’s going to stay here only for three months so he’s also trying to find ways on how he could hasten his learning.
So I told him that he should collect thousands of words first before we jump to idioms. Since the book we’re using for our class is already the lowest level, I volunteered to find the perfect book for him after work that day.
I didn’t only have to look at the covers of the books. I had to go through its pages. I remembered a few books then went to two other bookstores.
I’m a sucker for notebooks so for a few minutes, I marveled at these pretty finds but bought none.
After about an hour, I finally had chosen the most suitable book for him. I was hesitant to show him this because it’s a Kindergarten textbook. It can be really discouraging especially for someone who gives seminars and training and for someone who’s invited to speak in front of hundreds of other businessmen in Japan.
We discussed about the parts of the body. He learned about eyelashes, sclera, chin, elbow, ankle, etc. He was laughing as I pointed to parts of his body and let him identify them in English. He said it was perfect. Before the day ends, he looked for me just to thank me again for selecting the perfect book. He said he showed it to our manager and his buddy tutor and they said it was really good.
Now when I ask him, “Wakatta?” “Wakatta!” he answers with all confidence.