@ @
@@ @@The voice of the international residents:
                                An Interview with Anya Boyle, Kanoya City ALT

Anya Boyle,
Assistant Language Teacher
in Kanoya City


The international residents of Kanoya City: you often see them around, but have you ever stopped for a chat with them?

Maybe youfve heard a few things about them, maybe even a few rumours about them.

 Here they will tell you about themselves in their own words, so if youfre interested in what they have to say, stop for a chat next time you see them!

First of all could you please tell us your name, what part of the world youfre from, and which schools you teach at in Kanoya.
Anya Boyle, from America. I teach at Kanoya Higashi-chu, Takasu-chu, Kotobukikita-sho, Kotobuki-sho, Kasanohara-sho, Takasu-sho, Hamada-sho.

What brought you to Japan?
I studied Japanese history in university and was interested in learning more about the country/culture firsthand.

What do you like to do in your free time?
Ifm a pretty introverted person so I spend a lot of time by myself watching movies/tv or reading. I like taking little trips on the weekends as well, like to Kagoshima city or Fukuoka or just generally exploring the prefecture.

What do you think is the best thing about living in Kanoya?
The best thing about living in Kanoya is definitely the people. Theyfre very friendly and helpful and generally very welcoming.

What do you think is the least appealing aspect of living in Kanoya?
The least appealing thing about Kanoya for me is just its size, which is a personal preference. Ifm from a fairly large-sized city in America and generally prefer city life to the more ginakah lifestyle in Kanoya. Itfs not terrible here, itfs just not what I prefer.

What are your favourite spots, shops and restaurants in Kanoya?
Honestly, I donft leave my house very much, but I do really like most of the restaurants Ifve been to in Kanoya. I have a soft spot for Italian food, so I really like Solo Solo and Della Sera. I do really enjoy izakaya as well.

When you came to Kanoya over a year ago, was it your first time in Japan? If no, when had you been in Japan before? Was there anything that surprised you about life in Japan?
Yes, it was my first time in Japan. I didnft really have any expectations when I first came, but one thing that surprised me was that almost every person I came across was surprised to find out that I knew how to use chopsticks or that I had encountered Japanese food in places other than Japan. I was surprised that people were so surprised that I was interested in Japan.

Is there anything about life in Japan that youfve found hard to get used to?
I still canft get used to the fact that ATMs close at 7:30. Seems kind of counterproductive to me...

Have you ever lived overseas before? If so, could you tell us a little about it please?
I was born in Germany because my father was in the Air Force, but moved to California when I was 3 months old, so I donft remember it at all.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Honestly, just the food. Mexican food and good sandwiches.

What do you think are some of the most striking cultural differences between your home country and Japan?
The general idea of doing whatfs best for the group (in Japan) as opposed to the individual (in America) I think is the most drastic difference Ifve noticed. Americans are generally very self-centered and always worried about how things will affect them or how they get something done to their own advantage while in Japan Ifve noticed the opposite. Itfs more about gHow can I make this better for everyone?h I donft think either is better than the other, but theyfre definitely very different.

What could people in your country learn from the lifestyles of people in Japan, or the Japanese way of getting things done?
I think American people could learn to be a little more patient and polite and a little less concerned with only themselves.

What could people in Japan learn from the lifestyles and ways of doing things in your home country?
I donft really know that I can answer this question very well because the Japanese people seem to have figured out a way of doing things that works well for themselves. Ifm sure on an individual level there are things they could learn, but as a whole, Japan seems to have everything fairly figured out. The only thing I would change is that I think Japanese people could be more direct when speaking with foreigners, but I think that the vagueness is something thatfs so ingrained in their culture and their language even, that thatfs something that would be very difficult to overcome.

Could you please tell us a little about something youfve taken up since you came to Kanoya?
I go to a cooking class about once a month with the other ALTs in Kanoya, which is a lot of fun. We donft do a lot of the actual cooking, but itfs a fun experience and one of my only opportunities to eat real home-cooked Japanese food. Ifve also tried calligraphy a few times but Ifve discovered Ifm fairly terrible at it.

Are there any particular parts of Japanese culture that youfd like to learn more about during your time in Kanoya?
I would like to visit more temples and shrines in the Kagoshima area. Ifve seen a few, but not many of the ones near Kanoya. The shrines are a very beautiful part of Japanese culture, and I find visiting them quite peaceful.

Almost done now! Could you please tell us something about yourself that the people of Kanoya might not know about you?
As well as English, I can also speak Dutch and Spanish. And not nearly as much Japanese as I should.

And finally, is there anything you would like to say to the people of Kanoya, any words of inspiration or a maxim to live by?
I think, if you want to learn more about the world, travel! Itfs the best way to experience how people live differently from you and itfs a lot of fun as well.

 From David:

I donft often get the chance to talk to Anya, so I was surprised to hear that she was born overseas! I did know however that she loves to travel, and is always coming and going domestically and internationally. I think itfs really important nowadays to always be looking for experiences outside of your comfort zone, and what better way to do this than to travel! Unfortunately Anya will be leaving Kanoya in July to pursue further studies in America, but while shefs still here, make sure you take the chance to talk to her about her many travel experiences! Thanks very much Anya!




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