Reia Koke, Japan

Hi Reia! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m from Japan, from Yamanashi, next to Tokyo. I like to watch movies, especially Gibli, the Japanese animation.

What is Yamanashi like?

Mt Fuji is there. It’s a very beautiful place and the area was chosen by World Heritage as a cultural site. My prefecture is very small, so there aren’t a lot of amusements there. I like to go to karaoke and most of the time I go alone (In Japan that’s not so strange!) Sometimes I go to karaoke with my friends, for the whole night! It’s hard to sing, but we have fun! We can enjoy karaoke in Internet Cafes, and there we can choose karaoke, pool, darts or reading comics, so if we get bored of doing karaoke, we can change the booth and do another activity. We call those internet cafes Mangakissa, which means Manga Café. Yamanashi is near Tokyo so I often go to Tokyo. It’s a very modern city, but I actually wouldn’t want to live there. I would prefer to live in the countryside like in my city, but it’s a nice place to go shopping.

Why did you come to Ireland?

I wanted to have an experience abroad in order to improve my English during the summer. I thought about England, but I changed my mind because I had been there before and above all because a friend of me suggested that we go to Dublin together and I didn’t think twice. I was curious about Irish landscapes, the people and their culture.

What do you like about Dublin?

My favourite thing in Dublin is that you can see many rainbows. Sometimes the rain is a problem, but afterwards you see rainbows, so I like that! My other favourite thing about Dublin is that when people get off the bus, they say ‘thank you’ to the bus driver. I like this custom. But a problem with the bus is that when they’re passing a tree, the branches hit the busses. At first I thought the bus would fall down because it’s so tall!

What do you like to do in Dublin?

At first when I had just arrived here, I was not used to hugging when I met with people or said goodbye to people, so that was not so natural for me. But now I can do it naturally, and I like this custom.
In Japan, most of the cars are made in Japan, so I hadn’t seen many cars from other countries. Since I came here I have seen many different brands of cars. It’s interesting for me, and I want to learn about this. I count the cars to see which brand is the most common

What do you like about the school?

I am so comfortable in Atlas. I enjoy the school activities very much. In Japan I don’t normally speak in class, but here I am trying to speak and get used to speaking in class. There are more opportunities to do it, so I am trying to practise as much as possible. The most amazing thing that happened to me in Dublin was that I dreamed a dream in English. I was so happy! I also really like the people in Atlas very much, they are so nice and friendly.

Is there anything that you would like to say students arriving in Dublin?

When I arrived here, I couldn’t speak in English, so I got nervous, but it’s a good thing to try to speak to other students or teachers, even if you make mistakes. I would often be afraid to make mistakes, but making mistakes doesn’t matter! Keep speaking English. Maybe this is my advice is for Japanese or Asian students: After I came here I realised Asian people have a similar style of talking, so sometimes I found it difficult to understand European people speaking English, but if you don’t understand just keep trying, and you can still make friends and relationships.

Thanks Reia!