Shun Komatsu

Your last name is “Komatsu”. Are you from Japan?

Edmonton, Canada No, actually I was born and raised in Canada. My parents moved from Hokkaido to a city called Edmonton in the province of Alberta before I was born.

Did you speak Japanese at home in Canada?

Apart from, “itadakimasu” and “gochisosama”, my parents spoke only English to me at home. Like many new Canadians of my parents’ generation, they decided to teach me English exclusively as it is the language spoken there. I really wish that they had taught me Japanese, as I struggle with learning it now.

When did you first come to Japan?

I had just finished fourth grade in elementary school and my parents decided to take my sister and I on vacation in Japan. We stayed at my father’s parents’ house and my mother’s parents’. I think I was ten years old.

Did you find that you had culture shock when you came to Japan?

Yes, very much so. I met my cousins for the first time in my life, but I didn’t understand anything they were saying. I didn’t understand anything on TV, or my grandparents. I found it very disorienting. My grandparents were very kind to my sister and I but fed us food we weren’t used to and I remember having to go to the hospital because my stomach couldn’t handle it. Despite that, I had a great time and I loved seeing the summer festivals and the sights around Hokkaido. I visited a couple of more times after that, including a time in my twenties when I spent almost four years in the country teaching English.

Drifters, Summer Festival, Skebandeka

How did you find METS?

I was working a job in government building management in Edmonton when I realized that I really missed teaching English. I also realized that I really missed living in Japan. My new goal was to move to Japan again and start teaching English, so I began searching online for jobs. I found METS, sent in my resume and had a couple of interviews over Skype and was hired!

What do students do in class that encourages you?

Kids are natural learners. I find that when kids are allowed to express themselves and solve problems on their own, they flourish. When I see students thinking in English, and not just repeating grammar, that’s when I feel they have succeeded, and it’s at that point that I know that they are using language as a living, breathing communication tool.

What do you think sets METS apart from other schools?

At METS, instructors have the flexibility to adjust the content to match the students’ abilities and strengths. The class sizes are also smaller to increase the attention each individual student receives. All instructors regularly exchange ideas and actively find ways to make classes engaging to maximize students’ potentials. METS also selects instructors with years of experience who understand and know how to overcome the challenges teaching students of all ages brings.

What language do you use to speak with your children?
Do you make an effort only to use English?

Here in Japan, I have been making an effort to speak only English with my kids at home. In Canada, I had made an effort to speak only Japanese in order to learn myself, as well as make sure my kids had the opportunity to learn it, unlike how I was brought up. Now, it has been a bit of a challenge to get my kids to speak English, though, and I have been increasing my efforts to try to get them to converse more.

Do you have a secret talent? How did you get good at it?

Shun roasting coffee I developed my own way to roast coffee using regular household items. When I was in my early twenties I travelled to Brazil and spent about three months there exploring the country. I remember that the coffee there tasted nothing like the stuff I drank in Canada – it was much, much better. I decided that I wanted to replicate that experience back at my own home. I experimented with different metal meshes and different heat sources, different coffee beans and different ways of grinding the coffee. I finally arrived at a simple, cheap way to roast and grind my own coffee that tastes similar to what I drank In Brazil. Every once in a while on a Sunday, you’ll find me roasting coffee beans over a small gas burner and making a pot of really rich, thick coffee.



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