Hi there, my interests are all languages and cultures

Hi there,

I am a new member here. My interest in EFL/ESL comes with my interest in all languages and cultures. I spent 7 years teaching English and Spanish in Japan.

I am the founder of Loquela Language Centre in Stockport, South Manchester and I also develop Loquela Education Online, a free website providing support and advice to all in the areas of online language learning including ESL/EFL and ICT.

Many thanks

Hi loquela,

Great you have joined our community and thanks for your information about Loquela. Please tell us more :-). I mean, how did your language centre come into being, when and why did you decide to go to Japan and teach languages there?

Talk to you soon,

TOEIC listening, photographs: A fruit and vegetable stand[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,
I went to Japan in 1998 because I couldn’t get a job in Spain (My BA was Spanish). The plan was to go for just a year, learn Japanese, then return to Europe and make wads of cash as a translator (Japanese-English-Spanish). After all, I learned Spanish in 10 months.
But, oh no. Japanese doesn’t work like that! I ended up staying in Japan, getting married and having the cutest son, Joe (this is also a Japanese name) who is now 4 and speaks both languages fluently.

While in Japan, I taught English (of course) and Spanish - to prison guards! My relationship with Japan and the Japanese is certain a love-hate one. I might delve into tat a litter further at a later date. But it certainly is an interesting issue that involves language, cultural understanding, history, psychology and a whole bunch of complicated stuff…

I would love to get in touch with others who have had the Japan experience and share notes.

On another tack, I am also interested in having our online audio forums road tested. I think it is a fabulous idea and quite unique - free online audio forums dedicated to second language practice - Wow!
We use a system called YackPack which is currently freely available at YackPack.com

I would be very grateful of any feedback.

Speak soon,


Hi Simon,

How did you get to teach English to prison Japanese prison guards? Why do they need to speak English? Are there many foreigners doing time in Japan? It’s interesting to hear that your son is now bilingual, I take it you speak English with your wife when you are at home?
As for your project, I think we can share some ideas and if you like we can hold and publish an interview with you which could look similar to this one:

Interview with Mr. Micawber

Let me know what you think.

TOEIC listening, photographs: A pick up truck with plants[YSaerTTEW443543]

Hi Torsten,
I was actually teaching Spanish to the Prison Guards. My wife was the leader of the International Inmates section. Most of the guards could communicate at least a little in English, but they had no Spanish knowledge at all and a reasonable number of Colombian inmates.
I was also required at times to translate the inmates diaries. Nit too sure that was entirely legal, to be honest… Very interesting though :shock:

When we were in Japan we spoke almost 50/50 at home. Now, less and less, I speak Japanese and more and more, my wife does! There are many complications living within a bilingual/bi-cultural family. It’s all good in the end but it does take some working with. I feel incredibly honoured to have the experiences and insight that I do in my situation.
I would love to share some ideas with you in a more formal interview setting. Perhaps, we could even arrange for a YackCast (audio interview) that you might allow me to put on the Loquela website? I would also very much like to hear your ideas regarding the Loquela project. I could certainly use some help given I am currently running a one-man show here :oops:
Speak soon

Hi Simon,

Why were/are there so many inmates from Colombia in Japanese prisons? And what kind of diaries do they keep? I take you now speak less Japanese because you are back in England or is there another reason for favouring English? Yes, holding an audio interview is probably a good idea. As for Loquela, I’d love to share ideas and experiences. Could you please tell me why you started this project and why you chose Moodle as the learning platform? How often do you run language classes?

Speak to you soon,

TOEIC listening, photographs: City view[YSaerTTEW443543]

The Colombian inmates were on various drug offences. There is strong connection between Japan and Brazil as many workers came over in the past which has led to a large number of bi-ethnic families. I suppose the ‘traffic’ from Brazil to Japan has made it easier to open other ‘alternative’ routes into the country.
Of course, I can’t comment too much on the diaries. But I will say they were rather emotional. Not necessarily sad, but very thoughtful, reflective…

Of course, it is easier to speak English here (for me). I found that while we were in Japan we (my wife and I) were both keen to practice each other’s language. It was all quite new and exciting for us. I did find it somewhat frustrating in Japan the difficulty one has to practice. In stark contrast the experience foreign visitors have here in the UK. In Japan, people just do not expect foreigners to speak Japanese. In fact, when you do the often ignore it and reply in ‘English’. For those who do not speak any English, they might ask you questions in Japanese indirectly through whoever you happen to be with at the time (assuming that person is Japanese). Very odd, I found.

Now, in England. My wife is very keen to speak Japanese rather than English for two main reasons. First of all, she (and we both) are very keen to ensure that Joe, our son, maintains his Japanese. Secondly, it can be just so much hard work having to speak and think in a second language (and culture) all day long. My wife needs a break when she is at home.

I was thinking that a Skypecast may be a good opportunity for an interview. It’s a new new concept and I have just come across it. Please see: https://skypecasts.skype.com/skypecasts/home

Speak soon,