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Where did her mother grow up?
a) Kansas
b) Nagasaki
c) Yokohama
Where does she now have difficulty with Japanese?
a) At home
b) The street
c) The classroom
Why did she want to study Japanese in college?
a) It seemed easy
b) It seemed tough
c) She was curious
What kind of Japanese did she study?
a) Modern Communication
b) Modern Literature
c) Medieval Literature
What old writer do they mention?
a) Soseki Natsume
b) Shakespeare
c) Socrates
WORD CHALLENGE
Fill in the missing words
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Miki, where did you go to university?
I went to university in California, at a school called the University of California at Berkeley.
And where is that in California?
It's in the Bay Area, which is in the northern half of California, right across the bay from
San Francisco.
OK, and what did you study?
I studied many things, but I majored in Japanese (Oh, really!) I did.
Oh, wow. Now you are of Japanese ancestry.
My mother is. My father is from Kansas. (Oh, really!) His family is from the South, Kansas,
Arkansas, Texas. My mother is from Japan. She grew up in Nagasaki and moved to Yokohama when
she was young so most of my family is there, Yokohama and the South.
Oh, wow! What a combo.
Yeah, I guess so.
Now were you already fluent in Japanese before you started university?
I was but it wasn't a standard Japanese. It was very familial. It was Japanese that was spoken
within the family, between parent and child, and so it was very casual, and conversational.
OK. Is it difficult for you to comprehend people sometimes in Japan or is it just like home?
Oh, it's absolutely difficult because there, well first of all, they're dialects and then
of course there are different levels of politeness and conversationalist, I guess, and especially
once I get into a classroom with other professors, and other students, colleagues my age, it's
quite difficult to follow the language, but if it's street talk it's much easier.
Oh, really! OK, so at university, did you study just to learn Japanese as a language or did you study literature?
I'll be honest. I studied to get an easy degree, and frankly it was quite easy, but then I had a very
good professor in classical Japanese and that's when my interest in literature and history actually
was born and I ended up becoming a researcher in medieval history, medieval literature.
Wow, that must be really difficult though cause that's old, old style of language, it's an
old text.
(Yes) Like Shakespeare is difficult for me.
That's actual, well, that's actually an interesting comparison cause Shakespeare is actually
just a little bit easier for us modern Americans to comprehend than classical Japanese is for
a modern Japanese person to comprehend because the language, actually, Shakespearean English
is actually much closer to modern English than classical Japanese is to modern Japanese, but
it's not spoken, so if one has a dictionary, then one can do research.
Alright! Well, thanks a lot Miki.
You're welcome.

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