Ex-Entertainer from Davao Shines as English Teacher in Japan

Jan. 07, 2007

DAVAO CITY — Sometime in the 80s, Annie Yanagida went to Japan to work as an entertainer, one of the thousands who go to that country each year to seek greener pasture.

But unlike most Filipina entertainers in Japan, Annie, who graduated from the Holy Cross of Davao College, saw other opportunities. After marrying a Japanese, she put up Annies English School, which she has been nurturing for the past 20years.

Her objective was simple: Annie said she opened the school to help her husband’s colleagues learn the language. She said the Japanese are not proficient in the English language, which works against them when they get to travel outside of their country.

Because many Japanese travel a lot, they find that learning the language is imperative, with some even studying English as a pastime. Annie said the Japanese who travel a lot found that learning the English language helps them to get the most out of their experience in other countries as they can communicate and explore without fear of being misinterpreted.

From a handful of students many years back, Annie’s English School now has a hundred students with ages from three to 70 years old.

The prospect of this business is bright because of continued clients and good pay, Annie said. The Japanese government is also encouraging their nationals to learn English, which why many English schools are sprouting all over Japan.

She said yearly charges for a group of three to 10 at a maximum two hours daily is 60,000 pesos while an individual is charged 5,000 pesos per session.

“Many of my students are there for years, seven years the most because they find learning English already as a habit,” she said. In some instancest Those who had completed certain modules return to learn more, she said.

Yanagida is not only limiting her advocacy to helping others learn other languages but committed herself to help Davao City through tourism. Each year she accompanies Japanese tourists to Davao and this has been going on for the past six years.

Although there was no formal arrangement with organizations or the city government of Davao, she promotes tourist destinations in the city. ” I was able to convince many Japanese to visit our city,” she said.

One Japanese tourist, Mitsune Ibarra, who is an accountant and a student of Annie’s English School, joined Annie for a holiday trip to Davao City last week. Mitsune said they had full trust in Annie and were delighted to see Davao.

She said the city is “wonderful, the people are passionate and kind, it has beautiful sites, good food and fruits.”

Mitsune said she will definitely come back and that she would share her experience with her friends in Japan. More than that, she promised to invite them to visit the city.

Annie also works as an interpreter for the police and the public prosecutor back home in Japan. She also works at the University of Creation, Art, Music and Social Work, Gunma Beauty College, Takasaki Art Centre Coolege, Takasaki Training School of Care Workers, and Takasaki College of Therapist.

This August, in time for the Kadayawan Festival 2007, she plans to bring 20 children and their mothers to witness and participate in the yearly celebration. Tourists from places like America, Australia, Germany, Europe, Korea and China fly to Davao to join the festival, which celebrates bountiful harvest. (Philippine News Agency)

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