試験官

<試験官A>

アメリカ英語。とても温厚そうで恰幅のよいメガネをかけた白人の中年の試験官。話す速度は普通。発音はとても明瞭でした。

<試験官B>

細面でアメリカ人よりは少し若い感じ。メガネをかけ視線がとても優しそうな人でした。話す速度は外国人試験官よりゆっくり。わざとゆっくり話している印象でした。

質疑応答

(部屋のドアが開き、細身で優しそうなメガネの日本人の試験官の人がPlease come in.と言ってくださり、入室。ハロー大阪校の大教室の倍くらいの広い部屋の前方にテーブルが据えられていて、右にメガネで白人の温厚そうな恰幅のよい中年紳士、左が、日本人の試験官。部屋中央の自分の椅子に向って歩きながら、やや大きな声で"Good morning!")

Please have a seat.

Thank you.(着席)

First, please introduce yourself briefly.

All right. I will briefly introduce myself. My name is ........ I came from Konan City, Shiga Prefecture. I work for an electronics-industry-related manufacturer, that is called ......... And our company has many foreign visitors every month. On weekends, I often take them on short tours to Kyoto, Nara and other places. And I wanted to continue this job and checked if I needed any license to do this job for a fee, and I found out that it was necessary,(ここで日本人試験官が頷く)so I decided to take this test.

(日本人試験官が横の外国人試験官に目くばせをして、外国人試験官が質問を開始。これ以降全ての質問と会話のやり取りは私とこの外国人試験官との間でなされ、日本人試験官は終始沈黙されていましたが、会話中で数回大きく頷かれました)

Question No. 1. Please tell me the land size of Japan and what the land is like?

Well, Japan is an island nation on the Pacific Ocean, and the size is about the same as that of the state of California in the United States, and then .... What was your question then?

Oh, and what is the land like? Maybe, there are so many mountains or if there is a lot of flat land, or ....

(何と親切な! 最初からにこにこ笑顔で通していた効果でしょうか?)

I see. Japan is a mountainous nation. Sixty-seven percent of the land is covered with mountains, and plains account for only 13%.

13%. OK. Next question. What is Kabuki?

Kabuki is a traditional stage drama which developed and flourished in the Edo period. This traditional stage art is characterized by rhythmical words, and the songs and music that accompany the drama, and elaborate costumes. And I need to mention their elaborate make-ups!(ここで両手を顔で覆って、化粧の形の真似をしてみせました)And Kabuki originated in Kyoto. At first, kabuki was performed by a woman called Izumono Okuni.

I see. Today I think Kabuki is performed only by men. Well, you were talking about the early form of Kabuki having been played by a woman. Why is that?

Oh, yes. Today Kabuki is played exclusively by men. At first, women performed this art. But the government banned it, because their dances were too erotic, and this is somewhat of a moral issue. And then, Kabuki was played by young handsome boys, but for a similar reason, this was banned, too. The original Japanese word for Kabuki was “Kabuku,” which means something extraordinary or stunning. So they needed to surprise the audience. I can imagine what kind of dance or play it was that was performed by women or young handsome boys.

OK. In Japan, women have become rather strong. So, do you think women will join Kabuki again in the near future?

Well, indeed women have the equal rights as men do in Japan now. But this is a traditional art and I think it will be difficult.

OK, next question. What is Bon?

Bon? You mean Bon in Bon Festival, or Obon?

Yes.(明らかに外国人試験官の方は非常に日本の事情に詳しい人でした)<.span>

Well, Bon is a Buddhist holiday which is on August 13, 14 and 15. It is said that, during this period, the spirits of the dead come back to their former homes or families. So, people light up lanterns to guide them and people also perform Bon festive folk dance to entertain them. The purpose of this bon dance is to console departed souls as well.

OK, Question No. 4. How is Japan's Prime Minister elected?

Oh, Prime Minister. Japan's Prime Minister is not elected by direct vote. It is not like the election procedure of the President of the United States. Japan’s Prime minister is elected in the Diet. So, he is elected by other statesmen.

I see, but why Japan's prime minister changes so often?

Because(ここで、思わず手を広げて笑顔でジェスチャーしてしまいました)there are so many serious problems in Japan now! Particularly after the collapse of the bubble economy in 1991 or 1992, Japan’s economy has been very bad, and the national pension system needs to be reformed due to the lack of budget and moreover, due to the huge national debt! It is about 8 trillion yen, an incredible amount. Even a superman cannot solve all the problems completely.

OK, next. How many World Heritage sites are there in Japan?

Well, there are 13 cultural heritage sites and 3 intangible assets, Kabuki, Noh, and Bunraku puppet theater and also there are 3 natural heritages. One is in Shirakami, northern part of island and Shiretoko in Hokkaido and Yakushima, southern island, south of Kyushu.

OK, of all the natural World Heritage sites of Japan, which one do you recommend I visit?

Well, all the natural heritages are strictly controlled to protect nature and rather hard to visit, but I dare recommend Shiretoko. There must be some good sightseeing programs,

Yes, I have actually visited Shiretoko ! (間違いなくめちゃくちゃ日本通です。この人は)

I envy you!(思わず本当にお金と時間があれば行ってみたかったので、と言ってしまいました。試験官2名とも笑顔)

(日本人の試験官の方をみやって)Do you have any questions?

I have no questions. So, thank you. Your interview is over.(と言って両手を広げて肩のあたりまで笑顔で上げられました)

(立ち上がって)Thank you very much.(退室前にもう一度ふりかえると両名ともこちらを見ていましたので、もう一度会釈して扉を閉めました)。

受験の感想

振り返ると試験時間は5分少しで短過ぎるのが気になりましたが、手もなく敗れた昨年と比べますと、一応ベストは尽くせたかなと思いますので、合格・不合格に関わりなく悔いはありません。やはり昨年と違い、前日、前々日、わざと早めに寝る努力をしたのはよかったと思います。時間の割に書いてみると長く、少し早くしゃべりすぎたかも知れません。緊張状態の中で笑顔を絶やさないのがいかに難しいかを実感し、とても精神的な鍛練になりました。色々と熱心なご指導を賜り心から感謝申し上げます。誠にありがとうございました。

ハローについて

全問がほぼ教材のいずれかの質問に関連しており、驚きました。昨年の「参勤交代」のような問題はなく、その点は少し拍子抜けしましたが。

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