Japanese is a difficult language but as the Japanese samurai warrior Miyamoto Musashi says, “It may seem difficult at first but everything is difficult at first.”
Debora Belardino is a California state licensed and certificated language teacher with over 25 years teaching experience. She lived in Japan for almost 20 years, where she worked as both a teacher and freelance writer/ photographer for such major publications as The Japan Times and The South China Morning Post. She has written many articles on Japanese arts, culture, and travel, ranging from lacquerware to an interview with iconic Japanese manga artist Hagio Moto. She also worked with the international Project Gen team to help also help translate the 6th volume of Hadashi no Gen, Japan’s renowned historical manga series which has sold 10 million copies worldwide. She was interviewed by the BBC for this endeavor. In 2006 she was a guest speaker for the Hong Kong SGI, an international Buddhist organization, where she gave a speech on the threat of nuclear war, and the historical significance of Barefoot Gen.
She is also the published author of five books, including a novel set in the Heian period which took five years to write and translate. This novel has been used as an academic resource at both the University of Wisconsin-Madison and The Japanese Samurai Portfolio Project at Cal State Northridge. In 2004 she gave a speech in Kanazawa on the Heian Period with the hope for a new century of Asia, in which China, Korea, and Japan would flourish through respecting their differences, and understanding their commonalties. She has travelled extensively throughout Asia.
She has the Japanese Language Proficiency Test N2 certification, and also studied at the Kanazawa College of Art. She is also a member of the American Association of Teachers Japanese and the California Association of Japanese Language Teachers. She is also a teacher trainer for Oxford Seminars, where her job is to train and certify potential language teacher candidates who want to teach abroad. She will be enrolling in a Japanese language teacher training program in the fall.
She strives to create engaging lessons based on MIT (Multiple Intelligences Theory). “無限 (mugen) which means infinite, is the word I would use to describe my approach to education. The student has unlimited potential, and it’s the role of the teacher to believe in and foster this potential, never giving up until it’s realized.” She believes that languages are life, and can stop war and open the doors to peace. “We must break out of our comfort zones and urgently reach out and engage in friendship with Asia with the intention of building positive and blindingly bright bridges of peace across the dark waves of hate, negativity, and discrimination that swirl around us, then go one step further, and turn adversaries into allies.”
She is currently studying Mandarin Chinese.