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Welife Magazine

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August 2016

Student of Japanese Language School Mr. Chris Blackerby
クリス ブラッカビーさん

〜Where There Is Patience and Understanding, There Is a Way〜

This month’s WeFace is Mr. Chris Blackerby who works as the Asia Representative for NASA!

今月のWe Faceは、NASA米国航空宇宙局アジア支部代表のクリス ブラッカビーさんです。

Interview インタビュー

  • Q. What kind of work are you doing at NASA?

    A. I’ve been working in the NASA International Relations Department at the Washington headquarters from 2004, and since being appointed to work in Japan in 2012, I’ve been doing the operations + negotiations necessary for coordination among Japan and other countries in the Asia Pacific Region.

  • Q. クリスさんはNASAでどのようなお仕事をしていらっしゃるのですか?

    A. 2004年よりワシントンにあるNASAの本部で国際協力を担当しています。 2012年に日本に赴任して以来、日本を含むアジア地域における宇宙協力に関する交渉や手続き業務を行っています。

  • Q. Were you always interested in outer space?

    A. Yes. Actually, when I was a child I had a photo of Saturn taped to the ceiling of my room!

  • Q. もともと宇宙にはご興味があったのですか?

    A. はい。実は子供の頃、自分の部屋の天井には土星の写真が貼ってありました(照)

  • Q. Is this your first time coming to Japan?

    A. When I was working as a history teacher at a high school after graduating college, I realized I wanted to explore the world outside of the U.S. So I found a job as an English teacher in Ikoma-city in Nara Prefecture, and came to Japan for the first time then. That’s when I met my wif

  • Q. 日本へいらしたのは今回の赴任が初めてですか?

    A. 大学を卒業して高校で歴史の教師をしていた時、次第に世界を見てみたくなりました。それで奈良県生駒市の英会話スクールで教師の仕事を見つけ、初めて日本に来ました。そこで出会った日本人女性が今の妻です。

  • Q. So that’s when you began studying Japanese?

    A. No, I wasn’t studying much at the time. But after backpacking in Southeast Asia and returning to the U.S. to study international relations in grad school, I was struck by the intense feeling that “I want to go back to Japan where she is! I need to study Japanese more!”

  • Q. その時に日本語の勉強をはじめたのですね?

    A. いえ、その時はあまり勉強しませんでした。その後東南アジアでバックパッカーをして、アメリカに戻り大学院で国際協力の勉強をしていましたが、その頃になって「彼女のいる日本に帰りたい!日本語を勉強しなくては!」という想いがあふれてきたのです。

  • Q. Ah, the power of love :) Then, what do you feel is the similarity between teaching and international cooperation?

    A. I think it’s “patience & understanding.” Teaching requires patience. It also requires that you understand your students. It’s the same way with international cooperation. Even among various differences in opinions and cultural values, everything starts from patiently listening to other people’s thoughts and understanding them.

  • Q. まさに愛の力は強し、ですね!では、クリスさんにとって教師と国際協力の仕事の共通点は?

    A. 「忍耐と理解」だと思います。教えることには忍耐が要ります。まず学生を理解することが必要です。国際協力の仕事も同じ。国際間で様々な文化の違いや様々な意見がある中で、忍耐強く相手の意見に耳を傾け、理解することからすべては始まります。

  • Q. I see, that’s quite enlightening. And it’s important to note that your Japanese level is already very fluent, enough to do this entire interview in Japanese. Do you have any further goals in your Japanese studies?

    A. When you’re learning a new language, you can easily feel your own improvement in the beginning, but after a while, it becomes harder to feel it and it becomes increasingly frustrating. I always feel jealous watching my daughters naturally absorb and use Japanese. But I’m enjoying my time as I discover how “language,” and even the language’s “grammar,” is deeply related to the culture. While my long-term goal is to smoothly use Japanese in the business scene, my current goal is to pass the JLPT.

  • Q. なるほど、勉強になります!このインタビューもすべて日本語で行えるほどクリスさんの日本語はすばらしいですが、今の日本語学習と今後の目標について教えてください。

    A. 言語は、習い始めは上達が実感しやすいですが、ある程度まで行くと、上達が見えにくくなるのでもどかしいものです。娘たちが自然にどんどん日本語を身につける様子を見ると羨ましくなります(笑)でも、自分は自分なりに、言語は文化と密接な関係があること、文法でさえ文化と深く結びついていることに気づかされ、それを楽しんでいます。長期的ゴールはあらゆるビジネスシーンで困らないようになることですが、今の目標としてはJLPT(日本語能力試験)を受けたいと思っています。

Interview Wrap Up

Chris is in an international environment, both at work and at home. However, his gaze looks past the differences in culture and ways of thinking, and he has his eyes set on humanity’s shared ultimate goal of human happiness. Perhaps because of this, he is able to believe in the importance of cooperation, and patiently strive to understand others. This interview allowed us to take a moment from our daily lives to ponder on the meaning of our existence in this world, and in this universe.


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