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My name is Julian and I am the founder of Hop-on Hop-off English. I have been an English language teacher for nearly 20 years.
I qualified as an English language teacher in 2003 and after a year living and teaching advanced students in London, I moved to Japan. I spent an amazing 14 years there, developing as an English teacher and building a great life in a lovely country (a day will never pass by when I don't miss Yakitori restaurants). During my time I taught a wide variety of learners, of all levels. I also ran the English department in a high school in North Tokyo for my final eight years there (2010-2018) before returning to the UK.
Since returning to the UK, I have taught a great number of Japanese students ranging from Upper Intermediate to Proficiency. There have been many students from Oxford and Cambridge (my hometown) and the London School of Economics, as well as professionals from the civil service and the Bank of Japan and companies such as SOMPO. Their level has been exceptionally high but they needed that extra push to learn, and start using, new vocabulary, expressions and pronunciation. The use of shared files in google drive has allowed them to make notes of questions and problems as they come up in their everyday life which we can then address together in lesson time.
My time in Japan and the students I have met since returning to the UK has taught me the particular problems faced by Japanese students when learning English. Not only the understandable grammar errors and pronunciation problems but also the cultural differences, which can cause very real difficulties for Japanese learners when faced with real-life English situations. Perhaps, social anxiety kicks in for some people and prevents them from being able to effortlessly jump into a conversation. Perhaps, you know roughly what everyone is talking about and you can get the gist, but there are so many specific cultural references it is hard to follow. Not to mention the slang and the idioms which are another world altogether. Maybe you need to learn about politics, film, music, travel or sports and need the language to be able to discuss these things with colleagues, friends or clients.
This is what I will do for you. It is a safe space where you can make errors and try out new aspects of the language and use it without anxiety. Together, we can help you get "beyond the plateau” and stop you from becoming overly reliant on your bank of phrases and expressions with which you feel safe, but which are perhaps limiting you a little in real life. We can get you to the point where you are shooting the breeze with all and sundry and communicating without caution or fear of being misunderstood.
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