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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Sunday, February 18, 2018

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They come from Japan to hone their Hindi skills

Professor Hideaki Ishida, who makes this trip to India every year

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The Centre for Japanese Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University had some very special guests on Monday - students who came all the way from Japan to test their Hindi skills, along with their Hindi teacher - Professor Hideaki Ishida, who makes this trip to India every year.

“People in Japan are curious about India because it is in the news almost every day, but now with the Modi wave, people are more interested in India than ever before,” said Prof. Ishida. He teaches Hindi as part of the International Cultures programme at the Daito Bunka University which is located close to Tokyo.

“The programme requires that students learn two foreign languages, and the most popular languages are inevitably English and Hindi; the Hindi course is for two years,” he said, adding that within these two years, the students learn how to read and write Hindi but do not have the milieu to actually speak it. Hence, the trip to Delhi.

“On the first day of the course, we teach them basic things like how you would introduce yourself and your family. Then we move onto exercises and also teach them how to travel, how to shop, how to talk to strangers, basically it is survivor skills. The trip is actually meant to teach the students how to actually use the language in a real-life situation,” said Prof. Sushama Jain, who teaches Japanese here in JNU.

JNU and Daito Bunka University have signed a memorandum of understanding in which the Japanese university finances its students to come to JNU and the course, faculty and space is provided by JNU.

“Our students end up loving it all. The movies, the music, everything. Every year we would travel to Jaipur, Agra and Benares. But, this time we have also added Khajuraho because of popular demand,” added Prof. Ishida, who has won awards for his mastery over Hindi.

He added that he too in the 1970s was initially interested in Hindi as India had

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