Abe Toru used to be a businessman, but because of his love for Vietnam, the 77-year-old Japanese man has chosen to become a teacher.
The Japanese grandpa traveled to Vietnam as a representative of his company in Ho Chi Min City. Abe had many opportunities to attend many Japan-Vietnam festivals in Hoi An and said that this particular town has somehow captured his heart during his trips.
Abe fell in love with the friendliness and hospitable nature of the people of Hoi An, which he says he considers his second home. So when the time came, he did not hesitate at the chance of giving local kids complimentary Japanese lessons.
Over the past two months, Abe has conducted classes at a small house on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street which usually starts at 5 in the afternoon. The teacher arrives about a couple of minutes later and greets his students between 9 to 10 years old a warm “konnichiwa.”
Local children speaking and chanting Japanese phrases has been an intriguing feature of the local town, causing residents and tourists to flock around the classroom either to observe or take pictures.
“Thanks to this class, I get to study another foreign language aside from English at school. I was able to learn by heart all of the Japanese characters in a short time thanks to the warm and interesting teaching of Mr. Toru,” said a fifth grader named Nguyen Bao Ngan.
At the end of each class, Abe organizes some fun Japanese games like origami and puzzles. His class currently has 40 students which are selected from two local schools. He also has a class in the morning which he conducts in his living room.
Abe said that he wishes to run more classes for children who wants to learn Japanese. He also added that he will continue his role as a teacher to kids in Vietnam as long as his health allows him to.