2024/06/13 16:40

Count your blessings.

Break down the barriers that people feel toward speaking English
MR Patrick Harlan Comedian, entertainer,
actor Cohosts Eigo de Shabera Night
on NHK television
Malaysian and Japanese

students interview Pakkun

Mr.Patrick Harlan(Pakkun)Comedian, entertainer, actor. “break down the barriers
that people feel toward speaking English.”
Q: What made you want to be a Comedian? And why in Japan?

A: Well I wanted to be an actor. I have been acting since I was 6, singing and performing in general. I came out to Tokyo in 1996 to be an actor. I watched Japanese TV and they had American personalities (talent) but not good American actors so I figured that they needed a good one and that was me! After a year on the scene, it turned out that this country didn’t really need me. I didn’t get any big jobs and hadn’t really made a name for myself as an actor. So I had to improve my skills. Then I met my partner, Makoto Yoshida. He wanted to be a comedian. I said, “Gosh. If I want to be an actor, I should know how to be funny in Japanese. So I figured “Use him and lose him”.
I thought “Practice with him for awhile and when I get famous, I’ll go back to acting”. But apparently, I’m not going back to acting anytime soon. I picked Japan to act in and I picked a career as a comedian to improve my acting skills.

Q: What was your first impression of Japan?

A: I was amazed that it was similar to America. I thought it would be much more different. Japan has American clothes, fairly big houses, regular cars and better food! This is a great country to get along with!

Q: How did you overcome the barrier of language as a foreigner from a non-kanji country?

A: Kanji cards! I just carried them around with me everywhere, when I was on the bus, when I was supposed to be working. I focused on reading (rather than writing).
I made 2000 cards in 2 years. Once you know kanji, it makes a huge difference.

Q: What is the key for Japanese to improve their English?

A: Go away! Living in a foreign country would be the fastest.
There is no secret. Just study. It’s no different from learning how to play tennis. No one learns how to be a good tennis player in an hour or a week. It’s just the same thing. Practice makes it perfect.

Q: What was the “culture shock” for you in Japan?

A: Maybe my attitude or behavior as an American. By Japanese standards, it was too unrefined. For example, arms on a table, crossing my legs, or sitting next to an important person and saying, “Hey, how is it going?” I had no idea. So the expectation of politeness was a bit stricter. I also hit my head a lot.

Mr Patrick Harlan,cohosts Eigo de Shabera Night on NHK television

Mr Patrick Harlan
Comedian, entertainer, actor. Raised in Colorado.. Earned a B.A. in the Study of Religion from Harvard University in 1993 and arrived in Japan the same year. Formed the comic duo Pack'n Mack'n with Yoshida Makoto in 1997. Cohosts Eigo de Shabera Night on NHK television, hosts Jam the World (J-Wave Radio) on Fridays, and appears regularly on other TV and radio shows. Coauthor of Bakusho Mondai, Pakkun Eigo Genron.

A Basic Theme of Entertainment Centered on English

Q: Could you please explain to us a little about the show “Eigo de shabera night”.

A: It’s not a teaching show. We provide a basic theme of entertainment centered on English. The point of the show is to get people excited about the language. You don’t have to be perfect with it. For example, there are famous celebrities speaking terrible English, but they enjoy it. We want to break down the barriers that people feel toward speaking English. It’s a fun show.

Q: What is your motto?

A: “Where there is a will, there is a way” is a good one because it’s translatable (laughs).
Also, I read a book once that said “If we had 72years (to live), that means 72 springs, 72 summers…” If you think about it, that is not very much. So there is no point in going through life unhappy. Even when something really terrible happens to you, I think you can always find some way to think positively. So count your blessings.

Q: What are your plans for the future?

A: To be a better performer. That includes both comedy and acting. I didn’t intentionally get into comedy but after doing it, it’s great fun. I would be happy to go back and work in America or working Hong Kong and get killed by Jacky Chan in a movie (laughs). But I’m happy to be in Japan. I think the entertainment here is funny and stimulating.

Q: Do you have any message for foreigners in Japan?

A: Quit whining! I think a lot of foreigners in Japan complain too much. Many of them go through a difficult time for the first few years. If you want to live here and be happy, just do it! Don’t whine and just hang in there!

About the show “Eigo de shabera night”.

Eigo de Shabera Night (英語でしゃべらナイト, Eigo de shabera naito?) is a Japanese talk show by NHK. The show began in 2003 and is ongoing. Contrary to the title, Japanese is the main language used in the show, although the Japanese hosts use English when interviewing British and American celebrities, such as Noel Gallagher and Colin Farrell, or when the English language is discussed.

Pakkun Eiken (パックン英検, Pakkun Eiken?) is a section where Patrick Harlan explains a certain word in English, after which the word is asked in a quiz. Other sections of the show include London Online and Shijou Saikyou!? no Eigo Purojekuto (史上最強!?の英語プロジェクト, Shijou Saikyou!? no Eigo Purojekuto?).