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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

International Exchange through TV Programs and Magic

[From February Issue 2014]


David JOHN

David JOHN produces programs for Indonesian TV, and, at the same time, has also been doing a wide variety of other activities, including working as a magician. In 2012, he set up a company called Curio Asia with some friends. “Kokoro No Tomo,” Indonesia’s first TV program dedicated to introducing Japan, is produced there and has been very favorably received.

Some Japanese language schools in Indonesia use this TV program as a teaching tool. “Episodes in which Japanese idols appear are particularly popular,” says David. Japanese idol groups like Scandal have fans in Indonesia, too.

David majored in IT programming at university and landed his first job with a Swedish software company. He was transferred to a Japanese subsidiary and came to Japan in 2000. Utilizing the knowledge he acquired there, he now works for an IT-related staff introduction agency. “I’m busy, but it’s a fulfilling job and I enjoy it,” says David.

David managed to pick up his Japanese mostly through self-study. “I had lessons from friends and watched (the same) Japanese TV dramas over and over again. I attended a karate dojo as a hobby and during that time everyone around me was Japanese, so I had to speak Japanese whether I liked it or not. I made progress thanks to that,” says David.

The secret of making progress with Japanese is to “talk with a variety of different people,” stresses David. “You can’t internalize whatever you learned unless you use it. Besides, Japanese has a male language and a female one. Non-Japanese men who only speak Japanese with their Japanese girlfriends can sound like women and that’s weird at times,” he laughs.

David started doing magic as a hobby eight years ago and he’s now at a professional level. He was inspired by watching a magic program on TV. He studied with books on magic and delighted friends with demonstrations. By performing shows in different places he changed from being an enthusiast to a professional.

He gets a lot of work livening up the parties of foreign-owned companies. Fluent both in English and Japanese, he’s a capable MC and is sometimes asked to host events. At matchmaking parties and wedding receptions he gets a man and a woman to help him with a trick. For this trick which each of them hold up a card and, at the last minute, the cards transform into a single card.

David says that, in the future, he’d also like to produce TV programs that introduce Indonesia to Japanese. “While it’s worthwhile presenting the positive side of Japan to Indonesia, Indonesia, too, has many beautiful places other than its famous resort of Bali. I’d like it if many Japanese knew more about Indonesia.”


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