This granny might be starting late, but that is not going to stop her!

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics are getting ever closer, and Japan is preparing with increasing haste. Right now that means that a pretty expansive city refurbishment project is underway, including revitalization of some grungier parts of town, like Shibuya and Harajuku.

Individual citizens are preparing in their own ways, too. Take this granny, for example, who has decided she wants to be a translator for foreigners during the Olympics. At almost 90 years old, she’s learning to speak English for the first time, and her progress is being documented by her grandchild on the Twitter account @Grandma_English.

She’s learning from her grandchild through the Japanese messaging app Line, where everyday she’s taught a new word and is quizzed on previous words she’s learned. She learns each of the words spelled out in katakana, so that she can easily remember the pronunciation. When she doesn’t remember a word, she replies in katakana, “I don’t remember.”

She’s quite an industrious learner; even though she’s just a beginner, she already tries to create her own sentences with the words she knows. For example, in the second image in the tweet above, she tries to write “My son harvested peanuts from the field”, and ends up with, “My daughter [Japanese for ‘at the farm’] peanuts get”.

▼ She seems to have a tendency to mix up “son” and “daughter.” “No. 18: Musuko” “Daughter.” (sticker: No) “You made the same mistake before!”

She also picks up lots of English words she hears, like from the news, for example, and brings them into her lessons. When quizzed for the word “sea”, she correctly answered “sea”, and then added “sea lane”, which at first confused her grandchild until she explained (in Japanese) about the continuing conflicts of territory claims in the South China Sea.

▼ “[I learned it from] my favorite International News!” (with fun Line lettering and emojis)

She works hard to study English, but it’s not easy for her. Even at 90 years old, sometimes she’s too busy to respond to her English lesson and has to postpone her answer. The technology of her cellphone also poses some challenges for her, as sometimes she has trouble reading and typing the right characters.

▼ In this screenshot her grandchild reflects that she has trouble differentiating the katakana characters of “bu (ぶ)” and “pu (ぷ)”. She often refers to “eggplant” (eggupuranto in katakana) as “eggblant” (egguburanto).

She sometimes mixes up and misremembers words, too. She thought “breakfast” was pronounced “brahkfast”, and when corrected, lamented that she’d said it wrong the whole time she was on vacation overseas.

▼ She also apparently mixed up “dinner” with the restaurant “Denny’s”, causing her to respond with “dinners”, which was technically not incorrect! Note her expert use of stickers.

Sometimes she cheats when answering the quizzes, but she always admits to it. When scrolling through the images on the account’s feed, you’ll notice she often uses the word “カンニング”, which means “cheating” in Japanese.

▼ “Question 15: ‘Ohashi'” “Chopsticks. I cheated.” “Correct! lol. Where did you get the answer?” “Your dad.” “I see lol”

But despite the challenges, she is doing really well. She’s usually able to remember the words she learns, and when quizzed often answers correctly, sometimes even with little emojis added in.

▼ Here she gets “carrot”, “pumpkin” and “garlic” correct.

And she never misses a day. When her grandchild doesn’t send her a word or a quiz, she makes sure to give them a reminder!

“My taycher is escape! Work? Are you sick? I’m worried.”

She’s not only a great student, but also a very sweet granny. At the end of the above message she says, “You have life because of your body. Make sure you save up your health and your money so you can go to Iceland again! It’s your dream, and mine.” Isn’t she too cute?

As outside viewers, we can see that this is not only a fun lesson style, but a special way for her and her grandchild to bond. Her grandchild says that they learn as much from her as she does from them. At one point, when learning the word “river”, she was reminded of “Red River Valley”, a song from 1955 that was popular during her childhood.

▼ “Red River Valley”

She said, “We used to listen to this record a lot when I was a child!” Her grandchild then looked it up, found a sound clip, and sent it to her, and she then responded, “That’s it! We listened to a lot of jazz in our house. It was a lot of fun.” This granny must love sharing bits of her life with her grandchild like this!

The account was just made on June 30, but it already has over 15,000 thousand followers! It’s no wonder why, when this granny is so precious and such a good student. There aren’t a lot of posts right now, but it seems like a new screenshot is uploaded at least once daily, so if you’re interested you can follow the account to continue watching Granny’s inspiring language journey!

Source: Twitter/@Grandma_English via Hamster Sokuho
Featured Image: Twitter/@Grandma_English