You may have seen Heather Warne in the Mitre 10 ad currently running on TV. Or at one of the many theatre productions she has been part of over the past few years. A long-term client of Euroasia, she progressed from the Japanese Level 1 course in 2010 to the Japanese Advanced class with Takako. We talk to Heather about her wide range of interests in food/acting/singing/learning.
I work for a charity called the Leprosy Mission – we do overseas aid and development work with people affected by leprosy. I'm also an audio-book narrator with the Royal New Zealand Foundation of the Blind.
What's your favourite food?
Ooh, so many options! I really love variety and trying new combinations and foods from different cultures, but a few old favourites are pizza… chocolate mousse… teppanyaki prawns with Yum Yum sauce…
What do you do when you aren't working?
I like basically any singing opportunities I can get my hands on – musical theatre, recording projects, jamming with bands. I also act, which is sometimes work and sometimes not! And of course enjoy both these things as a spectator, at concerts, theatre and movies. I probably also spend far too much time on computers.
How did you get involved in acting?
Acting is something I've done since I was a kid and been very interested in since college, so I then went on and did a degree in it at Unitec. Singing too – been singing since I was about 5, but a show I did a couple of years ago introduced me to a group of cool singers and I've since then had more training and got further involved in music, and really enjoying all the different avenues of it. I know a few songs in Japanese – it's a fun language to sing in.
What has surprised you most about learning Japanese?
How many verb forms there are… and the number of different words you use to count things!
What's the best thing to happen since you started getting into Japanese language and culture?
I suppose as far as the language, it was pretty awesome when I was watching some old Japanese movies I hadn't seen in a while and found that I wasn't always needing the subtitles. I haven't been to Japan yet – I'm sure that will be the highlight once I have!
Do people recognise you in the streets? What do they say when they do?
Haha, no I'm definitely not at that point yet! Occasionally I'll meet someone who's seen me performing on a stage before we've actually met – but never in really anonymous situations like on the street.
What's your dream job?
Singing, either on the West End or in the Tokyo jazz scene. Perhaps flitting between one and the other.
What's it like to be learning Japanese at Euroasia?
Really positive environment, great learning from a native speaker and everyone's there of their own accord so they're keen to have fun and also learn.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about learning Japanese?
Go for it! It's a fun language to learn – there are fiddly bits, but it's also not too hard to get your mouth around. As far as a tip, start learning kana (the writing) early – the sooner you know them, the sooner you can start practicing as you continue to learn
What's the difference between a Japanese and a Kiwi?
Hmmm… I haven't personally met a lot of Japanese people so I can't really speak from my own experience. The Japanese appear to be much more stylish, pop-culture-wise, much more outgoing. Also driven – whereas kiwis are often quite laid-back. Though if Takako-sensei is anything to go by, the Japanese must smile a lot!