KWENTO Ni NANAY ni Anita Sasaki
Dr. George Cabrera Strikes Back in Japan
My most admired and respected director of Teatro Kanto has decided to go back home for good in the Philippines in the last quarter of 2010.
However, an unknown, mysterious force, or perhaps a calling, had sent him back to Japan where my curiosity started which prompted me to write this Q&A article.
I believe the Lord had given Direk George, as he’s fondly called by everybody in Tokyo, a mission to help in reaching-out, most especially the Filipino English Language Teachers and the prospective teachers.
Let’s learn more.
Anita: Direk, why did you suddenly come back to Japan after deciding to go home and end more than a decade of your stay here?
George: That’s an interesting question. Well, things have been great back home. In fact, there was even a six-digit salary offered to me and it’s indeed tempting, but there’s this indescribable feeling that’s driving me back here. So, I bought my plane ticket, and here I am now, finally back in Tokyo.
After staying for few months in Manila, perhaps the most significant factor that made me decide to finally pack my bag and return here is that great challenge to assimilate in our homeland, especially for someone who had experienced living in Japan for almost half of his life. And I can’t deny the fact that it’s not for me and that I am not up for that challenge anymore.
Anita: And what awaits you here upon arrival.
George: Hmmm…., God is so good for sending a very supportive Japanese friend who helped me get back on track. Hmmm… I would say consultancy is keeping me busy. And after learning that I’m back, Olive Akatsu, another very good friend of mine, reconnected me with our common missionary friend, Cesar Santoyo of the Center for Japanese-Filipino Families (CJFF). Koyang, as people call him, recently registered a limited corporation named Social Enterprise English Language School (SEELS) that aims to help Filipinos establish their own English language school. He invited me to join his management team to develop Filipino English teachers in Japan and I think this is my calling.
Anita: What made you feel that way?
George: SEELS, as I’ve learned, is a by-product of that desire to extend kindness for humanity after the 3/11 triple disasters in Japan. It was in search of qualified educators to fulfill its mission of developing human resources through trainings and education. And since, I happened to have a Doctorate degree in Development Education and Educational Administration from the Royal Pontifical University of Santo Tomas and The University of Tokyo, I feel that SEELS is designed for people like me.
I share the same passion with other SEELS personnel like its Chief Operations Officer, Amina P. Banzon, who has a Master in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Business Administration. Like Ami, I believe God lead us to SEELS for its mission and its new journey with the Filipino migrants. It holds true with the rest of the Management Team of SEELS that includes Dale Maturan and Daff Marquesses Yaginuma.
Anita: In what direction would you think SEELS is leading the Filipinos in Japan?
George: As of now, the training courses being provided by SEELS will enhance the capabilities of our “kababayan” most especially those who are into English teaching. We’ve just started the SEELS Diction and the English Sound System Training course this November. Computer Home-based English Teaching; English Grammar Proficiency; Homeschooling; and a series of Computer Trainings will follow this.
SEELS is also preparing to offer certification courses and eventually higher education to Japanese-Filipino youth by having a four-year education course that is accredited by the Philippine Commission on Higher Education.
Anita: And where will those trained by SEELS go to make a living?
George: As Japan continually competes globally; there is an endless need of English education for Japanese across the board. As part of its ventures, SEELS is designing training programs for those who want English tutorials done in coffee shop or in rented public halls. It would also help Filipinos who want to establish their own English language school upon the completion of our training courses.
Anita: How about your theater work?
George: Like theater arts, teaching is a performance. In SEELS training, we apply theater techniques to the training of participants for better understanding and as a form of concrete learning.
Anita: Do you mean you are getting back to theater production again with a vengeance?
George: I’m open to possibilities. It’s already in my system and with the right projects and with the right people in God’s time, dealing not only in theater but also in film production would be a fantastic experience.