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Japanese student fulfils 30 year ambition to learn Welsh

26 August 2008

Michiko Kino

A Japanese woman is fulfilling a 30-year-old ambition this summer by learning to speak Welsh at Cardiff University.

Retired teacher Michiko Kino, who comes from Osaka, has been fascinated with the language since she read The Grey King by Susan Cooper, an English novel set in Wales, back in the 1970s.

Michiko taught English at a Japanese school for 37 years, and when she retired in 2005 she was determined to visit Wales and learn Welsh. She is currently on the eight-week Summer Course at the Welsh for Adults Centre in Cardiff University.

Michiko is a member of a Welsh society in Japan called Kansai that meets in a pub once a month to talk about Welsh culture and the language - and even celebrates St David’s Day every March 1.

Michiko, who learnt basic Welsh grammar from a Japanese to Welsh dictionary, first published in 1997, said: "I feel so lucky to be in Wales finally learning the country’s beautiful language."

The course has also attracted learners from Belgium and France, and local learners determined to speak fluent Welsh.

Rachel Heath-Davies, Director of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Welsh for Adults Centre, said: "It is wonderful that our course has attracted people from all over the world, as well as locals who want to improve their Welsh language skills for career and personal reasons.

"There are so many good reasons to learn Welsh and it is so easy to do so at the Welsh for Adults Centre."

The Welsh For Adults Centre provides courses on all levels throughout Cardiff & the Vale of Glamorgan in the community and in the workplace all year. Around 2,000 adults learn Welsh through the Centre each year, taught by more than 50 tutors. Details of courses can be found here.