Noorazzalina Gazali（高2） / Sinéad O’ Connor (英語科）
O’Connor: Please introduce yourself.
Azza: Well, my full name is Noorazzalina Gazali and I’m from Malayasia and I’m 18 - well turning 19 in two months. My friends call me Azza and my family call me Lina. ‘Azza’ has been a family nickname because all my siblings and I have ‘Azza’ in our names. Like, my sister is Azelea, I’m Noorazzalina and my brother is Azzaem so to distinguish between my sister and me they call my sister Azelea and me Lina. But I don’t like my friends to call me Lina.
O’C: What is your hometown famous for?
Azza: So, I’m from Selangor which is next to Kuala Lumpur. So, we are known for Batu Caves which is the largest shrine outside of India. We’re also famous for community forests - we’re known for our natural resources.
O’C: Why did you decide to study abroad?
Azza: Honestly, at first I was thinking it’ll be so much fun because my sister went on exchange in Argentina. I thought learning a new language while living in that country sounds so fun. I was worried about it too but my sister convinced me to apply. You know, before I applied I was having a hard time - I really wanted to leave Malaysia. And why Japan - I’ve been learning Korean for 6 or 7 years so I didn’t want to go to Korea I wanted to challenge myself with a new language.
O’C: What Japanese culture did you know before coming here?
Azza: I learned a lot from social media. I knew how people are all so polite and they follow rules, like how to queue at the train station. People always bow and smile so I wanted to see if it’s true.
O’C: What do you like about Japan now?
Azza: Ooh, there’s a lot. So in Malaysia we don’t have seasons like in Japan so I like the transition between the seasons here. I like how even if somewhere is crowded it’s still spacious. It good for those who ride bikes or skateboards.
O’C: Did you experience any culture shock?
Azza: Yeah, a lot. In Malaysia we’d have our own bowl of rice and take our side dishes from the centre of the table, like a shared bowl but in Japan you have your own rice and your own side dishes. If you want more you’ve got to stand up and go for it. Also you use chopsticks so much, in Malaysia we use our hands a lot. Our rice isn’t sticky so it’s easier to eat. Malay people say that’s a better way to enjoy your food.
O’C: At school this year there were many events, what was your favourite?
Azza: Probably the school festival. We don’t have that in Malaysia. You practice here so much - like, you practice in summer and on weekends. In other schools, too, their festivals were amazing and so lively. There were a lot of things to see and do.
O’C: What did you like about daily life here at school?
Azza: You guys have your own locker and box and that’s cool because we don’t have that in Malaysia. What’s different between here and my school is that my school is very open - there are not many walls so when it rains sometimes the rain will come into my classroom or the corridor.
O’C: How did you make friends at school?
Azza: Here, at first I couldn’t speak Japanese so it was hard but as time went on and as I joined more classes I could make friends. Also, my buddies in my class who were my first friends here became my good friends.
O’C: How did you come to be good at Japanese?
Azza: Well, lessons, I guess. At school here you offer Japanese class and I needed that - I couldn’t study on my own. I couldn’t even understand the other exchange students. It’s not the best thing but it’s a good thing.
O’C: Do you have a favourite Japanese word or phrase?
Azza: No…there’s too many! ただいま - we don’t have that in Malay or Arabic. Back at home we’d just say ‘peace be upon you’ when we enter someone’s house, but ただいま is used just when you go into your own house. It’s warm. I like it.
O’C: Do you have a message for us?
Azza: Don’t study too hard! I know you’re studying so hard and that’s good and I’m really touched at how hard your guys work to get the results you want but have fun too. You can do both - don’t stop yourself from having fun because of studying.