Nikolai Ostrovskij’s novel,
How the Steel Was Tempered 1936
-Remembering English teacher NISHIMURA Nobutomo-
When I was the student of junior high school, I was recommended Russian novel, Nikolai Ostrovskij’s How the Steel Was Tempered 1936 from English teacher NISHIMURA Nobutomo who was taught me the various things not only English but also books, language tools e.g. tape recorder, typewriter and above all the relation between language and world.
NISHIMURA invited me to go the school library that was at the east end of the building’s first floor. Now I did not remember why he thought me to recommend. In those days he frequently taught me many new information for me, for example, the new publication of English etymology dictionary of his university’s teacher OGAWA Yoshio, one of the most famous English education scholars.
I was 14 years old and he was mid-20s. Later I knew that he specialised Russian language at the university of foreign languages in Tokyo. So Russian literature was probably the most intimate foe him.
At the library he walked straight to the right hand window’s lower bookshelf and showed me the novel and handled to me. Of course I accepted his recommendation. Probably the novel was two volumes and the typography was rather small and hard to read through for my ability. But the contents was very interesting and I surely read over and very impressed. How I tell its impression to him, now I cannot remember. But by this chance, the relation between the teacher and me was became more strong.
He taught me the efficiency of tape recorder for language learning. The machine was SONY’s big
heavy one that was perhaps school’s equipment. And the other day he also showed me the typewriter’s usefulness.
One day he invited me to go to the English speech contest held at the central Tokyo area. The level was so high and I could not understand so well but this became the big chance to open the another world from the tiny world of the western home town. After the contest he went to Shinjuku with me to see Kinokuniya Bookstore that was one of the biggest in Tokyo. The building was not the present one but enough big for me at that time.
Time flied fast. I am now age 60s and he become nearly 80. He lives in the neighbouring town of my home, in good health and one time came to my home riding bicycle, when I was very astonished and felt very happy at meeting for a long time.
20 June 2013