Masato: Audit Manager, Leading with Japanese
Professionals across industries and skill levels are sharing how they Lead with Languages:
“You can learn a foreign language as an adult and you can start communicating in that language knowing just a few hundred words.”
Meet Masato—an Audit Manager and CPA at Sikich, LLP
Language: Japanese (native), English (second)
Grew Up In: Tokyo, Japan (until age 16), U.S. (afterwards)
College and Majors: Knox College, Galesburg, IL (Bachelor’s in Music); DePaul University, Chicago, IL (Master’s in Accountancy)
Study Abroad: U.S. and Nairobi, Kenya
How do you use your language skills in your work/career?
My job is to look at a company’s financial accounting records to make sure they are doing things correctly. My clients are typically the U.S. subsidiaries of Parent companies located in Japan, so I communicate with my clients and their Parent companies in Japanese.
What is the biggest misconception Americans have about learning languages?
Regardless of the nationality, people seem to think that you have to start as a child to learn a foreign language well. Or that they have to speak it well to be able to communicate with people in foreign countries. You can learn a foreign language as an adult and you can start communicating in that language knowing just a few hundred words.
Do you have an interesting, moving, or humorous anecdote featuring your language skills to share?
When I came to the U.S. for the first time, I wanted to order a cheeseburger at the school cafeteria. I made a mistake pronouncing the word and it came out “cheesebarger.” The cafeteria worker had no idea what I wanted, although, to me, the difference was so subtle. I learned the importance of getting it exactly right, but at the same time, if I had had a heavier accent, people would have made the effort to guess what I might be trying to say. I chose to go the harder way ever since.
Check out our Lead with Japanese page to discover programs, scholarship opportunities, student stories, and more.
Then tell us how you put your language skills to work @LeadWLanguages on social media.