Luca Toma: Japanese language coach
I work with motivated learners of Japanese who are struggling to make progress in the language.
I offer a totally tailor-made coaching service to overcome stumbling blocks, get back on track and achieve faster and more efficient results.
How I started learning Japanese
From an early age I have had two main interests – art and foreign languages. They have always had a strong impact on my life choices in terms of the places where I have lived so far. However, Japanese has always been one of my greatest passions since then.
Hence my decision to learn the language, but in an era when the Internet was not so widespread, finding materials in my native tongue (Italian) was not easy.
I came to a solution during a school trip to Rome.
I bought a guidebook of the city in Japanese, together with its Italian translation.
This was my textbook for many years to follow. I used to relentlessly copy portions of text from the guidebook in order to compare them with the Italian version, helping myself with a little Japanese-English dictionary.
Now that I think back, it was an amazing process of guessing meaning and decoding. It also helped me acquire an extensive vocabulary during that early stage of learning the language.
Nowadays, there are so many courses, blogs and resources available that people simply feel lost and don’t know where to start.
It was better when we had little choice.
From wannabe graphic designer to Japanese language teacher
Once I graduated from high school, I enrolled in a four-year Japanese program at Venice University.
This program allowed me to develop a good foundation in the language.
I had written a dissertation on Japanese graphic design, and got so interested in the topic that after graduating from university I soon moved to Japan on a scholarship.
My mission was to master the language, become a famous graphic designer and live in Japan!
With that goal in mind, I enrolled in a master’s course in Graphic Design and studied very hard (since all the subjects were taught in Japanese) for two more years.
While I was there, I happened to work part-time as an Italian language teacher.
That was the biggest turning point in my life!
I soon realized how much I loved foreign languages, and that realization led to almost 10 years spent in Japan teaching English and Italian at two major universities.
In the end, I had opted for a different career, but my dream of learning the language and living in Japan had come true.
And yet, something was missing. Suddenly, I felt an urge to help other people learn this beautiful language.
Time to leave Japan, move to London and be trained as a Japanese language teacher!
From language teacher to neurolanguage coach
With my new qualification, I was lucky enough to teach Japanese at various European universities for about five years… but to put it simply, something didn’t feel right again.
Wherever I taught, I could see students losing their initial motivation, struggling to make progress and feeling stressed by tests and exams.
Definitely not the scenario I had envisaged!
At that time, I started to be part of a huge international polyglot community, so I was experimenting new techniques for learning Spanish on my own.
I clearly felt a gap between the way I was supposed to teach in schools and the more natural approach I was using for Spanish.
I felt helpless…
Until the day I discovered Neurolanguage Coaching® and the possibility to get certified.
I literally jumped at that opportunity; I quit my job at university and obtained my certification.
As a neurolanguage coach, I can now combine tools from traditional coaching with the knowledge that we now have from neuroscience about how our brain likes to learn, and help people learn in a more natural, effective and faster way.
During individual sessions, my students exploit their unique learning styles and interests in order to keep themselves motivated and overcome frustration, confusion and other stumbling blocks.
With clear goals and actions, people working with me soon realize that, despite its complexity, learning Japanese can be a very fun and enjoyable process.
After almost 20 years years abroad, I’m now back in my hometown (Lecce, South Italy) and mainly work as a freelance online language coach via Skype.
Find our more about Neurolanguage Coaching® here!
Beliefs and Values
The key to efficient Japanese learning?
YOU – and only you – are responsible for the goals you’ve set for yourself, not a teacher.
As my dear friend and accomplished polyglot Luca Lampariello always says:
Languages cannot be taught. They can only be learned.
No matter what your beliefs about language learning are, learning happens only if YOU are in control over the learning process.
I can help you find out how to exercise that control and assist you in making progress with your Japanese.
Other facts about myself…
In addition to language teaching/coaching, I also love translation – the art of recreating a text in another language (Italian, in my case).
Since 2000, I have translated almost 200 Japanese comic books (manga) for a major Italian publishing company. I’m proud to have contributed to giving an Italian “voice” to many great works.
In my free time, I enjoy practicing Japanese calligraphy (shodō).
My fascination for the Japanese script made me pursue this extraordinary art until I obtained a certification as ‘calligraphy master’ (shihan shikaku). I now hold regular calligraphy workshops in the area where I live.
Finally, I am also keen on learning new languages. Apart from Italian, Japanese and English, I also speak Chinese, Spanish and French.
My current mission is to learn German and Albanian!
Education and Training
2015 Certified Japanese Language Coach by Efficient Language Coaching Ltd. (a training institution accredited by the International Coaching Federation)
2009 MA in Applied Linguistics & Language Pedagogy (Japanese) – University of London
2004 MA in Japanese Art History & Graphic Design – Tama Art University, Tokyo
2000 BA in Far Eastern Studies (Japanese & Chinese) – Venice University, Italy