“So how did he get to the point where he works all day in English, and routinely has to present some pretty hard-to-explain ideas in English? Language learners take note.
“Shadowing, but shadowing in real life,” Ushigome says. “As we speak to each other in my mind I repeat what you say, sometimes I would even say out loud what the other speaker said, which must have been supercreepy, but it was really effective.”
One other aid that really helped Ushigome — probably more than just with language, but also with culture and fitting in — was binge-watching on British comedy. A friend and colleague recommended him to watch “Peep Show,” a long-running sitcom on Channel 4 in Britain.
But Ushigome is likely to have watched Peep Show like no one else.
“Every episode I watched three times: First, just as it was, the second time with subtitles and the third time I stopped every time there was a punch line.”
What he did next is funny if you picture Ushigome in his flat in London pressing pause and play: “I Googled why it’s funny.” He had to do this every other minute, and admits that jokes delivered via Google were not funny, but he was taking note of every new word and phrase as well as shadowing throughout.”