G.B.C. sample answer: Where did you grow up?
Today I want to look at a very common question in the G.B.C. interview. It is surprising how many respondents, when asked about the place where they grew up, have very little to say.
It is important with a question like this not to just give a list of the features of your hometown, such as "It was a big city with a lot of buildings, museums and restaurants." That may be true, but it is not very interesting and doesn't use very inspiring vocabulary. It's far better to give a personal view of your home village, town or city.
So, here is the question (or rather questions) that we are going to look at: Where did you grow up? Was it a good place to live?
I decided to give two example answer to this; one positive and the other less so.
Answer One: I like my hometown!
I grew up in a city called Yokohama, which is around 30 kilometers away from Tokyo, making it very accessible to the capital. One of the most interesting things about Yokohama is that it is the oldest port in Japan and there is definitely evidence of foreign influences, especially American and British. As a consequence, it is not a typical Japanese city, and this made it a really interesting place to grow up. Walking around, you will see a lot of brick buildings and English-style gardens and this adds a fascinating diversity to the place. Nowadays, it is a very modern place with a lot of facilities for young people, and you will find the malls and restaurants packed with a young and vibrant crowd on the weekends. It is a far cry from the area of Tokyo where I live now. I’m lucky enough to be able to go back to see my parents regularly, which I really appreciate.
Answer Two: I don't really like my hometown...
I grew up in Hikone, which is in Shiga Prefecture. It is a perfect place to live for elderly people but not so much for younger people as it doesn’t have many places to play or explore. However, it is surrounded by forests so it is excellent for walks. When I was younger, I wanted to live in a bigger city because there are much better facilities and also educational and work opportunities. My parents still live in Hikone so I used to go back to visit them regularly when I lived in Kyoto. Now that I live in Tokyo, it is much more difficult to visit Hikone frequently due to the distance. To be honest, I don't miss Hikone, and I certainly wouldn’t like to go back to live there now. Perhaps when I retire, I’ll appreciate the peace and quiet of the city and go back there to settle down.
Both of these answers are good because they offer a very personal point of view rather than a list of all the advantages or disadvantages the cities have to offer. Although the vocabulary isn't particularly sophisticated, it is clear and descriptive. All in all, they don't sound like a tourist guide book - they are authentic and original.