A chance meeting between Jarrod Hoare and Jen Gilbert at Monarto Safari Park in August 2020 sparked an idea that finally came together in May 2021: A Japanese language immersion tour of Monarto.

Most members of the JLTASA are familiar with Jarrod’s wonderful Japanese/English bi-lingual performances of Rakugo and kyogen, but he is a man of many talents: Jarrod is also an experienced tour guide at Monarto. With his customary enthusiasm for promoting Japanese language and cultural exchange, Jarrod readily agreed to conduct a Japanese language tour of Monarto for JLTASA members.

The logistics were complicated – a big enough bus to go through the lion enclosure, getting the required minimum number of attendees for a private tour and making sure that Jarrod was on the roster for the day of the tour – to name a few. Immanuel College supported the event by providing access to car parking and the departure point for those taking the bus from the city.

It was a unique opportunity for all the members who came on the tour and it really was a fabulous day. We had 20 members, including native speakers of Japanese and second language learners of varying levels of fluency. Jarrod’s bilingual commentary was accessible to all participants and many of the second language learners were greatly encouraged by this immersive language experience. And, of course, Jarrod’s engaging and highly entertaining manner ensured that the tour was a huge success.


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