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It is rare to be interviewed twice for this column. But Hitomi Hitayama, president of the executive Japanese language school Japanese Lunch, deserves the space because she has kept faith with her book project for so long. Also, the result — “Breakthrough Japanese: 20 Mini Lessons for Better Conversation” — is a very good book.

“I began thinking about an English language book to teach Japanese in 1989,” says Hitomi, dressed in signature black and with her bicycle parked outside Bunkamura in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, where she lives and works. “People kept saying my lessons were so original I’d easily find a publisher.”

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