I dropped out of a PhD in Experimental Psychology to do something in music, but when I got to Japan to study Japanese music, I found learning Japanese and teaching English was more interesting.

I had studied French in high school, and in comparison with math, physics, chemistry and English, I thought French was a non-subject.

However I was interested in language, using French to read French music magazines, and teaching myself some German to read about music in German.

I had also lived with an Aboriginal tribe in North Australia, but because they had mostly stopped using the native language (they could be regarded as having English as a First Language, or mother tongue), I learned only a few words from the native language that they continued to use.

So the effect of immersion in a second language had a big effect on me.

Trying to recreate this experience in Korea, where I went to learn a Korean vertical flute, the 短簫, to learn the Korean language, and to teach English, I found myself gradually becoming a full-time English teacher.

Teaching was very interesting. I was able to observe in others to varying degrees the same experiences I had had learning my languages.

This was very exciting. I regarded teaching as some form of performance, conceptual art. It is all happening in the mind!

But after 12 years in Korea, I decided I had to make the break and get out, or I never would. I wanted to learn Chinese. The relationship between Chinese and Korean and Japanese was very interesting to me, because it mirrors the relationship now between English and the languages of East Asia.

So I came to Taiwan. However by this time the rise of the Internet had sparked an interest in computers. In Taiwan I transferred my affections from natural language to artificial computer languages.

I spend very little time on learning Chinese and most of my time on trying to program in perl. See ComputerProgramming.

However I am still interested in the process of language learning and I still regard myself as a good language learner. I am less interested in knowing whether I am good at Chinese or not, and what level of Chinese I have reached.

Teaching in Taiwan has been a challenge. In Korea I taught company and university classes. Here I have been teaching slow, mostly-unmotivated learners. But I like a challenge. See ChinMin.

When I first got here, in 1999, I wanted to present the idea that learning is an experiment, the idea of the Learner as Researcher, to my students. They didn't understand what I was talking about.

I gave up.

This year, however, 10 years later, in my composition classes, I have found myself returning to this theme. Starting with self-image surveys, JohariWindows, and risk-taking stories, and proceeding finally to the writing of scientific IMRD reports about trying out and teaching each other listening strategies, I have successfully gotten my students to attempt to research their own learning and write it up.

My teaching has never been this good! I feel like I am at the peak of my career.

I like the feeling that there remain teaching activities to discover. Just like someone discovered Tetris, a game that hooked into people's enjoyment in getting objects to fit, I think we can also discover new activities that hook into people's desire to understand a different language and express themselves in it.