Iris Linguistic Agencies: About


Behind the creation of I.L.A.

I feel like I’ve woken up from a long sleep. People say that we will be what we want to be, however as a child, I didn’t know what I wanted to be. I didn’t have a dream or a goal, and so the people’s saying was right. I didn’t become anything special. In fact, It feels like I’ve been in one long sleep, without a dream, but all of a sudden I’ve woken up. I’ve woken up with a great dream!

Now, it is the time to act! I feel like I don’t have enough time to do all of the things what I want to do in my life, but I know that I will be happy as long as I always believe I am the best that I can be….

Iris linguistic Agencies was created after I took a great detour in life to learn English. My dream and the goal of this company is to help others realize that they also can be what they want to be. The services I provide by recruiting individuals to teach English in Japan, teaching Japanese to instructor candidates and recruiting students to study English as a second language will help the dreams of both those who would like to improve their English and to teach English come true.

I was born in Japan, and I graduated from Fukiai High School in Kobe. I went on to study English at Mukogawa Womens’ University. After graduating from the university, I worked for Toyo Kyodo Kaiun, a ships’ agent, in Kobe for a while, and then moved to Shanghai, China to study Chinese language. I lived with about 30 other Japanese students in a dormitory at Shanghai Teachers’ University, and I learned enough Chinese to be able to carry on a simple conversation with Chinese people. I then moved to Beijing Teachers’ College to continue studying Chinese. This time, I tried to isolate myself from other Japanese students to force myself have more opportunities to speak in Chinese. That is where I met a Chinese-Canadian lady who brought me to Canada, inviting me to her wedding in Vancouver. After I lived in Vancouver for six months, I hitchhiked with a friend to Halifax in the summer of 1990. I fell in love with this city, and decided to move from Vancouver to Halifax, where I have lived since that day.


My working holiday visa was switched to a working visa thanks to the good Japanese-Canadian sales/liaison job I held back then, and I became a landed immigrant in 1994. Starting with Suisha Gardens (which no longer exist), I later worked for several other Japanese restaurants and other local Japanese and Canadian businesses helped me to make a living.

Over the years, I struggled to improve my English because I had only studied English at the University in Japan with no opportunity to converse and interact with native English speakers. After I moved to Canada this was a big challenge for me. Eventually, I managed to speak and write English at a sufficient level to be accepted by the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design to study visual arts. I wanted to learn how to communicate with people visually, because I still had trouble fully expressing myself. I still remember that I wrote this as my reason for applying to N.S.C.A.D. University.

My career as a sales/liaison person lasted for 15 years (Seagulf Maritimes, Karlo Corporation and Blue Water Agencies, and then I worked for Acadian Seaplants Ltd for one year as a sales manager.

I finally became mature enough to realize that who I am today is a result of all the friends I have had in the past and present, all the former bosses who hired me, my family, and all the mistakes I have made. All of these have had a great influence in my life.

Today, I am more involved in my community of Halifax through volunteer work at the Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I volunteer to show a part of my appreciation to those who have been supporting me to help me become the self sufficient, financially independent, caring and strong person that as I wanted to be.

I sincerely appreciate for all who have supported me on my way to becoming who I truly want to be, and those who continue to support me as I begin to realize my dream.


Yoko Irisawa
Owner, Iris Linguistic Agencies