Remembering Ritsuko Nakata

It is with great sadness that we share about the passing of our dear colleague, Ritsuko Nakata. The three of us were not just co-authors. We were the kind of friends who could pick up exactly where we left off, even after a long time apart. Over the 30 years we worked together, we shared the births of our children and grandchildren, some marriages, and some losses of dear friends and family.

We looked forward to working on every new edition of Let’s Go because we knew we’d have a chance to talk every day. People often ask how we divided up the work on Let’s Go, and the answer is that we didn’t. We all did all of it, together. Whoever had time wrote the first draft and we all revised. As we figure out how to go on without Ritsuko, we will be able to look at our drafts and ask, “What would Ritsuko say?” and be able to answer.

Many in ELT know Ritsuko for her teacher training and high energy workshops, and she was one of the best at both. She loved working with teachers. She also loved her family and was one of the proudest grandmas around. Not everyone knows that Ritsuko had a great sense of humor. When we were jetlagged and still working on a unit at 3 am in some hotel room, Ritsuko always seemed to find a way to make us laugh. That was just as valuable as her being able to look at a draft, identify what was wrong and suggest how it could be fixed.

Ritsuko leaves an incredible legacy, and we are proud to have had a chance to work with her. We loved her. We’re shattered at her loss. We’ll miss her forever.

Karen and Barbara

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