View Full Version : Acute case of linguistic 'disconnectivity'

Oct 16, 2002, 13:28
From the Japan Times : Acute case of linguistic 'disconnectivity' (http://www.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/geted.pl5?eo20021014jl.htm)

It is just not possible, under these circumstances, for Japanese leaders -- let alone the Japanese public -- to understand what is going on in the world. It used to be said that Japan had a poor transmitter, but a good receiver in international communications. Both receiver and transmitter are clearly defective.

The debate about how truly "unique" Japan is has been going on for some time, mostly in unproductive directions. Where Japan does appear to be unique in the global era is in its disconnectivity. This isolation from the rest of the world is neither intelligent nor healthy.

And yet, I have never seen any country in the world with so many English language school per square meter. I meet everyday Japanese English students whose level range from beginner to advanced. Some of them speak very fluently (the ones that have studied a few years abroad) and find good jobs easily. How comes that the great majority of Japanese politicians and CEO's don't speak English (or any foreign language) at all, or can barely read a text with preparations. In Japan, one of the first thing any Japanese will be asked at a job interview is "what's your TOIEC score ?" (note that if you say you've studied in Cambridge, they might not know where it is). If you want to become a politician, as it is not a real job in Japan (a kind of hereditary mafia ?) you don't. Of course, the people elect you and you live on their tax money without fearing losing your job as there is no competitor anyway. Let's all become Japanese politician !

Oct 16, 2002, 16:16
Also, no other language is interspersed with so many English and pseudo-English terms.

That's a great article. It's startling to know that even Japanese foreign correspondents have difficulties in "connecting". It's obvious that foreign news aren't top priority for J-news channels, but the point is how can they convey a message home when they themselves are not able to grasp it?


Blind faith in numbers and stats, lol. Take my wife: her TOIEC score was high for J-standards, but she only became fluent in English once she started to live abroad (although she still uses some of these weird English textbook phrases that make both of us giggle).

@ politicians

Perhaps they are not on "hereditary" positions elsewhere, but political weariness seems to be a global problem.

Oct 16, 2002, 22:50
@ companies
Being a president or a CEO of a large company has nothing to do with what the company actually does. Most CEOs probably can't name most of their product lines. The benefits of a seniority system. Once you make it to the top you play golf, drink in very very expensive Ginza Clubs (As in very high class psudo Call Girls) and have the right to sleep through most meetings.

@ English availibility
I've always thought that Japan is the second best place to learn English. First being the main native English speaking countries.

@ English ability
Ability relates directly and only directly (most of the time) to memorized lists of nouns and useless esoteric phrases. Japan is still under Meiji Period mentality of which large useless vocabularies show a high level of awe. For some strange reason ability is rated by the length of your translation -- longer equals higher ability.

Probably the best speakers are those girls who everybody targets for being dirty, stinky, loose, and virtual prostitues. Hehe, many girls that are targetted as being scum at times are the ones who date Gaijin.

@ geography
Haha, Cambridge. Did you know that Hawaii isn't America?

Well, at least that test is much better than the Eiken system.

@ Politicians
The only politician that could speak English at least on a conversational level was Tanaka Makiko, but they fired her so she doesn't count. Besides!! What does speaking have to do with being a politician? Shessh

@ News
But those reporters are new recruit grunts. They can't report news in general let alone an import G7 meeting.

ughhhhhhhh, UPDATE!

Some dumb **** Tokyo University Professor is spewing refuse from his mouth right now on TV. English is used on the internet so pronuciation is basically a waste of time. While conversation is something that is fun and an interesting tangent to study. ...... This is reference to some kind of international Economics, I was busy replying to this thread so I didn't catch what the actual topic was but it definitely wasn't about studying English to begin with. NHK was the TV station.
NOW< you know why English will never be spoken fully by Japanese. You got fools with Doctorate degrees working at the NUMBER 1 University in Japan saying that you should write like this >>
KewL DudE.
LOL, I 8 @ 9 today.
IMO, this lamo is F.O.S!

Does anybody have a gun?

Oct 17, 2002, 00:02
That's good news for countless gaijin teaching English in Japan, lol: they're needed.

> Well, at least that test is much better than the Eiken system.

I wish they knew just how worthless this number is. I've read about the problems of the Japanese educational system in general and language education in particular since I've been to Japan for the first time. Politicians, teachers and a lot of other witty people agreed on how vital and urgent it would be to reform education to stay competitive, to adapt to the needs of the 21st century, blablabla...

Reminds me of the thread about economic reforms: it will never happen.

Oct 17, 2002, 00:11
Reminds me of the thread about economic reforms: it will never happen.

It will happen when Korean and Chinese will have higher income than Japanese. Let's wait a decade for the former and 2 for the latter (at least on the coast). Like Moyashi said, that will give time for the old politicians and CEO's to die or retire - and a generation to be sacrificed.

Oct 17, 2002, 00:12
Internationalization = English = Eiken = a list of nouns

@ countless gaijin
haha, they at least give houswives something to dream about ;)

@ educational system
"You can't teach an ol' dog new tricks." The teachers themselves don't want to change their cozy situation (some have told me this directly). They're not interested in making a system where they'll have to work more.

My buddy I work with really knows his stuff when it comes to teaching English to Japanese, he is also very in tune with what the students needs are and what their mentality in learning is like too. While I'm more of the typical happy go lucky gaijin teacher. Yet, my buddy will never be heard since the teachers are not willing to work to together and cooperate among themselves.

sad :(