One Driver for My Japan Business

Friday, 7 Apr, 2017

My business gets business because Japanese are not so good at English.

With due respect to those Japanese who are fantastic speakers of English, my business eSolia gets business because Japanese speak English poorly. We act as an ombudsman between overseas businesses and their branches based in Japan.

An article in the Japan Times this AM, “Japan’s latest English-proficiency scores disappoint”, proves my point.

Having watched my kids grow up in the school system here in Japan, there is such a focus on memorization still, that there is just no way they could end up proficient in English.

You have to learn a language like a baby does - through sound and repetition. That’s always where to start, not by slogging through soul-crushingly long, eyesight-destroying lists of English vocab. Kids in Japan have vocabulary, but it’s all in their head. They mostly can’t speak, because they don’t speak in class. Their Japanese teachers are no better, and sometimes foist their awful, embarrassing pronunciation on their classes. I’ve seen that nonsense first hand.

The Gov’t of Japan has been paying lip service to better learning of English since I came here in 1987 (damn, that’s 30 years this August!), but I’ve seen only modest improvements. It’s because of the illogical focus on rote memorization.

Monbusho just never change, do they.