*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

東大 Blows

Went out with the native-wife and two older friends of hers last night for bits of endangered fish: no whale.  The husband of the pair is mid-fifties, speaks English pretty well,* and is the VP for a couple of countries of a Japanese automobile-related company you've never heard of.  He went to a mid-tier university, from a middle-class family, and worked his way to where he is.
A couple of tokkuri in#, he asks me about education.  Well, I am a teacher: I've taught elementary in Canada, and been a body in a Japanese JHS: AET.  He asks me what I think of Japan compared to Canada.  Now I'm in the position of being critical of my host's country, but since he'd lived in mine for a few years, and he's damned smart, I can't dick around with him either.  So what do I do?  I told him that my opinion may not match his, and it certainly doesn't match my own wife's, but here it is anyway.
Your elementary is better, but your junior and high school doesn't cut it.  You teach your kids far more information in elementary than we do, but you don't teach them to think later on.  That's no problem in elementary, because kids don't know anything yet, so how can they have a real opinion, and we're wrong about that in the West.  In JHS and HS, they need to think, not memorize.  Especially now that you can get information immediately, why bother to memorize: learn to find it and use it.
He smiled at me and said, "That's what I think, too."  He also told me that their Tokyo University and Waseda graduates were smart enough, but useless: always asking what they should do - never thinking on their own.  I have said this plenty on my blog; I have said this plenty to my native-wife; damn it was good to have him tell her this!  She has to listen to him, the husband of her senpai.  Japan's problem is those 'elite-university' idiots run the country, but that is little different than the 'Ivy League.'

*... a lot better than my Japanese, so I'm no position to criticize.
# I will always recommend good sake/nihon-shu over anything else for a less painful hangover, and warn you off bad sake for the worst. Do not even consider shochu, and nobody but Okinawans will drink awamori.


  1. I've often told my loved ones that I'd raise a child in Japan only until elementary graduation. JHS, HS and especially university in Canada seem MUCH better.

  2. You have a J-wife and hybrid kids? Try that argument with the J-wife... just try...

  3. My daughter did Japanese elementary school in Japan until the end of yon-nen-sei, but then I figured that Japanese Junior High was just too awful a prospect, so we decamped back to Australia to give her a couple of years to learn English gooder for the somewhat lesser trials of Aussie high school.

    But hey, shochu is fine enough, and those chu-hai thingys always reminded me of the premixed drinks you could buy in Australia that as a youth were known amongst the boys as "leg-openers".

  4. Ha. Had a friend who called them 'panty-remover'.