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

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Japanese on English is like Americans on healthcare.

And that's an achievement, of a sort.  The link below wouldn't be worth reading, except the one article encapsulates most of the fallacious arguments for Japan's poor... pathetic?... ludicrous?... English performance.

Abe assaults Japan’s culture by forcing English language

The arguments, such as they are, are entirely refuted by every nation successful at foreign language learning:
- "Most Japanese graduates will work for Japanese firms in the domestic economy."  If they get work at all...
- "domestic companies should have equal access to highly educated graduates who may either be barred from university because they fail the English requirement or refuse to subject themselves to the requirement and, thus, forgo university."  First of all, 'highly educated' in Japan means the opposite of 'innovative', as in: what Japan requires.  Second, if a non-Anglo has had university education and speaks no second language, they are an abject failure (if an Anglo, a failure of a different kind).
- "A better policy would be to offer scholarships, funded by the corporations, to those students who desire to learn English and show individual initiative and English proficiency in high school.  This would result in a more dedicated body of students and create an environment of competition and excellence."  Nope, they stay abroad, marry Gaijin, and/or work for foreign companies in Japan, because you won't accept them back and treat them as a threat.
- "[Japanese] is the means by which the Japanese culture is transmitted from one generation to another...  To speak Japanese is to be Japanese."  'There's your problem.'
- "many – especially English-speaking foreigners – would argue that the Japanese need to talk and think differently (mostly so that these foreigners don’t feel so…well…foreign), it is not for them to determine."  Guilty as charged.  I couldn't give a fuck how you make me feel, and I am out of here, but you losers aren't.
- "The threat to the Japanese culture is the wholesale conversion of the educated class into English-speaking and English-thinking after this policy has been in force for a generation."  Yeah, just like the multi-lingual, split-personality Dutch and Nordic peoples.  Dumbfuck.  Listening to Japanese talk about language-learning is like listening to Americans talk about healthcare.  Fuckwits, everybody else does it better.  Look abroad!
- "Rather than allowing mismanaged and bankrupt banks and companies go under when the asset bubble burst, the government bailed them out at the expense of deflation and economic stagnation....  This English language policy is no different."  Yeah, about that, you know how South Korea's and China's business people speak English?  They are also kicking your ass.
- "the damage done to the psyche of the Japanese children... by forcing them to learn a foreign language, children quickly figure out that the Japanese language is not sufficient in this world  [because... it isn't].  The next step in the logical thought process is to assume that being Japanese is not good enough [because... it isn't].  Perhaps it is already evident in the general malaise found in the Japanese youth."  No, that's probably got to do with the structure of your own culture, and the decline in all Japanese indicators of a life worth living.  Just saying...
- "The government is supposed to be inhabited by the best and brightest that Todai can produce…and this is the best they can do?"  You don't even realize what you have just said.
- "It is not because the Japanese people are lazy or too stupid to learn another language.  It is because they are Japanese and proud of it."  Bullshit.  They aren't.  Japan's like the kid posturing at school because he's a redneck loser, except Japanese can't fight.

Fucking Gaijin is the only way to really learn English for Japanese, but of course, then they learn too much to be 'good Japanese' anymore.  On the other hand, since 'tail' is the best motivator for cultural exchange, maybe this is the textbook they should use...  Yankee would become the most fluent.


  1. Posting merely to agree with everything, as usual. And also to note that I've seen that picture of the textbook doing the rounds and regardless of whatever is in the rest of it, it couldn't be any worse than the ones usually used in schools.

    Plus if I could figure out a way to show a manga version (or indeed any version) of Full Metal Jacket in class without getting fired I so totally would.

    "No Yuki, not me, it's I. I'M so horny. Repeat after me class..."

    1. I was seventeen when that came out, and that also seems to be about when I realized I was a complete putz for having slighted the two lithe Chinese-Canadian girls I was friends with... too late. %$#@!

  2. Who the fuck wrote that article? Maybe they should've also mentioned that without using keigo nobody would know their place in the social structure and OMGZOINKS might start thinking for themselves.

    1. If he's Japanese, we've all been harangued by that kind of dickhead, whether we wanted to hear him or not. If he's a Gaijin he's beyond help. We've met those too.

      "A family community for the Japanese heart": anything with '日本人' and '心' together is going to be a steaming pile of '糞'.

  3. Like cops in the States being glad there's so much crime which makes their employment necessary, the native-English speakers working in Japan are so very happy that the Japanese keep getting it so wrong...

    1. Pays the bills, but a bit soul-crushing that you're pissing into the wind.

    2. I'm gonna NOT read that article because I feel good about Japan and stuff...and..I just....I just wanna keep it till it goes away naturally....

      I read a sign like it came outta Silence of the Lambs or something just today.

      "It rubs the tissue on the seat...."

      Didn't even phase me after all this time and then I read this post...and NOW I'm gonna go read the fucking article cuz the soul..."it smashes the stone on the soul".....fuuuuuuck!!!!!!

    3. Don't take it like I'm shitting on English teachers. I've been one, both in Japan and in Canada. And there are even Japanese you can reach, though damn few of the males or the adults: which is to say just about none of the men. I couldn't do it anymore, though.

  4. *shakes head*
    There is a little girl (probably should be in kinder or 1st) that doesn't speak a lick of English OR Spanish!!! She speaks Mixtec and only Mixtec. I offered, with great difficult (using Spanish and English words and hand signals) to teach her and her mom English FOR FREE. They both declined... Some people just want things to stay as they are... no matter where they are. I honest to god dragged my jaw on the floor the whole 30 feet back to my front door.

    FOR FREE!!!!!
    Also fuck American Healthcare/Health Insurance. (Speaking from someone who actually has insurance it's utter shit.)

  5. I want to print this one out to have it to read over and over again to remind myself that I'm not crazy.

    Poetry to my ears. I feel as if I've had the off chance to listen to superheroes letting off a bit steam after they've picked out the remaining fragments of kryptonite and washed away any collateral residue. The heroes are sitting at the bar, for the most part, having a drink of whatever they damn well please before heading home.

    It's funny you mention the 'structure' of the culture. I hear it a lot, the bitter complaints typically coming from older men here, the complaint that Japan's woes are due to the nation being too 'Westernized'. Which is utter bullshit, a total cop out. Overall, it's the closed-mindedness of those redneck-ish types - like you say.

    The general populations' English would be much better off if the majority of the people who taught it had a shred more in the way of competence. The way it stands, most of the 'teachers' I've met have been horrified at the thought of straying from the text...for fear of being shamed for not doing what everyone else is doing. Or being exposed as not knowing how to do what they are supposedly trained to do.

    I don't see anyone who is not a 'ware-ware' in this wa's great chain of stifling hierarchy.

    Thanks for the post.

    1. The deficiencies of French education in English Canada are similar in certain ways, but without the peculiarities of Japan's neuroses with the whole outside world. The Japanese would be less conflicted if they were like 'The Hitchhikers' Guide"'s Cricketeers.