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Special English zones proposed as part of Cool Japan tourism initiative

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In an effort to expand upon the "Cool Japan" initiative, a program intended to broaden foreign tourists' knowledge and understanding of Japanese culture and industries, a committee of specialists has submitted a proposal that includes establishing "special English zones" in large cities where English would be one of the officially spoken languages.

Tomomi Inada, the strategist behind Cool Japan, told reporters that the updated and more global mission of "Cool Japan" would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world, TBS reported Wednesday. The proposal includes 32 different plans to expand upon the "Cool Japan" initiative.

Specifically, the committee proposed establishing "special English zones," where English would be established as one of the primary languages in an effort to strengthen Japan's ability to participate in international cultural and economic exchanges in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Inada also said that companies within the zones that adopt English as their working language would be eligible for tax deductions, TBS reported.

Another suggestion is to provide funding to TV networks to increase the number of bilingual broadcasts and programs using English subtitles.

The panel also proposed the possibility of creating a new name for "Cool Japan" to be used as a universal communication word sometime in the near future.

Inada told reporters that she plans on submitting her presentation to each ministry in hopes that it will influence their budgetary appropriation requests in favor of the "Cool Japan" initiative.

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Specifically, the committee proposed establishing “special English zones,” where English would be established as one of the primary languages in an effort to strengthen Japan’s ability to participate in international cultural and economic exchanges in the lead-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

As long as these zones don't just turn into places where Japanese people go to practice their English on unsuspecting tourists, it sounds like a good idea.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

These "special zones" already exist. They're called Roppongi, Zama, and Narita respectively.

This sounds like a job for Fukupy!!!

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I remember practicing my Japanese conversation with.... Japanese people.

None of them seemed upset. I'll agree there is a time and place though.

This initiative seems a sensible idea. Foreign language education back home (an English speaking country) is on par with here when it comes to people who actually achieve some fluency through attending classes at school. In fact, probably worse.

But there are some areas that see a lot of tourists and there will be a higher than normal concentration of locals that can converse in foreign tongues. Quite often the case in a lot of countries.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

"...in an effort to strengthen Japan's ability to participate...in the lead-up to the 2020 Olympics." Please tell me the planning goes beyond the Olympics. Otherwise, this is just a matsuri. Also, if the word "officially spoken languages" is going to be used, I'd like to see what measures are being taken in the education system to prepare its citizens and youth for,the upcoming official English zones. But I guess overall this is probably a good thing.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There won't be many Japanese in these zones.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

Tomomi Inada, the strategist behind Cool Japan, told reporters that the updated and more global mission of Cool Japan would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world, TBS reported Wednesday.

Hmm...Will "cool Japan" solve the world's problems better than "rockin' America" or "hip France"? Like, hey man, world poverty is getting me down. Let's check out what "cool Japan has to say!"

The panel also proposed the possibility of creating a new name for Cool Japan to be used as a universal communication word sometime in the near future.

Yes. Changing the name of this world-saving initiative. Wait, universal communication word? What does that mean? I think they'd better start small and start over...then again, a good buzz word/phrase might save the world! Super Japan? Super hero Japan?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Traveling to a foreign country is all about the experience of new food, new places, new people and trying to communicate in a new language. I'd hate for these zones in popular big cities to pull tourists away from those small hidden gem cities who could use the tourism dollar. Don't be afraid of the challenge, tourists! You'll figure it out!

Now, adding Chinese/Korean/Portugese/English to some signs may help as is done at some major cities around the world, but I don't think the zones are necessary.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

"Cool Japan" is such a painfully uncool tagline that I always find it hard to get past the cringe in order to evaluate their initiatives on their own merit...

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Funny. I thought people like to come to Japan to see, uh, Japan. And not the Epcot Center.

Silly me.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

It sounds like a jumble of different ideas. What do companies using English as internal language have to do with tourism? And why support such a scheme with taxpayer money? Subtitling TV programs sounds like a good idea, it is certainly better than dubbing, but again, where is the link to tourism?

What about such simple, obvious things like adding more bilingial street signs and UI for the increasing number of ticket machines etc.?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

And why support such a scheme with taxpayer money?

Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the Suidae family of even-toed ungulates.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There are plenty of these "Special English zones " in Japan already ... They are called US Military bases. :)

4 ( +9 / -5 )

They assume that just because Japanese people like to go abroad within a safe, microcosm of Japan (i.e. a package tour), then foreigners, too, must also want to do the same. Heaven forbid tourists actually want to experience some of the local places, gosh, by themselves!

10 ( +14 / -4 )

I agree with Graham - bring back Fukupy!!!

Meanwhile - I have now given up on helping a friend visiting Japan for the very first time in October and wanting to experience a geisha performance and private dinner evening in Kyoto. Despite numerous attempts to mail them (in native-level Japanese), explaining who my friend is and that he would like to attend an event they have not bothered to reply. I wonder what the problem could be? Other than that he is foreign and a non-Japanese speaker. But surely that couldnt be the reason.....?!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nathalie

They are called geiko in Kyoto. Anyways, unless your friend is very rich, powerful or famous, OR a close personal friend of a client, they don't get to see real geiko.

Long live fukkuppy!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

a committee of specialists has submitted a proposal that includes establishing “special English zones” in large cities where English would be one of the officially spoken languages.

Should've done that 40 years ago. Are the Japanese any bit embarassed that major global news media still keep their Asian regional offices in Hong Kong despite the later's handover to Mainland China some 17 years ago? But not all's bad. I'll gladly speak to the local QTs in English.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Traveling to a foreign country is all about the experience of new food, new places, new people and trying to communicate in a new language. I'd hate for these zones in popular big cities to pull tourists away from those small hidden gem cities who could use the tourism dollar. Don't be afraid of the challenge, tourists! You'll figure it out!

Even speaking the language, getting around those gem cities is still not easy. Admittedly, I've never had to ride on the roof of any transport while keeping an eye out low bridges, or wait until the means of power finished feeding on some hay (or worse).

That said, I can't notice how very few foreigners (zero) go to some of these places, including long term expats. By "places", I mean places of significant historical and cultural interest. Same with hiking. So far, I've seen one foreigner besides myself off the (moderately) beaten path, and he was there with a Japanese friend who took him (not there through his own interest).

Not having a go at those people, regardless of nationality, that do stray from the usual areas, but I think this whole "I'm cool because I've done something different" crap is so very tired. Westerners in particular subscribe to this silly narcissism.

Changing the subject - one of the best initiatives I've seen is the JR Rail Pass. (if you're coming from overseas obviously). Pure gold.

Getting back to the language issue, my sister traveled around the country with a notepad. She just drew a picture every time she wanted something. Simple but effective.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Biggest problem is getting the visitors out of Maccas and Starbucks. I spend about 4 months of the year in Japan, and still only speak very basic Japanese. I have found that the most interesting things are off the beaten track, but don't usually have a problem with communication. If I do, the easiest thing to do is write your request down, and the problem is usually solved.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

While I broadly support any attempts to create better understanding of Japanese society, culture, industries etc for foreigners, the whole "Cool Japan" campaign is the antithesis of "Cool".

A committee, meeting , discussing and deciding what constitutes "coolness" is so "Uncool".

A name change is to be expected.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

NathalieB: Meanwhile - I have now given up on helping a friend visiting Japan for the very first time in October and wanting to experience a geisha performance and private dinner evening in Kyoto. Despite numerous attempts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onsen_geisha#Post-World_War_II

Geisha banquets in onsen towns are markedly different from geisha engagements in the traditional hanamachi of Kyoto and Tokyo. Whereas geisha parties in Kyoto are usually small affairs in teahouses with five or six geisha, onsen geisha usually entertain tourists in the banquet halls of large hotels, often with sixty or seventy geisha in attendance. The modern surge of tourism, expendable income, and capitalization has caused onsen geisha, who historically entertained groups similar in size to those in Kyoto and Tokyo, to increase to these large affairs.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Great idea, but I can see the guys in black vans targeting these things

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

"Cool Japan" will always be a cringe-worthy slogan. Sounds like it was thought up by a guy in his late 50s. He probably does a double thumbs up whenever he says it too.

Tomomi Inada, the strategist behind Cool Japan, told reporters that the updated and more global mission of “Cool Japan” would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world, TBS reported Wednesday. The proposal includes 32 different plans to expand upon the “Cool Japan” initiative.

What are these "32 different plans to expand upon the “Cool Japan” initiative"? I would have thought that would be a major part of this story.

Also, even by just briefly glancing through the "Cool Japan Initiative" information. I found dozens of spelling/grammar mistakes.

http://www.meti.go.jp/policy/mono_info_service/mono/creative/file/1406CoolJapanInitiative.pdf

Maybe before they start all these grand plans, they should get themselves in order.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

"would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world"

This one made me laugh.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"special English zones" is such a laughable idea. how about simply introducing English conversation classes in jr high and high school? get rid of grammar translation as the primary method for learning English.

i think tourists like the fact that there is a language barrier. they have to be quite inventive in order to manage ordering in a restaurant or asking people for help.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Tomomi Inada, the strategist behind Cool Japan, told reporters that the updated and more global mission of “Cool Japan” would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world

Who better than a published author to tackle this mission?

Check out this list of accomplishments: "Watashi ha Nihon wo Mamoritai" (I wish to keep Japan), PHP, 2010. "Nihon wo Shiisuru Hitobito" (Criticism to people trying to destroy Japan), PHP, 2008. "Hyakunin-giri Saiban kara Nankin he" (The trial against the false tale of killing 100 people contest, and the fiction of "Nanking Massacre"), Bunshun-shinsho, 2007

Source: http://japan.kantei.go.jp/96_abe/meibo/daijin/inada_e.html

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Meanwhile - I have now given up on helping a friend visiting Japan for the very first time in October and wanting to experience a geisha performance and private dinner evening in Kyoto. Despite numerous attempts to mail them (in native-level Japanese), explaining who my friend is and that he would like to attend an event they have not bothered to reply. I wonder what the problem could be? Other than that he is foreign and a non-Japanese speaker. But surely that couldnt be the reason.....?!

Are you serious? Not even a Japanese would get a private dinner unless they were rich and famous. If you have to mail them to make contact, you are probably looking in the wrong spot and a simple google search would help you find a service providing private or group dinner with a "geisha".

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think people would spend time in these English Zones thinking they would learn by osmosis. Look for more crazy ideas as a result of the Olympics.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Same with hiking. So far, I've seen one foreigner besides myself off the (moderately) beaten path, and he was there with a Japanese friend who took him (not there through his own interest).

Which is kinda true; and really sad. One of the best things about Japan is all the wonderful hiking trails. Granted, it takes an hour or so from Tokyo, but in Kobe it was quite literally at my doorstep.

Farther afield, Japan is a mountainous archipelago, with some of the best mountaineering on the planet -- if you are a foodie. One of my best memories was going on a day-hike while camping somewhere in Gifu, and coming across a mountain top cafe that had pizza from a wood burning stove. Really good, not even counting how hunger make the best sauce.

Turns out, the gal who ran the place was one of those types who fell in love with something, and went to some corner of Japan to make her dream.

Man, I miss Japan!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Good for them.

Ignore the haters.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

I just don't get how a made-up zone speaking English helps tourist to understand and broaden the knowledge of Japanese culture while eliminating what I consider is the core of the culture, Japanese language.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

They assume that just because Japanese people like to go abroad within a safe, microcosm of Japan (i.e. a package tour), then foreigners, too, must also want to do the same. Heaven forbid tourists actually want to experience some of the local places, gosh, by themselves!

And yet... well, just go to Kyoto.

Nara, not so many. Not so famous? Perhaps there's a connection.

Places like Saga or Kochi or Shimane, zilch. Even quite famous places. The locals were quite obviously surprised to see me, and surprised I could understand them. That's how many brave adventurer foreigners go there.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

I hate it when you go to a country for visit or life and one you get either the person trying to change the country to accommodate them or you get the country trying to bend over backwards to accommodate your foreigness. How about you learn to deal with you are in a foreign place where you have to learn the language and not the language has to learn you.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Good for Japanese businesses and their ability to exist in a global world.

Not too bad for tourists, although I think these will be business zones in this case.

Good for short-time English-speaking foreigners who can find jobs before they're comfortable communicating in Japanese, but on the other hand - these biospheres will make it harder to integrate into Japan. Anywhere outside of the zones will become Japanese-only.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Also: http://blog.gaijinpot.com/foreigners-speak-english/

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How about you learn to deal with you are in a foreign place where you have to learn the language and not the language has to learn you.

Some people just want to visit different places and don't have the the time to learn each language. Now if you are talking about gaijin working in Japan that don't learn the language, that's a different story.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

is this means that Japanese language is not part of "cool Japan"?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

These Zones won't expose foreigners to Japanese culture. They will instead expose Japanese to foreign culture in the form of the English language.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is just another bizarre, misguided, out-of-touch government initiative that is bound to be mishandled and go nowhere.

Nobody is going to pay any attention to this.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

These Zones won't expose foreigners to Japanese culture. They will instead expose Japanese to foreign culture in the form of the English language.

They will also expose non-otaku Japaneseo to the otaku culture, perhaps.

2 ( +3 / -0 )

@JTDanMan

Man, I miss Japan!

It's still here :-)

And you're eligible for the JR Rail Pass too, no?

Nothing like nice food with a view. I'm always surprised to see "cafes" in unexpected places but am grateful for the fact.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

'....the updated and more global mission of “Cool Japan” would be to make Japan a country that creatively tackles challenges that face the world'

As good an example of the expression 'hot air' as I've come across. What are these people talking about?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@MissingCylonModel

Also: http://blog.gaijinpot.com/foreigners-speak-english/

If she's that fluent, and upset (over a trivial thing), she'll know how to say shut up (or worse).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Never going to work until they do three things.

One, create a kawaii mascot to push it.

Two, name some washed up tarento as the Zonest to have their cardboard cut out along with the kawaii mascot at events promoting the zones.

Three, use the media to indoctrinate mothers that they just have to take their brood to the zones in order to be Cool Mothers Japan.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes, perhaps an Island for merchants or a Gaijin Ghetto. Nothing says welcome to foreigners like a cultural quarantine.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

like booth/stall at a market, will wind up as soon as 2020 Olympics games are over.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

budgie:

LOL! Bulls eye

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Nothing more humiliating than having special engrish zones, which is what I'm sure they'll turn out to be.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Does that mean they'll speak English then? Not the "Special English"

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Lame!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Oh, Japan...... Brother and family visted few years back. They headed straight for the unbeaten paths speaking NO Japanese at all and had a blast ordering and fending for themselves.They picked up some words and had great experiences. Completely avoided English speaking areas. Daughter just returned from a visit to a country with a completely unfamiliar culture and two languages spoken and hardly any English. Had the time of her life with local people and was really happy to try to adapt to their culture and traditions. Picked up some basic greetings and money-related words. People go to other countries to learn something and see something different. Why travel if everything is familiar and like the "shopping mall" back home? Zones.....didn't Japan already do this in the early 1900's with Tsukiji, and Yokohama "Zones" for foreigners and later Karuizawa for foreigners in Japan during WWII? I am leary of Zones for certain types of people. I will opt to "zone out" in 2020 as much as possible! Hope it works out for everyone, though.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

How can Japan expect to increase tourism when the people they hire have no clue whatsoever. Inada, and this "Cool Japan" initiative is just plain idiocy.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There goes the neighborhood!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan needs a cheap, nationwide Wi-Fi service. This is something that visitors expect, but will not get. Either something you can log on to for a fee or one of those silly portbable Wi-Fi boxes, which could be hired for a week or two.

I know that some visitor Wi-Fi app was launched recently, but it seems to be of limited effectiveness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm sorry, but if I'm traveling abroad, I don't want to be around people who speak my language. I want to see the country, not an imitation of my country.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Japan needs a cheap, nationwide Wi-Fi service.

There are already 3 different (nearly) nationwide Wi-Fi services.

Just need to get them English and other language friendly in time for the Olympics.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree with others travels are to explore/experience different things.

Recall staying on an remote Greek island and for 3 weeks we never saw another foreigner or heard anything except Greek.

Not one for the Club Med holidays where people hardly ever leave the camp,

2 ( +2 / -0 )

" where English would be established as one of the primary languages..."

Shouldn't it be THE primary language if it's a special English zone? And I hope they make sure the staff in said areas practice it first. Some good ideas with expanding English on signs more than it is at present, with subtitles, and more English programming, as well as the tax cuts (so long as English is genuinely used and promoted, not where it's just said to be the language used when it's only used in emails to overseas companies or subsidiaries).

"As long as these zones don't just turn into places where Japanese people go to practice their English on unsuspecting tourists, it sounds like a good idea."

Agreed.

As for changing the name from "Cool Biz" to something 'universal', how about using your own language to promote something Japanese? And by the way people cling to the term 'cool biz' and talk about it's success overseas (it's not, actually, a successful term overseas... nor is Mottai nai or omote nashi, although credit due to the latter two for not corrupting loan words when a few people overseas used them). Choose an actual cool, actual Japanese name (or create one) and if what's being promoted is actually considered cool, it will stick and be adopted. "Anime" is now the preferred word for cartoons in many places (and most definitely for Japanese animated shows/movies), and manga is used here and there, so it can easily be done with all the cool things that can be showcased here.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

When I go abroad, I usually try and avoid anything to do with my own country, and avoid at all costs ending up in a tour made up of my fellow countrymen. I want to experience something with a fresh mind and immerse myself totally. Japanese is not that much of a problem, facial expressions, pictures, mannersims and gesticulation help get the message across (like pointing at a written address, your face confused, usually means "hey help me find this place please"). It then all depends on whether other people want to help you even if you cannot express yourself in their language. It is an adventure though.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

These special zones sound like they'd become a magnet for "special" people intent on playing the role of Eigo dorobo parasites.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Next thing you know they'll start rounding up the English speakers and making them live in these "Special English Zones". For some reason that doesn't sound too unrealistic ... I mean foreigners are equal to Japanese ... umm ...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Japanese propensity for having things neatly labelled and put in their place is reaching new levels.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

i think the proposal and incentives for companies adopting English internally is to get more of the population more comfortable and proficient at English and thereby more likely to approach tourists or converse with foreigners on the street, hence making japan more tourist friendly/ helpful... that's the idea behind this scheme.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

All jokes aside.

When Nagoya had the Aichi Expo I worked at the Aichi Science and Technology Foundation. We were asked to provide English speakers to help. I and an Indian fellow volunteered. We were told exactly this, "Oh no, we want Japanese volunteers so we can show Japan has international skills."

To make the story short, we went to see how the Japanese volunteers managed. One was in tears because she was so frustrated she could not understand what people were saying. One guy walked off and went home because he told us at work later that it was senseless. The Brits, Yanks, and Aussies just spoke too fast. What was so unfair is that the poor folks barely could manage to say hello and were forced by the top dogs to go to "Show off Japan's international skills."

I hope and pray those who are Japanese and are forced volunteered by their companies to participate can actually communicate in English because if not then this will be a huge waste of time and tax payer money. Bear in mind, the 2005 Aichi Expo cost Aichi and the city of Nagoya billions of Yen and made only the pols and bureaucrats money. I feel this will be the Olympics in 2020. Cost the tax payers a literal fortune and benefit only the chosen few in industry and government.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've been told time and time again that the majority of Japanese have received several years of English language instruction in school but are too shy to use it. If that's the case, rather than 'cool' zones, an initiative to encourage locals country-wide to use what they've learned would be more natural. I doubt foreigners coming to Tokyo for the Olympics will take time to learn Japanese in advance. Since this is considered a first world country, they'll probably assume that English is spoken widely.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@jforce

Had to chuckle at your post as, basically, this has already been proposed by immigration "reformers."

1 ( +1 / -0 )

These are some of the lamest comments I've ever read. You folk obviously haven't got a clue.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Since this is considered a first world country, they'll probably assume that English is spoken widely.

Monoglot assumptions? Try shouting, why don't you..?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Like many others have said, most people won't want to be in an English only zone and if you are only going to a country for a week or so. It is easy to get by with a few greetings and common sense. I wouldn't be surprised if these zones were really a way to establish areas that can be used to promote importing foreign workers and keeping them from disturbing the 'harmony.'

As for making the Olympics more foreigner friendly, the most effective ideas I think are free wifi (like someone suggested) and companies, tourist attractions and cities to make better English websites. People often look for places they want to go ahead of time, but navigating Japan's streets is hard even if you speak Japanese. online maps would help a lot. Online information about what can be seen can eliminate a lot of questions from guests and make them feel confident to travel around.

And, of course, more than rushing to make people fluent (when no one has any spare time to study English), find a way to make Japanese believe that even broken English is enough to help a foreigner 90% of the time. Focus more effort of current high school and university students who will be the perfect age come the Olympics. Also, throughout Japan there are actually many housewives who speak good English, they could probably volunteer during the Olympics. Heck, convince companies with bilingual Employees to 'donate' them for those few weeks.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I love Japan because it is Japan. Not some English speaking country. If you want to speak English, stay in an English speaking country... Please don't change Japan...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For decades, many have lamented Japan's inability to attract foreign tourists.

First, I am not so sure Japan isn't tourist friendly. Everyone I know, and I mean everyone, who goes to Japan remarks how:

It is safe, easy to get around; the people are really friendly. wonderfull is Japanese culture -- both traditional and current.

The people I know span the human ranges in age and national origin, and gender identification. I am often surprised by the amount of gushing, and about the kind of things even normally serious, even stolid people will enthuse. For example, I personally think Japan's city-scapes are ugly. Yet, I recall once while taking the discount bus to Kansai airport, I met a fellow from Turkey who simply could not stop blabbing about all the bridges and overpasses.

And everyone I know can't get enough of the service. "They bowed when we got off the elevator!" (Except Koreans, which do the same.)

People used to complain about how pricey things were, but that was decades ago.

So, yeah, I am not so sure why more people don't visit Japan.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

JTDanMan: So, yeah, I am not so sure why more people don't visit Japan.

France, etc., adjacent to a lot of countries and so easy to get to. You can visit a bunch of countries on one trip. And a lot of incest going on, EU people visiting other EU countries.

Japan adjacent to China, SK, that's it. Still gets a lot of tourists from those places, even with the recent arguments, I'd bet. But for most other developed countries, you have to fly a good distance to get there. And if you're looking for combining trips, that'd be Japan + China, two big trips into one instead a bunch of little trips into one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

In a wprld of 'Englishes', which English?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A plethora of negative comment here! Regarding HOW Japanese youth can gain truly communicative skills; a bit off the usual track, west of Tokyo, is Kawagoe. This city has glorious history and takes great pride in making it accessible. Tokyo International University is there. TIU is using creative and unique methods to teach English. Students truly practice; research techniques, critical thinking, comprehension, and speaking skills. TIU has a branch in Oregon, on the west coast of the USA, where students take course at their Sister School of Willamette University, the oldest college west of the Mississippi. Japanese CAN gain try English skills....but to do so they must be brave and step out of their comfort zone. It is to be hoped any non-Japanese living or visiting Japan is willing to do the same, however considering the upcoming Olympics the priority of raising English levels is understandable.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

"Cool" belongs to temperature, not to skills of speaker. That's why, in particular, the whole idea looks out pretty stupid.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Graham, you forgot, Yokosuka, Zama, Yokota, Atsugi, and every other area outside a military base.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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