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bradstow2 comments

Posted in: Train operators refining 'live' foreign-language announcements ahead of Olympics See in context

I regularly use the Tokaido Line.

Sometimes I have to listen to the drivers' agonisingly bad English. The biggest problem is pronunciation. Although I have lived and worked in Japan for eleven years, I have GREAT DIFFICULTY understanding what the driver wants to say.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Driving in Japan: From obtaining your license to navigating the roads See in context

Japan is a country of contradictions. Children are taught the most rigorous traffic rules, but as adults ... Oh dear!

Zebra crossings here are a BIG DANGER ZONE. Drivers seem to think pedestrians are invisible. DO NOT assume that if you are on a zebra, you can safely cross.

Cyclists often use the pavement ('sidewalk' for Muricans). Very frightening.

Drivers here are so damn slow when the lights change!

Drivers here leave WAY TOO MUCH space in front of them when waiting in a traffic queue.

BEWARE old drivers. Very unsure and dangerous.

Old people on bicycles are a real danger. They wobble about and don't know where they're going!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Letters From Japan: 'Why must we visit my Canadian husband’s home every year?' See in context

Try to get your husband to compromise. Get a cheaper flight with a stop-over, (get a real live travel agent to help you), or go to two destinations: 5 days in Hawaii, 5 days in Canada, for example.

Are there any children involved in this equation?

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Japanese ships leave for 'research whaling' in Antarctic Ocean See in context

So WHERE are these research results? Do they have any national / institutional backing? Are they part of a respected corpus of valuable scientific knowledge that will contribute to the preservation of the species???

I think this is a load of fiction. Lies, in fact.

Cary Elcome,

living in (whale flesh eating) Japan

-1 ( +12 / -13 )

Posted in: Bringing the concept of 'real life' English into the classroom See in context

glories, NOT "lories"

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Bringing the concept of 'real life' English into the classroom See in context

Several of the comments make negative assumptions about the teachers.

When I taught in Laos, it was abundantly clear that most Lao would not have the opportunity to travel overseas.

Mickey Mouse, the latest Smartphones and movies were way removed from their daily lives.

What could they possibly talk about?

Exactly that! Their daily lives: families, friends, homes, parents' livelihoods, events and ceremonies, travels within the country, their futures... Plenty! The great propagandist "ambassadorial" nonsense is irrelevant.

Similarly, in Japan, many quite prosperous young men and women have no ambition to live or work overseas. They travel to exciting places in gaggles of Japanese together, shielded from anything close to being a real experience of the country by a bossy, Hitlerian tour guide.

So... there are a myriad CONTEXTS that can be explored for language development. A few photos that FIT the contexts might be fine, but they should not appear as the toys of arrogant foreigners, blasting off about the joys of life in the United States.

Teaching English is not an ego-trip for some slighty-more-than-backpacking young people from other countries, nor is it an attempt at brainwashing, expounding the phantom lories of other places.

It is about bringing people together to share ideas and experiences. It is about being able to motivate and excite learners to communicate with people anywhere in the world.

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Posted in: Can male commuters be charged with non-contact 'groping?' See in context

We're talking about a vast range of male/female behaviour here. "Sniffing??" You must be joking. Why do women (in other countries) wear perfume. Why indeed does anyone wear deodorant?

Prurient, perverted, GROSS male behaviour has always existed. Men in Japan are TOTAL demagogues/dictators (see the latest "doctor in the sumo ring" utter hypocrisy).

Because the bosses of education (= traditional, nationalistic/fascist, Imperialist) brown-nosing, just like the ministers, are all (or very nearly all) shrivelled old men with 19th century dogma and doctrine, women get a RUBBISH deal. Every time: glass ceilings, pay structure; even walking on a pavement, women step aside for men.

When will Japan realise that this is HATEFUL, DEMEANING behaviour? Do men feel they are more masculine because they touch up women (or even little girls), demonise them, use them, and sniff them?

Is there no romance??? Simply verbal, physical or sensory abuse?? For shame!! Women are NOT toys!!

(I am not saying it doesn't occur elsewhere. It does - and I'm not excusing it in any way.)


Teach BOYS to have TOTAL respect for GIRLS. Girls are not "property" or "sex objects". Those practices belong in the 18th-19th century.

Reform your civics in your education, and AT HOME. Husbands, show your wives equality and respect, so that your children will not be chikans or, humiliated, mentally disturbed young women.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Posted in: Japanese high school students fail to meet English proficiency target See in context

Insularity, arrogance and narcissistic neo-colonial attitudes are responsible. I have taught at a Japanese university and found an army of starchy, grey-suited greybeards using really antiquated methods to teach English. One "colleague" I heard as I was passing his class one day told his students with heavy finality "I talk. You listen."

Just as the Brits are/were infamous for their poor language skills, the Japanese suffer from a smug feeling of insularity and superiority. The issue of losing face is paramount, and concepts of global language, communicative skill and the sheer bravado of trying to express oneself in another language are totally alien here. The U.K., Australia, and to a lesser degree, the United States and Canada, are at the forefront of practical language teaching and learning worldwide, but the methods and techniques are contrary to the traditional classroom practices, ethos and atmosphere of Japan, where it is still common for teachers to deliver a sharp smack on the back of the head to the 'less attentive' pupils. Hardly conducive to a friendly, confidence-building feeling in a class ...

Of course there are proficient users of other languages, and Japanese diplomats and Kazumigaseki staff are given excellent intensive, practical training and courses, especially at the Foreign Service Training Institute in Sagami-Ono. Many scientists and researchers speak accurate English (particularly in their fields of interest), but the real issue is the shamefully low level of ANY foreign language among the GENERALITY of people. I can only echo what other contributors have said: "Start again. Watch, experience what other countries do" (But change some of your cultural barriers, too)...

4 ( +4 / -0 )

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