The article is probably based on someone who has been living in the urban areas of Japan. Yes it is true in urban areas many Japanese will speak English to you if you try to communicate with them in Japanese. As someone who has spent many years in rural Japan I can tell you it is almost the complete opposite. Many Japanese will speak to you in Japanese. Many can't speak English so won't reply to you in English. So there is an argument out there that the best way to learn Japanese is to live in a rural area. You can get good at speaking Japanese after 3 years provided you have spent a lot of time with Japanese people. Some foreigners speak excellent Japanese, many don't. Reason why? The foreigners that speak excellent Japanese have probably studied 10 times harder than you and spent a lot more time speaking in Japanese with Japanese people. There are no shortcuts. I speak excellent Japanese but it took me a lot of hard work to get there. I've met other foreigners with excellent Japanese and it took them hard work too. The thing I noticed is I see a lot of foreigners with Japanese wives who don't speak Japanese well despite the long years in Japan and having partners whose native language is Japanese. It goes to show you can have all the tools at your hand to master Japanese but if your not truly prepared to make the efforts required you won't master it.
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Posted in: The art of moving