jpn_guy comments

Posted in: World Rugby to decide on Sunday games 'as soon as possible' after typhoon See in context

Yes, the typhoon cannot be helped.

Yes, maybe even the day after the typhoon their may be disruption and it may be unsafe for spectators to be wandering about. Ganbare Japan also makes a good point about police and emergency services being exhausted having worked through the night.

So just fly the teams down to Kyushu and play behind closed doors in the stadium they used today for the Ireland game. That could be organized in a New York minute, surely?

World Rugby, (not that you will be reading) why exactly can you not do this?

"Because they signed an agreement...."

That doesn't necessarily mean it is a good agreement though does it?

You are being ridiculous.

I would love Japan to win the whole tournament, but If Scotland are removed due to a 0-0 draw against a team they have never lost against in their history, then it puts a massive asterisk against the rest of the competition.

It makes it meaningless really. Why tune in to watch a competition when one of the teams have been randomly removed for non-sporting reasons?

If by some miracle, Japan then went all the way, it would also tarnish their achieved meant.

People saying that it is fair because Japan beat Ireland and Scotland did not are also not making sense. The issue is whether Japan can beat Scotland, surely. Four years ago, Japan threw everything at South Africa and won. We loved it. But did they have enough in the tank to repeat the performance and get through? They did not. History is repeating itself here. Japan threw everything at Ireland. Have they got enough gas left? You can't just let them breeze on through without stopping to find out. It is simply unsporting.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: World Rugby slams Scotland legal threat over typhoon-hit game See in context

Scotland did sign up to this 0-0 for 2 points rule before the WC, if they didn’t like it, why did they sign?

Because if they did not sign, they could not have played in the World Cup at all?

It is the textbook example of being forced to agree to something unreasonable under duress (rather like how the Olympics demand host countries change their laws to forbid all and any taxing of Olympic profits).

This does not make it right.

As other have pointed out, the typhoon has been known about for days. And everyone has also known since time immemorial that the whole of Japan cannot be hit be a typhoon at once. When the conditions are unplayable in Tokyo, there will be no typhoon in Kyushu and vice-versa. This knowledge should surely have been at the heart of the contingency plan.

these threats of legal action at this time kind of turn me off Scotland.

That is rather mean-spirited, I think.

The World Cup is every four years. For some players who were not picked four years ago and will not be picked in four years time, this tournament is the highlight of their professional lives.

Can you imagine that? The single biggest event of your career cancelled because someone could not be bothered to make proper arrangements?

And then you also have to deal criticizing you for complaining about massive damage to your sporting career?

Leaving aside the fans who will be inconvenienced no matter what is done (although to be fair a postponement of a few days rather than outright cancellations would at least allows some of them to make it), think about the players.

Is it really too hard to imagine that they would be absolutely bereft if they were sent home in circumstances like this? Think of your own professional life. Put yourself in their shoes. How would you react to similar sabotage of your professional opportunities?

(Also, saying this is the biggest typhoon for decades etc. etc. is just camouflage, since it looks this was the contingency plan, even for a much smaller typhoon).

4 ( +9 / -5 )

Posted in: Fans frustrated as typhoon disrupts World Cup See in context

What do you say to people who flew in (domestic or from abroad) or came in on Shinkansen to see the match, and have fixed tickets? Will the Rugby organisers pay their transport and hotel fees for extra days?

I agree it is not a perfect solution. But at least some of the people planning to see the match would have been able to watch i.e. those that were planning to be around anyway a few days after the game.

Canceling means no-one gets to see the game. So while, as you rightly point out, a postponement is not perfect, a cancellation is surely even worse.

Don't get me wrong, I like Japan and want them to win. I also think a little a little massaging of the schedule to help the home team is fine.

The tournament benefits from having the hosts in the later stages.

So I don't object to Japan getting a long rest between each scheduled fixture (tournament schedules always favor the host, it is natural). However, if you have already employed differential rest periods, it makes no sense to then use differential rest periods as an argument against rescheduling these typhoon-affected matches.

You can't use a certain strategy for one goal (maximizing host participation in the tournament) and then claim it is not fair the week after.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Posted in: Fans frustrated as typhoon disrupts World Cup See in context

The inability to hold the games is scheduled cannot be helped, of course, given the danger.

But Japan is a very organized place - usually the day (or at least two days) after a typhoon the sun is shining, the trains are running and everyone is going about their business.

Can they not postpone a day or two?

Everyone knew it would be typhoon season.

We were told there were contingency plans.

This is the contingency plan?

Simply canceling games?

Maybe a straight cancellation fits the dictionary definition of "contingency plan", but I don't think this is what fans understood when they heard contingencies for typhoons would be in place.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Posted in: It's all Greek to Japan star Tamura at Rugby World Cup See in context

While this is an entertaining and light-hearted article, the idea that Leitch and Tamura cannot communicate is not true, surely?

Michael Leitch is a 31 year old Japanese man who has been living in Japan for 16 years since the age of 15.

While not a native born Japanese, he is Japanese none the less. His spoken Japanese is impeccable (as you would expect after going to school and spending half his life here).

He is regularly interviewed on live television in Japanese. I think he has spoken with the Prime Minister in Japanese numerous occasions. Why would he be speaking English to someone who does not understand it?

To write a headline "it's all Greek" and follow it with an article about two Japanese men who can obviously speak to each other in Japanese plays on the trope that non-Asian looking people can and never will understand Japanese, and by implication, don't really belong in a society that revolves around the language.

Labuschagné is a different matter, having taken advantage of the three year residency rule to represent Japan. As a thirty year old South African, who arrived three years ago, it would be surprising if he spoke great Japanese. This is nothing to do with non-Asians struggling to learn Japanese specifically, and everything to do with people in their late 20s struggling to pick up a new language anywhere.

Labuschagné and Leitch have completely different life stories. Please don't throw them in the same box non-Japanese speaking box just because they both look "foreign".

This is not to disparage Labuschagné either. He is just following the opportunities presented by the rules and it is great to have him on board.

In any case, the initial interview with Tamura in Japanese was referring to trouble speaking to Labuschagné specifically.

日本は主将のリーチマイケル(Michael Leitch)の他に、アイルランド戦とサモア戦はピーター・ラブスカフニ(Pieter Labuschagne)がゲームキャプテンを務め、PGの前に田村と長く話し込むことがあったが、田村本人が7日、その内幕を明かした。

I can see why one could get confused here by the roundabout sentence structure and lack of a subject before 話し込む (hanashikomu; speak to at length) but the above Japanese translates as follows:

"While Japan's squad captain (主将)Michael Leitch, Pieter Labuschagne was on-field captain(ゲームキャプテン) against Samoa and Ireland. He [Labuschagne] had long discussions with Tamura prior to penalties. On October 7th, Tamura revealed what went down".

So let's please avoid contributing to the "only native born Japanese can ever truly understand the language" myth and give Leitch his due. Thank you.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Supermarket throws away bench because of sales tax hike See in context

@fxgai -

You misunderstand this.

When kurisupisu writes "it is a most punitive tax on the poor", they are not saying "let's have no taxes because it hurts the poor" or whatever else you are trying to say in your comment.

The point is a problem with the consumption tax specifically.

Clearly, the poorer you are, the larger the percentage of your income goes on daily necessities like food, toothpaste and toilet paper, you know, the things all of us have to buy just to live, irrespective of our financial status.

A flat tax on daily necessities means that poorer people then pay a comparatively larger proportion of their income in tax. That is what is meant by "punitive tax on the poor". No-one is saying, as you seem to claim, "let's stop the government from collecting tax!"

It's clear if you think about it. A billionaire probably spends a fraction of 1% of their income on food (I mean the food needed for sustenance, not the luxury meals and champagne that they don't have to buy if they don't want to).

However, a quick Google shows that a poor family can spend anything up to 40% of their income on food. The percentage spent on food obviously rises because the total income is smaller. But we all need to eat to survive so the poor family cannot avoid these purchases (without stealing or receiving charity).

Clearly then, if there is a flat tax rate on daily necessities, the tax paid by poorer people (as a percentage of total income) rises too. As a result, the poor are being forced to give a larger proportion of their assets to the government than the rich.

This is the exact opposite of how we should organize society and taxation.

Think about income tax. The more you earn, the higher percentage you pay, as you move into a higher tax bracket. While there is argument over what the top rate should be, most sensible people agree that the system of progressively higher rates is fair (and necessary).

The above logic is why in the UK, Canada, and other more progressive nations, there is O% sales tax on food and other necessities, which is how it should be.

The LDP presumably feels guilty about this too which is why they are messing around with this 8% or 10% nonsense with complicated exemptions.

But even with the exemption, the 8% is still 8% more than it should be.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Posted in: Users tell us they don't want their children to see tattoos. We don't want Japanese customers to leave us. See in context

Welcome to Japan!

Please spend your money, do exactly what we tell you, praise us for our politeness, and then go home.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Posted in: Court rejects damages suit over same-surname after marriage rule See in context

A number of posters mention last name issues for children of international marriages.

As a non-Japanese guy, there is a genuine argument for swallowing your pride over keeping your family name going and giving your children your wife's Japanese surname.

While in certain circumstances (assumed) English ability and international experience are advantageous, if you think that two resumes, one with a katakana surname and one with a kanji surname , get treated exactly the same in all lines of work and all places of business, you are not paying attention mate.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Posted in: Japan fans explode with joy after Ireland upset See in context

I was cheering the Japanese team with my Japanese family and nearly shouted the house down on the interception at the end when Japan looked like running in a breakaway try. But my delight at Japan's victory does not mean I have to suspend my observations of reality.

Ganbare Japan writes "Rugby is extremely popular in Japan, especially at high school and University level', responding to a poster questioning the sport's popularity here.

This reply shows a lack of perspective. Yes, it is true that, within Japan, high school and university rugby make up a large proportion of the rugby played. But the overall pie is small and, from another perspective, the relative popularity of high school and university rugby is simply an indication of a failure to develop widespread adult popularity. The number of amateur rugby clubs (especially away from Tokyo) is absolutely tiny. As far as I know, there are exactly zero amateur rugby clubs for adults anywhere within around 50 or 60 miles of my town. This situation is replicated across the country. So to claim "rugby is extremely popular in Japan" is not actually true. Top league attendance figures are also way way below soccer and baseball.

In fact, in complete opposition to what Ganbare Japan writes, the Japan rugby authorities have been reflecting on their failure to galvanize support for the sport following the prior win over the Springboks four years ago. That is not my opinion, that is simply what the rugby association themselves are saying; they did not harness the momentum from that win to generate grassroots interest.

We can be delighted that Japan won without making up facts, surely?

It is also true that, before the tournament started and no-one knew how Japan would get on, the coverage in the media was nothing like what you would expect for an international event of this magnitude. Japanese TV shows, particularly the daytime magazine shows, are famous for given blanket, minutely detailed coverage to certain selected issues. The rugby world cup was not ignored, of course, but it did not, in advance, get this blanket media treatment at all. In fact, this was something else that the rugby authorities themselves were complaining about. In fact, in the run up to the opening ceremony, news of the event was scant, with one leading news item instead reporting on the keying of two dozen parked cars in a car park!

So it is not poor taste, I would say, to note that there is a significant component of "bandwagon jumping" going on here, as observed by one of the above posters. Of course it is natural that everyone gets excited at a surprise win, so it is not really a criticism to say that people are bandwagonning, simply an observation that before Japan won, lots of people were not paying attention to this event at all.

Would you not say that we can a better understanding of news and events when we do not simply cheerlead relentlessly irrespective of the facts? One of the problems with a mindset like that is that you can never look at anything objectively and think about possible solutions if you are, for whatever reason, ignoring reality in the first place.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Posted in: Stand and be delivered: Japan's evolving escalator etiquette See in context

Interesting that a sub-argument has developed over whether people say excuse me when trying to leave crowded trains or just push there way out, with one poster even going as far as to say that those who don't here "sumimasen" can't understand Japanese properly.

I have been here more than 20 years, use Japanese professionally every day, and can tell you that I have been pushed/shoved/elbowed in complete silence on trains in Tokyo on way more occasions that I can count.

Obviously, as some lines are ridiculously crowded, it is exhausting trying to say "sumimasen" to everyone, but it is bizarre to read some posters deny that this behavior happens at all.

Some people just have to jump on and deny anything that is even slightly critical of anything that happens in Japan. This is very odd.

Anyway, the silent pushing and shoving is certainly way ruder than you could get away with in many other countries.

This is the route of the escalator problem. Sometimes people, who are accustomed to silently pushing to get of trains, just try to push their way past someone on the "wrong side" of the escalator. That could be potentially fatal for someone who can only grip the handrail with one or other hand.

These are potentially serious incidents, but are infrequent. It seems like taking a mallet to crack a nut to get everyone to stop walking because of this. How about just telling people to stop silently pushing?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Financial watchdog probes Japan Post Insurance over fraudulent sales of insurance policies See in context

As other posters have suggested, the comparison between this case and Nissan is revealing. Admittedly, the title of this piece does correctly use the word "fraudulent", but look at the article where blatant criminal activity is described using as "mis-selling" "mismanagement" and "improper sales".

These are deliberate and egregious criminal acts designed to illegally boost profit at the expense of the victims of the scam. Why does the whole tone of the piece act like this is some sort of administrative error?

If you speak Japanese, you will know how the Japanese language coverage is even more evasive.

The contrast between media coverage of alleged crimes committed by those with establishment connections and alleged crimes committed by non-Japanese could not be greater.

All of this plays in to the myth that Japanese people are inherently morally superior to foreigners, contributing to the default assumption that, should trouble arise between a Japanese and a non-Japanese, the former is in the right and the later is in the wrong automatically, absent absolutely obvious, damning and unavoidable evidence.

In fact, even when such evidence is visible, the foreign may still be vilified as in the case of the former Olympus Chair Michael Woodford who was criticised for revealing wrongdoing by others.

People looking at Japan and its safe society from afar often wonder why so many foreigners who become fluent in Japanese appear to have sizable chips on their shoulder re: certain aspects of Japan.

They may wonder why some people on this board deny obvious truths like "Tokyo is a comparatively safe city".

The answer is that they are fed up to the back teeth with being told the world is divided into Japanese people and non-Japanese people, and the former are, as a matter of course, of nature and of DNA, more moral and upstanding than the later.

When you here this over and over again for decades, and see the media support that notion through loaded reporting such as the above, it eventually starts to grate, let's be honest.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: Couple killed in car crash; wife's body taken to hospital 5 1/2 hours later See in context

RIP to this couple and condolences to their families.

While it is hard to believe that no-one noticed the lady in the passenger seat, I would agree with posters above that, rather than the failure to find the deceased, the bigger problem is the Japanese government's willingness to allow on the road cars so structurally deficient they basically pancake on impact with larger vehicles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: Weather watchers record 30 C at 6 a.m. at marathon starting point See in context

Interesting to see all the people logging on (many who are presumably Americans?) to call the Japanese organizers morons, either unaware or just not remembering that one major whole reason the Olympics have to be held in August is to satisfy the demand to maximize advertising revenue by holding the Olympics when it does not clash with the NBA, MLB and NFL (as well as EPL, UEFA and other competitions admittedly).

The IOC is a big driver of this but I would imagine the US broadcasters lobby quite heavily not to have the Olympics in the fall as it would hit them in their pockets too.

So while it is true that Japan lied in the bid about Tokyo's pleasant summer climate (or whatever the wording was), they are hamstrung with the August dates which are dictated by the IOC / broadcasters due to circumstances outside their control.

I might add that, whatever Japan claimed in the bid, it should not have been too hard for the bid committee to spend five seconds Googling Tokyo's actual climate.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

He wanted to build a theory of SLA based upon first language acquisition, which language researchers now realize is both inappropriate and simply wrong.

Yet we do not learn a new language unconsciously—the basis of Krashen’s personal theory.

This is too simplistic a rejection. Clearly an adult looking up a word in a dictionary is performing a conscious act. But don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Simple observation tells us that language usage is underpinned by unconscious processes.

If you summarize an hour long speech in your native language, do you remember the original speech word for word. Of course not! But can you summarize it? Of course you can. Do you have completely conscious awareness of how your brain has distilled the stream of speech you can not longer remember into ideas you can summarize? Is that process really conscious?

Why can an expert in a field learn a new word related to that field after hearing it once? Why does a native speaker with no conceptual network in the same field fail to "hold on" to the same word and repeatedly forget it? What is governing this association between semantic networks and phonological memory? Is that relationship conscious?

When you are in full flow at a dinner party in your native language, are you consciously recalling grammar points and usage rules as you speak? Is the control of your delivery conscious?

Since any truly proficient second language speaker can do all of the above iIt follows then that they must also be employing unconscious processes in their L2 usage.

The question (which I am sure you have already thought of) then becomes, to what extent are all the processes that allow us to employ the above unconscious processes themselves also unconscious?

I guess this is where the disagreement creeps in.

What do we require to do to kick the above unconscious processes into gear? Clearly, in the case of an adult, some of the work, like the above example of looking up words in a dictionary and learning basic grammar rules to even begin comprehending a text, is conscious. Attending and focusing on input is also conscious. But the end result of these conscious processes is an unconsciously controlled performance competence, as per the above examples.

Do conscious leargnig directly produce the unconscious competence?

Given the number of people who fail terribly in attempts to acquire a second language, I would argue not. There seems to be some interface in between.

I think that there must be unconscious neural reorganization processes preparing the way for the unconscious performance competence. Whether any given individual succeeds in achieving unconscious performance competence depends on whether their language learning method does or does not successfully provoke this reorganization.

Individuals who employ mass input methods appear very successful in provoking this reorganization (see Matt vs Japan as one anecdotal example)

Those who harness masses of comprehensive input can kick start the "language engine" that leads to the ability to perform the task above.

More importantly, masses of comprehensible input is the only input that feeds the unconscious brain reorganization processes required to produce the unconscious competence. That is why people who learn using inferior methods only achieve true competence after moving to and immersing in the target language. The methods they have initially used are not sufficient to start the engine running.

I don't think you can deny that learning a second language is a matter of acquiring unconsciously controlled performance competence, since no-one can speak while explicitly recalling all the rules.

Again simply observation tells us that language acquisition is, by definition, a process or "rewiring" the brain".

Krashen is correct to identify the 1) sequence masses of comprehensible input 2) provoking unconscious acquisition processes 3) leading to unconscious performance competence.

This applies to both L1 and L2 learners so I would argue that your blanket statement that "L2 acquisition is not the same as L1 acquisition" is not true, at least not at this level of abstraction.

You quote Schmidt's model as if it negates Krashen, but this is a misunderstanding. Schmit's model of attention and noticing is simply a prescriptive model of what you need to do to build and feed in comprehensive input in the first place. I don't think Krashen says that there is no need to even pay attention to the stimulus. That of course is a given. Suggesting that the comprehensible input theory means you do not have to interact with the input is a misunderstanding based on the theories association with unconscious learning. This happens later in the sequence.

For a child, the comprehensive input is situational and context driven. An adult, particularly learning alone or in isolation from the target language community, needs other means to build the comprehensible input (which must be audio if we are learn to speak).

As adults learn to read faster than they learn to listen and understand, bootstrapping listening ability from text you can already read (by looking up words and making sure you understand a text completely before listenig to it repeatedly) offers and accelerated way to generate the comprehensible input.

Clearly, this is qualitatively different from who children build their input, but once the input is in place and being fed into the engine, the way the brain reorganizes and labels the internal mental map of concepts using the information provided is substantially the same in the case of both children and adults.

This is the approach employed by lingq.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

@Byte Carp

If you can read a lot of Japanese already, but struggle with listening, you want transcripts with audio, lots of them. Go through the transcript to make sure you understand it all. Then listen while reading. Then remove the text. You can do this with multiple texts over months. There is no rush as the ability to comprehend the audio without the text takes a long time to take root. This method, as you can see, harnesses the principle of comprehensible listening, so you are never listening to what you don't understand. It works for all ages accept the under 12-13 age bracket, since of course kids of that age cannot learn to read faster than they can learn to interpret audio. However, anyone of any age (right into retirement age ) who can learn to read and interpret new vocabulary faster than they would be able learn and remember it purely by ear can benefit from the above "bootstrapping method".

The website lingq (which has a lot of extraneous features, like coins and avatars to appeal to kids - you can safely ignore these features) has reams of transcripts with accompanying audio for just the above kind of controlled "listen to what you can already read" listening immersion. It is based on principle of comprehensive input, so in that sense is a direct child of Dr. Krashen. There are texts (with parallel audio) for all levels of learner.

I've not used it for Japanese, but Japanese is one of the options. You need to pay for it though ( I won' write anymore in case this gets removed on suspicion of being an ad. I am not connected with the site).

Good luck then.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

The downvotes on the above comment are interesting.

Who really thinks it is actually a good idea to give children, who are already confused about the structure and usage of a language, multiple choice tests so that they spend a lot of time reading sentences that are grammatically incorrect (or incomplete in the case of fill in the blank type exercises).

(As I mentioned, let's hope this is not actually what will happen with the foreign kids learning Japanese. Maybe someone from the Ministry is reading this page and will heed this advice?)

Well, I guess since it is common practice in language education in Japan to perform all manner of tests using incomplete linguistic fragments, and these are techniques that have been used down the years to force millions of children to waste millions of hours, someone somewhere must think it is a good idea.

I've never heard anyone explain why though....

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

--although they can spout the elements of the Natural Order hypothesis, they simultaneously espouse the value of multiple-choice grammar questions that target, for example, the third-person singular 's' in the early years of L2 English learning

This is a very important point. Multiple choice questions by definition introduce children to (or at least encourage children to look at ) grammatically incorrect answers, "scrambling their input" as it were. They are numerous variations on this, such as reordering incorrectly ordered sentences and the like. There is so much to be gained from simply eliminating all such exercises and making sure a child only ever sees pure, unadulterated correct sentences.

Maybe the Ministry won't be testing foreign language learners of Japanese like this.

Maybe the above worries are completely unfounded and an institution that has absolutely no idea how to teach foreign language to its own citizens will suddenly start employing effective techniques when teaching its own language to foreign students.

With apologies for piggybacking on this post, seeing kids with an incomplete model of English struggle through testing that further confuses, rather than clarifies their internal model of the language is one of the reasons why I claim the Ministry of Education is in no position to be teaching language to anyone and has no idea what they are doing.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

If the above response is TLDR - here is the short version.

The above comment on the ministry's lack of understanding of language learning issues very much applies to late teenagers arriving with their parents and no Japanese ability.

They will have their confidence and ability absolutely destroyed by, for example, Japanese teachers trying to teach them detailed Japanese grammar points in bad Portuguese / Spanish / Chinese.

Perhaps I am completely wrong and that is not their approach.

But if the Ministry had knowledge on how to implement good monolingual instruction to older children, why would they no be applying that knowledge to the disastrous state of English teaching.

That is why the evidence suggests they are lacking in that knowledge.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

Speaking three foreign languages, I often get animated on this topic, so it is a shame that one poster reads a long (and what I thinks¥ is a well though out) contribution and their first response is to point out a single spelling mistake which I have corrected underneath anyway. (we could do with an edit function JT? )

Anyway, the above contribution is long, but everyone of these points applies to teaching Japanese to foreign kids in Japan, at least those over a certain age. I can imagine 14 to 15 year olds with no Japanese turning up with their parents, struggling, and the Ministry deciding they need, for example more grammatical explanation in their own language not less, as this is the approach they take with English.

I have not seen the details of this program, but if the training of teachers includes supplying more teachers who are proficient in the children's native language, then we will have a double-edged problem as the teachers will likely be terrible at the language they think they can use to help the kids, due to the above structural problems in the teaching of all foreign languages to Japanese people.

The basic experience of the Ministry of Education is grounded in teaching English. They have much more experience, in terms of years and numbers of students, than they do in teaching Japanese to foreigners. And they are making a complete mess of it.

It stands to reason they will have no idea what they are doing teaching Japanese (at least to older children) as the principles are the same. Why would a body that is so poor at guiding the teaching English suddenly start teaching foreign languages effectively just because the language has changed?

If the teaching is provided all in Japanese and targeting younger children who will learn a lot from non-structured immersion anyway, then perhaps some progress might get made (perhaps despite rather than because of the Ministry who I would not trust to oversees a decent curriculum, even one aimed at younger kids).

However, all evidence suggests that children, particularly older children, particularly those arriving with no Japanese ability in high school, will not be well served by Japan's bureaucrats.

If you doubt the deep structural problems of English language education in Japan are transferable to other language learning settings, see, for example, how much verbal Chinese ability the university students studying Chinese have.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Posted in: We need to establish new qualifications for Japanese language teachers, ensure Japanese language classes are available in all parts of the country, and that there is cooperation between universities and companies to create and utilize educational programs for foreign students. See in context

As shonanbb, say, the work of Dr. Krashan is the way forward. Sadly, his influence is lacking in Japan.

The education ministry in Japan are the very last people in the world who can speak with any authority on language learning.

Language education in Japan is atrocious, focused on the study of rules (often arcane and complex) to the exclusion of large volumes of natural input. If you have smart people who cannot speak after 12+ years of study, clearly your method is wrong (I know we all know this).

Massive input based learning (as advocated by Dr. Krashan) is indeed the most effective way to learn a foreign language as a non-native non-child speaker.

The text books and lessons have way too much Japanese explanation. Each grammatical point is explained to death rather than acquired in context. Students go on to study more complex grammar before they can effectively use and combine the points they have already "learned". All this results in a discreet selection of unconnected explicit knowledge, which is of little use to anyone in the context of a normal conversation with a native speaker. The network of unconscious associations required to speak fluently simply does not kick into gear with the grammar translation method.

When students in Japan are taught a grammar point (often in isolation, and years after they have learned related points, meaning they have already forgotten then and therefore cannot combine the old and new, they learn with too few examples - there is not enough meat in the sandwich, through recombination and repetition, for students to get their teeth into.

Separately, people still spent too much time translating. To translate something, you need to understand it. If you already understand it, then translating it is wasting your time (it may provide a useful means for the teacher to check progress, but does not help the learner).

Further, no attempts are made to gradually contextualize listening. For example, you can start with something easy you can read, at first listen while reading at the same time, and only when you can go that gradually remove the text. Only as you learn to listen and understand with no effort and not text what you also read without effort should you then gradually move into "cold" listening. By cold listening, I mean where you are just hearing something for the first time and trying to figure it out. Too much cold listening is soul destroying. If you don't understand something, you can listen again and again. You won't magically understand it unless you work your way into the text as described above.

Almost as bad as the failure to avoid going straight to "cold" listening is the failure to do much listening at all.

Without listening practice, you might learn to say a few phrases, but you certainly won't understand the unscripted reply.

That is where the massive input comes in.

In short, everything that could be wrong with foreign language education in Japan is wrong (at least re: teaching English) and if the same lack of knowledge is applied to teaching Japanese, the result will be failure.

If you are interested in learning how to learn a language, go on you tube / search online for anti-moon ( a site by Polish people who became fluent in English), AJATT (All Japanese all the Time), Matt vs. Japan (which expands on AJATT), and Steve Kauffman (who runs the site lingq).

All of the above will help you far more with language learning than the Rosetta Stones, Duolingos and Berlitz's of this world. They will hopefully in years to come be regarded as pioneers in the development and expansion of Krashen's work.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Posted in: Traffic reduction falls far short of target in Tokyo highway test See in context

This is planning that should have been done before the bid, surely.

Weren't the IOC sold on how compact and efficient everything was going to be?

And while we are on the subject of the bid's honesty, I seem to remember that there was a little something in there about “many days of mild and sunny weather,” providing “an ideal climate for athletes to perform at their best.”

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Posted in: What is your understanding of the expression 'cultural appropriation?' See in context

Interesting that all the responses so far are negative. The left bear some responsibility for this by taking the concept to extremes and applying it to absolutely everything, like complaining about a white girl enjoying wearing a kimono, which is just silly.

But in the middle of all this I think we have lost sight of a genuine problem.

People who complain about genuine issues with cultural appropriation usually do so alongside a problem with lack of representation, lack of financial support and lack of market access.

Let me give you an example. A minority in, say, the UK or US wants to set up a restaurant using an "ethnic" family recipe. As newcomers to the country, they have few connections or capital. Banks may be reluctant to loan to minorities, fearing they will leave with unpaid loans. They may have trouble setting up the business due to trouble renting property from racist landlords. There are obstacles in the way of minorities that the majority may not have to deal with.

Now imagine some rich, well know chef, who is a member of the minority, and employs hardly any minority staff, now starts hawking his version of this "ethnic" cuisine, whatever it might be. He uses he capital, status and profile to make a fortune of this recipe.

This is one fictional example, but I think it is situations like this, be it in movies, novels, fashion, cuisine, or any other creative field, where the complaints of cultural appropriation arose. They arose hand in hand with feelings of discrimination, exclusion and difficulty catching a break, feeling which are then amplified when a member of the minority group uses a privileged position to make money on the back on the minority's cultural capital.

Of course, this is simply one example of how people who are doing well do better, and people struggling without connections and exposure may continue to struggle. It is a subset of wider class problems. But this is where the roots of the cultural appropriate debate lie. You might still think it is silly, and I would agree with you to a degree. A free country cannot very well ban people of a certain ethnicity from selling a certain type of food for example.

But if minorities thought they had a fair shake when going for bank loans, trying to rent real estate, or going for employment, the frustration that gave rise to the "oi, stop stealing our culture" calls would be significantly diminished.

Given the discrimination foreigners in Japan face in exactly these fields of finance, real estate and employment, it is a shame that more posters who are (minority) residents of Japan are not more willing to lend a sympathetic ear to minorities in their own country.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: Anime studio boss at loss for words as he mourns bright, young staff See in context


I would be very surprised if the boss if trying to boast about his generosity here. I does not seem like that to me. Culturally, a lot of bosses of small firms are quite paternalistic, considering employees like family. In Japan, receiving your first ever salary or bonus is also considered something of a life event, marking one of the final milestones in your journey to adulthood. The boss gives with pride and expectation, the employee receives with a mixture of pride and humility. Presumably the president has been through this ritual many times over the years. I am not trying to read his mind, but as the first bonus is a key landmark at the start of the career journey as part of his "family", it is not surprising that his mind turns to the payment of these bonuses when he thinks of their potential cut short.

I think until quite recently, many companies made a big show of paying first salaries and bonuses in cash to show appreciation and build loyalty. Even if most payments these days are bank transfers, I would read these comments in the light of that tradition. Although you are quite right that in a, say, European cultural context, these remarks would seem very off-color, there really is nothing sinister or unnatural about it.

RIP to these young people.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Local residents may be accustomed to seeing bears, but people from countries with few bears who know next to nothing about the animals could encounter them while taking strolls in unexpected areas. See in context

This smacks of the typical "We Japanese are this, you foreigners are that" type Nihonjinron-powered exceptionalism we see everywhere.

Every single topic, all the time. It is so depressing and one of the reasons why spending years learning Japanese to talk to Japanese people is not such a great idea. Large portions of the analysis brought to every conceivable situation are based on nothing more than complete hogwash.

Of course, Westerners have their peculiar beliefs too, but there is not quite an exact parallel as it is not as possible to insert nutty Western religious notions into every conceivable topic in quite the same way as Japanese people will insert the "religion" of Japanese uniqueness into whatever is being discussed, with virtually no exceptions, as we can see here.

The point about urban Japanese is well made. The point about being familiar with bears not meaning that you are exempt from danger is well made also. The bear cannot read the country on your passport or your address.

Simply put, it is exhausting living in a country where people bring spurious bad science and nonsense related to nationality into almost every conversation they have with or about overseas people.

Some people have argued many Japanese people see themselves as separate humanity too distinct sub-species, Japanese and the rest. They are not wrong. Before you move here, it is worth knowing this and considering whether it is a mindset you want to deal with on a daily basis.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Posted in: Hot-spring resorts tackle tattoo debate ahead of Rugby World Cup See in context

What's wrong with abiding by the traditions and customs of the host country? If you do not agree with it then do not go there.

There are many reasons for objecting to this statement, but sticking solely to the context of the Rugby World Cup and Olympics, you do realize that Japan did not have to bid to host these events, don't you?

You do realize that Japan voluntarily put a huge amount of time and effort into volunteering to hold two international tournaments contested by a large number athletes (and watched by a large number of spectators) with tattoos? In other words, the Japanese government has gone out of its way to invite thousands of tattooed people to Japan.

So it is the Japanese side that is saying "we welcome you" but "we don't welcome you".

I notice this a lot. It is not dissimilar to how the government goes out of its way to encourage tourists, but people complain about tourists. Or how people how "bash Japan" are told to go home, even though many of us came here on Japanese government invitations, because our abilities/opinions were sought.

Overall, there is a contradiction in the sense that the Japanese government wants the country to be seen as a fully-paid up and respected member of the international community, but there are large segments of Japanese society who want to reject all outside influence and just do their own thing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Disney live-action 'Little Mermaid' to star a black Ariel See in context

Yes, but how does she suit the part?

How is the race of the fictional mermaid core to her identity and the development of the story?

And it is incredible that the first post here describes casting a black women in a fictional white role as a "scummy tactic".

You have no evidence that Disney are trying to spark a "race war" or a "controversy". All you have is the evidence that Disney selected a black actress. So by that logic, it is like every time a black actor is selected for a role that is not traditionally black, is it automatically a "scummy" thing to do?

It is analogous to the way people scream "golddigger" every time a rich man finds a partner, simply on the basis that the rich man has found a partner, with no further evidence. It suggests that every such instances is and has to be and incidence of gold-digging.

While this is perhaps a silly analogy, it is with this kind of daft logic that you are saying every non-traditional black casting is "scummy". Not because the actress can sing maybe? Because she can dance? Because she is good at her job? No, it she has obviously (rolls eyes) been cast solely as a race-baiting tactic.

Can you expand on why you think this? It seems that you just think this because you think this, as in the golddigging example above.

These opinions all amount to bad logic and poor thinking, to be honest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan's 'gentleman' equestrian at heart of Olympics corruption probe See in context

@ganbare Japan

It is interesting that even the most ardent supporters of all and everything Japanese do not deny that a payment was made.

I am convinced the $2 Million paid by the JOC to voting members of IOC was simply for legitimate gifts.

You don't tell us why you are convinced. What is your evidence? That the payment was made by Japanese people and Japanese people never do anything criminal or wrong?

This seems to be the major thrust of the arguments in support. The party concerned is Japanese, Japanese are good people, therefore there is nothing to see and we should move on.

You should not be surprised when non-Japanese people do not accept this as a convincing line of thought.

You use the phrase "legitimate" gifts. I have previously heard the JOC defend it as "legitimate consulting services".

The fact remains that Black Tidings, the recipients of the payment, are known to have links with influential people in the bidding process.

No-one defending this payment has stepped forward with a comprehensive and convincing breakdown of what the money is for.

Like you, they seem to prefer to offer alternative innocent explanations with absolutely nothing to back them up.

Of course all countries favor their own, but we may note that there are striking differences in the way Japanese and non-Japanese people under suspicion in Japan are treated.

These incidents may also go some way towards explaining why no-one in power is in a hurry to make critical thinking a more significant part of the Japanese education system.

Do please post again with a better explanation of why you are so confident to declare

Japan won the 2020 Olympics on its own merit

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: U.S. catches heat for Women's World Cup goal celebrations See in context

For me, it is a matter of logic more than a matter of etiquette.

You celebrate hard if you score the first goal to break a 0-0 deadlock as you have achieved something difficult and challenging. The celebration is a release of the tension resulting from the close game, and the recognition that you have done something worth celebrating by using your superior sporting skills to take the lead against the opposition.

If you have already scored 10 times, then surely you have already logically established that scoring against that opponent at that particular point in time is not that difficult or challenging, and does not require such an advanced level of sporting skill.

So while t is difficult to decide the issue of whether it is worse, from the opponent's point of view, to keep celebrating or more patronizing to stop celebrating (when you are being hammered it is a horrible experience, so either way it will be bad for you), if we consider the issue solely from point of view of the goal scorers themselves and leave out the etiquette question, it seems clear that celebrating goal number 13 in exactly the same way as goal number one, complete with screams and shouts, suggests you think that the 13th goal is just as skillful/difficult/challenging/valuable as the first goal, and since this is obviously not the case you just end up, man or woman, appearing as if you misunderstand the essence of sporting competition and looking utterly ridiculous.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Do you consider dress codes forcing women to wear high heels at work power harassment? See in context

Don't like the dress code? Don't take the job.

Well what happens when a huge percentage of jobs have the same illogical rules drastically reducing your freedom to chose your occupation and your pursuit of happiness?

This is the sort of illogical argument people make to defend all sorts of corporate bullying and interference in the lives of their workers (and also against the minimum wage).

The "don't like it, don't sign up" mantra is a uniquely stupid point of view since iIt ignores reality by completely removing from the equation the obvious power imbalance between the employers and the employee based on the fact that everyone has to earn a living, and sometimes, if you let them, a huge proportion of companies will make the same unreasonable demands, leaving the worker with no choice but to comply against their better judgement unless they want to struggle.

It is a position that suggests a company is justified in wanting anything from their workers just by virtue of the fact that that is what they want. There are people who are so blind to this power balance it is almost as if they cannot imagine that a demand can be objectively "unreasonable" - it is as if they don't know the words unreasonable, unnecessary, illogical and onerous are even in the dictionary.

This is the same mindset that thinks it reasonable to order an employee to the other end of the country just after he has bought a new house and his wife has given birth, as in the recent Kaneka case.

Don't trust anyone who uses the "don't like it, go somewhere else" argument to defend poor corporate behavior since those who cannot see the unequal power relationships that govern and shape society are failing to see a huge and critical factor that impacts human social structure and decision making.

This myopic stance (either through ignorance, or on purpose, in cases where it is to the advantage of those in power to subscribe to this positions themselves) is the source of a great deal of human misery (and the foundation of traditional right wing political philosophy).

5 ( +6 / -1 )

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