Home > My diaries > My extraordinary days in Tokyo

My extraordinary days in Tokyo

This weekend was totally NOT ordinary time for me. Actually, I was in Tokyo so that I attended one Internet radio which my master held.

Before radio started, we discussed how we were going to talk in it with each other during lunch. ‘O.K. Let’s talk about topics in English and Japanese alternately! How about changing our language between English and Japanese every 15 or 30 minutes?’ smiled my master. I imagined a tough but exciting time would lie ahead of me.

I was right. It was one of most exciting and thrilled time I’ve ever experienced. There are many English learners in Japan, and there are also many kind of discussions about ‘how to learn English’ or ‘is this method good or bad?’ among learners. We made such topics(arguments?) in English and Japanese.

It might make you who are reading this blog suprised. All people saying ‘I am learning English now’ in Japan are not always people saying ‘I can speak English.’ Ofcourse it depends on ‘how much English skills have you achieved?’, however, you can see the Japanese sometimes say ‘I am not good at English, especially speaking and writing’ even though they can communicate enough with foreigners in English. It’s not only because of our modesty but also because of our background in a way to learn English, I think. Most of English learners in Japan tend to treat English examinations as their first step to learn English. Through preparations for examinations, ‘correct or incorrect’ is often prioritized over ‘communicating.’ Although someone speak English or write something in English, other one tend to check it like a teacher. Learners fear their mistakes when expressing their feelings in English. It’s kind of vicious circle. We talked about such topics in the radio.

By the way…it was a disaster when I spoke English. I know it’s important to express ‘what’, not ‘how’ when communicating each other, but it’s…terrible. No fluency, shabby pronunciations…while talking in English, I thought I was going to be crazy. ‘I should have used these phrases”I could have said it like this’ such ideas were rolling in my mind looking back to the moment I talked. I got a lot of things to do from this conversation with my master and my friends through the radio. I’ll take my new steps to have myself improved.

I by the way got a lot of topics that I can write in this blog. Especially, dogu, which are dolls made out of clay in jomon era, are one of topics I’m supposed to write. Please don’t miss it.

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Categories: My diaries
  1. December 28, 2009 at 7:26 am

    Hi H.P. 🙂

    Isn’t English taught in schools for a certain period of time? Is it because the way they teach it, that it’s difficult to master?

    Speaking English frequently, whether it’s good or bad, will help. Some are too afraid of doing that because of making mistakes. But then in practicing, we’ll make mistakes.

    I know, pronunciation can be a killer. Mayby one day I’ll talk with you.

    Glad to know you had fun.

    • honeypotter
      December 30, 2009 at 5:57 pm

      I don’t know how they teach students English now, but in my school days, we had only READING in my class. Even now, many English learners tend to get READING and LISTENING skills. One more thing, as one of other reasons, it’s difficult to get chances to write or speak English in Japan.

      Actually, even now, it’s quite hard to express my feeling in English in this blog. 😦 But I’ll try.

      >Mayby one day I’ll talk with you.

      Oh, really? I hope the day will come soon. 🙂

  2. December 31, 2009 at 8:04 am

    HAPPY NEW YEAR H.P. 🙂 🙂

    I’ve read so many times that Japanese and Koreans study English for many years, but still they’re not good at it. In Korea, I believe they have an English only city, but yet still.

    Maybe they need to have more opportunities to write and speak English in Japan.

    Your trying is good. 🙂

    Yep. But I’m not so keen on using Skype.

    • honeypotter
      January 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Happy new year! girlgeum! 🙂

      Yeah, as you said, we need opportunities to write and speak English. Luckily, I have this blog. All I have to do now is keep speaking.

      I’m looking forward to the chance to talk with you. 🙂

  3. January 1, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    JOMON!!! Thank you so much!!! I WILL read that!!!

    You KNOW I understood you fine when we talked. I chalk it up your radio flop to you getting flustered. (You were just nervous.)

    Optimally, any teaching environment should have you spend 50% of the class time speaking the language., 35% at a bare minimum. And half of your tests should be verbal.
    After each chapter, you should review, but written and verbally. Then, be tested on your ability to use the new words you have used. Half of the points for your written test should be proper grammar. This last bit should NOT be based on literary english, but rather colloquial english instead. Literary english should be left for those seeking an actual English degree. or business interaction with native speakers.
    When I learned french, we had 3 years of colloquial english. Years 4 & 5 were for literary english. In those literary classes, if you spoke in english you dropped a letter grade! They consisted of reading a book or watching a movie (in french), then having a socratic discussion afterwards (also in french). Class participation was half the grade.
    Years 1-3 were easier. It was taught like grade school. Each week you were required to learn about 20 vocabulary words or whole phrases. You had to give the definition of the word in english. Then, you had to use the words to write a dialogue. Sometimes we would play games like Hangman, wordsearch, crosswords, jeopardy, fill in the blank, etc.,. These activities really helped. 75% of our final exams were verbal. That saved my grade!
    What I’m trying to say is, people don’t come with subtitles. So learning to speak a language is hundreds of times more important than learning to write or read it. After all, you could ask a person what something says.

    • honeypotter
      January 3, 2010 at 10:08 am

      Hi, Mugami! How’s your new year?

      Yeah, Jomon era! I got a book on Jomon era at the Ueno museum in Tokyo. After research in Nagoya museum, I’ll write Jomon era in my blog. Please don’t miss it. 🙂

      You gave me a valuable comment on speaking languages. Yeah, as you said, I should verbally review what I wrote after my articles uploaded. I’ll try it.

      By the way, when should we talk by Skype? I’m wondering January 13th or 14th (in Japan) would be better. I’ll write an article about Jomon era by the day. I think we would talk about it when we chatting.

      Anyway, I’ll send mail to you.

  4. January 1, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Oh, stick with “sensei”. “Master” has a slightly negative connotation to it, as if you are a slave. “Sensei” is in the english lexicon.
    Just avoid the word, “Master” completely. They DO NOT mean the same thing.
    I’ll write an article for this. I’ve been lacking a topic to expound upon as of late. This will suffice rather nicely.

    • honeypotter
      January 3, 2010 at 10:20 am

      Oh, ‘master’ has such a negative connotation? I often watch the movie ‘Star Wars’ and see the word ‘Master Obi-Wan Kenobi’ with people’s respects.

      sensei‘, it literally means in English, ‘teacher.’ But he, the man who is refered above, is rather something more respectful than a teacher. How could I say…? mentor, teacher, master, superior…ummm, how poor my vocabularies are…lol

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