Thanks for all your comments. This has been the most viewed entry on the blog so far, although that might just be YU, Tomo, and Fumie chatting to each other (LOL). Anyway, it was a very interesting discussion. I read an article in a British newspaper yesterday about the new consumption tax law. Last time Japan raised consumption tax rate, it led to a drop in consumption, and a fall in overall tax revenues. It also did huge damage to the economy. Most people who understand economics believe that the same will happen again this time, but Japanese politicians and bureaucrats just keep on doing whatever they want. I can’t believe that the Japanese public keep voting for the same group of people, but I sincerely hope that something will change in the near future. If it doesn’t, the Japan you leave for your children will be very different to the one you lived in.
Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments…
> I heard that it comes from the sound of the heavy rain; it sounds as if cats and dogs were fighting.
I would forget this expression if I were you. It is very old-fashioned, and it sounds weird when Japanese people use it.
…so if you hear this word, you should know you are turned down, and you have to think about the way to get things forward.
…so if you hear this word, you should realise that you have been turned down, and you should think of another way of trying to get what you want.
I actually use the word”それは難しいです”to refuse something especially to people who are elder and superior to me.
“People who are superior to me” is grammatically correct, but it is a bit strange. It would be better to say “people with a higher status” or “people to who(m) I have to show deference.” That’s quite advanced, though.
There are many ambiguous words like that in Japan.
Nice use of the word “ambiguous.”
Sorry David, I report this to you afterwards…
Do you mean “Sorry for not mentioning this before”?
Actually, daughter of my friend from English language club is a member of the first graduating class of the school.
This is a tricky thing to say, even for native speakers. It’s either “one of my friends from English language club’s daughter” (which is very long and clumsy) or “the daughter of one of my friends from English language club” (which is better). You have to use “the” daughter here even if she has more than one.
No one in my English club got what you actually meant.
Nice use of “get” meaning “to understand.” Do you all know the expression “I don’t get it”?
We should have the courage to say to people that like using the word “zensyosuru”, “Please explain your idea concretely!”
I mean my response will be positive and negative; I might buy that or might not.
I mean my response could be taken as either positive or negative; I might buy the thing, or I might not.
Preserving harmony is one of the virtues in Japanese culture.
In some circumstances, but it is not always a virtue, especially when change is needed.
I want to know what you think the ridiculous English education in Japan.
Do you mean, “I want to know why you think the English education system in Japan is ridiculous”?
I can watch your blog.
I found your blog. / I read your blog. (Nice to have you with us, Wakana.)
As a mother of a third-grade student in high school, I was totally shocked to know the problem of high school English education.
The first part of this sentence is really nice, but the second part should be “I was totally shocked to hear about the problem of high school English education.”
…but I don’t feel comfortable to call someone’s baby ‘it’.
…but I don’t feel comfortable calling someone’s baby ‘it’. (Many parents would take offence if you called their baby “it.”)
For example, you can oppose to your boss today,…
For example, you can oppose your boss today,…
I don’t mean that we should give up to change, though.
I don’t mean that we should give up on the idea of change, though. (A-Z: give up)
I think abolishing entrance exams(for high school/university) is one of the effective ways to reform Japanese English education.
I think abolishing entrance exams would be one effective way of reforming the Japanese English education system.
Why don’t schools draw up the curriculum teaching students enough to pass an average-level school?
A junior high school teacher once told me that public schools are there to teach children “how to be Japanese” (i.e., Don’t complain; Don’t ask questions; Do as you are told) and the jukus are the place where they do their academic study.
So please let me know if you read my tranlation and notice my mistakes.
So please let me know if you notice any mistakes when you read my translation.
I agree with you. I also think we should not take “problem of Japan” for “culture of Japan”.
These are completely different.
Very true! This myth about Japan’s “unique” and “mysterious” culture is often just a smokescreen for incompetence and inefficiency.
They should reduce the number of people working there and stop wasting our money!
That’s what the current government promised to do when they were elected. Now, of course, they have abandoned all those promises.
I’d like to add 派閥 to the list. There are always factional struggles not just in the political world but also in many other organizations in Japan. You see factional struggles in universities, don’t you? I’m fed up with those ridiculous, ugly fights.
Good point. Yes, every university has factions, and they are really destructive.
To tell the truth, the high school I went was just like your son’s, and I didn’t go to a cram school too.
Actually, the high school I went to was just like your son’s, and I didn’t go to a cram school either. (“To tell the truth” is only used when you are admitting something that is a bit embarrassing or that you might have a reason to hide.)
And my son passed the test and moved up to the next class unexpectedly.
He is doing nothing but club activities at the moment, so I don’t think he can pass entrance exams for universities without any trouble.
The Japanese system of club activities is also weird for us. That might be a good topic for another week. To an outsider, it just looks like a kind of brainwashing, and because everything is structured, the children never learn to explore, invent, or create adventures for themselves. It seems wrong to me that children’s lives are controlled and structured from the moment they wake up from the moment they go to bed, even at weekends. Maybe that is why they become 指示待ち adults.
I also think Japan should change the education system, and I think universities should change their entrance exams first. I agree with David that testing difficult and unimportant points of complicated grammar is meaningless, but high schools cannot change their ways unless universities change their entrance exams.
Universities are planning to change their exams, but it is 検討中, and I think you know what that means!
So we decided to let him go to university although we have to pay much money.
So we decided to send him to university even though we will have to pay a lot of money.
David, I’m sorry I might changed the flow of discussion from this week’s topic to current educational problem.
No problem. That keeps the discussion interesting.
>As you know, I love Japan, and I now consider it my home.
Actually, it’s very difficult to translate “home” in the sense in which I was using it. I don’t think Japanese has a word that is an exact translation in this case.
If I was asked this question 20 years ago, I would first answer the same way as the woman did and would be shocked with your words,too.
If I had been asked this question 20 years ago, my first answer would have been the same as the woman’s, and I would have been shocked by your words too.
…but I assume it’s a long way to remove this vicious circle.
…but it’s going to be difficult to break out of this vicious circle.
I’m relieved to hear that.
A useful expression to remember if you don’t know it.
My husband often says that there are very few boycotts and demonstrations against the government in Japan. He always wonders why Japanese people are so quiet and calm. He says “もっと怒ればいいのに”.
I agree with your husband, and his comment reminded me of another very dangerous expression: 仕方がない.
“I’ll see what I can do”
If you translate it literally “私に出来ることを考えてみます” or something like that. Don’t you think this words can be used in a same way like 難しい and 検討します? I am not sure where I read this but this phrase sometimes uses to refuse, and it said, if you are told this phrase, don’t hold your breath.
I think it depends on the situation and how the person says it. (This kind of ambiguity is not unique to Japan!) Normally, though, I would say that “I’ll see what I can do” has a positive meaning.
Oh, is that so! There are more boycotts and demonstrations against the government in other countries.
One of the big differences in other countries is the power of the media. In Japan, everything is controlled by the same small group of rich people, including the newspapers and TV. That is one reason why non-Japanese get annoyed by the stupid variety programmes. Japan is being destroyed, and its citizens are watching “talents” eat ramen, make jokes about each other’s bodies, and slap each other on the head!
That’s it for today. Have a great weekend, and see you again on Monday with a new topic.