Strange English I can’t Understand

Living in Japan, you’re basically trapped in a tiny spaceship, peering down through clouds and picking up intermittent snippets of news floating skyward from earth. I first heard “Poker Face” in a smoky Shinjuku karaoke bar, when some girl belted out Mum mum mum mah. Some complicated lyrics, those. And I learned the results of the U.S. election in a similar joint in Oita prefecture. Okay, so I do a lot of karaoke. Beer helps. Anyway, what I mean is that it’s not easy keeping touch with Western culture, and even harder understanding why singers are now called Gaga and Presidents Trump.  It’s like the world’s gone crazy, and English with it. For example: Continue reading “Strange English I can’t Understand”

Why are Japanese so Bad at English? (5 Reasons)

Everyone knows Japanese people aren’t exactly Masters of the Universe when it comes to speaking English, despite receiving six years of English education.  Six years?  Are you kidding?  You could build yourself a Great Pyramid in less time.  I’m pretty sure.  Just chop up some limestone and stack it up.  Probably take you a couple of years at best.

But okay, there are clearly some good reasons why Japanese folks can’t speak English.  And if you study Japanese, you also need to avoid the same traps. Continue reading “Why are Japanese so Bad at English? (5 Reasons)”