Last Tuesday there was a whole page about Mr Tanaka's english woes and english teaching in Japan. In Zeit Gist a Nicholas Getting is analysing the assumed problem and its roots all the way back to the Big Mac Gaijin Shogun days, blaming some illusionary Japanese white man complex. We must correct Mr Getting. Being American he can not help that English is his mother tongue and that he does not know , that many more Japanese than f.ex Latinos or continental Europeans spoke excellent English long time before McArthur nuked Japan and the Beatles (and other pop bands), not GI's or English teachers catapulted English into the world language that it is today. The other article by G. McLellan teaching in Nagoya is just a demand for more pay, claiming that it would drastically improve the general English speaking capability of the Japanese. We believe the opposite. McLellan sensei would surely produce better results if he was on a strictly performance based salary.
As for Japanese Foreign language capabilities we beg to differ. In spite of that Japanese is not an Indo-European language but member of the Altay language family (Korean,Mongol, Turkish, Hungarian etc agglutinative languages) the general Japanese English capability surpasses the French, Italian, Spanish,Portuguese, Brazilian, Argentine not to mention East European, Russian, Greek and Turkish English speaking and writing level.
We even suspect the the average spelling performance of Japanese students may surpass that of US high school kids.
Never the less we do understand that in spite of everything the gaijin eigo-sensei prefer to stay in Japan teaching hopelessly.
In France or elsewhere they would have to pay to teach English.
By Gabor Fabricius
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