Mar 28, 2011


世界一自由な脳のつくり方世界一自由な脳のつくり方 by 茂木健一郎 My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The author Mogi Kenichi is one the few Japanese I passionately follow whose blogs and he never fails to open up new eyes for me to observe the world around me with a new perspective and let my life more exciting and fruitful. This book is an easy read aimed for general readers, but it's filled with noteworthy proposals we Japanese should take them seriously and urgently as to catch up with the rapidly expanding global world on the Net and seek for a way to flourish our society from now on.

When I discuss how we should learn English to be a fluent user of English among some Japanese English teachers, tadokist, or learners of English, I'm often perplexed and bewildered realizing that there is a big gap over the perspective of why we learn English and how we should try use it for the benefit of our society and our own life. I knew what I'm seeking for is totally different from others, but I couldn't figure out exactly what it is and describe it with the right words.

Then, I run into the very expression in his book which clearly compress my concerns. He wrote, "ワンクッションを置いて受け止めて、日本人同士で論評しあうような時代はもう終わったのです。” my sample translation: "We used to translate English materials into our language and then discussed them based on our language only among Japanese, but that approach won't be fitted in this global age. We should put ourselves in the real world of English and play there with those coming from different nationalities and cultures in English."

I heard the number of Japanese who have own blogs is number one in the world and some blogs skillfully deliver their unique opinions and ideas with sophisticated language. Sad thing is that almost nil of them are written in English, so no matter how rich their blogs can be, they can't attract English-speaking audiences.

I think this pathetic situation partially blamed for the poor English education in Japan, which won't be free from perfectionism, but mainly for our narrow-sighted mindset, which doesn't try to see the newly developing and thrilling world over the social net and try to satisfy ourselves within a small island. From now on, Japan has to face countless struggles caused by the Tohoku earthquake and it surely forces us to load certain amount of burdens on our backs, but I hope youngsters will learn a lot from the hardships and have guts to create a new fruitful future.


Clarissa (Readable Blog/Talk to the Clouds) said...

Good post! I also feel that native English speakers need to not be so narrow-minded (we can't insist on everything being in English! Our researchers and so on must learn other languages).

Anyway, I wrote about blogging in English on -- one thing I mentioned was that many Japanese blog services do not allow English comments! Even if the Japanese user is blogging in English, if I try to leave a comment in English, it'll be rejected automatically! It's pretty unbelievable from my perspective -- no international blogging service that I know of will *automatically* reject a post based on its language. (Maybe if it can't handle the encoding, but you can change the encoding style and still post using the same language.) If you're posting to practice your English, but you can't receive comments (interaction) in English, it's an empty activity ...
Anyway, my post is here.

Mrs. Malone said...

Oh, I had the same thing happened when I left a comment at tadoku friend's blog in English, and I added just one Japanese character in my comment, then it worked properly and I was able to leave a comment.

Speaking of being narrow-minded, I have some friends who work as English teachers and I got along with them a lot for the last a few years, but now I started to wonder if I'd better keep myself away from them and shut my mouth not to talk about English education in Japan. You know, many of them have vast knowledge of English grammar and are capable of reading difficult books or writing good English. However, I rarely run into those teachers who write their blogs or tweet in English, leave comments in English sites, or read English books on kindle. I want to talk about what we can do with certain level of fluency in English, but they don't seem to be interested in it at all... I'm sick of myself always whining like this.

Did you read my latest entry? Sakai-san and some tadoku friends are now thinking making into a not-for-profit organization. It might take some time, but once everything is cleared and settled, I hope I can do something interesting with tadoku friends and you in near future.^^