Losing your culture, or sharing it

I think Japanese people are afraid of losing their culture, that’s why they fear outsiders and outside influence so much. While I respect that they want to keep their culture, I don’t buy the argument that learning a foreign language or learning partially overseas will lead to a loss of culture.

In fact, I think the opposite. By having their population learn English or another foreign language, they will be able to better express their culture to overseas audiences. As it stands now, the average person learns English for at least 6 years, but only a handful are able to hold a conversation in English. The conversion rate is really bad, in other words. I think the problem lies with the teacher-centered learning and emphasis on passing grammar and vocabulary exams, and their policy to start much earlier.

What I would do, is to make English highly suggested, not compulsory, in the latter stages of either high school or even to start in university. By then students should have more of a desire to learn English, and this way it can be learned much quicker, and much more effectively.

That way the Japanese could better share their culture with the world, rather than having outsiders come and try to learn then take it back, but with their own spin on things (I’m also guilty of this).



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