BGM: G. Love & Special Sauce - Blues Music
I want to talk about the book by Teruhisa Se I read yesterday. On WhatsApp, a friend of mine and I talked a little about this one. He always makes me impressed because he knows a lot about foreign countries by his certain knowledges instead I have never been on any ground of foreign lands. He told me that Japan is actually far from the English area therefore it must be difficult to be "mastered" by Japanese native speakers (and also the opposite is true. English native speakers can't "master" Japanese language easily). And he pointed out that there is no special meaning for Japanese to learn English forcefully because they can live in Japan easily if they speak Japanese well. I agree with him. It is really rare for me to use English in this country, or at least in this town's daily life on offline. I have been using Japanese I have learned since I was a kid at any convenience stores and hospitals. I write important papers in Japanese and read books in Japanese. So, in a way, English is for me a kind of "luxury commodities" like liquors. It is used as adding some coolness to my career, or some comfort to my daily life. At least, for me, I have never been in troubles in communications in my daily life about using Japanese language.
Then, I might have to find the reason why this country has been so terribly covered by the pressure of "becoming fluent in English". Although this could be just a readymade idea/opinion by me, I think that Japan is an island country so we have to reach foreign countries by a certain distance, therefore it would provide me the sense of thirsty as "we are separated from outside" (we Japanese say "insularism"). It would become a kind of self-love as "Japan must be No.1", and also would end as "Japan is terrible". And now is the globalization era therefore it would become "We have to change ourselves" and "We have to become international". "Beyond borders, we have to be able to communicate with strangers" and "We have to say our opinions straightly/directly (in English)"... But this is just from my imagination (so I welcome your different opinions). What is the thing for us which must be really important? Certainly, the skill of English is important. But I guess there can be more important for us, even though I can't point out what it can be.
It was a day off today. At 10 am, I went to a house in this city and watched the Japanese class at there. Indeed, there are less members than I had expected, but they learned really seriously so I tried to observe the class quietly without asking any questions (because it would be wasteful, and also could disturb their learning). I felt that I could learn how important to have the passion toward learning languages once again. Although I have been learning English as a luxury commodity as I wrote above, but it must be a learning for me. Through learning English and communicating with others in English, I guess I have been trying to improve my skill of English, and also my personality/humanity (However, of course, this can be just a bias in me). I felt that the passion/seriousness I observed in this class was really precious. I am feeling thankful for the people who gave me this opportunity with their kindness.
Sometimes people ask me "What are you reading now?". I am now reading Yoshio Kataoka's book again. It is impressive for me to read what he describes about the Japanese people he had observed who were trying to speak English. He says they were trying to speak the English which had been mechanically or automatically translated from Japanese. It means they were in their comfort zone in Japanese without being soaked into the system of English... And now, I am thinking "Okay, but how about MY English?". Me, I am alive in the comfort zone of Japanese. It is a clear fact. Can I say that I am certainly feeling the realism of English by moving out of Japanese? Can I say that I am destructing and rebuilding myself by using English? I want to use English to touch and communicate with strangers even if this idea is influenced too much by "post modern" theory. But I want to try that.