What Do Japanese Enjoy From Foreigners?

Years ago, before English was legalized in Japan, ESL students would often congregate in attics and practice reciting the alphabet to candlelight. The country has progressed a lot since those days, with English being learned by everyone in public schools, and being practically applied by 0.03% of the population.

Giving students more chances to use English outside of the classroom allows them opportunities to apply their knowledge, thus solidify it in their minds. Whenever you encounter a Japanese person on the street between the ages of 12 and 60, it can be safely assumed that they have taken an English class, and so will benefit from you speaking to them.

As you pass people, a simple “hello” or “how are you?” is sufficient. When sitting next to them on the train, you have more time to engage them, and can ask more complex questions such as “what is your favorite food?” or “where do you work?”

Everyone will be surprised to the point where they need to mask their delight with fear. Don’t worry if they don’t respond; you are the expert on the language and it is up to you to keep the conversation going at all costs.

The average English conversation with strangers lasts 15 seconds, and your goal should be 15 seconds of uninterrupted speaking. Although they may not engage you as much as they should, do your best to follow them while speaking, until the 15 seconds has passed. Teacher’s duties are never limited to the classroom, therefore you should always strive to be the best teacher, no matter where you may be.

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7 Responses to What Do Japanese Enjoy From Foreigners?

  1. Fuck you bob says:

    i finally got around to reading your website and i have to say that you should have been the one to get fired.
    BTW Bob, i got a new job just 3 months later so i don’t think that the economy was really the issue like they said.
    just wanted to get this all off my chest. bad teachers like you are a diamond dozen.

  2. Susan says:

    It wasn’t an issue concerning the economy that led to you being dismissed. It was an overall unwillingness to improve your teaching methods, and general attitude towards teaching that led to your dismissal.
    We wish you the very best in your new position, but hope that you take some of our teaching methods to heart. After our decades of experience, we’ve picked up a few things that you may not have gained in your 4 months with the company. We really wanted to share them with you.


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    • Amy says:

      I love this site Bob! What a great opportunity for your family and friends to not only keep in touch with you and your adventures, but also to learn first hand interesting facts and thoughts about a country so intertwined with our own. I look forward to reading these thoughts as only you can present them. We are all very proud of you Bob for who you are and the amazing things you do. You will remember this journey for the rest of your life, so enjoy the ride.

      • Bob Doherty says:

        Thank you so very much Amy. Kind words like these are the winds in my sails.
        From what I hear, my family is doing well and I hope that they contact me soon.

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