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<<   作成日時 : 2012/06/12 22:33   >>

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Japanese edition is available here.

While I was a student I was forced to study English to finish my assignment. Even after I graduated from school and started to work, I have continued to do so, by studying in a school whose tuition is covered by my company (thanks to my boss's approval); by reading, with colleagues, textbooks written in English that is specialized in my field of work; and by discussing with others topics in The Economist, a British news paper. I quit some of these practices, but also I keep doing some.

To be honest, I hate studying English. Although I like communicating with someone else by speaking English, I abhor working to develop my English literacy. I hated study English for the entrance exam of a university. Furthermore, I get sleepy as soon as I start reading English essays that are not interesting.

So why not stop learning English? I do not any specific purpose. I am merely forced to do so because I concerned that if I cannot speak English, the language somehow spoken in a society, I cannot survive. English is not the first language for me. The population in Japan continues to decline. The more technology develops, the smaller the border between nations. Although I have no idea what I want to do in the future yet, I still understand what it means that I can only speak the language used by a people whose population is declining.

"Working for foreign companies sounds cool, but the only ability you have is speaking English, isn't it?"
"Japanese are one of the most talented people, if it were not for the matter of the language."
I totally agree with those points. However, is it possible to exist in the world and not need to speak English? Or is it possible to communicate with foreigners without speaking English?

Having worked for a foreign-based company whose internal language is English and having realized what the lack of the ability to use English really means, I can clearly say that "if you cannot speak English, you are of no practical value." Although you may still handle with things well when you perform, mainly thanks to a bullish economy, you may not at times when the economy faces difficulties.

It would be fair to say "It is totally a matter of fortune whether one is born in an English-speaking culture (or that of a Latin, which is relatively close to English), and the ways in which that fortune influences a person's life almost forever is totally unfair." I think so too, especially when I have a bad deal because I cannot speak very much English or I get very tired of studying it.

On the other hand, however, millions of people who are suffering from conflicts or poverty would envy people who live in Japan. They would say;
"If I were born in Japan, I could go to school."
"If I were born in Japan, I could live with my family in peace."

Why can we Japanese live without conflicts? Do we make any effort to do so? No way. We are just lucky. Compare with that, a little struggle with learning English is a trivial issue. If anything, the opportunity to experience some unfairness is necessarily to understand someone else's difficulties.

As you may guess, yes, I am writing this passage to refresh myself. I will restart studying English soon.

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