Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Your average Japanese person will avoid speaking English if at all possible. It is the anxiety of making mistakes and sounding foolish that keeps them quiet. They will stand on a train rather than sit next to a Westerner for fear that person might engage them in an English conversation. This is commonly known as the "Eigo complex".
Then there is the older gentleman that suddenly asked to sit down at my table in a teishoku restaurant in Osaka. In broken English he told me he doesn't speak English but he loves the language. He studied it in Junior High School, but was a poor student. He wanted to try learning it again. I told him I worked as an Eigo Kyoshi (teacher) at an eikaiwa nearby. This excited him. He wanted to come with me. I explained that the school was only for children. Disappointed he left. But not before thanking me and paying for my lunch.