Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Papers: Alan Booth

“If you speak three words of Japanese you will be rapturously applauded for your linguistic mastery. It is only when you are approaching competence that you will be frowned upon as a threat to the national polity.”
On the turntable:  Art Blakey, "The Complete Blue Note Recordings"


Martin J Frid said...

For once, I really disagree with something you put on your blog. Of course those of us who live here must learn the language. And at least in my case, it has only been for the better.

Imagine saying to a foreigner living in say, Sweden, the same thing. Shame on Mr. Booth.



Edward J. Taylor said...

I think what Booth is on about goes beyond language. Of course we need the language, and I can't understand those long-term expats who haven't made the effort. Such a waste. Booth is hinting that the Japanese themselves feel threatened by those of us who can speak. We have thus become guests who just won't leave. I have repeatedly experienced this, as I'm sure have you

Language ability infers a familiarity with the culture, thus disproving that old Nihojinron nonsense about Japan's uniqueness. But then again, I am a foreigner, so couldn't possibly understand.