Work in Japan Advice Board
Japan is a typical island nation, comprised of around 6,850 islands. I’ve also read that previously, trade was built in Japan on the basis of Japan’s divided topography.
It makes you wonder how much of what is around us in Japan is purely Japanese, in the sense that they have been manufactured and crafted using only Japanese materials.
Even when a product says “Made in Japan”, there are many cases where some of the materials used to create the product have been imported from another country. Japan has managed to grow economically by doing business with the great powers of the world and their neighboring countries in Asia, and now that Japan is considered one of the great economic powers of the world, doing continued business with other great economic forces is a natural progression.
So, if we relate this to Japanese language learning, Japan’s business role within the world has sometimes led to a surprising use of words by salarymen. Words change over time, which is not necessarily a good or bad thing. Japanese people who can adopt words of foreign origin with such flexibility can impress other Japanese, and some are even held in high regard.
“Get me the meeting agenda asap!”
“Huh? Who was in charge of that? Has it been authorized?”
I often hear such a way of speaking even in my own workplace. All of the bold katakana words in the above two phrases are words taken from English used correctly in a Japanese sentence. It should be noted that there are also times when the meaning changes from the original.
Let’s change the words in the sentences above to their Japanese equivalents.
Deciding which sentence is most comprehensible is very much down to the society of the time and the industry, but it is certain that as more and more of these foreign words penetrate Japan the appearance of purely Japanese words is on the decrease.
As a teacher of Japanese, this makes me feel a little woeful, but also excited at the changes the Japanese is yet to experience. To be honest, it’s a bit of an odd feeling.
Human Academy Japanese Language School - Chief Manager
After graduating, Mr.Tanaka taught Japanese in a number of countries in the ASEAN region including Malaysia and Brunei.
He then taught at a Japanese school for foreign students in Japan for 10 years before making a transition to school management.
As the role of Japanese language teaching changes, Mr.Tanaka focuses on Japanese teaching methods that fit the needs of students today.