English

Kyoto Board of Education administers English test for teachers with disheartening results

Were the expectations for Japanese English teachers to high…two high…too high?
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Koikeya snack company has a powerful new singer backing their newest product【Videos】

The new line of potato chips seem great, but who’s the singer behind the power ballad?

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Japanese pool player gives hilarious English interview complete with PPAP reference【Video】

Easily the best sports interview of 2017 so far.

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Pikotaro gets English pronunciation training for PPAP from AI robot, Musio X【Video】

The “P” in PPAP needs more power, passion and party!

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Japanese train conductor surprises everyone on board with his English skills

Passengers on board this Tokyo train said they felt like they were in an aircraft when they heard the live English announcement.

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Image searches in Korean have vastly different results, might need to reconfigure the algorithm

Pro-tip! If you are a Korean-spaker looking for non-sexual images on Google, search in English.

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“Japanese English” can baffle native English speakers — but what about Korean speakers? 【Video】

“Wasei Eigo”, or “English words created in Japan”, can leave native English speakers baffled — but what about Korean speakers?

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Top 10 most irritating Japanese borrowed words – Part 2 (The people’s top 10)

My entries for the “Top 10 most irritating Japanese borrowed words” weren’t irritating enough for some people – so I’ve formulated a part two (“tsuu”) with your help!

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Westerners in Japan – do they really ALL speak English? 【Video】

“Westerner in Japan = Fluent English speaker.” Is this axiom really true?

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A hoodie with a pouch for holding cats (summer edition): Shut up and take my money!

Keep your kitty close, cool, and comfy with this cat-pouch hoodie that makes room for ice packs!

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Japanese people react to “But we’re speaking Japanese!” video, and it’s kind of stunning

What do ordinary Japanese people think of a viral video which depicts a situation wherein a Japanese person is unable to process foreigners’ fluent Japanese?

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Job Buddhas and paper hand jobs: Thai government’s list of jobs foreigners may not do is amazing

In this increasingly globalized society, controlling immigration and labor practices becomes an ever more challenging issue for nations. In the case of Thailand, the Ministry of Labor has outlined a list of 39 jobs that foreigners are prohibited from performing in the country.

Of course, since the list is directed at those from other countries the ministry had the list carefully translated into English. So, let’s take a moment to educate ourselves in Thai labor laws with their list titled “Career aliens do not: Not alien to the professional set of career. Professional and not an alien to do.”

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“What would happen if all Japanese people could speak English?” Net users duke it out

Who doesn’t love debating hypothetical scenarios about the future of a country, especially in the anonymity of the internet?

In fact, a recent Japanese Twitter exchange has led to such an economic debate. One Twitter user with a large following sparked the initial discussion by posing the question “What would happen if everyone in Japan learned how to speak English?” That post has now been retweeted thousands of times, with hundreds of people eager to share their own opinions on the topic.

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Tekken Project’s ‘Summer Lesson’ VR demo now has an English-speaking girl

Bandai Namco Entertainment posted an English-language video to preview Tekken Project’s technology demonstration “Summer Lesson,” which Sony will showcase at its E3 booth this week. The video includes a cameo at the end.

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Pronunciation anxiety: many Japanese people don’t want to speak English unless it’s “perfect”

With the 26 letters of the alphabet, we can make pretty much any sound present in the majority of languages. But Japanese just doesn’t contain certain sounds present in English, like “th” or “v”, and their “r” is somewhere right between our “r” and “l”, making them sound almost exactly the same to Japanese ears.

Since most Japanese people grow up only speaking Japanese, it means that when they start learning English at school, they either have to learn entirely new sounds (difficult) or else try to render English in Japanese sounds (which isn’t accurate). As a result, many Japanese English learners feel a lot of anxiety over the accuracy of their pronunciation. But should that really be holding them back?

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Chinese police officer in training can kick your butt, teach you how to speak beautiful English

“You can also call me a future police officer. I’m more than proud to introduce my university to all of you.”

Meet Jin Pin Xuan (金品軒), a 21-year-old junior (third year student) currently enrolled at the top-ranking Chinese People’s Public Security University (中国人民公安大学) in Beijing, which is under the direct tutelage of China’s Ministry of Public Security.

In late December, Jin starred in a promotional video for her school, in which she spoke about her daily life as an officer-in-training, her reasons for choosing this career path, how dedicated she is to studying English, and some of the other exciting opportunities available to her in this program. Speaking of English, did we mention that she gives the entire presentation in almost flawless, close-to-native English?

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These “Engrish” T-shirts are kinda lame, compared to what we’re used to

Call us cynical, but we find that our standards over what constitutes funny Engrish have been changing.  Unless it’s something really hilarious, perhaps involving naughty words or references to embarrassing body parts, we just can’t muster up the same kind of enthusiasm we once had. When it comes to English that’s just a little bit off in certain ways, it’s sometimes just not that funny, especially when you understand the number of reasons why Engrish happens in the first place. However, visitors to Japan will always remember that first taste of Engrish fondly, even if the same example might fail to raise an eyebrow after a few years of acclimatizing. The last piece of Engrish I felt was worthy of documenting can be seen above – it’s a T-shirt from a store in Osaka and several years later it still blows my mind. However, there’s also plenty of pretty mediocre Engrish to be found, as we’ll demonstrate after the jump.

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The best way to learn English: a stereotypically inaccurate textbook!

At RocketNews24, we’ve covered how English education in Japan is currently faring, with many people agreeing that much can be done to improve it. Of the many problems, one improvement could certainly be the textbook, which many people believe is bland, uses English improperly and teaches English that feels very outdated. What’s needed is something that surpasses all those inadequacies and features English students would encounter in real life.

Well, how about a textbook that includes dialogues where people use bribes, exploit other people’s weaknesses and make giant broad stereotypes about countries as a whole? Yes, let’s try something like that!

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What’s wrong with English education in Japan? Pull up a chair…

When you speak to foreign English educators in Japan, one thing becomes crystal clear: English education in Japan isn’t working. It’s just awful. While English classes are mandatory in Japanese schools, the percentage of students who emerge with actual English abilities are surprisingly low. Students in China, Korea and Japan are in an arms race to see who can produce students with the best English, and Japan seems to be trailing far behind in third place.

With the Olympic Games coming up in 2020, the Japanese government has proposed changes to increase the level of English ability in their students. Changes like starting introductory English classes in 3rd grade elementary school and making the subject compulsory from the 5th grade. Are these changes really going to help? We’ve gathered opinions from both foreign teachers and Japanese citizens about issues with the system and what might improve it.

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Toronto Film Festival to host North American premiere of Princess Kaguya, Ghibli documentary

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) will host the North American premiere Isao Takahata‘s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya and director Mami Sunada’s The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness documentary about Studio Ghibli next month. Princess Kaguya will premiere with English subtitles on September 5 with Takahata present for the screening. The Kingdom Of Dreams And Madness will premiere on Monday, September 8.

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