Last post before I head back to the UK T_T
Anyway found this English test from a blog of my sister's friend, you can try it out yourself:
Click to view picture in full size
This is the kind of English expected for Junior High School standards ^^;
Image from A Japanese Book
So when do the Japanese start learning ABC alphabets?
According to my sister's friend, a Hongkonger who teaches English as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) in Japan, one starts learning ABC in Year 4 of Elementary School. Besides, the purpose of learning English alphabets is primarily for romanji, and not necessarily for English. English is not a compulsory subject, which means that it may or may not be available in some elemenatary schools. This is apparently due to the fact that the schools want to keep English easy enough for children to appreciate them as an interest, rather than a proper and serious subject.
But by secondary school (i.e. junior high, high schools), students are required to learn tons of English words, which sounds like quite a grind to me. This is probably why a lot of Japanese are afraid of English and cannot bring them to use effectively. Being afraid of English language is not a rare sight in Hong Kong too, and sometimes when I post stuff in English on a forum some people simply have their minds shut down. This is probably the reason why I see so many advertisments on English language courses here and there lately.
Starting from 2011 all elementary schools will have compulsory English lessons. Apparently students will have at least 35 hours of lesson time per year, which means... About 1 lesson per week. Man, we had a lot more English lessons per week in Hong Kong, yet we still have a huge spectrum on the performance. So how effective will this be exactly? To be honest I don't have a clue :\
So have you met foreigners who are shy of English? If you have been to Japan, what is your experience on Japanese people's English?