Thoughts on Living Between 2 Languages

I’m absolutely certain that this isn’t some new, unique circumstance for a person to find themselves living in, but I thought I’d comment on it nonetheless. It’s not uncommon for people to move to a country where their native tongue isn’t widely spoken, nor is it a rarity for such people to either adjust to their lives and assimilate into their new community, or hold on for dear life to their past and traditions.

Me? I’m just trying to find a happy middle between both those options. Here’s my two cents on living in a land where my native tongue is only ever spoken at home, and when/where I use both Japanese and English.

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Top 5 Common Misconceptions I’ve Come Across in Japan

Almost every day I see some new ‘fact’ about Japan pop up on my social media from people living both inside and outside of the country. My own brother sent me a photo of a Japanese school kid with the caption, “Did you know that Japanese students don’t have tests or homework until the 4th grade? That’s because their entire education up until that point is focused on politeness and manners!”

I turned to my friend, who has three young children enrolled in various levels of Japanese schooling (and went through the education system in Japan themselves) and showed them the picture to confirm such a fact. Their response was: “Not true. Even the first graders have exams and homework. It doesn’t take four years to learn how to say ‘excuse me’ or ‘I’m sorry’.” I knew something about the ‘fact’ seemed off, but didn’t have the authority to bust it myself.

Fortunately, I do have a bit of authority on the next five misconceptions I’ve heard over the years, and as such would like to share them with others. No, I’m not getting on my high horse to tell people, “Ha ha! You thought you knew something but you were wrong! You fool!” I’m merely trying to clear up the most misconstrued ‘facts’ that people have told me about Japan or that I’ve heard/believed myself.

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