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[YRP Students' Essays] A Wall of Japan

People who come back to Japan from English speaking countries do not have to worry about English, and I am one of them. We can communicate with foreigners much better than other Japanese people who have not lived in those foreign countries. I did not realize how important English is. One instance happening made me see the importance of English.

It occurred in summer in Kyoto. My friends and I were heading for the Gion Festival, which is a famous festival in Japan. We were walking the train platform which was near the festival. It was very congested because of the connection to other public subways and the festival. My friends and I were struck by a crowd. While we were struggling to get out from the congestion, I saw an American family who was struggling to get some information about which exit they had to take. The family and the station master could not communicate with each other because of the language barrier. Both of them seemed troubled. I felt like that I had to help them out.

The thing was that the foreigners wanted to go to the next station of a private railroad, but their tickets would not allow them to transfer. I checked their tickets and saw the problem that they only had a one-day pass for the public railroads. They could not use it for private train lines. I explained what was wrong with the ticket and they understood. I helped them to buy tickets because they had no idea how to buy tickets. They appreciated my help and wanted to shake my hands.

After I helped them out, I could see for myself how proud I was of what I had done. I could not understand why the station master could not speak English at all. I wondered what could have happened to the family if I were not there at that time. Perhaps they would have had a bad impression of Japan if I had not helped them out.

English is a very important language to the world because it is a universal language, and foreigners come to Japan expecting that they can communicate with Japanese people in English. They take this for granted because it is true in other countries. From this happening I realized that I have to study English harder to give better information when I am in the same situation with foreigners in the future.

Child Research Net would like to thank the Doshisha International Junior/Senior High School and Yusuke Nakagawa, student and author, for permitting reproduction of this article on the CRN web site.
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