Sunday, 22 July 2007

A Brief Consideration of the Japanese People’s Ability to Communicate

Growing vegetables in the field is an isolated task. You work in silence, from the moment the sun rises until it sets. Aside from rice/seedling harvest times, people usually work individually. Your sole concerns are the weather, water, insects, moles and birds, not other human beings.

In countries where hunting had constituted the main source of food supply, being solitary was not the most effective way to achieve results. You would have needed to work in a team to hunt fast moving animals. Lots of signals, shouts and coordination would be required, and as a result, people developed ways in which languages functioned to convey rapid, clear and effective communication tools. This is in contrast to predominantly agricultural countries like Japan, where communication with others has not been a vital factor, and language use has developed around the tendency to introversion.
I used to practise Kendo (Japanese fencing). The movement of sword work shares a kinship with ploughing soil or cutting plants. You do not jump around in different directions spontaneously waving sword in hands. Your body is usually set into one axis and always move directly forwards or backwards. This is significantly different from other martial arts or established sports. The aim is for an undisturbed centre in attack, silence of the mind.

The Japanese language does not display the best efficacy when spoken in an interactive setting. It is well known that most Japanese students are not generally good at conversational skills when learning English or other foreign languages, compared with their apprehension of grammar or reading skills. We should not simply blame the existing English education throughout the Japanese schooling system. We simply have not been made naturally to be best at communications.
My thoughts wander through various topics and ideas arise randomly in my head. I yearn for moments on my own, in the field.

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