The differences between Japanese students and students from other countries in the ESL class

I wrote in my previous blog that I take the ESL classes three days a week.

I met a lot of classmates from all over the world.

The classmates are from Asia, Central and South America, Mid-west, Africa, and Europe.

They are very friendly and eager to learn English.

It's fun for me to discuss the differences of customs of each country.

Some classmates came to the US as refugees.

They usually don't talk what they were like in their native countries.

But one of the classmates told me that he was lucky to be able to come to the US.

He made me think about how big the problems of conflicts, wars, and refugees are.

And I keenly feel that how little I know about world affairs.

I found some differences of the lesson between other countries and Japan.

1. How to say own opinions during the class

Basically, we need to be quiet during the class in Japan.

When we would like to say something during the class, we usually should raise our hands first.

In case a teacher picks me, I should stand up then I can say my opinion, the answer, and so on.

The situation is like below:

Teacher : Is there someone who wants to share your experience?

Student : Hai! ( はい : Yes )

Teacher : Then, Kumi - san.

Student : Hai! ( はい : Yes ) (Stand up) I went to.....

But in the US, students suddenly start talking while a teacher is talking.

Most of Japanese students seem to be overwhelmed.

We are also taught the importance of listening to teachers and other students carefully.

But some students try to say the answers or their opinions even though they interrupt teachers.

Teachers often say Japanese students are too quiet.

I agree with it, but in my case, I am just not used to the way of saying something during the class.

I don't want teachers and other students to regard that Japanese students don't want to talk and don't want to join in the class.

But I realize that I need to learn to be proactive like them more.

2. Most of Japanese students tend to be not good at speaking

This is related to the topic 1 above.

English education in Japan have focused on reading and writing.

That's why most of Japanese people tend to be not good at speaking.

But I was surprised to see that other students who are able to speak very well couldn't solve the questions of grammar.

They told me that speaking English is easier than grammar.

One of my Japanese friend who takes the same ESL class said to me:

"We are not good at speaking, but good at grammar. We should be proud of it."

Of course I often mistake the grammar and I often feel the sense of inferiority against speaking English.

But I try to stop feeling negative.

I just practice speaking more.

This is not the topic of differences, but it was very interesting that I found all of us have each country's accent.

I can understand the English spoken by the students who speak Portuguese, Korean, and Japanese.

But it was hard for me to understand the English spoken by the students who speak Arabic and Spanish.

It depends on each student, but I realized how the pronunciation is important.

Thank you(^o^) for reading this article!


Our first Halloween in the US

This was our first Halloween in the US.

I attended the Halloween party held in the ESL class which I belong to in the morning.

I went to see the Halloween parade held in my children's elementary in the afternoon on Oct 31.

They also had the Halloween party at school.

My children and I went to trick-or-treating with our friends.

My children were so excited!

We walked around our neighborhood for two hours!

I prepared treats for children at home and my husband took care of it.

He called me that they were all gone at 7pm because a lot of children came to our house for trick-or-treating.

I asked him to give them our stock of snack.

It was a very busy day, but we had a lot of fun.

Today I would like to write about how my impression of Halloween changed after I experienced it in the US.

Actually, I didn't have any interest in Halloween when I was in Japan.

I have never celebrated Halloween and I didn't know the origin of Halloween and why people cerebrate it.

I only had an image that Halloween is just a costume parade, young people all gather Shibuya with creepy makeups and they didn't have any rules and manners, sometimes caused the troubles.

I had wanted the Halloween events to end quickly.


I changed my image of Halloween completely changed.

I saw not only children but also adults enjoyed Halloween costumes very much.

The Halloween Parade in the elementary school was so cute!

Children were so excited and walked in the parade proudly.

The teachers were also wearing costumes, those were very interesting!

I was so surprised to see the amazing hospitality of our neighbors.

They were Halloween-friendly neighborhood.

They decorated their houses and gardens with spider web, skeleton, witches, scarecrows, ghosts, and so on.

Some residents wore costumes and tried to surprise children.

They didn't get mad with children even though they were so excited that they walked on their grass.

They kept the manners well.

Of course, there were the people who didn't join in the event.

There was a sign that they didn't turn off the entrance light and the people didn't ring the bell of those people.

I was able to see that they enjoyed Halloween very much.

I was very impressed to see that the neighbors tried to entertain the people who visited their houses and they also enjoyed themselves very much.

I liked to say "Happy Halloween!".

I thought it was like "Yoi Otoshiwo" in Japanese.

This is a greeting when we ususally say at the end of the year, it means that I hope you will have a happy new year.

I thought a lot of Japanese people misunderstand Halloween.

I realized that it is not only an event for young strange people.

But I was also impressed that my children's school prepared another option for children who didn't want to join in the Halloween events.

In Japan, it's normal for students to join in the school events.

Japanese people tend to avoid doing different things from others.

I like the generosity which admit the differences.

Thank you(^o^) for reading this article!