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外国人のお客さん- JLPT N4






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Foreign Customers – JLPT N4

Inquiries from foreigners has been growing. I think there are various reasons. The biggest is that they are now able to contact us by using E-mail or Skype. Also, the number of foreigners living here has been increasing, and they are starting to use the travel agency’s services. Next year, we’ll have Olympic in Tokyo, so the number of foreigners is expected to increase even more. At my company, there are a growing number of Japanese staff who can speak English, and I myself am thinking I’d better study English. We are planning new bus tours geared towards foreign visitors, as the Tokyo Olympics will be held at locations in Chiba and Kanazawa. Understanding English will definitely be helpful.

Though I’ve studied English for 10 years now, from junior high school to college, I can’t really speak it. Japanese people are good at reading English or answering questions in an exam, but we are not good at speaking. That’s because we never practice English conversation at school. Nowadays, Japanese study English from elementary school but I wonder if the teaching style has really changed. English pronunciation and intonation are the hardest things for most of Japanese people. It’s completely different than Japanese. The difference between “L” and “R” is hard to discern. “F” and ”V” are also difficult to pronounce. Most Japanese people probably feel this way.

Japanese people use English words such as “hotel,” “bathroom,” or “cafe” every day, but the pronunciation is different. So when we pronounce those words as written in Katakana, foreigners don’t understand. When I was overseas, I struggled to order “hot coffee” and be understood. I was crushed at being unable to even place a simple order for coffee.

The sentence structure of English and Japanese is opposite, so it takes time to speak after translating Japanese to English in my head. When making phone calls in English, while I am thinking about how I to say what I want, the listener hangs up on me. I guess they think there is a bad connection. Understanding conversations in English is also hard, so it takes time to understand each other. It will take some time for me to speak English well, so I want to gradually improve my English skills by going to English conversation school or something.      

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