Why can’t Japanese people speak English? An introduction to effective study methods and ideas

Dear “Everyone who wants to speak English but doesn’t know how to study

I’ve been studying English for many years.
I’d like to share with you the best way to study English
I would like to send it to you.

Sincerely yours, Yuto Inoue

Hello everyone, this is Yoshino from the iU Blog.

This time, I’d like to write an interview-style article in three parts about “how to learn a language,” a problem that many Japanese people have.

There are various language skills such as speaking, listening, writing, and reading, but I would like to focus on speaking.

This is the first installment. The first person I interviewed was Yuto Inoue, a sophomore at iU.

I interviewed Yuto Inoue about his “English study method”.

Why can’t most Japanese people speak English? What on earth can we do to improve our English? I hope this article will help you lower your hurdle to learning English.

“If you want to be able to speak English, please read this article.

Why did we decide to interview Yuto Inoue?

Yuto Inoue started studying English in earnest when he was in high school, and went on an overseas trip upon graduation. He went to a total of 15 countries!

He made friends there and discussed “education” and the “culture” and “religion” of the countries in English.

In this interview, we asked Yuto Inoue, who has a wealth of experience, about his English study methods, the good things about being able to speak English, and other things that he thinks will be very useful for English learners.

Yuto Inoue’s introduction

【Name】Yuto Inoue, currently a second-year university student

【Hobby】 Boxing, longboarding

【My boom】 Visiting coffee shops

【What I’m working on these days】 Hackathon, preparing for registration

He has been studious since he was a student.
Why did he start to be interested in English in particular?

How did you come to study English?

Originally, when I was a teenager, I was curious and liked to study, and I studied all subjects to a certain extent, regardless of English.

So to be honest, I don’t really know what made me focus on English.

However, during the summer vacation of my third year of high school, I started to have an interest in foreign countries and began to long for them.

For example, I thought it would be nice to go to a university abroad, or I liked living abroad. That was the main reason why I started learning English in earnest.

After that, I started to put a lot of effort into studying English for about six months to a year.

The amazing study method that helped him learn English in a short period of time.
It was a study method that I’m sure you’ve all experienced before.

How did you study English, Yuto?

Well, even though English is a single language, there are four skills, such as speaking, listening, writing, and reading, and I think that training is necessary for each of them.

The first thing I did was to make a vocabulary book.

However, one thing that many English learners often do is to set a period of time and limit the number of words they learn.

For example, “I’m going to memorize 1,000 words a month, and since there are four weeks in a month, I’m going to memorize 250 words a week.

To be honest, I don’t recommend this method of study. I think the most important thing to remember is to do it for a long time and let it sink into your brain.

I know it’s quite hard, but I think the most efficient and memorable way is to buy a vocabulary book and go through it once a day.

The next way to train for speaking is to take an agile approach and practice out loud what you have learned that day.
If you have learned a phrase from a vocabulary book or a grammar book, I think it is a good training to say it out loud on the same day.

Then, when you actually use the phrase, the hurdle of saying it out loud will be somewhat lowered. And as you gain more and more experience like that, your English will become more and more fluent.

How did you practice what you learned that day?

When I was in Japan, there was no one to talk to in English, so I just read aloud to myself.

I think it’s important not to worry about the people around you. In English class in elementary school or junior high school, didn’t you ever get laughed at by the people around you when you pronounced your words beautifully?
That’s what happened to me, so I think people will be embarrassed at first.

However, I think it is important to do it without worrying about it.

The most important thing to be able to speak a language is to learn it by “sound.

The process of learning a language begins with hearing the “sounds” when you are a baby. After that, by imitating and saying the sounds, language is acquired.

In order to make use of this process in speaking training, the first thing to do is to listen to the “sound”, whether it’s a movie, drama, or anything else, and after that, don’t be shy to speak. I think this is important.

You mentioned not to be shy, but I think there are people who are shy. How can I overcome that?

“I think changing your environment is a good idea.

In my case, I went abroad and put myself in an environment where I had to speak English, but I think it is possible to put yourself in an environment where you have to speak English in Japan as well.

But I think it is possible to put yourself in an environment where you have to speak English in Japan as well, for example, in a bar where you can interact with foreigners. Since you are paying money to go there, you will try your best to speak English rather than feeling embarrassed.

So I think it’s a good idea to change the environment you are in and put yourself in an environment where you have to speak English.

Actually, there are only a limited number of English phrases used in daily conversation?
Studying English has made me realize the “core” of English.

I’m sure you’ve studied a lot of English in your life, but what is the most useful way to study English?

I would have to say reading aloud. Reading aloud is definitely the way to go. It’s really reading aloud.

There is one thing I noticed after reading aloud a lot with various materials. One thing I’ve noticed through reading aloud a lot of different materials is that the syntax used in everyday conversation is pretty much the same. Not only in English, but also in Japanese, I think that the syntax used in daily conversation is fixed.

So, when you see English, just read it out loud. If you do this, the syntax used is usually fixed, so the syntax you read out loud a lot will stay in your head.

In fact, those are the most important core constructions that are used in daily conversation.

Reading aloud is what makes you realize the importance of this.

Thanks to being able to speak English, I was able to meet a new me.

Is there anything good about being able to speak English now?

I’m an introvert by nature. But interestingly enough, I think there is a difference between languages.

For example, people often say, “English doesn’t have honorifics,” but I don’t think that’s wrong.

Of course there is. In fact, it’s much more informal than Japanese. English has a linguistic tone and a way of speaking that is easy to break down, so when you are speaking English, you become much more diplomatic than when you are speaking Japanese.

So it’s really fun to communicate with people from overseas!
Since I am exposed to many different cultures, I can learn a lot about the way of thinking of people from overseas. Since I have been exposed to many different cultures, I have learned a lot about how people from other countries think. For example, I have been able to learn about religions, cultures unique to each country, education methods, etc. Since I can talk with people from other countries in English, I have been able to learn about different ways of thinking from those in Japan, which has broadened my horizons.

There are really not many foreigners living in Japan, aren’t there? Therefore, Japanese people can only interact with Japanese people, so their thinking is biased in one direction. So there is little stimulation.
Therefore, it is very interesting to talk with people from overseas, because you can experience a variety of stimuli that you have never experienced before.

If you want to be able to speak English
Be actively exposed to English.

I would like to ask you why many Japanese people cannot speak English. What is your opinion, Yuto-kun?

I think it’s not so much that there is one big cause, but rather that there are many causes, and they all overlap.

I think it’s education.
I think it’s the fact that they don’t give us the opportunity to speak English at all.

When I was talking about “education” with people from overseas, I found that many people from overseas studied English from elementary and junior high school, even in countries that are less developed than Japan, such as Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. One of the things that is different from Japan is that debates and discussions are held in English.

In other words, they are actively exposed to English.

I think this is a big difference from Japan. In Japan, we don’t have the opportunity to speak English, and we don’t have an environment where we can actively learn English, so I think that’s why we can’t speak English.

The first thing a beginner should do is “try to speak English.
Then, I want them to make it a habit and come into contact with English “without worrying about the time”.

Lastly, please tell us the process of studying English that you recommend for beginners.

I think it’s pretty hard for beginners, but the first thing I think they should do is to learn English.

It doesn’t matter if it’s online English conversation or whatever. Anyway, speak English for the first time.

Of course, you won’t be able to speak at all at first! (laughs) I was the same way.

I just want you to experience it. “I just want you to experience it. I want you to experience firsthand how inept you are at speaking and how immature you are. For some people, this may be a reason for frustration, but my recommendation would be to try English conversation for the first time.

From there, you need to have a strategy.
“I think that’s why people get frustrated.

You can rely on others to help you with your strategy. If it’s English conversation, ask your English teacher what you should study, and so on.

What I would recommend is vocabulary.
I think it is important for Japanese people to increase their vocabularies.

I believe that if you continue to study these two things habitually, you will be able to speak English.

Studying time doesn’t have to be long at all. Even five minutes a day is fine. “The most important and powerful way is not to study for 10 hours a week, but to study 5-10 minutes a day, every day.

It’s not a process, it’s a habit. “If you decide to study for an hour a day, I think it’s a bad idea. “I think it’s better to be exposed to English without worrying about the time.

So, try touching English when you are eating, when you are taking a bath, before going to bed, and so on. Ideally, you should be able to study for five minutes a day or one hour a day.

The rhythm of life varies from day to day. Today I have a lot of work to do, today I’m feeling a little under the weather, today I’m a little stressed out, and so on. It’s pretty hard to study English in a certain amount of time when the rhythm of your life changes from day to day.

When that happens, your motivation drops and you stop studying English.

In order to prevent this from happening, you can “get in touch with English without worrying about the time,” and by doing so, you can “make English study a habit. This is the best way to study English that I recommend.


What did you think?
I’m actually studying English now, and I didn’t know much about how to study English.

I am very happy to hear such a valuable talk. I would like to make use of it in my own English study.

I’m sure there are people reading this article who have worries and concerns about studying English.

If those people read this article, and if there is even a small part of it that can be applied to your English study, then I am very happy that I was able to write this interview.

I would like to encourage everyone to learn to speak English and encounter a “new you” like Yuto Inoue did.

In the next article, I will write about “how to learn a language other than your mother tongue” from a student from Korea.

See you soon!