I say “have” because it can take years to complete the process. It’s also an expensive way to do research, which is one reason why many folks (mostly English native speakers) don’t attempt it. My point is that every nation has its own system of government, has different rules, and different cultural traditions.
When I take my comparative analysis of the Japanese and u.s. it is because it will make my trip to Japan a pleasant experience and help me learn much about the differences and similarities between the two countries. The United States has a strong economic voice and much of that economic power comes from the fact that we are the largest consumer of manufactured goods in the world. Japan, on the other hand, is a very small producer of manufactured goods. We buy more, we pay more, and we get poorer services and products as a result. Japan’s large exporters, such as Toyota and Samsung, rely on our exports to maintain their competitiveness.
This is a good thing because it means that they are less likely to flood the market with inferior products. But it does also mean that they must rely on us to protect their brands from foreign competition. You might say they’re using us, but that begs the question: what for? As far as providing good jobs, more equal income, and a vibrant economy, our loss to Japan is minuscule when compared to the U.S.’s. Japanese companies have also reaped much benefit from globalization, taking advantage of new technology such as Information Technology, which we have almost certainly taken for granted. This alone gives us an economic advantage.
One of the greatest differences between the Japanese and the Americans in regard to their approach to education is in the area of politics. The Japanese are extremely disciplined; they put great value in academic study and diligent practice. Their educational system emphasizes uniformity, and this leads to some of the best quality education available in the world. The key, then, becomes in our being able to understand and adapt to this discipline.
The Japanese people are also quite different; they respect property rights and a strong sense of community. This is another important consideration when you compare the Japanese with the Americans. The Japanese have a much longer tradition of rural living, and many of the traditions are still alive in their villages today. Americans, by contrast, are stuck in the twenty-first century; their material culture has been built around the automobile and computer, and they have forgotten about many of the basic values that they grew up with. Because of this, they are prone to a lack of social capital and tend to isolate themselves from friends and family. If you compare the lives of the two populations before World War II, you can see how different their experiences and attitudes might be.
The biggest differentiating factor between the Japanese and the Americans when it comes to education is, of course, the language. The Japanese are extremely different in their language: they have four different verbs for an “action” (Ise, utsse, sokusen, kudzu). They also have a complex grammar, and different tenses, when they use them. This makes it very difficult for the Japanese to express themselves in English; they tend to get away with it by using complex sentences and words, rather than simpler ones. This may make it more difficult for the American education system to teach Japanese, but it has its own rewards; as we will see in later chapters, there are plenty of learning opportunities available in the United States due to the different cultural influences that have affected the populations there.
The other big difference between the Japanese and the Americans when it comes to education is the focus on standardized testing. The Japanese often rank very poorly in international comparisons, and it can be a big challenge for the American education system to get their students up to par. They also rank very poorly when it comes to testing the curricula of their schools. In this book, we’ll take a look at all these issues and suggest ways in which you can help your student learn to read and write Japanese, at the same time as getting excellent grades in the subject matter.