Prologue A story from the Black Ships 序章 黒船の論

 By chance, I was watching a TV show the other night. It was about the difficulties Japanese have in learning English. I really felt discomforted watching the show. The underlining theme was that English is some master language, and all Japanese must strive to learn it.

 This kind of idea is very harmful to Japan, particularly in dealings with foreigners, and especially with Americans.



 There was a foreigner who commonly appears on television, correcting some Japanese person's pronunciation of choux creme. He said it sounded like shoe cream. Well first of all, the proper English word is shoe polish, shoe cream is rather obscure.

 There was another person who used wooden chopsticks to form people's tongues into the proper position to pronounce English correctly.

 And Choux creme pastry is French, I have never seen it in America. It was a ridiculous sequence in the show. There is some kind of masochistic feeling towards America in modern Japanese culture. And this hurts Japanese people in business and everyday life when dealing with America.





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