English teacher, 37
I would say advanced intermediate. I can speak Japanese but I can’t read or write it. I don’t think anyone can fully; even Japanese have trouble with it sometimes. I learned mostly through the television; my favorite show is “Trivia no Izumi.”
I manage to get around very well, but don’t speak Japanese. I travel often for my job. If I have problems, of course, I just call one of my Japanese colleagues.
Financial Adviser, 31
Below Zero. I can get home by taxi and I can order a meal, but I can’t converse in Japanese. The only people complaining about me not speaking Japanese are the Dutch. I’ve never heard the Japanese complain, although maybe they complain in Japanese.
Italian Teacher, 27
I graduated in Japanese at university so I am improving living here. I can read and write and I can speak, but not that well. I don’t think that everyone needs to learn Japanese.
Primary Teacher, 32
My Japanese is very low and I’ve been here a year now, so it’s a bit embarrassing. It’s just so easy to get around with out it, but it probably determines where I go.
Arts Promoter, 33
Ability out of 10? 6. I can speak Japanese, but I can’t read or write kanji. I’m at conversational level, I speak Japanese everyday. I also do Taiko drumming. When I got to rehearsal we only speak Japanese. Definitely I will learn to read and write in future, mostly for Taiko.