| Apr 21, 2009

What U.S. schools can learn from Japan

Dear education ministry, In March, I had the opportunity to visit a Japanese school. Kadena Elementary School is located on Okinawa Island in the town of Kadena, and is not to be confused with the school of the same name operated by the U.S. ...

| Apr 14, 2009

English lessons on the cheap

Dear education minister Ryu Shionoya, I came to Japan six months ago a qualified and experienced primary school teacher full of excitement, and a little concern. Would I be able to connect with the junior high school students I would be teaching in only ...

| Mar 31, 2009

Look overseas to address Japan's lag in English ability

Dear education ministry, The article titled “Shame over poor English level lies with education ministry” by Mikine Dezaki (Hotline to Nagatacho, Jan. 20) succinctly summed up the stark reality of Japanese high school English-language education. Indeed, Japanese study English for six years in high ...

| Mar 10, 2009

Please teach us how to fit in

Dear Prime Minister Taro Aso, When I first came to this gentle country I was 18 years old. I worked for the U.S Department of Defense. My fellow airmen and I walked about the city smoking, drinking and eating. We drank beer straight from ...

| Feb 10, 2009

Invest in 'human capital'

Dear Prime Minister Aso, In this era of unprecedented economic turmoil, I urge you to invest in the “human capital” needed to maintain Japan’s position as an economic superpower in the 21st century. Having lived in Japan for nine years and worked closely with ...

| Jan 27, 2009

'Marathon' ritual must change

Recently, my son ran an 800-meter “marathon” at his local elementary school. He received a congratulatory “certificate of achievement” noting his participation and the fact he placed 79th. He has come to dread this annual ritual. It is damaging his fragile self-esteem and emerging ...

| Jan 13, 2009

Digital 'big switch' is big con

Visit any electronics shop and you cannot escape reminders that in July 2011, Japan will end analog TV broadcasts and switch over to digital. After that time, existing analog TV sets will require adapters, but over the next 2 1/2 years most people are ...