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This bilingual thing … they say that it’s a both curse and a blessing. Watakushigotode kyōshukudesuga (私事で恐縮ですが, A thousand pardons for having the gall to talk about myself), but I think of it more like a stigma. It’s not the same for millenials — they were born and raised in a kinder and more lenient Japan, whereas us old-timer eigo-tsukai (英語使い, English-speakers) have had it tough since day one.

Being a Japanese teenager trying to survive in last century’s school system was tough enough, but a Japanese teenager who had spent a chunk of time in the United States and must survive in the ikiuma no me wo nuku (生き馬の目を抜く, the equivalent of gouging out the eyes of a horse) environment of a public school classroom — perhaps the term chō kibishii (超きびしい, extremely severe) will fit the bill.

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