• by Greg Story
  • President, Dale Carnegie Training Japan

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There they go, gliding through conversations in flawless Japanese with ease, catching the locals’ jokes, even making their own. It all seemed so effortless for them and there I was, struggling away trying to string together a semi-coherent sentence. Just as I had aligned all that tricky grammar into some semblance of order, and was about to unleash it on the world, the entire conversation topic had moved on. I was again frustrated with not being able to express myself at all, let alone fully.

I met many of my fellow international university students through the Oceania Student’s Association. We were a motley collection of Australians, New Zealanders and various Pacific Islanders. They were all undergraduates at various Japanese universities, and their Japanese language skills were annoyingly good. Like me, they were mostly here in Japan, at the Japanese tax payer’s expense, as students on scholarships from the education ministry.

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