For the past few days, I have had a couple of friends visiting my home. On two different days. I have known both guys through ham radio.
The first one was still pretty young person aged around 50 years. He has been involved in education. In conversation with him, I realized that the English classes in Japan had been very problematic since our young days. We have been taught the grammer at school. The grammer was composed of strict rules with number of exceptions. We were expected to remember all boring marshaling of rules. The rules were still systematically organized. But, as told above, there were so many exceptions. It won't center on the nucleus of the language. If we should concentrate on the latter, it must be much easier and much more interesting to study English. The grammer should have been lively in such study.
In English study at schools, we have been forced just to remember the vocabulary in addition to the grammer. It is even torturous to students. The visiting friend told me the university exams were changing requiring another capability in English, that is, understanding an amount of sentences in English, rather than knowledges of the grammer itself. It might influence what they teach at high schools etc. Those already having finished their education might stay hatred for English after all those boring study. They won't open a page of English literature or critics after graduation.
It might be related with paucity of japanese hams who enjoy ragchewing on CW. If reading and writing capability is highly related with head copy and sending on CW, we should brush up reading and writing in English. It won't mean we look on our mother tongue as lower language at all. English has become a lingua franca for now. We should do that in order to do with the other peoples all around the world not only in ham radio but also in our routine lives.
The other guy is a little bit younger than me. A retired engineer. He has spent many years abroad at various places in the world. I have known him for over 40 years. A long time has passed. I have met him only several times in about a decade interval in our lives. He could go on working if he would at the time of retirement. But he wanted to get away from the heavily crowded commuting train etc and to do what he would like to. In retirement, he has been enjoying operating radio at his newly built station in a countryside. He let me see a photo of home brew PLL for TS830. He has put up two towers and big beams on them.
It seems he was much concerned about the nuclear power plant problem. I shared with his worry about the used fuel at the 4th reactor. It is an enormous amount stored in a watered pool there. If it were destroyed by any natural disaster, that amount of radioactive substances, much more than the contamination on 3.11, would fly over here. It could never be handled or repaired at all. It forces them give up controlling the other reactors at the same nuclear power plant or even the adjascent ones due to extremely high radiation level from the freed used fuel. The situation would be uncontrollable then. It would mean we could not live this area including Tokyo any longer. The government or the mass media would neglect it. Nevertheless, we should be always aware of that, as he told me. I agreed him completely. We need to know any informations hidden by the authorities. After talking for a couple of hours without pause, he has left for home.
Interesting meetings in fact.