How to Create an Identity Crisis

To: Crecente From: Ashcraft RE: Redesign

There is a segment of the foreign population here in Japan who never pick up the language. That is totally possible in Japan as there's always someone who can speak English or at least someone who can try. Granted, there are some foreigners who are dying to speak Japanese and learn the language, but for one reason or another, they don't have the opportunity. When I first came here, I didn't speak Japanese for about a year. There was no reason to! Everyone I met was so keen to speak English with me. That is... until I met Mrs. Bashcraft who wasn't really interested in learning English.

There is a man I know. A large American man who's been here more than a seven years or more. He has three kids and runs his own company, a successful company, has a large disposable income and spends a great deal of free time with his family. He seems like a wonderful parent. Even though he's been here for a while now, he doesn't speak Japanese. He probably knows simple greetings, a few phrases and that's it! Guess there's no need for him to speak the lingo as his wife is fairly fluent, and they speak English at home. Hey, that's fine, whatever. Here's the pickle, though: His small children all speak English and barely know Japanese. See the mother, who is Japanese, only speaks English with her children. She doesn't speak Japanese with them. At all! Her English is good, but it's not pitch perfect by any stretch. So now the oldest child is starting school and literally cannot communicate with the teacher. What's more, the child doesn't like the Japanese language and is reluctant to speak. Very quiet, sullen kid. Lives in Japan, has a Japanese name and can't understand what the other children are rattling away about. Can you imagine?

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