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Angelo's Adventures: Forgetting English and butchering Japanese


Angelo's Adventures: Forgetting English and butchering Japanese

I've been living out here (in Japan) for 5 years now and I swear my English is getting worse every day. I find myself using common Japanese phrases, and translating them into English. Phrases like try your best (Ganbare) or responding with no no no (ie ie ie), when feeling like I inconvenienced some one. Which is pretty sad because, after all, I am an English teacher by trade. But if you live out here long enough and only communicate with Japanese people, it seems inevitable that your English level will suffer. 

The Heta(Badly Skilled)Twilight Zone 

Now I'm in a uniquely idiotic (baca) position, were my Japanese isn't all that great, and my English is deteriorating. I don't really notice until I talk to another native English speaker. That's when it hits hard. They'll be talking, and suddenly, I find myself lost in the conversation because I didn't understand the words they were using. I could ask them to clarify, but instead I do something my Japanese students do to me all the time. I nod and pretend to understand, while half listening to what they're talking about. So far no one has caught on, but I'm afraid the gig will be up soon. 

How do I fix this issue?

I'm kind of hoping that if I get off my ass and write more, this will fix the problem. Hence, why I'm writing this blog post. If you follow my Vlog (shameless plug click here: Social Gelo Vlog ) you'll notice that I use a lot of vocal pauses like so, or the famous Japanese response Ehhh, when interviewing people on my podcast. I'm trying to stop doing this. I think this is one of the reasons I do my podcast (shameless plug click here: Podcast  ), it gives me a chance to talk to people in English that don't live in Japan.

Why is this important? Because hanging out with other Expats in Japan, you'll notice that we all do this. We use Japanese expressions like  Ehhh, instead of natural English responses like, "really"  or "you don't say". 

In the end I do speak three languages (Spanish , English and Japanese), but I still fear that I will end up mediocre at all three of them, if I don't do something  about it soon. 

Social Gelo with Angelo

Angelo Ferrer (Editor) 

Are you an Expat and have a story you would like to share? Shoot me an email at and I would be happy to publish your story. 


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