19 comments on “Uemura Akari: “I’m quite often approached by foreigners for directions.”

  1. Well then, Aari is the standard type of “Beautiful Lady” in international standard. After JJ world tour 2017, i can see her in person as a truly beautiful lady, maybe Japanese people see her as a too mature woman.

  2. I went to China and most young Chinese peoples’ English was either serviceable or good. (When they weren’t too shy to speak). Not too much accent either. In Japan a good portion of young people are just really bad at English. Both teach it in their schools and both have strong student and learning cultures so I’m not sure where the discrepancy comes from. Maybe it’s because Japanese has less sounds than Chinese and English does and Chinese and English have very similar grammar structures so it’s easier to pick up and learn to produce sentences. (Besides old Chinese and literary Chinese which has different grammar structures from what I understand)

    • I think it’s the way it is taught at school. Maybe in China they go for a more practical approach that can also help you with future jobs while in Japan it’s a lot of set phrases and maybe literature.

    • I don’t know how English is taught in China, but in Japan they have a really bad way of teaching foreign languages imo.

      First of all, everything gets transcribed into Katakana, which already messes up proper pronounciation because everything has to fit into the japanese phonological system which excludes/includes sounds that are very different from standard English.

      Secondly, a teaching method called “shadowing” is extremely common in Japanese schools.
      It’s basically the teacher saying debatably useful English words/phrases out loud (in that mangled pronounciation) and all of the pupils repeating after him/her like parrots. Besides learning those predefined sentences (often without proper and exact understanding of the meaning), there is barely any emphasis on the pupils coming up with own sentences at a certain point. Also barely any speaking practices, most of it is in written form.That’s why most Japanese high schoolers can barely string a sentence together.

      Also, if I might name another obstacle, cultural differences come to play as well in learning a foreign language. In Japan, many situations require predetermined sayings/expressions that are ‘fixed’ and cannot be changed easily (like greetings etc.). There really is no alternative expression, you have to use a certain phrase (like よろしくお願いします just to name an example).
      Keeping in mind this notion, it’s now clear why Japanese people might assume it has to be the same way in English, even tough that often is not the case and you can use various expression in reply to a phrase like “I look forward to working with you”.
      Just my two cents to your comment :).

      • This is great information, thank you! It’s interesting to see how language is taught. I think that might be the problem. I get the sense that the Japanese highly value education overall

        In the United States, most students study a foreign language in high school. But they can’t really communicate in that language. But I think the difference here is that American culture doesn’t place a high value on learning another language. Many people expect that everyone in America know English. It’s even so bad that people have been cruel to others who are speaking amongst themselves in another language (the frequent target of this is Spanish, but a huge chunk of our immigrants are Spanish-speakers).

        On a few occasions, foreigners have apologized to me for their poor English. Maybe it’s some sort of cultural thing. But I always feel bad that they feel they have to apologize, and I assure them that their English is good.

        But from what I’ve read of Japanese culture, it doesn’t seem that they have a similar issue to Americans in the foreign language learning department.

        • Yes, for sure I also think education is very valued in Japan :). Imo it’s just a bad system/way of teaching languages. If it was taught differently, then for sure people in Japan would also be able to write/speak English (or any other foreign language for that matter) way better than they do now.

          Thank you for the insight from an American perspective! I can somehow understand how the focus on learning foreign languages might somewhat be less strong if your mother tongue is already a very dominant language around some parts of the world. So if a lot of people from different cultures/countries can already speak and understand your language, of course the need to learn a foreign language might not be as pressing :).

          But on the other hand I also think that it’s very beneficial to learn foreign languages in order to relate to other cultures better. It’s just not the same unless you really try and immerse yourself fully in the culture.

  3. I’d also pretend that I don’t know who she is, act like clueless tourist, and ask her for direction if I was lucky enough to see her in flesh. That would be the ultimate fan experience. Lol

  4. “Henkka: Alright, which one of you shameless bastards was this?”

    It was NOT me. (Only because I was not there!) Haha!

  5. “Henkka: Alright, which one of you shameless bastards was this?”

    Well… Why should I be ashamed? (hehe)

  6. Aarii gives off mature beauty vibes so for sure she’ll be approached easily (lol). People prob think she’s very diplomated too, when in fact she usually acts like a big dork (that’s why we love her).

    I went to a J=J concert in Japan a few months ago with a friend, we both have her as oshi in the group. In her blog that day she thanked the foreign wota for coming to the concert. So cute! I really came to like her even more after that & I already love her to bits.

  7. Well it wasn’t me! If it were, the title would be more along the lines of “Strange foreign girl approaches Uemura Akari, says thank you and that she loves Hello!Project then runs away.”

    I’m sure Akari’s a nice girl, but I’d think I’d be in so much schock to meet any of the idols I’ve followed that I’d want to hide out of a fear of doing anything embarrassing.

    Perhaps pretty girls do get asked for directions more. I’ve been approached by strangers for directions several times. I always feel bad because I’m not good at giving directions.

  8. Plot twist: It was actually a woman who asked for directions. Hey, straight women can be nice and compliment another woman’s appearance too.

  9. Getting some severe deja vu here. Wasn’t there a very similar thread about another member a few years ago? Even some of the comments are similar to what I seem to remember.

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