Differences in Textbooks
Today while using some of the junior high school text in class I noticed a couple of very interesting things. One thing is that when I was in junior high school and high school and I was studying Spanish and French we had similar textbooks. Usually it has a conversation in the beginning of the lesson and then a couple of grammar points and maybe some vocabulary. But when I study Spanish and French usually the conversations were where a student went to Spain or France on vacation or an exchange program and in the process of speaking French they learned about French culture. But in Japan I found that the opposite was true. The conversations all had foreigners coming to Japan and Japanese students explaining to the foreigners about Japanese culture and various traditions. I’m not an anthropologist so I cannot speak about what this reflects towards Japanese society and culture but it certainly is different. I’m sure if I asked one of the teachers why they would give me some kind of vague excuse that when thought about really made no sense. Perhaps it’s some kind of fear of other cultures, I don’t really know. But the conversations also tend to complement Japanese culture and traditions. Instead of saying this is sushi raw fish. They would say something like this is sushi it is very healthy and delicious. It’s much better than fast food. I think the context was that Japanese food is healthy but Western food is not healthy. That may be true but it’s like that for everything.