english village 1

What is the best way to learn a language? Many foreign people in Japan will tell you living here and being immersed in Japanese is a pretty good way to pick up the lingo. When you realize you have to be able to speak and understand the language in order to live your daily life, it certainly becomes a huge motivation to make the Japanese language your own.

Do you know what isn’t a particularly good method of learning a language? Four classes a week of language learning taught in your native language with little to no chances to utilize what you’ve learned.

As the whole world knows, the Olympic Games will be held in Tokyo in 2020, and Tokyo wants to be as prepared as possible. The city is trying to do everything it can to improve its citizens’ grasp of English, and there is now talk of plans to create an “English Village” where everything will be conducted in the language so many Japanese wish they were fluent in.

Total English immersion. Foreign English teachers in public schools have been begging to hear those words for years. Many happy polyglots will tell you that it’s an excellent way to learn any language.

In preparation for the Olympics, Tokyo announced some of the “Long Term Visions” for English in preparation for the 2020 Games, and through 2024. This plan is geared to help Tokyo become the “best city in the world.” Besides encouraging and supporting students to take part in foreign exchange programs and helping Japanese people be better English teachers, they also want to give elementary, junior high and high school students the chance to spend time in an “English Village” where the only language of communication allowed is English.

“English Village” it appears, is the temporary name. 

english village 2Image: Flickr (JR P)

This isn’t a weekend trip to fun English land, this will be a fully functional town that will use English as its official language. It’s bound to be tough to pull off, but it takes big ideas and motivation to make it to the top. Some of the features of the village are to have restaurants, shops and sports centers; typical buildings that can be found in any city. The staff would be foreigners who have the support from the Japan International Cooperation Agency and also the JET Programme, which already assists in bringing thousands of English speakers to Japan each and every year. The details of the plan will be finalized within the next three years with plans to open it to every citizen also in the plans.

Learning a language isn’t difficult but it does require time and effort! Here’s hoping this unusual plan is a success, and that the village will be open to not just Japan’s most privileged language learners.

Even so, it won’t be a walk in the park!

Source: Hachima Kiko
Additional Information: Rese Mom, Sankei News
Top Image: Flickr (Michael Verhoef)