I just got the cover for a new textbook based on my Japan Times columns: Surprising Japan . My co-author John Rucynski and I developed it with textbook publisher Shohakusha for Japanese university students learning English. Advance copies are available this month, and John and I will present about it on Saturday Oct. 13 at the JALT (Japan Association of Language Teachers) international conference in Hamamatsu.
Some of you might find it surprising that Japanese students need *me* to tell them about Japan, but there’s actually great demand for this sort of material. So many Japanese find it difficult to communicate about their country that the government has made it a mission to foster citizens who can talk intelligently about Japan in English.
This poses real challenges for both students and teachers: most Japanese students have never been abroad and lack perspective about what is interesting or different about their country, and few textbooks address the topic of cultural differences in a comprehensive manner and are rarely Japan-specific.
Well, you can’t get more Japan-specific than this:
We’ve got Smartphone apps, too! (Available only to instructors and students using the book.) Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can read the text.
If you teach English at a Japanese university (or to advanced students in high-school) and would like a sample copy, drop me a line.