I often wonder why Japanese students have so much trouble to speak and understand spoken English. When I eat lunch at Cafe DECO, which is just below my school, and I can’t help but be required to listen to some conversations of young college girls. The cafe is not large and voices can be hearty. As you can expect the topics are pretty simple. They talk about their classes at college, their teachers, boys and their social plans and recent accessories they have bought etc. Although I am on break and would love to just enjoy my lunch I often find myself converting their conversations in my head to English to see how hard they are. Actually, they are so very simple and it just makes me wonder why more young Japanese students don’t make the effort to make English speaking friends and use English in such everyday situations. I guess in many cases, they don’t yet understand how important being able to speak English is for their future. Yes, this is Japan and you don’t have to speak English to live here and get a fairly good job, but more and more, companies are requiring some ability to speak English. Almost every company tests new applicants on their English ability. Some require over 550 or 600 or even higher on the TOEIC test. Even that level is not so easy to achieve unless a person actively studies and tries to listen to and read English on a daily basis. Unfortunately most of these young college students often do not realize how important it is to be able speak and use English until they are in their fourth year of university and by then it is getting a little too late to make a big enough improvement. Still, I admire those who, even at this late stage make the effort. It does seem to make a difference for them as it did for the young woman shown above. She has not yet gotten the flight attendant job she wants but she has gotten very close, achieved grade 2 of the EIKEN test and also has gotten a very good job with a major Japanese bank where she is being trained on investment banking. More power to those students like her who do make the effort!