Miura Shion Interview Part 10: The Meaning Of “Reading with Everyone”

Miura Shion is the original author of Fune wo Amu (2011) otherwise also known as The Great Passage. The anime adaptation started airing from October 16 on Fuji Television’s noitaminA block. The interview consists of eleven parts; this is the tenth part on reading together in Japanese language lessons. Please go to part one “Encountering a Dictionary” to read the interview from the beginning.

The Meaning Of "Reading with Everyone"

The Meaning Of “Reading with Everyone”

To become able to communicate well with words is unreasonably difficult, to the point it might last a lifetime.

When we talked about book reports some time ago, we brought up topics such as “During Japanese languages classes I was asked for my impressions immediately after reading”. And “Is it possible to put it into words so quickly after that?” How much time do you need to put it into words, and become able to create output?

I said I wasn’t able to put it into words instantly. However, there is also the adverse effect of forgetting due to not verbalizing and remaining a casual observer. Writing sentences also has the significance as a way of memorizing your own feelings and thoughts at the time of reading. Moreover, I also think it’s probably not bad to write down those thoughts immediately after attempting to putting it forcibly into words. Because you get a chance of to think about what you thought at that time. Because if you don’t do that, it means that the memories will flow away.

Only, in order to grasp the ropes of verbalizing, it’s essential to practice within the limits of time. I feel like the people who are able to verbalize clearly from the beginning inside their head, and what they thought about their own feelings and their experiences when they were middle schoolers, are a minority group after all. At the very least, in middle school I felt hazy, and I had some thoughts. But I wasn’t able to convey it precisely into words to someone. Though I’m not really good at it either after becoming an adult.

Speaking of the age of a middle school student, I think it might be due to the shyness of stating your own feelings and opinions to your friends. Therefore, if there is a teacher who stimulates the feeling of “Let’s write and discuss freely without saying that it’s strange or wrong” in order to be able to not feel embarrassed about it, the works in the textbooks become a good stimulus and it will be exciting to talk about it with everyone. I think it will raise feelings of wanting to try expressing it in words, turning it into words and trying to communicate those to people.

To become able to communicate well with words is unreasonably difficult, to the point it might last a lifetime. It is truly difficult to communicate and perceive well. But, during the lessons you’re reading a work, and are asked what you thought of this and that; I think it is a very good thing if you can create a place in which people can be stimulated to verbalize well without being compelled to do so. It’s important to have such experiences when you’re a child.

Miura Shion
So it’s important that it doesn’t become a negative memory.

It’s not good if it turns out like that. That’s the teacher’s problem, they are concerned with the atmosphere in the class. I think that sort of teacher is in the minority. But it’s not like there aren’t indifferent people anywhere in the world. There are also unskilled teachers among those who can stir up everyone’s interest and curiosity. In those cases, it will be a pain to the students to say and write down their thoughts in class. When a student thinks and says “it’s like this”, and if it’s a teacher who turns a deaf ear to it like “Huh? What in the world are you saying?”, the student will definitely stop saying their own thoughts and feelings. There are those do this the whole time, but I’m sorry to say these are not limited to teachers who everyone says are good. It’s difficult, isn’t it.


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