Saturday, 1 December 2007

Is France a country?

A few years ago I asked a bunch of Japanese college student what the capital of South Korea was. After an expanse of seconds filled with the usual grunts of "dunno" and the sound of my despair bouncing around the room "It's your neighbouring country fer gawd's sake! How can you not know?" I finally selected one of my favourites, the lumburing mass of sportswear and gormlessness that was Kubo-chan: "Come on Kubo-chan! I'll give you a hint, it begins with an 'S' what is it?" After a stratch of his limp barnet and a short intake of breath sucked in between his teeth the Kubster ventured forth with "H'mmmm, now I know it's not Sydney...."

I've found reams of Japanese teenagers that profer the following ludicrous suggestions to the not exactly a brainteaser: Where is Mount Everest?

Japan? France? New Zealand? London? Paris? Africa? Spain?

Now, there is not the excuse that they haven't understood the English as there is always someone saying the Japanese name and confirming that is the tallest moutain in the world. OK, hint time: it's in Asia.

Italy? Brazil?

"Brazil and Italy are not in Asia, are they? What are some countries in Asia?

Chicago? New York? Iceland?

You wonder if it would be possible that British teenagers couldn't tell you the capital of France or the currency used on the continent. Nah, course not, we couldn't possible be that dumb you conclude. That sort of ignorance is surely only found in the classrooms of Japan and the streets of 'Merica. With horror you discover that low and behold, denser than denser than dense people do exist in your own country! Can it be true? Do British people also think Mount Everest is in the UK?

"Asked how many countries there were in the world, only a third were correct in choosing 193. A third of people thought Mount Everest was either in the Alps or the UK - it is in Nepal - and only half of respondents knew that the Nile was the world's longest river.",,2210433,00.html


Time to get back to laughing at Stoopid Americans I guess.