In my head this phrase still comes with the intonation of our high school teacher who insisted we’d speak English during her class. Back then, it had an exclamation mark in the end. Today I reckon my intonation sounds questioning and slightly desperate. It is so hard to find English speakers around (or they have been hiding very well from me). It is not to be taken for granted that people all over the world speak English, but somehow it is expected of the Japanese. The nearer our move to Japan approached, the more I feared the Japanese language. When I uttered this concern, I often got the response: ‘but they speak English over there, right?’ Why do we assume that? I have no idea! Maybe because we associate Japan – as a highly developed country – with technology and innovation. The observation that lots of announcements, business names, brands, titles, …are in English adds to the frustration, as after this one word, a sequel in Japanese follows. I know, I know, it is me who should learn Japanese (busy looking for recommendations btw). In the meantime I can console myself with my Portuguese, which is sometimes used as a second language. Graças a Deus!