Here is Taylor Swift's new song OURS in the unofficial youtube version with lyrics:
This song reminded me that a lot of Japanese people say AWA~Z （アワーズ） instead of #-A-r_Z. People also say YUA~Z （ユアーズ） instead of Y_-O-r_z.
The same is true for OUR and YOU.
OUR ==> #-A-r_.
YOUR ==> Y_-O_r_.
This means that the following are all pronounced in the same way:
So how do you say this?
OUR Rs ARE ...
For those of you who want to see Taylor Swift in the official version of the song, here is the real one.
In this music video, you will see a lot of morning faces (tired, lazy, relaxed). When I teach Japanese people in DC or on SKYPE, I ask them to have this relaxed face. They speak better English if there is almost no tension in the mouth. Japanese people show a lot of emotion on the face, so you really have to minimize face power/tension by keeping your eyes dead (I often repeat "Please keep your eyes dead 死んだ目にしてください"). I also tell them to pretend as if the chest is their face and if they want to express emotion, feel it in the chest (instead of showing it on the face). This works really well. After they hear this advice, they even begin to look like Japanese Americans.
Japanese people want to appear enthusiastic when they meet new people and show it on the face. You have to switch this off by will power. You need to overcome Japanese culture in order to speak better English.
Women are quicker to adapt to the eigonodo way. I sometimes joke to women, speak English like when you talk to your drunken husbands, as opposed to speaking "moshi moshi" style when you pick up the phone and you are still pretending kawaii (because you don't know yet it is your husband). They laugh.
This probably is not a laughing matter... but is is kind of funny.
Guys tend to struggle a bit.
I am keeping track of all my volunteer teaching at www.youtube.com/eigonodo . Please take a look. By the end of 2012, I think I will have taught more than 100 local Japanese people in the DC area. Here is a sample from the collection -- where I taught in English since Mr. Gaikokugo-daisuki-ojisan insisted that we should do this in English to avoid confusion:
There are many skeptics of our method. When I tell them I can listen to English and catch every sound (thanks to Eigonodo), some people think I am exaggerating. I am not. I can catch every word in English when I hear English.
Japanese teachers of English continue to believe that English sounds are inherently ambiguous, changes sounds depending on the stress pattern, and makes a lot of predictable and unpredictable sound connections. They believe non-native speakers always have difficulty listening to English. They are not aware that non-native speakers of other nationalities are able to understand English after a while of studying English or studying in the English speaking environment. Japanese people can live in the English speaking country for 30 years and they still have to struggle with listening comprehension.
This is a bit very difficult to explain.
Japanese people can hear sounds but they cannot really hear English sounds as they really are. So they decided that English sounds are always somehow "changing." For example, when you say, "get up," it is somehow changing from "get up" to "gera (ゲラ）". But this change is occurring only in Japanese people's mind (and in the way how they convert English sounds into katakana).
There are hundreds of books that explain this to Japanese people. "Get up" becomes GE-RA. "On it" becomes "O-NI". "an egg" becomes "A-NE-GU."
Where does insanity end?