Pearl Alexander teaches English in Japan. She blogged:
The typically unintelligible and extra-syllable-laden speaking tests delivered to me by the students had a lone girl who stood out with nearly perfect pronunciation, however quite imperfect grammar.
I was completely astonished. Was she taking extra classes outside of school? If so, why wasn’t she delivering the typically rhetorical machine-gun speech like most of the juku students?
We got to the last question on her test: “What do you like to do in your free time?” She answered: “I often listen to music. I like Avril.”
At Tsinghua University, I had a similar experience. One of a dozen art students giving presentations had much better English than the rest. Did you live in America? I asked him. No, he just watched a lot of English TV and movies. Tsinghua students watch a lot of Friends, not to mention Prison Break and Heroes.
I found a Chinese movie to watch ( Together With You ) but in one player there is no sound and in another the English subtitles don’t appear! I listen to a lot of Chinese on my mp3 player but it is pretty boring. I should try to find some Chinese songs I like and get translations.