In the past few months I’ve been inundated with requests for private English lessons, some from former students who dropped out years ago and now suddenly want to brush up on their language skills, and others from people who have decided that they or their kids desperately need to learn English. Curiously I ask them, why the urgency? Almost all of them reply with one word: Obama. As I’ve reported before, his speeches are extremely popular here, and his books have become bestsellers. Now people are wanting to emulate his supposed oratorical skills, or at the very least are keen to learn how to decipher his speeches without resorting to Japanese subtitles. For some reason, the Obama Effect has led to an English-language boom in Japan, and I am benefitting greatly from it. (Strangely enough, they never showed any interest in doing so with his predecessor; on the contrary, they actively avoided English then, and my business affairs suffered, but perhaps it was just as well?) Obama is revered here, and I’ve lost count of the number of people who’ve told me enviously “I wish we had a leader like him.” I’m not really into politics, but I can tell you one thing: America has revived my career, after eight years of apparently trying to kill it. I owe your President a great debt of gratitude. I only hope it will last.