English Listenign Lesson Lab Online
Views #241 | Mid Intermediate 5

Japan and England

Sarah compares life and teaching in Japan and England.
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Todd: OK, Sarah, how long have you been in Japan?

Sarah: I've been in Japan for two months. I came in April.

Todd: Again, when did you come to Japan?

Sarah: Two months ago.

Todd: OK, and what do you think about Japan?

Sarah: It's a very interesting country. I expected a very big culture shock when I first came here because I've never been to Asia. I've always taught in Europe and I've been to America but they were all places that weren't particularly different from England, like Japan, but I didn't have any culture shock and I don't know if it's just because I was in an environment with other English speaking people and I was in a company where it's very secure and safe so there was not need to have that kind of shock but I think the differences here are just unbelievable. It's very difficult to explain it to somebody who's never been to Japan before, so talking on the phone about being here, talking to someone back in England is very difficult to explain to them how different it is here.

Todd: Yeah, what do you think about the food?

Sarah: I like the food because I like fish so I was lucky, so the food, I've tried some different things, tried to be adventurous.

Todd: And the people?

Sarah: Ah, the people are nice, very nice, first quite difficult to, when teaching, very very different than teaching Europeans, particularly the Austrian people from my experience are very loud and forthcoming, and at first they were very, very quite, and we've seen quite a difference now that they've got to know us, and they've opened up quite a lot and it's easier, but generally I find the people very kind in the streets. When we meet people they're always very helpful, very kind.

Todd: Yeah, I think Japanese people are, that's one of their best traits. Yeah, they're very, very sweet. OK, what do you think about the weather?

Sarah: Yeah, very changeable. I was quite surprised. Most people think that in England the weather is very, very bad but here it's, the rain is just unbelievable. I've never seen rain like this before. It's just very, very changeable and it can be hot for a minute and then the next day it's quite cold.

Todd: And now, it's very loud. You live by the train tracks. What do you think of the trains?

Sarah: The service, or?

Todd: Or just overall? Do you like the trains? Do you like living by the train?

Sarah: I'm not, I don't think about living by the trains, but I think the trains are very, they're always on time, always very frequent, very good service but I have never seen so many people get on a train before.

Todd: Yeah, they are very crowded.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!

culture shock

I expected to have a very big culture shock, but I didn't.

'Culture shock' is how you feel when you move to a new location and the habits and people are very different from what you are used to.  Notice the following:

  1. I didn't have culture shock when I first got there, but it was really bad when I came home.
  2. Moving here was a complete culture shock for her.


With food, I've tried to be adventurous.

If you are an 'adventurous' person you take risks and try new things. Notice the following:

  1. You need to be more adventurous when you travel.
  2. He has always been very adventurous and has a lot of great stories.


Austrians are usually loud and forthcoming.

Someone who is 'forthcoming' is direct and cooperative. They will help you or give you any information you ask for. Notice the following:

  1. She is usually very forthcoming, but is obviously uncomfortable talking about this.
  2. We need you to be forthcoming with this information.


The weather is very changeable, and the rain is unbelievable.

If something can change a lot from one moment to the next we say it's 'changeable.' Notice the following:

  1. I think my style is changeable depending on what I'm doing.
  2. Her mood is very changeable, but you can usually tell from her actions and facial expressions.

on time

The trains are always on time.

When something happens at the time that it is supposed to then it is 'on time.' Notice the following:

  1. In this country you can't expect that anything will be on time.
  2. She is usually on time for work.

Vocabulary Quiz

shock • adventurous • forthcoming
changeable • on time
  1. You need to be to adapt to a new country.
  2. It can be really frustrating that she is almost never . I hate waiting.
  3. people will try just about anything.
  4. The normal way of life here is a culture at first.
  5. My son is never very when he does something wrong.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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