Views #647 | Intermediate 5

Missing Home

Keiko talks about Japanese things she missed while she lived in The States.

Todd: Hey, Keiko, you lived in The States for five years, right?

Keiko: Yep.

Todd: When you were there, what did you miss about Japan -- like what foods or TV shows or stuff like that?

Keiko: I did miss the food a lot -- very healthy food, not oily, just simple, grilled fish, miso soup, simple rice, natto. I missed that a lot.

Todd: Now did you cook Japanese food in the states?

Keiko: I lived with parents and my parents and my mom tried to cook as much but obviously it's hard to get those Japanese foods, ingredients in the states. It was pretty difficult at that time and it was also quite expensive, when you could get it.

Todd: Right.

Keiko: So, we didn't have it so often or everyday so I missed it.

Todd: Now what did you think of the Japanese restaurants in America? Were they up to par or? You can be honest.

Keiko: Yeah, it was kind of strange at that time because they came in a very un-Japanese looking dish, and you know, the taste was, it's very quite similar to authentic but it's not quite authentic.

Todd: Right.

Keiko: It was very close but still it wasn't the authentic Japanese.

Todd: Now was there anything else you missed, like was there television shows or music or radio stations, things like that?

Keiko: Actually, I didn't think about these things when I moved because I was kind of forced to be adapted to American culture, so I didn't have, almost I didn't have time to really think back, "Oh, I miss this, I miss that" but I wanted to catch up with my friends in American school, I tried to watch TV shows in the states and I tried to talk to my American friends about that, so no, not in terms of TV and radio.

Todd: Now, actually, what grades were you in school? What level?

Keiko: I moved to the states when I was 13, so the end of my junior high school first grade in Japan, so I moved into almost the beginning of the seventh grade in The States.

Todd: And then you graduated high school?

Keiko: And then I graduated high school.

Todd: Whoa!

Keiko: Yeah, it was almost six years.

Todd: Man, that must have been something.

Keiko: Yep.

Todd: Now, American high schools are known to be a lot easier than Japanese high schools. Did you feel like it was a lot easier?

Keiko: Actually, it's a good question because I get that asked all the time but I don't think it's true because I think what's hard in Japan is I think the school in Japan is not so hard but you have to study for the entrance exam for university. That's more difficult, but in The States I found it difficult. I mean the school was actually quite difficult because we have, every day we have a homework from all the subjects. We have every chapter test every week from all the subjects and every homework and every little test you do in the states, it counts when you want to get into university so every day you have to work hard, whereas in Japan you don't even have to go to school. I mean you could just go to the certain amount of days to school and you can still graduate but then you just have to do really well on the entrance exam for university, so I think that's a big difference.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

stuff like that

What foods or TV shows or stuff like that did you miss about Japan?

'Stuff like that' refers to things that are similar to something you have already talked about. Notice the following:

  1. Do you like painting and stuff like that?
  2. We usually just have barbeques, play volleyball and stuff like that during the summer.


My mom tried to cook as much Japanese food, but obviously it's hard to get the ingredients here.

When something is 'obvious,' you can easily see or notice it. Notice the following:

  1. Obviously, being tall makes travel difficult sometimes.
  2. Obviously, the cold weather makes going outside a little uncomfortable.

up to par

Did you think the Japanese restaurants in America were up to par or not?

If something is 'up to par,' it is at a quality level that it should be. Notice the following:

  1. The cheapest hostels aren't really up to par, but they give you a place to sleep.
  2. That movie really wasn't up to par when you compare it to some of his others.


What was supposed to be a Japanese dish didn't taste quite similar to authentic Japanese food.

Here, 'dish' refers to a typical prepared food from Japan. The way it is used in the conversation, it could also refer to the plate the food is served on. Notice the following:

  1. Is this a typical dish from your country?
  2. Be careful with that dish. It's quite hot still.

in terms of

In terms of TV and radio, I didn't miss them so much.

You can use the phrase 'in terms of' to show specifically what you are talking about. Here, Keiko is specifically talking about TV and radio, nothing else. Notice the following:

  1. I think, in terms of weather, the summer is my favorite season.
  2. In terms of books, what is your favorite genre?
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Vocabulary Quiz

stuff • obviously • up to par
dishes • in terms of
  1. Most of these food stalls make just one or two , but they make them really well.
  2. , the fact that I don't speak the language here doesn't make my life any easier.
  3. museums, which one is the best?
  4. None of the Thai food I found there was . It was usually just a disappointment.
  5. He could spend all his time watching television, playing video games or like that.

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