Views #364 | Intermediate 5

Osaka and Tokyo

Kawabe compares Japan's two biggest cities.
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Todd: Kawabe, can you explain the difference, or compare, Tokyo and Osaka?

Kawabe: Tokyo and Osaka? OK, I think that Tokyo is like New York City and Osaka is, like where? It's like, I guess it's like, OK, let's say, little Irish city.

Todd: A little Irish city?

Kawabe: I'm just imagining. Maybe this is the wrong example, but um, you know, people are so friendly. This is what I want to say, and people, the relationship in Osaka between each, between, you know people, are so close, very very closer than Tokyo one and people are so friendly, you know, for example when buy something at the shop, where ever it is, someone's gonna talk to you. "Hey, where are you from? What do you want to buy? and this is better than this. You better take this one."

Todd: Mm, that's nice!

Kawabe: Yeah, in Tokyo nobody will tell you know this kind of thing in the shop, you know, it's a
weird thing in this big city.

Todd: That is strange. Why do you think people are different in Tokyo than Osaka? They're only,
you know, 500.

Kawabe: People don't care about each other in Tokyo. It's like New York City and, you know, there are too many people to deal with, to, you know, so in Osaka it's a big city but it's always, it's also, at the same times like a huge village.

Todd: Mm, that's a good point. A huge village!

Kawabe: And in Tokyo, nobody speaks with a dialect but in Osaka everybody speaks the same language, I mean that Osaka dialect. That is why I think they are feeling the same kind of
tie. Some kind of ...!

Todd: Bond!

Kawabe: Yeah, with each other, so and we call it Osaka-ben in Japanese, Osaka's dialect, and that way of talking is always like very funny, always like sometimes noisy, but it's lovely dialect. You know, everybody likes it, so the most of the famous comedian in Japan, on every kind of, any kind of TV show are from Osaka. In Japan, most of the famous comedians are always from Osaka. Yeah, so, it's a big difference. The, OK, simply, character in Tokyo is cold, the people are cool, you know, stay cool. You don't show your emotion very much. You've got to be very, very, like, decent, square, and you've got to act cool. This is what you have to be in Tokyo, but in Osaka, you just, you know, anything goes. You can do whatever you want to do. You can be whoever you want to be and then, you know, people are wild and free and cheerful, lovely and it looks like they are enjoying the life, like an Italian, like Italian, yes! I think this is a good example. It's like Moscow and Venezia, or Moscow and Napoli or, you know, North Korea, Pyongyang and Rome. It's like this.

Todd: Yeah! Wow!

Kawabe: People are so different.

Todd: Interesting. Interesting observation.

Learn vocabulary from the lesson!


It's a big city but it's also at the same time like a huge village.

A 'village' is smaller than a town and has a friendly feel to it.

Notice the following:

  1. I like to think of London as a collection of lots of little villages that have been joined together.
  2. When I retire I would like to live in a village.


In Tokyo, nobody speaks with a dialect but in Osaka everybody speaks the same language, I mean that Osaka dialect.

A 'dialect' is the certain way that people from a particular area speak. Each regional dialect will have its own special features such as vocabulary or phrases.

Notice the following:

  1. She has quite a strong regional dialect.
  2. When you learn a new language it is sometimes made harder if it has lots of different dialects.


That is why I think they are feeling the same kind of tie.

A 'tie' is something that binds two or more things together. In this case it refers to a connection between people.

Notice the following:

  1. I feel like I have strong ties to this city even though I've only lived here for a few months.
  2. Having pets really ties you down.

show emotion

You don't show your emotion very much.

To 'show emotion' means to display your feelings for everyone to see. You can show emotion with your facial expression or you actions.

Notice the following:

  1. She does not like to show her emotions easily.
  2. You need to show emotion in order to be a good actor.


You've got to be very, very decent, square, and you've got to act cool.

In this case, 'square' means that you are well rounded person. Usually a square person refers to someone who very intelligent, but not very good with social interaction.

Notice the following:

  1. We need good honest and square people.
  2. I need a husband who is square and decent.

Vocabulary Quiz

village • dialects • ties
show emotion • square
  1. There are many different of Spanish depending on the country and the area.
  2. All of his traveling experience have made him into a and understanding person.
  3. It is unprofessional to while you are at work, especially anger.
  4. He has been away from home for so long that he has almost no here now.
  5. Everyone in the helps each other.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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