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Views #1360 | Intermediate B2

His Life in Japan

Warren talks habits he learned when living in Japan and the ones he does not use.

Antoinette: Well, Warren, you know, we’ve been talking about the fact that we both live in Japan and that we’re both from Western countries. Tell me, how do you feel about Western eating utensils compared to Japanese eating utensils?

Warren: Well, you know, even in Japan, they use Western utensils sometimes. But overall, I do like chopsticks. I think it’s very handy. It’s just easier to pick up certain things. When I first came to Japan and saw people eating salad with chopsticks, I thought it was very strange. But if I tried to eat it with a fork now, it’s actually very difficult to pick up things like lettuce. And I prefer using chopsticks for things like that.

Antoinette: When you first started using chopsticks, did you get hand cramps?

Warren: Not so much because – I can’t recall when I started using them, but I actually, I became comfortable with them before coming to Japan.

Antoinette: That’s good to know.

Warren: Uh-hmm.

Antoinette: Well, what about sleeping? How do you sleep? Do you prefer a bed or do you prefer the Japanese style futon?

Warren: Well, it’s funny you say that. At first, I hated the idea of this thin little mattress but I did find that it’s actually quite nice for my back. I actually prefer it to Western beds because it’s better for my back. But I don’t like sleeping on the floor. I like being higher up.

Antoinette: So a high futon.

Warren: If I could get like, you know, a tatami mat that’s raised with a futon mattress on top, that would be best for me.

Antoinette: You know, I think I’ve seen things like that in the stores, platform bed with tatami.

Warren: Oh, that sounds nice. I should look for that.

Antoinette: Yeah. I should find one for you and point you in that direction. Well, what about bathing? The Japanese are famous for their incense and the way they bathe. So do you prefer a Japanese style bathing situation or a Western style shower?

Warren: Well, I actually much prefer the Japanese style now. When I go back home, I find it quite difficult. I like to be able to clean myself before going into the bathtub.

Antoinette: That’s a good thing. I do enjoy that as well. What about the custom of taking your shoes off before going into a house?

Warren: Well, that doesn’t bother me too much. Growing up in Canada, I always took my shoes off coming inside anyways. I don’t think it’s as much of a ritual in Canada but many people do it just to keep a clean house.

But sometimes, if I run out and I forget something like my car keys and I want to just run back inside, I’ll tend to want to keep my shoes on rather than taking them on and off every single time.

Antoinette: Okay, tell me. Confess now. Do you sometimes keep your shoes on and go into the house?

Warren: Yeah, sometimes I have. But I’ve caught my wife doing it a couple of times too, and she’s Japanese. So I guess I’m not that bad.

Antoinette: Hey, I don’t think so. I do it, too. What about sitting on the floor versus sitting in chairs? Which do you prefer?

Warren: Oh again, I really dislike sitting on the floor. It isn’t very comfortable for me. I’m a little bit tall. I have long legs and I don’t seem to have a place to put my legs when I’m on the floor. Usually, my legs will fall asleep quickly and my back will start to bother me. So I prefer to sit up in a chair.

Antoinette: Oh yes. I guess my last question refers to eating habits – well, meals and how they’re served. Do you prefer to eat meals that are served to you individually or do you prefer to eat and share your food?

Warren: Well, that’s a good question but I don’t know if I have a preference. I like the idea of eating all sorts of different things, so it can be fun eating in a Japanese style sometimes. But there are times where do I like to just have my own meal in front of me as well.

Answer these questions about the interview.
Audio Lessons about Phrases and Vocabulary



They use Western utensils sometimes.

Utensils are forks, spoons and knives. Tools you use to eat. Notice the following:

  1. I have only one set of utensils.
  2. Do you have any utensils at work?



I can’t recall when I started using them.

Recall means to remember. We often use it to talk about things we do not remember. Notice the following:

  1. I'm sorry. I don't recall your name.
  2. She doesn't recall what happened.


funny you say that


Well, it’s funny you say that.

When someone says something that is related to a personal event, we use the phrase, funny you say that, to show the connection. Notice the following:

  • I am really bad at math.
  • Funny you say that. I just failed my math test.


point you in that direction


I should find one for you and point you in that direction.

When you point someone in the right direction, you tell them what to do or where to go. Notice the following:

  1. I need a bank. Can you point me in the right direction?
  2. Sure, I can help you. Let me point you in the right direction.



Confess now. Do you sometimes keep your shoes on and go into the house?

When we confess something, we admit something is true that we should be embarrassed about. Notice the following:

  1. Come on! Confess. You love Disney movies too.
  2. I must confess. I eat junk food often.

there are times


But there are times where I do like to have my own meal in front of me.

The phrase 'there are times' is close in meaning to 'sometimes'. Notice the following:

  1. There are times I just want to run away.
  2. I love school, but there are times I hate it.

Vocabulary Quiz

recall • utensils • funny
point • confess • times
  1. It is you mention that.
  2. I do not that happening.
  3. Can I get a new set of ?
  4. I do that I very lazy at time.
  5. There are I do not want to work.
  6. Can you me in the right direction?

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1308 Money Worries
1359 Her Life in Japan
Antoinette talks about habits in Japan.

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