LPLE #16: My Favorite Thing to Do in Japan

Welcome to LPLE, "Let's Practice Listening in English!"

Jesse and Andrew reflect on their travels to Japan, and Jesse talks about his favorite thing to do when he's in Japan.

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TRANSCRIPT

Intro [Jesse]: Hi everyone. My name is Jesse Robbins, and welcome to LPLE from Dialogue FM. We're the podcast that lets you practice listening in English. We speak English slowly and clearly so that you can follow along and understand native English speakers more easily. I'm excited to help you improve your English listening skills, as well as help you learn new vocabulary, grammar, and idioms commonly heard and conversation among native English speakers. If you want to practice listening in English, then we invite you to join our conversation.

Jesse: Hey, Andrew.

Andrew: Hey, Jesse.

Jesse: Before we begin, I'd like to say a special hello to students from two different schools now who are listening to LPLE to improve their English listening skills. Students from EKO English Pronunciation in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and I also found out that we have some students from our local City University who are also using LPLE for their school assignments and, just in general, to improve their English listening comprehension. So, hello!

Andrew: That's great news! Welcome, folks!

Jesse: Andrew, one thing you and I have in common is we have both been to Japan.

Andrew: Yes.

Jesse: When did you go?

Andrew: It's been a while; I went back in 2008.

Jesse: So, that's about...

Andrew: Eight years ago?

Jesse: Yeah, that's right. A lot has changed since.

Andrew: I'm not surprised.

Jesse: The last time I was in Japan was last fall, and before that it had also been about eight years. Let me tell you, I love Japan. I think you feel the same way.

Andrew: I really enjoyed my trip.

Jesse: There's a few things I really enjoy about Japan. Everytime I go, I always have a wonderful time, and it's primarily because, one, I have friends there, and they always take really good care of me. In general, not just because I have friends, but Japanese people, in general, are very welcoming. Did you experience that yourself?

Andrew: That's very much what I experienced when I went there. Even just from people on the street, or the people you met in stores or on the train, they were all very kind and very accommodating, and I was going without any Japanese language experience--I was speaking only English--and they were very accommodating of my need to work in my own language and learn my way around the city and find out what I needed to do.

Jesse: So, very similar to my experience in Vietnam, because I can speak Japanese, I found that social barriers and any level of potential discomfort in interacting with a foreigner is immediately removed.

Andrew: Right.

Jesse: It also makes it much easier for me to establish--to create--my own social network in Japan. That's why every time I go back to Japan, I always let my friends know in advance and then I start to schedule time with them to go have dinner, to go have drinks, and, more importantly--I would say probably most importantly--I make sure to schedule time to go to karaoke.

Andrew: Hahaha! That's the only reason you're going to Japan, isn't it, Jesse?...

Jesse: Let me tell you, if I ever lived in Japan, I sincerely believe that I would be going to karaoke probably every day, if not every other day. I love it that much when I'm in Japan. You know what's funny? I live here in Seattle, and we have plenty of karaoke places. There's actual places that are just for karaoke and then there are bars, and in bars, there are karaoke machines, and you stand up on a stage in front of people, and you sing. When I'm in Seattle, my desire to go to karaoke is pretty small; I don't think about it that much. When I'm in Japan, that's almost all I can think about--is "when am I going to be going to my next karaoke party?"

Andrew: Okay, so what is different about going to do karaoke in Japan that makes you so excited about it?

Jesse: Well, in Japan the entire system is different when it comes to karaoke. Again, in America, it's very common to stand up on a stage in front of strangers and sing.

Andrew: So you have to put on a performance for people you don't know.

Jesse: That's right. So, it feels very intimidating, especially for people who are new. However, in Japan, it's very different. All karaoke places have separate rooms that you rent, and the rooms vary on size: Some rooms are very small for only four people--actually maybe even smaller I hear, sometimes for only two people; very small--and they can be as large as enough to fit 10 people or 15 people; an actual big party. So, you're in a room with just your friends, so the level of intimidation and fear to sing in front of people is a lot lower, and even in those rooms, because you feel more comfortable then you can let yourself have a lot of fun, specifically in this particular room I went to last time they had a mini stage with a microphone stand, and you felt like you were giving a performance, but you were giving a performance to all of your friends who are cheering you on.

Now, not only do I speak Japanese but I also can sing in Japanese I will not touch you with my singing in Japanese right now you will have to come because I sing in Japanese and his friends and I'm a foreigner who can speak Japanese in Japanese and that much more amusing to watch them no. And it's a positive feedback loop because I'm having fun and my friends are having fun and then cheering me on which makes me have that much more fun when I'm singing for them overall look I love Japan I love going to Japan I love speaking Japanese I love Japanese food I love Japanese culture music everything but if there's one thing I love the most about going to Japan it's going to karaoke.

Outro [Jesse]: Thank you for listening to this episode of LPLE, Let's Practice Listening in English, from Dialog.FM. Subscribe to LPLE on iTunes to hear the latest episodes, or listen to past episodes on our website, Dialog.FM. That's d-i-a-l-o-g-dot-f-m. If you have questions or comments about English, or if you would like for us to use a word, grammar, or idiom in our conversation so you can learn how to use it correctly, we would love to hear from you on Twitter at @dialogdotfm or Facebook at facebook.com/dialogFM