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Good morning!

A, B, C : Good morning!

B : Please tell me your name and address.

I'm .... from Higashiosaka, eastern part of Osaka.

A : I see. Do you often come to Kyoto?

Well, sometimes. You know there are many temples and shrines in Kyoto, and in spring, you can enjoy cherry blossom viewing and in autumn you can enjoy crimson leaves.

A : O.K. Let me ask you a few questions. Why do Japanese always smile?

Well, in our society, we put high emphasis on group harmony. So we try to hide our true feelings not to disturb the atmosphere. And we don't express our true intentions directly.

A : Does everybody do that?

No. Only politicians and company employees do that. But among friends, we do not do that.

A : You don't need to smile when you talk with your friends.

No. We don't need to smile when we don't want to smile.

A : O.K. Next question. The number of working women is increasing. What do you think about it?

As a woman, I'm very glad to hear that news. These days, women are gaining higher education and they have ability. So they should be active in business world and political world.

A : But in the past, many women quit working even though they had ability. What stopped them?

Well, traditionally, we have a notion that men should work outside of the house and women should work inside of the house. So even though many companies have one year of maternity leave, many women were reluctant to use that system, because many people thought that women should do child-care and house chores. So, women quit job when they became pregnant.

A : So, it has been changing, right?

Yes, it has been changing.

A : O.K. Last question. What is "zabuton"?

Well, that is flower cushion.

A : Flower?

No, "floor." "Floor cushion."

A : Ah, "floor cushion".

Yes, that is made of cotton and stuffed with cotton. Especially in Japanese-style tatami mat room, we use zabuton. And,,, do you know "rakugo"? That's funny story told by a professional storyteller.

A : Ah, yes, I know rakugo.

The professional story tellers always sit down on zabuton.

A : Well, is it a kind of rule to sit down on zabuton in tatami-mat room?

No. It's not a rule. It's just comfortable, that's why we sit down on zabuton.

A : Well, time is up.

Time is up? I really enjoyed the conversation with you. Thank you very much.


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