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My name is .... I live here in Kyoto.

A : Where exactly?

Tanaka, near Mototanaka Station. I go to the University of Kyoto, and I live near it.

A : Ah, so you live close to Hyankumanben.

That's right.

A : Could you tell me why Japanese people are so reserved? For instance, why don't Japanese businessmen speak out at meetings?

I think that is the case for many Japanese because there's been a long tradition or a custom of considering it a virtue to be reserved and not outspoken.

A : I still don't understand. Why is it a virtue to be reserved?

The Japanese believe that beauty lies in hiding what one has inside and letting others suppose what it must be.

A : Do you feel there's a difference in attitudes among different generations?

Yes, it is more common among the older generation, but even the young people haven't abandoned this custom entirely.

A : All right. Let's talk about sports now. I know that there was a world championship in track and field in Paris last month, and many Japanese athletes did well in it. How did you feel about that?

Well, I was very proud, just like many other Japanese must have been, especially of Suetsugu.

A : Why?

He came in 3rd in the 200 meter dash, which was something no other Japanese or even Asian athlete had ever accomplished. I mean Asian people had not been considered suitable for this kind of race, so what he did was a really big achievement.

A : So the Japanese have always been good in long distance races?

Yes, that is so.

A : OK. Tell me, what is "setsubun"?

It's a festival in February, on February 3rd. To bring in the good and happiness, and to keep out the evil, we throw beans at the demons, or more correctly, people with masks of demons.

A : Beans? Why not chocolates, something else?

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I have no idea. It's been beans since I don't know when and I think nobody gives a second thought to it. Another thing we do at "setsubun" is eat rolled sushi in the direction which is considered lucky.

A : Which direction is that?

It changes every year. One year it may be southeast, another year north.

A : Well, time's up. Thank you.

Thank you for your time.

A : Bye.

Goodbye.

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