A： How are you today?
Fine, thank you.
B： Please put your bag and jacket on the seat behind you.
B： So tell us your name and where you live.
My name is …. I live in ○○○○-ku in Kyoto City, near here.
B： Oh, so you walked here?
Uh, no, I came here by train.
B： Now, we are going to ask you some questions on Japanese things including culture. Please listen and relax.
A： So the first question about Japanese culture. What is seijin-no-hi?
Seijin-no-hi. Seijin-no-hi is the day that falls on the second Monday of January. On this day we celebrate young people’s coming of age. Some local municipalities hold ceremonies for those young people.
A： OK. The next question is, what is futon?
Futon is a set of quilt and mattress that we use when going to sleep. We spread a mattress on the floor, and put a quilt over ourselves. This set of quilts is called futon.
A： Which do you prefer to sleep on, a futon or a bed?
I like the futon better, because we can fold it and put it in a closet when we don’t use it. With beds, we can’t do that. A bed takes a lot of space.
A： Do you put your futon in a closet every day?
A： You do? Foreign people leave it spread out on the floor.
A： I don’t. I put it in a closet.
A： OK. The next question is, why do many Japanese people want to learn how to speak English?
I think it’s because of the English education system in Japan. In Japan, only reading and writing have been focused on, not listening or speaking. So a lot of Japanese people don’t feel they’re good at speaking English. But many people need to use English at their workplace, so they go to so-called “English conversation schools.”
A： Is it difficult for you to speak English?
For those people who go to that kind of school?
A： No, for you.
For me, ah yes, because it’s a foreign language.
A： But you enjoy speaking it?
Yes, very much.
A： Now, I’ll ask you something about social matters. What do you think about the spread of bird flu in Asian countries?
The spread of bird flu. Yes, it is a serious problem. It is said that our immune system isn’t safe against the virus of bird flu. So it is very dangerous for us. We have to be very cautious not to catch bird flu.
A： OK. I’ll ask you some more questions. What do you think about human space trips?
A space trip! It seems like a big challenge. But I think only rich people will be able to enjoy such trips, not “ordinary people” like me.
A： So if you had enough money, would you like to go on a space trip?
Ah, yes! If I’m fit enough.
A： Oh, you’ll try. OK.
A： Now, that is all. Thank you very much for coming today.
A： Bye. Thank you.
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