A: Good afternoon.
A: Please be seated.
B: Please tell me your name.
My name is ….
B: Where do you live?
I live in …. It is about one hour from here.
B: How long did it take you to come here?
It took about one hour.
B: That’s not too bad
No, I was born in …. … is next to Tokyo.
A: OK, I thought your last name is interesting. What does it mean?
It means field.
A: OK. Well, I am interested in Japanese characters. I am a linguist. Would you please tell me about Japanese characters and its origin?
Japanese use Chinese characters. It was introduced from China a long time ago. There is a scripture written in Chinese characters which was written about 1,400 years ago, so it came to Japan a very long time ago. In addition, we use hiragana and katakana.
Hiragana is a simplified form of kanji, used to supplement kanji because we can’t express everything only by kanji. Katakana is also a simplified form of kanji. We invented hiragana and katakana from the shape of kanji.
A: Do you think this type of usage will increase?
Yes, I think so. I don’t think Japanese are creative with words. When we can’t translate a word in Japanese, we just use katakana to describe it, because it is easy. And I think this is very sad because I love the sound of Japanese very much.
A: What do you think about the population problem?
The population of Japan is about 120 million now but it will start to increase from next year.
Oh, no, I meant decrease. The birth rate in Japan is now 1.29, the lowest in history and it is also one of the lowest in the world. In order to produce the same population, the birth rate has to be at least 2, so Japan will have a serious problem in the future.
B: What can we do in order to solve this problem?
I think it is important to make an environment where people can have children. For instance, the government should financially help a family with a lot of children, because the cost of education in Japan is very high. If the government supports them, I think more families will want to have more children.
A: I am going to return to my country in three days. What kind of souvenir should I get?
I think a sensu will be a good souvenir.
A: What is sensu?
Sensu is a folding fan, and can be made compact. It is small and can be carried easily. Sensu can be purchased at department stores and many shops at Narita airport. You can find many varieties of sensu there.
A: Where can I buy one in Tokyo?
You can buy one at the “Oriental Bazaar” in Omotesando.
A: Where is that?
Omotesando is next to Shibuya by subway.
A: OK, that’s close. I will go to Shibuya tomorrow.
Yes, it is only one station, so it’s close to Shibuya. A sensu has a decorative picture on it and I am sure foreigners would love it.
A: Thank you very much.
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