| A, B, C: Good afternoon.
B: Please tell us your name.
My name is ….
B: Where do you live?
I live in Zushi, Kanagawa prefecture.
A: Isn’t Zushi famous for its military base?
You are referring to Ikego. Zushi is between Kamakura and Yokosuka, two well-known cities.
A: It’s between the two cities!
A: Why do Japanese take off their shoes when they enter a their house?
It is because of the structure of Japanese houses. As you know, Japanese rooms are covered with "tatami" mats. You know "tatami"?
There are also wooden floors. When we enter the house, we take off our shoes, sandals, and whatever you wear on your feet, because they have dirt on it. We have a culture of keeping a house clean.
A: Now, could you tell me what "seijin-no-hi" is?
"Seijin-no-hi" is a Japanese national holiday. It is translated as "Coming-of-Age Day" and is in January. In Japan, at the age of 20, you are considered to be an adult. Family members and the community celebrate that day. The community will hold a ceremony inviting those who have reached 20 years of age in the past year.
A: What do people wear on that occasion?
Since it is a celebration, they wear formal clothes.
By "formal," I mean, formally dressed for the occasion. Some make appointments to get dressed, because they cannot put on kimonos by themselves. Some men also wear kimonos.
There are some changing trends in this ceremony. If you are interested, you can observe it in one and a half months time.
A: OK, I will look forward to that. Why do you think there are an increasing number of international marriages?
I think it is because of the internationalization of our country. Young people know more about other countries and cultures. They have more information compared to the past, through the media and other sources. It is obvious that they can meet more people from foreign countries and communicate with them, and some of them become couples.
A: Are there any other reasons?
I mentioned globalization and more information. Another reason is the change in Japanese people's minds. We have become more open. We have opened our doors,
and receive not only foreign cultures but also have gone out to get exposed to the outside world. Communication skills have improved a lot.
A: Yes that's true.
Now, what do you think about Prime Minister Koizumi's cabinet?
Do you mean his most recent cabinet?
I think he has carefully selected members and planned well for what is said to be his last year in office. Since everyone knows that his term will last for only another year, people have started to think about who will be the next prime minister. However, he has formed a cabinet to accomplish things in his last year in office. He had planned it very well and it is a good cabinet.
A, C: OK. Thank you very much.
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