B: Good afternoon.
B: Please sit down.
B: I’ll ask you a few questions for warm-up. What is your name?
My name is ….
B: Where do you live?
I live in Meguro.
B: How did you come here today?
Ah, by subway.
B: Did you have to change trains? Where did you transfer?
Yes, at Kasumigaseki.
B: How long did it take?
About 40 minutes.
B: That’s not bad.
A: Are you originally from Tokyo?
No, I’m originally from Shizuoka Prefecture. It’s to the south of Tokyo. About a 2-hour drive.
A: I don’t know anything about Japan. I’m new here. （たいへんカジュアルに言う。）
The main reason would be space. Japanese houses are not spacious. I think your friend must have been hesitant to show you around and have dinner in the cramped situation.
A: But I think his house is big. Are there any other reasons?
B: Just in general, Japanese tend to go overboard preparing for guests. What to serve for dinner, how to set up decorations...（ジェスチャーをする。） to every detail, they want to do their best.
A: I see. We had blowfish that night. What do you call it?
Fugu. It’s special food. Some people really love it.
A: I was afraid of the poison it might have. Anyway, I don’t care for raw fish. Could you recommend any Japanese food?
Now it’s almost December（窓の外の季節を見ながら） and is cooling down, so how about nabe, or a one-pot dish? It’s a popular winter-time food. Probably as a very typical example, you could try sukiyaki. It’s a dish of thinly sliced beef, onions, shiitake mushrooms, and tofu all cooked together in a pan at the table. It gets you warm. Ah, you get warm. Everybody sits around the pot （身振り手振りでなべと人々を示す。）and shares the food from one hot pot. It gives us a nice, cozy feeling.
A: Isn’t it dangerous to cook at the table?
A & B: Oh, is it dangerous? （Bの人も笑っていっしょに聞き返す。）
I mean, no, it’s not dangerous.（あわてて訂正。） The restaurants which serve this type of dish always have safe equipment. And it’s easy to operate. You can operate it.
A: Do we cook by ourselves?
Oh, yes. It’s very easy. And cooking is part of the fun.
A: I’m also interested in current events. I heard about the chicken in China and the terrible bird flu.
We had a couple of cases in Saitama Prefecture. It’s up north. But other than that, fortunately we haven’t had bad cases of avian flu. And the government has started stocking up medicine so that we can get vaccination.
B: Right. Let’s hope the flu won’t spread. Now, it’s over. Thank you.
A: Thank you. （無意識に、日本人独特の軽い会釈をしながらあいさつ。 あっという間で、難しい質問はなく、やりとりは試験というより日常のおしゃべりのようだった。）
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