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Today’s Word: possessions

Today’s Word: possessions

September 25, 2018 =========

☆  possessions  所有物

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This month’s final question: Do you have too many possessions? Recently, my answer to this is always “YES!!!” I think I have always felt this way, but more so after having kids, because things seem to accumulate much more quickly with kids around! A few years ago, I read a book by Dave Bruno, The 100 Thing Challenge. (It’s in Japanese too, https://preview.tinyurl.com/ycqhwzoa)

In the book, Bruno talks about how he got rid of almost everything he owned, and remade his life. The thing that interested me was about hobbies. He said that he had so many hobbies, but he was too busy taking care of theRead more about Today’s Word: possessions[…]

Today’s Word: desire

Today’s Word: desire

September 24, 2018 =========

☆  desire  望み

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A desire (noun) is a strong wish to do or have something. For example, “She has a strong desire to help and care for people.” It might seem strange to talk about things that you desire when we are on the topic of letting things go, but you could say something like this, “My biggest desire right now is a clutter-free home!”

In fact, this week’s quote is on point for this topic. “The most important things in life aren’t things.” (Anthony J. D’Angelo). In other words, the thing you desire doesn’t actually need to be a physical thing, it could be an emotional state or somethingRead more about Today’s Word: desire[…]

Today’s Word: candid

Today’s Word: candid

September 23, 2018 =========

☆  candid  ありのままの

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When you are candid about something, you speak honestly. I think this week’s quote is very candid. “You don’t need more space, you need less stuff.” (Carrie Higgins). This is so true, and honest, and yet, I think a lot of people would be offended or upset if someone said something so candid to them.

Whenever I hear someone say they are moving house, it is always (OK, 90% of the time) because the “need more space.” I almost fell into that trap last year! We have a 3-bedroom house and a big garden, so we definitely don’t need more space, but it’s easy to think thatRead more about Today’s Word: candid[…]

Today’s Word: difficult

Today’s Word: difficult

September 22, 2018 =========

☆  difficult   難しい

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Something that is difficult is not easy to do, understand, or deal with. So, for this month’s topic, I think a lot of people find that letting things go is difficult, right? Is this true for you? For me, it’s difficult to let go of things that I don’t need if they are still in good condition. I really don’t want to throw anything away into landfill or recycling if someone else can use it, but at the same time, I don’t have much time to spend selling my things.

When I lived in Japan, it was really difficult to get rid of things I no longerRead more about Today’s Word: difficult[…]

Today’s Word: overwhelmed

Today’s Word: overwhelmed

September 21, 2018 =========

☆  overwhelmed  圧倒された

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If something makes you feel overwhelmed, it affects you strongly and you don’t know how to deal with it. You might be overwhelmed by the crowds on the trains in Tokyo. Or overwhelmed by feelings about something that happened to you, either in the present or in the past. And, of course, for this month’s topic, you might feel overwhelmed by the number of things or the amount of clutter you have.

Last week, was the annual event of the Royal Adelaide Show. It is a 10-day event. The main purpose of it is to judge the show animals, but nowadays it’s great fun for everyone, withRead more about Today’s Word: overwhelmed[…]

Today’s Word: transformational

Today’s Word: transformational

September 20, 2018 =========

☆  transformational  転換の

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Something that is transformational is able to produce a big change or improvement in a situation. This week’s useful phrase is, “The KonMari method has been transformational for me.” In this case, the speaker probably had a lot of clutter and things in their house that they didn’t need or love, and following the KonMari method improved their situation greatly.

Have you ever had a transformational experience regarding letting go of things? For me, it was definitely clearing out my mum’s apartment last month. Even though her apartment didn’t look that cluttered and there weren’t things scattered everywhere, when we started going through everything, there was aRead more about Today’s Word: transformational[…]

Today’s Word: scattered

Today’s Word: scattered

September 19, 2018 =========

☆  scattered  散らかった

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Things that are scattered are spread over an area in an untidy or irregular way. In our house, the most common things to find scattered everywhere are toys and soccer balls. I heard a great suggestion about this, and that was to spend five minutes each night collecting the things that are scattered around the house and return them to their correct spot.

The thing is, this sounds so easy to do, and yet… ha ha! With the soccer balls – they are scattered all over the backyard and the sports box is broken so there is nowhere to pack them up. With the toys, I alwaysRead more about Today’s Word: scattered[…]

Today’s Word: inspiring

Today’s Word: inspiring

September 18, 2018 =========

☆  inspiring  元気づける

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Letting go of things and decluttering can be hard work. When I am losing steam and want to give up, I look for something inspiring to keep me motivated. One of my favorite places to find inspiring messages or photographs is on Instagram. I used to like Pinterest too, but that was too much for me! There were too many inspiring photos of ideas on how to declutter, and before-after photos. For me, too much choice is not inspiring, it’s just tiring!

Instead, on Instagram, I follow the hashtag #konmari and so every so often, some inspiring posts (only the really popular ones) come up in myRead more about Today’s Word: inspiring[…]

Today’s Word: life-changing

Today’s Word: life-changing

September 17, 2018 =========

☆  life-changing  人生を変える

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Something that is life-changing has such a strong effect that it changes your life. The word life-changing is probably a famous word now, thanks to the translation of the KonMari book! “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. What do you think about this title? Is it possible that tidying up and decluttering can be life-changing?

I’m not sure, but I think decluttering can definitely be life-changing for many people. Most of the people I know have too much “stuff”, and because of that, we spend too much time looking after our stuff, rather than living life! What a waste!

Many years ago, my brother was living in SanRead more about Today’s Word: life-changing[…]

Today’s Word: discard

Today’s Word: discard

September 16, 2018 =========

☆  discard  捨てる

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If you discard something, you get rid of it because you no longer need or want it. The most common thing we discard is the wrapping or the box that something we bought came in. For example, the shoe box our shoes came in, or the bag our fruit was in.

Recently, I read a book called Waste Not. It was very interesting! The author was trying not to create any trash that needed discarding. A few years ago, she decided to do Plastic Free July (http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/) meaning that during July, she would use NO plastics or as little plastics as possible, so that there was nothingRead more about Today’s Word: discard[…]

Today’s Word: sort

Today’s Word: sort

September 15, 2018 =========

☆  sort  分類する

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To sort something means to separate it into different categories or groups, usually so that you can do different things with them. A common decluttering method is the Four Box method. This is where you find four (large!) boxes and label them: Toss (throw away), Give Away/Sell, Store, and Put Away.

As you are cleaning up your house or apartment or even just one room, you sort everything into one of these four boxes. Don’t need it? Toss or Sell box. Need it sometimes, but not very often, put t in the Store box (for storage.) Use it regularly, then put it away (or in the washingRead more about Today’s Word: sort[…]

Today’s Word: toss

Today’s Word: toss

September 14, 2018 =========

☆  toss  投げる

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OK, so I think the translation might be a little strange for this month’s topic, right? Toss, definitely can be translated as “nageru” meaning to throw something in a careless way. However, in the topic of Letting Go, we are really talking about tossing something in the trash. Perhaps the translation is different? What do you think?

In any case, when you toss something out, you throw it away. You let it go, put it in the trash, and say goodbye to it forever! When we were clearing out my mum’s apartment, we certainly tossed a LOT into the trash. At first, I was devastated for theRead more about Today’s Word: toss[…]

Today’s Word: spur

Today’s Word: spur

September 13, 2018 =========

☆  spur  拍車をかける

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If something spurs you to do another thing, it encourages you to do it. For example, if you don’t like your job, it might spur you into finding a new one. If you see your friend’s travel photos on Instagram, it might spur you to decide to take an overseas trip this summer.

Talking of letting go, my mum’s death and clearing out her apartment spurred me to clear out my own house. Each day I would go to her house and help my siblings clear out her things, and then when I came home, even though I was physically and emotionally exhausted, I was spurred onRead more about Today’s Word: spur[…]

Today’s Word: visualize

Today’s Word: visualize

September 12, 2018 =========

☆  visualize  見える化する

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If you visualize something, you imagine what it is like by forming a mental picture of it. I think pretty much every decluttering book I’ve ever read has talked about visualizing your perfect room or house. What would your room or house look like if it were perfect for you, clutter free in the way that you want it to be? Apparently, if you can visualize your goal, then you will stay motivated to reach it.

What do you think about this idea? Are you able to visualize your goal, for example of a clutter-free home, or of being a confident English speaker? For me, it’s hardRead more about Today’s Word: visualize[…]

Today’s Word: tolerate

Today’s Word: tolerate

September 11, 2018 =========

☆  tolerate  大目に見る

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If you can tolerate something unpleasant or painful, it means you are able to bear it or put up with it. For some people, tolerating clutter is easy. They just don’t really “see” it. Of course, the clutter is there, but they are able to ignore it. For me, I can’t tolerate clutter at all. For a few days, it’s OK, but eventually I feel that I really “need” to clean up the mess.

If you check psychology research and Freud, there is a lot of information about clutter, and whether or not we can tolerate it. For example, if you have stuff on the floor andRead more about Today’s Word: tolerate[…]

Today’s Word: accumulate

Today’s Word: accumulate

September 10, 2018    =========

☆  accumulate  溜める

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This week’s useful phrase is, “It’s amazing how quickly we accumulate stuff.” I think I would change that to say, it’s sad, shocking, or ridiculous! When we moved from Tokyo to Australia, we decreased our belongings substantially. But now, after just six years we have accumulated so much again.

My mum moved into her apartment about five years ago, after my dad got sick and had to go to hospital. We sold so many things for her, so that she could downsize. And yet, in just five years, she had accumulated almost the same amount, maybe even more! How??!

The thing is, though, unfortunately, accumulating stuff isRead more about Today’s Word: accumulate[…]

Today’s Word: order

Today’s Word: order

September 9, 2018   =========

☆  order  整頓

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When something is in order, everything is in the correct or expected place. I must admit, having my house in order is one of my favorite things! Unfortunately, with kids in the house, it rarely happens! In fact, the only time it is in order is if they are at school or in bed! Ha ha!

After clearing out my mum’s apartment, I realized that she had no order in her house at all. It must have been terribly difficult for her to find the things she wanted or needed. I think the main reason was because she actually had too many things, so it wasRead more about Today’s Word: order[…]

Today’s Word: category

Today’s Word: category

September 8, 2018      =========

☆  category  カテゴリー

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If you divide things into a category, you divide them into groups that are similar in some way. As I’m sure you know, the KonMari method divides our things into categories so that we can sort through them in the best order. She uses categories like clothing, books, papers and sentimental items.

I love the idea of sorting through things by category, because then you are finished, right? But each time I try, I can never actually finish – when I did the clothing category, there were always things in the washing basket, or the clothes I was wearing, or winter clothes that were packed away.Read more about Today’s Word: category[…]

Today’s Word: destination

Today’s Word: destination

September 7, 2018 =========

☆  destination  目的地

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When we talk about our destination, of course we usually mean the place where we are going, the city or country for example. However, we can also use the word destination to talk about the end of our journey, or our goal. In this situation, the word destination means the place you want to arrive at emotionally or physically, in your world.

So, when you think about letting go, and decluttering, what is your destination? Where do you want to be when you are finished? This might mean an actual change in location, such as moving house. Or more simply, just a clean house, clutter free,Read more about Today’s Word: destination[…]

Today’s Word: method

Today’s Word: method

September 6, 2018 =========

☆  method  方法

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This week’s useful phrase is, “I love the KonMari method, have you heard of it?” I’m guessing that in Japan, everyone has heard of it, but in Australia, even though the English translation is a best-seller, not everyone has heard of her method.

For decluttering, I think that is one of the trickiest things – choosing a method to use. The 5-minutes a day method. The one item a day method for 365 days. The closet hanger method (when you turn all your coat hangers around to one direction, and then if you wear the clothes, you put the hanger back to the other direction. The youRead more about Today’s Word: method[…]

Today’s Word: restlessness

Today’s Word: restlessness

September 5, 2018 =========

☆  restlessness   落ち着かないこと

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A feeling of restlessness means that you can’t relax, and you feel jumpy, nervous, or unsettled. Interestingly, if you look on Google for example sentences, you’ll find a lot of sentences about “the restlessness of the tribes” or “the religious followers were experiencing a restlessness like never before.” In other words, it seems like a formal word, used in novels or even non-fiction and news reports.

However, you can use it just to describe your own feelings of not being able to relax. Here are some ways:

I just have a feeling of restlessness, that I can’t shake. (shake – get rid of)
I don’t know why he experiencesRead more about Today’s Word: restlessness[…]

Today’s Word: clutter

Today’s Word: clutter

September 4, 2018 =========

☆  clutter  ガラクタ

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Have you ever tried to get rid of clutter? I have, many times! Unfortunately, it always comes I really loved the KonMari method of getting rid of clutter, by asking the question of whether you want to keep it, rather than whether you want to throw it away.

However, when I was dealing with my mum’s clutter it was much easier. “Does anyone want this?” Yes – they got to keep it. No? Then it went for sale or to a charity shop.

Have you ever heard of “dostanding”? It’s a Swedish word, mixing the words “death” and “cleaning” and it’s the idea of getting rid of clutterRead more about Today’s Word: clutter[…]

Today’s Word: breaking point

Today’s Word: breaking point

September 3, 2018     =========

☆  breaking point  限界

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Another interesting thing that has shown up for me this past few months, has been how strong we can be even when we think we are not. With a young baby and breaking my ankle in February, I thought I had reached my breaking point, but somehow, I kept on with everything (with a LOT of help from my family, of course, thanks guys!)

And then, it was winter – I dislike winter – a lot! It’s so cold here, and the houses are not made for winter, they are made for summer, so they stay cool (well actually, cold) all year round. So, IRead more about Today’s Word: breaking point[…]

Today’s Word: focus

Today’s Word: focus

September 2, 2018      =========

☆  focus  集中する

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If you focus on something, you pay attention to it, you concentrate on it, or deal with, rather than dealing with other topics. For example, this past month, my siblings and I have been focused on clearing out my mum’s apartment and selling off the items we no longer needed that weren’t sentimental.

There was a lot to sort through, and it required us to focus on it almost 24-7. Strangely though, it was good to be focusing on something other than feeling sad and grieving. Interestingly, my mother had been trying to clear out a lot of stuff, but she couldn’t really focus on it,Read more about Today’s Word: focus[…]

Today’s Word: grieve

Today’s Word: grieve

September 1, 2018     =========

☆  grieve  ひどく悲しむ

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Well, I certainly didn’t imagine last year when we were creating the Eigo Techo for 2018, that I would actually be grieving my mum at this time! The word grieve is usually used to talk about feeling very sad about something – especially the death of someone or something, such as a pet. Also, when decluttering, and letting go of things, sometimes you need to grieve that loss. You might also grieve the loss of a job or opportunity, but in that case, it would be more usual to say you are feeling upset rather than say you are grieving. 

This month’s topic is “The Art of LettingRead more about Today’s Word: grieve[…]

Today’s Word: dress code

Today’s Word: dress code

August 31, 2018 =========

☆  dress code  ドレスコード

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The dress code is the rules about what clothes you are allowed to where at a place. This is usually used for situations like hotels or posh restaurants. In Adelaide, the casino has a dress code of no sneakers or jeans. Places like the Ritz Hotel have a similar dress code.

In a cultural situation, the dress code isn’t really about whether you are dressed well enough to go into the restaurant or hotel, but instead whether you are dressed appropriately for the situation or the culture. A common example of a cultural dress code would be the dress code for Muslim women and the Hijab.Read more about Today’s Word: dress code[…]

Today’s Word: personal space

Today’s Word: personal space

August 30, 2018 =========

☆  personal space  パーソナルスペース

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Your personal space is the space around you, and when someone invades that personal space, it means that you feel uncomfortable because they are standing or learning in too close to you. Everyone has a different amount of personal space – for me, when I first arrived in Japan, my personal space area was quite large, and I felt uncomfortable if people were too close.

However, after many years of catching crowded Tokyo trains, my personal space grew smaller. This was not by choice – but if my personal space had remained bigger than most people’s personal space, then it would have been stressful and uncomfortableRead more about Today’s Word: personal space[…]

Today’s Word: tourist

Today’s Word: tourist

August 29, 2018 =========

☆  tourist  旅行者

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A tourist is a person who is visiting a place for pleasure or interest, in particular when they are on holiday. When I was living in Japan, I didn’t really feel like a tourist, because I was living and working in Tokyo… but because I don’t look Japanese, of course, people would think I was a tourist. I had some very funny experiences because of this!

I can remember one day in Shinjuku, I was waiting to cross at the traffic lights, and there were a few Japanese people standing there, too. One Japanese old man came up to me and spoke in Japanese, saying he wasRead more about Today’s Word: tourist[…]

Today’s Word: immigrant

Today’s Word: immigrant

August 28, 2018 =========

☆  immigrant  移民

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An immigrant is a person who has come to live in a country from another country. So, I am an immigrant, because I was born in England, and came to live in Australia. These days, there is a lot of news about illegal immigrants. An illegal immigrant is someone who lives and works in another country, even though they do not have the legal right to do so.

In Australia, it seems like a lot of people worry that illegal immigrants and even legal immigrants will take “all the jobs” but in fact, most immigrants are willing to do the jobs that Australians don’t want to do.Read more about Today’s Word: immigrant[…]

Today’s Word: protocol

Today’s Word: protocol

August 27, 2018 =========

☆  protocol  礼儀作法

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Protocol is a system of rules about the correct way to act in certain situations. Knowing the protocol for the situation you are in can really help avoid any misunderstandings, right? But what if you don’t know the protocol for the situation? For example, you’re working with foreigners or you’re living and working abroad, and you find yourself in a situation where there is a protocol you should follow, but you don’t know what that is.

For me, this happened when I had to attend a funeral in Japan, I had no idea what the protocol was. In fact, at that stage I had only ever beenRead more about Today’s Word: protocol[…]

Today’s Word: native

Today’s Word: native

August 26, 2018 =========

☆  native   生まれつきの

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There are a few ways to use “native” as an adjective. For example, Mr. Tanaka is a native of Japanese, meaning that he was born in Japan. You can also use this for a region, not just a country, for example, Josh is a native New Yorker.

Your native language, or native tongue, is the first language that you learned to speak when you were a baby. For example, you might say, “English is not my native tongue.” Whereas, of course, I would say that English IS my native tongue. If someone can speak a few languages, you could say, “She can speak not only her nativeRead more about Today’s Word: native[…]

Today’s Word: stereotypical

Today’s Word: stereotypical

August 25, 2018 =========

☆  stereotypical  ステレオタイプの

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Something that is a stereotypical idea of a type of person or thing, is a fixed idea that a lot of people have about that thing, that may not actually be true. So, a stereotypical idea about Japanese people is that everyone wears Kimonos every day. In the past, this may have been true, but of course it’s not true anymore, but the stereotypical idea still remains.

Stereotypical ideas don’t just have to be about cultures, but can also be about people. For example, when we talk about the differences between men and women, we often talk about ideas which are stereotypical – strength, intelligence, and otherRead more about Today’s Word: stereotypical[…]

Today’s Word: negative

Today’s Word: negative

August 24, 2018 =========

☆  negative ネガティブな

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If someone is negative or has a negative attitude, they only see the bad aspects of a situation, rather than the good ones. When I was working at an English school, my Japanese coworker told me to stop being so negative! I was really surprised, because I didn’t consider myself to be a negative person. After thinking about it, I realized it was actually a cultural difference.

I was talking about things like the humid weather and crowded trains – I didn’t feel like I was complaining, but it seemed negative to my Japanese coworker because he was very stoic. He was very good at “gaman” HaRead more about Today’s Word: negative[…]

Today’s Word: pleasant

Today’s Word: pleasant

August 23, 2018 =========

☆  pleasant   心地よい

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Something that is pleasant is nice or enjoyable. I don’t use this word that often, but when I do, it’s usually in this way:

“What a pleasant surprise!” This is common to say when you have bumped into someone, or had a phone call from someone, and it’s just nice to see that person or see them.

or

“That was a pleasant evening.” Or a pleasant lunch or day or any other situation. Use this when you want to express that you had a nice time, an enjoyable time. You could even use it as a Facebook or Twitter post: “I had such a pleasant evening, having dinner withRead more about Today’s Word: pleasant[…]

Today’s Word: common

Today’s Word: common

August 22, 2018 =========

☆  common  共通の

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When you talk about a common opinion, or common knowledge, or a common feeling, you mean that the opinion, knowledge, or feeling is shared by the people you are talking about. So, for example, when talking about culture and cultural gaps, it might be common knowledge that most Japanese people celebrate the New Year rather than Christmas. However, it might not be common knowledge that there is an Obon season in Japan, to honor the spirits of your ancestors.  

Having common knowledge, and customs and culture in common with others can make bridging the cultural gap much easier. Do you think there are some cultures thatRead more about Today’s Word: common[…]

Today’s Word: rude

Today’s Word: rude

August 21, 2018 =========

☆  rude   失礼な

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Someone who is rude acts in an impolite way towards others, or says impolite things to or about them. Today’s word is the opposite of yesterday’s word. Hopefully you don’t ever meet rude people, but if you did, you could say something like this to them:

“Please don’t be so rude.”
“Stop being so rude!”
“I don’t know why you have to be rude.”

In Japan, you probably don’t meet that many rude people, right? People are generally polite and courteous to each other. In Australia, that’s also true, but sometimes you will come across rude people. If I do, I usually just say, “That was a bit rude!” andRead more about Today’s Word: rude[…]

Today’s Word: polite

Today’s Word: polite

August 20, 2018 =========

☆  polite  礼儀正しい

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Someone who is polite has good manners and behaves in a way that is socially correct and not rude to other people. I think being polite is probably one of the hardest things to do when there are different cultures involved. Unless you know what that culture thinks is polite and not polite, it is easy to make a mistake.

It is possible to learn the culture, so that you don’t make a mistake, but the language can be much harder. Do you agree? As I mentioned earlier in the month, the Japanese Keigo language can make it much harder to be polite in some situations. IfRead more about Today’s Word: polite[…]

Today’s Word: ethnicity

Today’s Word: ethnicity

August 19, 2018 =========

☆  ethnicity  民族性

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Your ethnicity is the state of belonging to a particular ethnic group. In Japan, most of the population is of Japanese ethnicity. However, in Australia, it’s really hard to know. Sometimes you can offend people quite easily too! I did this – by accident – last week!

We went to a birthday party for my son’s friend, and I had never met the mother before. She was Asian, so I asked her what her nationality was. Naturally, she said, “Well, I’m Australian.” Oops! I should have asked her what her ethnicity was. Then she would have said Korean. In fact, she was adopted from Korea when sheRead more about Today’s Word: ethnicity[…]

Today’s Word: understanding

Today’s Word: understanding

August 18, 2018 =========

☆  understanding  理解

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If you show understanding to someone, it means that you show that you realize how they feel, or why they did something. And that you are not hostile toward them. For example, you might say to someone, “Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

In fact, this could be something I might say to you as my reader if you have sent me an email recently! I have been a bit busy the past few weeks, so I just haven’t had a chance to reply to the emails you’ve sent me.

In fact, at the end of July, my mother died suddenly. And so there has been aRead more about Today’s Word: understanding[…]

Today’s Word: culture

Today’s Word: culture

August 17, 2018 =========

☆  culture  文化

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One of the things I love about Japan is the culture. My background is very diverse, so I don’t really feel like I have my own culture. I was born in Wales, while the rest of my family is from England. Then we moved to Australia when I was young, so I had a mix of British and Australian culture.

My best friend throughout school was a half-French, half-English girl from Canada! Then at the end of elementary school, my family went to the USA for my dad’s work. So, another new culture to add! Then Japan when I was a high school student for a homestay.

SoRead more about Today’s Word: culture[…]

Today’s Word: custom

Today’s Word: custom

August 16, 2018 =========

☆  custom  習慣

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A custom is a way of behaving that is usual or traditional to a particular society or culture. I think the different customs that each culture has leads to an interesting and diverse world, but it can also be the source of frustration and misunderstanding.

One custom that has recently been highlighted in Australia relates to the differences in religion between “Aussies” and immigrants who have a different religion. Some immigrants are arguing that Christmas and Easter should not be celebrated in schools.

Even marketers are being told to change it seems. For example, people are suggesting the artificial “Christmas Tree” you can buy from the department storesRead more about Today’s Word: custom[…]

Today’s Word: education

Today’s Word: education

August 15, 2018 =========

☆  education  教養

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This week’s useful phrase is, “Education is (the) key to better relations I think.” I really agree with this. Most people are generally scared or nervous around things that are different to them – and so education about that thing makes us less scared. That’s why we say, “knowledge is power” because if you know why something is different to you, it is no longer so different, right?

Do you think the education in Japan needs to change in order to teach kids more about other cultures? That way, when they enter the global workforce or travel to other countries they will have more understanding about otherRead more about Today’s Word: education[…]

Today’s Word: behavior

Today’s Word: behavior

August 14, 2018 =========

☆  behavior  振る舞い

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Your behavior is the way you behave. When you behave in a typical and repeated way, this is your behavior. So, at school or at home, kids might get rewarded for “good behavior.” If you’re working with people from other cultures, then sometimes their behavior might seem a little strange or unusual to you, because it is not the sort of behavior you are used to.

How would you react if someone’s culturally different behavior made you feel upset or annoyed, or even afraid? If you worked with them, would you try to talk them about how their behavior made you feel, and about how it isRead more about Today’s Word: behavior[…]

Today’s Word: values

Today’s Word: values

August 13, 2018 =========

☆  values  価値観

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The values of a person or of a group of people are the moral principles and beliefs that they think are important. Bridging the cultural gap is definitely easier if you share the same or similar values with the other person. Do you agree?

Most people probably think that English speaking countries share similar values with each other. I think it is also commonly thought that Asian countries share many common values. Do you agree? Do you think Japanese culture shares many – or any – values with other Asian countries?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: valid

Today’s Word: valid

August 12, 2018 =========

☆  valid  妥当な

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A valid argument, comment, or idea is based on sensible reasoning and thinking.

I just said, “That’s a valid point” aloud to myself, and my son immediately said, “What is?” Ha ha! Given that we weren’t talking about anything, that is a good response to that sentence, which is the useful phrase for this week.

Because I was talking to myself, my son probably thought I was reading or listening to something that I agreed with, and that’s why I said, “That’s a valid point.” which then made him want to know, “What is?” (In other words, what is the valid point that you are talking about?)

This isRead more about Today’s Word: valid[…]

Today’s Word: constructive

Today’s Word: constructive

August 11, 2018 =========

☆  constructive   建設的な

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Something that is constructive is useful and helpful, rather than negative and unhelpful. We often talk about constructive discussions, comments or approaches. So, when we’re talking about bridging a cultural gap, a constructive discussion is much more useful than just giving advice on what a person must or should do. Here are some example sentences:

I trying to do something constructive at work, to help with the new employee from Thailand.
Our meeting was friendly and constructive. It really helped a lot, I think.
I talked to my boss about playing a more constructive role in our foreign branch office.

Can you make a sentence using constructive?

Bye,

Chris

Today’s Word: appropriate

Today’s Word: appropriate

August 10, 2018    =========

☆  appropriate  適切な

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Something that is appropriate is suitable or acceptable for the situation. One thing I found really hard about the Japanese language is Keigo, and the honorific language. I studied them, they were soooo hard to remember! In the end, I just used regular Japanese, even though I knew it was more appropriate to use Keigo. Of course, because I was not Japanese, it was usually not a problem, no one minded that I wasn’t using the appropriate language.

How about English? It’s rare that there is a word that is not appropriate to use, and we don’t really have a system of language where you mustRead more about Today’s Word: appropriate[…]

Today’s Word: self-conscious

Today’s Word: self-conscious

August 9, 2018   =========

☆  self-conscious   自意識の強い

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Someone who is self-conscious is easily embarrassed and nervous because they feel like everyone is looking at them, and perhaps judging them. This week’s useful phrase is, “I feel so self-conscious when I travel abroad.” What do you think about this?

For me, it depends on where I am traveling. Because I am Anglo-Saxon, it’s pretty easy to travel without looking different from the people around me. However, traveling in Asia, I felt self-conscious, not so much in Japan, because I was confident about my ability to communicate in the Japanese language, but in other countries where I didn’t understand the language and I looked different,Read more about Today’s Word: self-conscious[…]

Today’s Word: unexpected

Today’s Word: unexpected

August 8, 2018      =========

☆  unexpected  思いもよらない

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If something is unexpected it surprises you because you did not think it was likely to happen. In terms of cultural differences, interestingly, even where the language is the same, there can be some unexpected differences. For example, you might not expect there to be many differences between American, British and Australian culture, because the English language is the most common language for these three places. However, when I traveled in each of these places I have found some unexpected differences.

One main unexpected difference for me, was the sense of humor differences. English and Australian people tend to have a sarcastic sense of humor, whereasRead more about Today’s Word: unexpected[…]

Today’s Word: uniform

Today’s Word: uniform

August 7, 2018 =========

☆  uniform  変わらない

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Something that is uniform, doesn’t change or vary, and is all the same. This doesn’t mean something like a school uniform, but I think you can see why it has the meaning of not changing, right? A school uniform or sports uniform is the same for everyone, right? This is the same – there is no change or variation.

So, for a business that wants to expand into other cultures, they would need to have a uniform system throughout the business, so that they could avoid silly mistakes. If the rules and systems are uniform throughout each branch, then cultural misunderstandings can be avoided, because everyoneRead more about Today’s Word: uniform[…]