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和は高槻にある英会話カフェです。





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What to do in Japan before Doomsday

Hello again, dear guests and readers! Tabita here!

It was a lively Saturday evening at Wa. Today I got a table with people of a wide age range, so I kind of got a grasp of the marvels of Japan from many points of view. We talked so much about food, specially about Valentine’s chocolates. Most of men admitted they received obligation chocolate of some sort. Last week, I visited the Chocolate Fair at Hankyu department store in Umeda, just to get acquainted with the trends and see If I could go back home with something tasty in my bag, but everything was so expensive… and the thought that any of those 1,000 yen 3-bonbon boxes can be eaten in 3 seconds totally dissuaded me. Not to mention the impressive crowd of women. Honestly, I still believe they all were there buying stock for future secret binge eating sessions. In the end I went to another store and got this bag of cheap present candy (Hokkaido milk, filled with chocolate) with extremely corny messages in each wrapping. The candies were good. In a sweets shop close to Takatsuki-shi station I found them again, so I bought them. Valentine’s shopping in Japan, cleared. Strawberry seasonal items shopping, cleared. Now, I gotta go for all the cherry-blossom themed items. I’ve already spotted some interesting looking sweets, teas and even ice cream!

I checked out with the guests about good places to live or visit in Japan. I became interested in Miyazaki prefecture because the author Akiko Higashimura in her autobiographical manga named “Kakukaku Shikajika” depicts it as a cozy, tropical and quiet place, with lots of nice foods. Looks like the place to which I would like to escape from the everyday rudeness of city life. Since I like hot weather, guests have recommended me to go to Kagoshima prefecture as well. Ah, If I manage to get some good money I might go there during summer vacation. Many of the guests have leisure trips planned for the near future. The perks of being an adult. Meanwhile, I just focus on my checklist of things to do in Japan before doomsday comes. I rang the bell in a temple for New Year’s midnight, went for the shrine visit on New Year’s day, got caught between unexpectedly violent elderly people catching lucky beans for Setsubun… I’ve been recommended to enjoy Tenjin Matsuri in Takatsuki. I want to give it a try…

Our words for the day:

  1. Doomsday: the end of the world, the apocalypse, an asteroid colliding with Earth and such things.

  2. Corny: something very repeated. Usually used to refer to cliché sentimental stuff.

That’s it for today, see you next time!

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How was your week 2

                  Hi I am Hong, yesterday was my second time in Wa café, shared and talked about what happened to me, and some guests like Fumiya, Yuko and two other guests. Topics we were discussed are about our interesting activities over last week and our life goal to be achieve.

                  I shared my experience when I was in Hokkaido last week. It was my solo trip there for a week. I ate a lot, visited few cities and the most interesting part was I met some interesting people and learnt from them. Well, I believe that is what travel mean to be, about discover a better you, understand and acknowledge the good thing from different culture and set yourself aside from usual routine.

                  It’s my first time meeting Fumiya at this café! He used to came here over the eight years since he was a high school student. He is soon a pilot to be, not only me but also guests at the café are so happy and cheer for him. He is smart, handsome, and a mature men, and you know what, he is looking for a girlfriend!  Even though yesterday was his last day to come to the café before going for pilot course in Philippine. All the best and hope to see you again in future!

                  I was also having great time with Yuko and another guest after that to know about how happy they are looking forward for everyday life. Basically that concludes my blog today! See you next time!

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       Today was a wonderful day dispite the rainy weather.The guests really enjoyed discussing the education system in Kenya. We had a nice talk. First, I showed them a clip of a daily routine in one of the high schools in Kenya. The students start their day by waking up at 4:00am for dawn studies, then they also go for evening preps from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. On sunday, they ususally pray together with their teachers and and then they are allowed to watch TV once a week for 2 hours.
      They were very surprised to see the students use their time wisely and spend no single minute playing video games in school. They also had a good opportunity to prove that students in kenya don't use smart phones in school. They were very surprised to hear that students don't use washing machines to do their loundry work instead they use their hands and also take shower with cold water every day.
         We really had a good conversation with the guets. They learnt the importace of maintaing high discipline and good teacher/student relation in schools in kenya. 
 
 
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テーマ:
Hello,
Good evening everyone,
I was so excited because today is my first day at Wa English Cafe.
There were 6 guests comes on my shift and I had a great time talking to them all.
 
And also had a chance to meet HONG
(nice to meet you HONG)!!!!.
 
Today we talked about PHILIPPINES because two of the guests today have an experienced living in Philippines.  I asked them what are their reactions,expressions,and experiences living there.
I was actually very happy when I've heard the GOOD sides but feel SAD for the BAD sides..
Some of the guests shared their hobbies, favorite foods and place in Japan that they like to visit again..
 
This is what we talked about today and I hope everyone have a great day too..
 
Lory from Philippines.
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テーマ:
Good evening everyone!
 
Are you getting ready for Valentine's Day? Many of you know that we don't have White Day in the U.S., but how about other differences? For example, the idea of "friend chocolate" or "giri chocolate" isn't in the U.S.... Well, in elementary school, classmates often bring Valentines cards and some small candies for all of the other students, but from junior high school, we don't do anything like that.
 
Speaking of junior high school, we talked about our childhood a lot today. One of our interesting topics was what we liked to do outside of school and studying. For students in the U.S., when I was a kid it was really fun to hang out at the skate deck. There aren't so many adults around, and we can eat lots of pizza and drink pop, talk with friends, and of course we skate. From talking to the guests today, it seems like the trend of going to the skate deck was also popular in Japan back in those days. Did you go?
 
One of our guests told us about how he used to play with his friends in the field. They made a kind of dragonfly catcher by using rubber rings and nails. Then they caught dragon flies and took them home for a little bit, and released them back into the wild. What did you do?
 
These days, the young generation seems like they don't often gather together in the same way that we did. Because they can talk and have fun with their friends using smart phones and the internet, they don't really have a need to go to a public space. I wonder how this different style of socializing will affect future generations. What do you think? Good or bad?
 
Her are some of the words and phrases that came up in our free talk today:
 
 
 
rough house: To rough house means to do some play fighting, like pushing, head locks, or nuggies. Kids "hurt" each other in a playful way, but I think it's a natural human behavior. Boys rough house more than girls, but at the school I teach at, I also see girls rough housing sometimes.
 
skate deck: This is the building where teenagers can go to for roller skating or roller blading. Usually it's pretty cheap, there's good music playing, and you can rent some skates and hang out with friends. Was the skate deck a popular place when you were younger?
 
bouncer: A bouncer is a type of job. The bouncer works at dance clubs (sometimes bars/pubs), and is responsible for checking ID, stopping fights, and kicking people out if they become too drunk or cause trouble. Usually they are very strong and tough, so that they can remove violent people if they need to. I learned that in Japan, bouncers at dance clubs are sometimes yakuza members. I was surprised to hear that!
 
 
Happy Valentine's Day! I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for reading, and we'll see you next time!
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Today was first time with the regulars at the intermediate English table. I first talked about where i am from and what i am in Japan for. This lead us to talk a lot about America and Boston. I come from Boston and it seemed a few others have also been there. Boston being very old alot of the buildings are made of red brick. One of the customers found that the red brick and blue skys really made the city a beautiful place. We looked up pictures and saw the great architecture. We then talked about the different sports and how in Seattle the football games have the loudest crowds! Which is the opposite of how the Japanese watch sports here. We then talked about Taiwan, because i was there in December and all the other customers have gone too. Taipei is a big tourist spot, especially for the Japanese. in Taipei they have very different foods like stinky tofu and snake soup. There is an ally there called snake ally. You can find weird foods there like alligator meat, snake meat, and turtle meat. You can also drink snake venom! I then learned that Japanese also eat some strange foods like insects, beetles and praying mantas on rice like sushi. It was very interesting conversation today.
Thank you!
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How was your week?

Hi, I am Hong. I have just finished my first class in Wa Café today! It was really awesome to share different thoughts here using English! In order to get to know my friends today better, I had decided on a topic, “How was your week?” where everyone are free to share whatever they could.

I was the first one to share, contains of my sharing are basically what I have done in Tokyo, I was travelled to Tokyo from 1st of February to 8th of February. I really like the atmosphere and food over Tokyo. Japan is really doing a nice job on tourism! Ueno, Tsukiji, Shinjuku, Michelin Ramen, Tonkatsu, etc are what I have share to the friends today.

The sharing is continue by K-san, she was away to Kyu-shu to meet with relatives and visit ancestor’s tomb and organise the 6th anniversary year of a praying ceremony to the ancestor. I learn about some Japanese’s family & ceremony culture today from K-san, Thank you!

Next, Y-san who have went to Canada and came back last week, share with us her favorite food and a terrifying crime incident that involves a Japanese and a Canadian. Y-san was a really goal-oriented lady who are dedicate to master English language. Let us work hard together!

Finally, T-san share with us about her family’s interest and loves toward agriculture, her son is renting a land and producing rice in Nagano. I learnt that it is not easy as a farmer to make a good rice for consumers. Despite the difficulty to harvest and plant the rice in traditional way, they are so dedicated to keep the rice clean from unnatural fertilizer and provide them fresh air, most nutritious water and love by talking to the crops. I wish I have the chance to have a taste of the rice your family made!

Well, it sums up what we have shared today! I will see you guys on next Thursday!

Quotes/ Useful phrases of the day:

1. I want to be like a sponge- This sentence symbolize I want to learn as many thing as possible just like the sponge to adsorb as many water as possible.

2. If not now, then when? – A great quote to encourage someone if he/she are wish to start something or a goal, start it right away! Do not wait!

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テーマ:

 Hi everyone!
I hope you had a great week. It was as usually very nice to talk with the guests today.

As you maybe know I have been studying Japanese for two years before coming to Japan, but in University we only learned “normal“ Japanese as it is spoken in Tokyo. Since a lot of my Japanese friends here speak in Kansai Dialect (and also really fast!) I sometimes have problems to understand them. Anyway I am not 100% sure if I just don't know the vocabulary they use or if they talk dialect. I asked the guests about dialects in Japan and it is interesting to see how in Japanese many dialects characteristic is the additional or changed syllable at the end of a sentence. For example a “sa“ for the Okinawa dialect.

In my experience dialect has always been more of pronouncing the language differently. I think to hear dialects in a language you have to have a decently high level in this language. Let's all work hard to get there someday! It is definitly a goal for me when learning Japanese.

I hope you have a good week!
Josefine

Syllable = 音節
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Hello, dear guests and readers! Tabita here!
 
Today was my first day at Wa Cafe. It was exciting and it allowed me to forget about the cold weather for a while. I'm weak against cold. I was probably a bear in a previous life...
 
When I think about jobs in Japan, I always think about people in dark suits and uncomfortable shoes doing things that they're not really interested in. But today I met people that had interesting jobs with no dresscode attached! That means there is some hope for me if I want to stay in Japan for longer than my study time...
 
One of the guests asked me if I already got used to the Japanese lifestyle. Even though it is radically different to the lifestyle in Chile, I have been able to cope with that difference and survive despite my basic knowledge of Japanese language. I feel like I'm getting used to it little by little, and that's very reassuring. When you decide to drag yourself to the opposite side of the world, people are prone to think you just won't make it, that you'll give up halfway. I have received a lot of encouragement from the guests today. I'm really grateful for it and I really enjoyed the talk. I hope all of you get used to me too!
 
A couple weeks ago, it was my birthday. That very same day, there was an event at Osaka Tenmangu shrine. Since the god of study is enshrined there, of course I went! I got acquainted with the fact that all the women that were born in the same year as I did are in a year of really bad luck, according to the Shinto beliefs. Honestly, I became a little shocked when I read the sign with that information. A friend told me that to prevent the bad luck, I have to buy a seven-coloured amulet. I have also been told several times not to take it too seriously, but I'm really into traditional superstitions, beliefs and mythology of the places I visit. I always think there is a reason why they are shaped in a particular way, and finding about it fascinates me. I don't mind to look irrational because of being interested in superstitions. Now, about superstitious people problems, the seven-coloured amulet has to be bought according to your birth animal. The old tradition was to stick to the lunar calendar, according to which I was born in the year of the Rat. But according to the solar/gregorian calendar, I fall under the year of the Ox. I wonder what the people did about it when Japan stopped using the lunar calendar. How did they get used to it? People born in January and February have it though...
 
*To get used to something/someone: to become accustomed to it/them.
*Superstition: popular belief regarding things that bring good or bad luck.
 
That's it for today. See you next time! 
 
 
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テーマ:
Good evening guests and readers!
 
We had another thought provoking conversation at our cafe today, thanks to the good mix of guests who attended. I liked to hear about how everyone's week was, but there was also a feeling of uneasiness about the future. Usually when I'm hosting free talk, we don't spend much time talking about politics, but many of us are worried about the future of the U.S., Japan, and the world. We fear the worst, but let's hope for the best!
 
Earlier this week, I went to an electronics shop and it was SO empty! There were so many staff members compared to customers, that it made me feel pretty uncomfortable. I think because there weren't many customers, the staff members became a little bit pushy. I was asked too many times if I need help or if I'm okay. Not only that, they tried to ask me to register for their credit card twice! The most frustrating part was that when I came to the register, the staff members there didn't notice me as they were typing something. Then, after they noticed me, they tried to register me for a credit card! It was frustrating to say the least.
 
Electronics shops certainly have some pushy staff members, but what other types of stores do you experience pushy staff? In the U.S., I think clothing stores usually have the most pushy staff members. They try so hard to tell you about discounts and make you sign up for credit cards. I know they are just doing their job, but sometimes it's too much!
 
Here are some of the interesting words and phrases that we used today:
 
durable [doo ruh-buhl]: Something that is durable will last for a long time without breaking. For example, Japanese cars are known around the world to be very durable because you can drive them for a long time before you need to buy a new one. I bought a box from the 100yen shop and it broke after only one month, so I can say "it wasn't very durable...".
 
villain [vil-en]: In a story, this is the character who is the bad guy or the enemy to the hero.  
 
pushy: This adjective is used to describe people who are really aggressive about trying to make you do something, and don't give up easily. A pushy salesman tries their best to sell you something, even after you say "sorry, I'm not interested".
 
 
Have a nice week, and as always, we'll see you next time. Bye bye!
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