When I was in Seoul last week, I took the subway with my students several times. We noticed a few differences from the subways in Japan. In Seoul, they play interesting music when a train is approaching. Another difference is that the subway cars in Seoul are wider than those in Japan. This may be why so many people walk up and down the cars. People were always trying to walk past us. Were they looking for empty seats, or did they just want to get off at another door? I don’t know, but it doesn’t usually happen in Japan. Most passengers just get on and stay where they are. (by Prof. Douglas Jarrell)
national anthem 国歌
My students spend each day at a primary school or kindergarten. They watch classes to see the differences between Australian education and education in Japan. I visit the students every day to make sure that everything is fine. We watched assemblies at the primary schools last Monday and Tuesday. First, the principal (the head of the school) talked about important things, and then the children sang the national anthem. Finally, there were special awards to several children in each grade for working hard in class and at sports. (by Prof. Douglas Jarrell)
Labor Thanksgiving Day 勤労感謝の日;
used to 以前は～したものだった;
mashed potato マッシュポテト
Yesterday was a holiday in Japan. Do you know its name in English? It is called Labor Thanksgiving Day now, but it had a different name before 1948. The day used to be called “Niinamesai.” It was a harvest celebration that goes back to the time of the “Kojiki.” Today is a holiday in the U.S. called Thanksgiving Day. It used to be a holiday to celebrate the harvest, too. These days, however, people just think of food. Families get together and eat a big meal. A big turkey is usually roasted in the oven and served with mashed potatoes and gravy. Pumpkin pie is often served for dessert.
The other weekend, I took a course to learn how to guide travelers from abroad in English. During the two days of training, we went to a cave, a street with “kura”, a traditional Japanese craft shop, a temple, and a ramen restaurant. I gave a presentation about Japanese religion and manners to my instructors and the other trainees on the bus, and when we got off at the temple, I was very nervous because it was my first time! I realized that I didn’t really know the culture and daily life of Japan. They are very difficult to explain in English. (written by a reader, edited by Prof. Douglas Jarrell)