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May 19, 2019Accents, Articles, Canadian, Education, Female, Japanese, Life&Food

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Do you know what “culture shock” is? Can you imagine what “reverse culture shock” is?


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José Cruz: How do you- How how are you feeling in Japan, now that you’ve come back from America?

Ayaka Tanaka: Uh hmm about six months ag- six months have passed since I came back to Japan uh, I realize again that I am Japa- I am Japanese ha ha.

José: Ha ha. (Yeah) That’s an interesting statement, but could you- what does that mean?

Ayaka: Hmm when I was in the Pittsburgh um I realized that I feel like I am American ha ha. Like something like (Hmm) enjoying the American culture, speaking English (Mm hmm) and everything is really new for me and interesting for me, so…

José: And and- but but still you felt like you were American?

Ayaka: No, I’m Japanese right now. Ha.

José: No, I meant- OK let me see if I- maybe I’m confused. You- I think you said when you went to Pittsburgh (Yeah) you felt everything was new (Mm) but you…

Ayaka: And I- And I could- nan da ke I could- I could be more (by) myself in American culture (Ahh) Mm hmm. And pe- friends and people around me almost American friends, and people from around the world, no Japanese. So I feel I should use just only English in order to communicate with people. So after coming back to Japan, I’m just using Japanese, and- actually I really love to speak in English with people (Mm hmm) around the world.

José: Well good. This is a good chance then.

Ayaka: Yeah but, um, but when I just using Japanese it’s really comfortable- com- comfortable for me. Ha ha.

José: I completely understand. I um, I have- I- I wouldn’t call it a problem, but I have the same situation. (Oh) I enjoy speaking (Mm) Japanese but whenever I get to speak English like a really good conversation on (Yeah) on an interesting topic with an intelligent person all in English- and I mean another native speaker, so there’s no effort (Yes) It just feels so comfortable. (Yes) So I know (Makes sense) exactly what you mean. (Oh) Are you- are you doing any English study now, though?

Ayaka: Uh sometimes ha ha. Actually I have- I have just only a few classes right now (Uh huh) and mm, there is not many opportunity- opportunities to speak in English actually. But I’m working at cafe right now (Mm hmm) and there is a lot of foreign people from around the world (Mm hmm) so um always I’m using English and Korean just, (OK) yeah just (Good) them. Mm hmm but um I’m going to work at international airport starting next spring.

José: So you’ve got your job? It’s set?

Ayaka: Yeah.

José: OK. Good for you.

Ayaka: I’m going to work as an grand staff.

José: Uh where, which airport? Kitakyushu

Ayaka: Uh still- still not decide. (Oh) But maybe I’m going to work at Haneda Airport (Wow) or Narita. In just- only international airports.

José: Wow.


What kind of career would you like if you could speak English fluently?

Is English necessary for a good job in your country?

We don’t have any pointers for this conversation, but if you have a question, please ask in the ‘Comments’ below. We might use your question as the base for a future pointer.

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Yudai _photography

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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

Tanaka Ayaka Image

Tanaka Ayaka


Chikushino, Fukuoka


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  1. I feel that speaking English is important for us because the most efficient way to communicate is to use English if there are no Japanese around us and English is a great language because we can communicate with everyone in the world by speaking it. There are many advantages to being able to speak English, such as broadening our profession and being able to talk to more people, but in the end, I think that our mother tongue is the most reassuring and comfortable language for us, and I find that we realize our home country is the best when we leave our home country.

  2. I feel that speaking English is important for us because the most efficient way to communicate is to use English if there are no Japanese around us and English is a great language because we can communicate with everyone in the world by speaking it. There are many advantages to being able to speak English, such as broadening our profession and being able to talk to more people, but in the end, I think that our mother tongue is the most reassuring and comfortable language for us, and I find that we realize our home country is the best when we leave our home country.

    • I have experienced like conversation. I went to America for about a week school trip when I was high school student. Naturally I have to speak English to communicate local people. First time I was tough speaking English and I was comfortable talking to Japanese in Japanese.
      But after one week after, I get used to speaking English than first time. Through this experience, I think it is important to communicate local people for long time in order to learning foreign language.
      I think that this student get very nice job because this student’s skill is demonstrate and the job is very important for around the world people.

  3. I know the meaning of culture shock. But I didn’t know the meaning of reverse culture shock. I listened to the conversation between them and understood the meaning. I have lived abroad and have experienced culture shock. I was confused by differences in language, money, and culture. However, when I came back to Japan, I didn’t get a reverse culture shock. One of the causes may be that I attended a Japanese school. Since I have never studied abroad, I have never experienced an environment where I live only in English. I think studying abroad may cause reverse culture shock. I want to experience it once.

  4. I sympathize with ‘’I just using Japanese it’s really comfortable for me’’. The current situation is that I am not accustomed to using a foreign language and cannot express what I want to convey well. However, even if I can’t speak English perfectly when I talk with people all over the world, I think that if I can express what I want to convey even word by word, I can have a fun conversation. I admire being able to work at the airport as a ground staff by taking advantage of Ayaka’s ability to communication in English. I hope Ayaka will play an active role at the airport as a ground staff who can guide travelers by using English.

  5. Before I read this transcript, English is more of a subject than a language for me. I study English to use vaguely someday, I seldom use English in the daily lives. I have never lived in a foreign country. So, I may not be able to understand Jose and Ayaka’s ideas. I thought that his and her ideas are specific to his and her. But I could understand some ideas. Ayaka found her job considering her English skill. I think that finding a job what it can use one’s skill is good. I want to find my job like her.

  6. After reading this article, I think that learning English and other languages will help me to communicate with various people. When you talk with other people who speak the same language, the more educated you are, the more you can broaden the conversation. In the same way, learning language can broaden communication with foreign people. I have yet experienced the feeling like American in the US and Japanese in Japan that Ms. Tanaka felt, so I am looking forward to experiencing it when I have the chance to stay in a foreign country for along time. I think I will study foreign language harder.

  7. I think it is important to speak English because Speaking English helps me to communicate with other people around the world. I want to research applied chemistry with other country people so I want to effort speaking English. Also, much of the advanced research is written in English. If the advanced research is written in Japanese, I can read and understand it contents. I feel the difference of native or non-native from this my experience. Not only I have a disability to speak English but I have a disability to write and read English. But I think English is just a means to an end, so I think it’s important to look beyond that.

  8. After reading this article , I felt that speaking English is important. I want to go to various country. Among them, I want to go to Spain or German. That’s why I want to be involved not only in English but also in Spanish and German. But I study English first because English is not perfect. I haven’t been abroad yet, so I’ve never actually touched foreign culture. So I want to go to abroad at least once in college and feel a different culture. I think I can expand my own way of thinking by touching foreign culture. I also want to cherish experiencing Japanese culture.

  9. I think that Ayaka will be able to work as a grand staff at Haneda airports or Narita airport. One of the reasons, she is very good at speak English. I think that she is the best person that work as a grand staff. Also, this conversation show that she loves to speak with around the world. So she will be loved many people who ride a plain which she works. I have never been to overseas, and I don’t speak English well. So I didn’t think that English is interesting. But after I read this conversation, I thought that English is interesting a little.

  10. I think it is very important to be able to speak English. However, I think it is the native language that is more comfortable. When I went to Singapore, I tried to speak in English as much as possible. However, I found it more difficult to converse in English than in my native language because I had to think more. Also, I made many mistakes because I did not have much knowledge of English. Fearing that I would make mistakes, I started to speak only the minimum necessary. In order to avoid such mistakes, I would like to improve my knowledge of English and communicate with confidence.

  11. The native language is the most familiar language and can be used more easily than multiple languages because there are few conversations that are inconvenient in daily life. However, acquiring conversational skills in English will enable you to converse with more people around the world. Nevertheless, there are many people who find it difficult to communicate in multiple languages because they are not confident or embarrassed to speak in multiple languages. That is why I think it is important to study English and have many opportunities to speak in English so that you can speak with the same confidence as in your native language.

  12. I think that speaking a foreign language is difficult for me. When I speak English, I need to have a few seconds to look for proper words that mean what I tell. However, when I speak Japanese, I don’t have to think somethings, such as Japanese grammar, in order to speak well. It means that I feel comfortable to speak Japanese as what Ayaka says. I would like to speak English fluently as Japanese. I think I need to speak English everyday not only when I take a class but also when I talk with friends to make my goal come true.

  13. I can’t speak English very well. However, I remember that when I could speak English with foreign people, I felt really good, just like Ayaka. When I was in junior high school, a foreigner asked me “where is the Hakata Station?” when I was using the subway. It was a little funny because the question was like a listening quiz. It was a great feeling when I was able to tell them how to get to Hakata Station in English and he said, “Thank you”. Since then, I have never spoken to anyone from overseas. If the corona goes away and I am able to study abroad or travel abroad, I would like to speak in English and feel comfortable.

  14. This writing is interesting for me. I red this and I thought native languages was special. People use each native language since people start to speak language, and most people grow up while using their native language, so everyone speak their native language easily. I found that native language is most comfortable even after staying abroad and only speak foreign language for a long time. I also listen this conversation. I thought Ms. Tanaka’s English was very good and fluently. I want to speak English like her. I don’t like English so much and not be good at English, but I think it is important to be able to speak English in the future. To read and listen this sentence, I want to communicate with native English speakers.

  15. I was impressed by her high vocabulary and fluent pronunciation. Although we were both students, I still couldn’t speak English very well, and I felt impatient. Listening to her fluent English made me realize that I need to learn more English. There are many people in the world who speak English instead of Japanese. To be able to communicate with them, I need to be able to speak English myself. I believe that studying abroad and talking with native speakers like Ms. Ayase is the best way to improve your English. I would like to make an effort to speak as well as she does.

  16. When we speak in English, we have to be aware of the words, speak and the grammar, which is the negative side. On the other hand, I believe that speaking English is a good tool to connect with people from all over the world and to expand the realm of our culture and customs. I believe that being able to speak English can also lead to a wider range of jobs in the future. For example, working at an airport like Ms. Tanaka. I also think that being able to speak English will allow me to be active overseas. I think it is important to get used to English while I am still a student for the future.

  17. When I was a high school student, I participated in a week-long study tour of the U.S., and when I returned to Japan, I had the same experience as Ayaka. When I was in the U.S., it was very refreshing and fun to talk with American people in English, but when I returned to Japan, I felt comfortable and relieved to be able to talk in Japanese. However, it goes without saying that if I stop studying English because of this sense of comfort and security, my English ability will deteriorate. So I try to use English every day. By making it a habit to speak, listen, write, and read English, I may be able to converse comfortably in English.

  18. Speaking English is very important to spread where I work. I think that it is a good skill for a Japanese worker. But I don’t like to study English, and I am not good at speaking and writing. One of the reasons is that I feel more comfortable using Japanese than English. So, I think studying English for only my future’s career is hard. However, if I can speak English fluently, I want to work around the world and visit a lot of places. I have never gone to overseas, so I try visiting there during college life as possible. At that time, I think my way of thinking about English might change.

  19. By studying English, for example, I can come into contact with various foreign cultures and gain new knowledge that I cannot get in Japan, so I thought it was very important to study English. Moreover I felt that living in the U.S. would be a lot of fun, since it is a country with many different races, the complete opposite of Japan.

  20. I haven’t been abroad since I studied English and could speak some of it. Therefore, I haven’t had the experience that Ayaka Tanaka has described, of feeling like I’m an American when I’m in America, although I’m Japanese.
    However, I agree with Mr. Cruz ‘s reply that it is fun to talk to people in Japanese, but when you have the opportunity to speak English, you feel very comfortable without making any effort, even though I have no experience in this area.
    We are learning English every day in order to expand our future possibilities and communicate with people from different countries, but I was reminded of the comfort of the current environment where I can speak in Japanese.

  21. I think that native language is the most comfortable, but speaking English is important. Because most people around the world can’t speak Japanese and understand Japanese. When we want to communicate with many people, we should talk in English which is national language. I have studied English for seven years, but I can’t speak it well. So, I think that to be able to speak a foreign language well, we need to use it daily. I think the best way to learn a foreign language is to go there. I would like to go to an English-speaking country to learn English.

  22. I was surprised that she said “nan da ke” to think English word which explain her feeling. Then I wandered that the sentences i want to send to component come to mind by native language, and after that translate to English in mind. If it is so I think the way to improve my English is to translate all sentences in my mind and make sure that there is mistake or not.
    I can’t speak English well. But I want to go to other countries. So I want to try it to improve my English skill.

  23. I sympathized with her using Japanese “nan da ke” in English conversation. And I convinced that she used Japanese. When I was a high school student, I went to Hawaii on a school trip. Then, we went to local high school “Waipahu High School for culture exchange. I had an opportunity to speak English with Hawaiians. It was very difficult for me and sometimes I used Japanese because I didn’t know what I say in English. I felt my lack of English again. I want to speak English fluently like her. To speak fluently, I have to study very hard while in college student.

  24. I listened to your conversation and made me think about the benefits of being able to use English as a Japanese person. To be honest, I thought living in Japan was very comfortable compared to other countries, so I had no intention of living in another country. If you live in Japan for the rest of your life, you don’t have to speak English. By listening to your conversations and going to other countries and talking to people with completely different cultures and values, I thought that I might be able to forget the shackles that come with living in Japan. I would consider going to another country and talking to someone who has a different idea as one of the options to improve the well-being of life.

  25. I sympathize with the fact that speaking my native language feels comfortable. I studied abroad in Australia for a short time when I was in the second year of high school, but it was very difficult to have a conversation through English. However, I felt that by learning a foreign language, I could notice many things that I hadn’t noticed before. By speaking with a foreigner in the language of that country, you can easily get along with the people of that country. Foreign languages are difficult to learn, and I find it very difficult to actually work through English. However, learning English is so much fun that I would like to work through English in the future. And I want Ayaka to do her best.


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