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The following questions and answers were carried out between October and December of 2005. The Thai students are in the British and American Studies program at Thammasat University, while the Japanese students are from Kyoto Sangyo University. The Thai students wrote and sent their questions to the Japanese students, who in turn answered them.
Click here to listen to questions and answers separately.
Ohm: What is the most popular comic presently in Japan? Why do you think it’s popular?
Asako: Nana is the most popular comic series because Japanese people can sympathize with this love story. Why Japanese people love comics is probably because they do not show much of what they think or feel. So, they project their thoughts and feelings in comics.
Nice: Where is the most famous part in Japan and why it’s very famous there?
Asako: The most famous part in Japan is Tokyo, the center of modern culture in Japan and all Japanese trends are born there.
Tong: What is the most important festival in Japan and why does it become so significant for the Japanese?
Katsuya: In Japan, the most important festival is the New Years Holidays. Japanese people visit a shrine on New Years day to pray for health and good future. Also, family gets together and many children receive money. Also, people clean the house before the New Year and eat toshikoshi soba for long life. And on New Years day people eat osechi ryori, which is very special and delicious. I like New Years very much.
Wow: If I want to skiing, where should I go?
Takashi: I think Nagano is the best place to ski in Japan. The reason is because the Winter Olympics was held in Nagano in 1998. The snow there is very soft and beautiful.
Tangmo: What kind of food do you like besides Japanese food? Like American food, Chinese food?
Katsuya: Recently, young Japanese people eat with their friends at fast food restaurants like McDonalds or Yoshinoya. There are not many university students eating meals at home. I think that I am the same as those students. Also, Japanese like Italian, Chinese, and Korean food. But I like Japanese food the best because foreign food is too strong for me.
Pum: What do you think about Junichiro Koizumi? Is he handsome or look old?
Asako: I think Prime Minister Koizumi is a progressive person rather than a traditional one. He is active and has made good diplomacy, but his idea of tax increase is not good. I think capitalism is going to do big damage to poor people. Koizumi’s capitalism is just like that of President George Bush. Is Koizumi handsome? Well, I think he looks not all that bad.
Arm: Who is the most famous celebrity right now and what is he or she doing?
Katsuya: I think the most famous celebrity in Japan is Junichi Ishida. He is a 50-year-old TV actor, and he is very fashionable, kind, and handsome. He usually doesn’t wear socks. Almost all Japanese women like him.
Nut: What is ‘geisha’ do and does they popular in nowadays?
Takashi: A geisha entertains a customer. She talks with them, plays the shamisen, and dances. She wears a kimono and paints her face white. Geisha are very famous, but there are very few of them remaining. The Gion and Fushimi areas of Kyoto are the best places to see a geisha.
Ploy(2): In Japan what age is the proper time to get married?
Takuma: I think most Japanese people get married at about 30. But a few Japanese people get married at a younger age, about 20. I would like to get married around 30.
Job: Do you have a lot of activity in the university and what is your favourite one?
Takuma: Yes, I do. I belong to the unplugged music circle. We play musical instruments, like the acoustic guitar – not the electric guitar – the piano, the violin, the sax, and so on, in our circle. At our university, there are many other interesting clubs or circles, like baseball, soccer, boxing, bowling, a capella, and more.
Thip: How do Japanese people travel from place to place and which is the most comfortable transportation?
Chie: Most people who have a family use the highway. Unfortunately, the highway isn’t free; we have to pay for it. By train, it’s also quite expensive. For example, when we go to Tokyo, it takes two hours and costs about 20,000 yen round trip.
Vim: Where is the most popular place for shopping in Kyoto and what can I buy there?
Chie: Young people go to Shijo, which is a shopping area in downtown Kyoto. We can do many things in this area, like bowling, karaoke, eating something, shopping, and so on. Many people shop for clothes, shoes, hats, accessories, and traditional Japanese souvenirs.
Ploy(1): What kind of prints that are popular among teenagers? Which colour do Japanese people usually wear?
Chie: I think the most popular prints are those of Cookie Monster, Hello Kitty, and anime characters. And Japanese don’t wear bright clothes. Usually they wear dark ones, like black or brown.
Pang: Who is the most well-known Thai singer in Japan?
Shunji: Tata Young is the most famous Thai singer in Japan. She held a live tour in Tokyo and it was a big success. Her debut album for Japan recorded great sales all over Asia. Her music is played on the Japanese dance scene. Tata Young is so famous, not only in Japan, but also around the world.
Blue: What is the most tradition still in the nowadays and what is the main reason for the making tea ceremony?
Takuma: In Japan, we send New Years cards to our relatives and friends at the beginning of the year. By making tea ceremony, we regain our composure and we can enjoy drinking tea more.
Jenny: What is “samurai” and why this word mean “to serve”?
Takashi: Samurai were people who had a special position in traditional Japanese society. Their hairstyle was called chonmage. They carried an edged tool, called nihonto. There are not any more samurai in Japan now.
Koy: What do you usually do in nightlife?
Takuma: I usually listen to the radio, play the guitar and the piano at home in the night time. I think many other university students go out to dinner at an Izakaya and drink beer with their friends.
May: How many population in your country and where do the most people live?
Chie: Most people live in Tokyo. The poplulation of Tokyo is 12 million. And the second largest population is that of Osaka, which is 8.8 million. In Kyoto, there are only 1.5 million people.
Credits: The students of British and American Studies at Thammasat University and the EFL students at Kyoto Sangyo University. Facilitated by teachers Richard Stamper and A.J. Hoge of Thammasat University, and Aaron Campbell of Kyoto Sangyo University.