JLPT BC 62 + Bonus | I Have a Drinking Problem

Japanese culture differences

You know it's delicious when it says so on the bottle.

I just got back in a few days ago and I’m struggling with jetlag off and on. I do seem to get better at it every time I go. This time it has left me a little drunk more than anything else. I’ve also been getting through my massive backlog of emails and comments. Thanks everyone for sending me some awesome mail. I always love to answer questions.

It was also good to just take two weeks and forget about it all. I was able to devour massive amounts of American food and eat all the sweets that my family notoriously cooks up for the holidays. You don’t think you are going to miss American food when you come over here, but you do. Anyway, it’s good to be back and I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and start blogging and podcasting again.

Going Back to the States

Going back to the States always reminds me of the sharp contrasts between Japan and America. There are plenty of sharp contrasts to notice. I almost notice them immediately. From how it’s such an absolute pain to get through an airport anymore to how different everyone’s mannerisms are.

This is one thing that you can’t read in a book or see in a movie. It simply most be experienced to really realize the importance of it all. That’s why I encourage anyone that can to live abroad. Even if you can only make it over to another country for a few months, it is definitely something that will change your perspective on life.

I Have a Drinking Problem

Yeah, it’s time I come write out and admit it publicly. I, Clayton ‘Mac’ MacKnight have a drinking problem. You heard it here first at JLPTBootCamp.com. It’s time a finally got it off my chest.

It all started when I first came to Japan and I discovered this strange substance that was green tea. At first I thought it was bizarre that they brewed tea and then stuck it in a bottle and charged you as much as a soda for it, but the concept grew on me little by little.

Now I have to have a drink of the stuff everyday. It’s my go juice. It’s healthy, zero calories and it is the most abundant resource in Japan aside from dark-colored business suits. I absolutely love the stuff and so does Japan.

If you walk into a convenience store in Japan you are most likely to see an entire drink section dedicated to green tea (and probably another half section devoted to coffee). You won’t see many sugary drinks (at least not yet anyway). Oh, you might find your trusty Coca-Cola and Pepsi and whatever they happen to be calling their zero calorie Frankenstein drink, but beyond that there aren’t many options.

It is quite the opposite in the states. I always dread going back because there simply aren’t any real drink choices that don’t contain something sweet.

Now, don’t get me wrong I like sweet. Sweet is well sweet, but I like chocolate cake, too, but I’m not going to eat it every meal. I think I’m truly becoming Japanese because I don’t need that much sweet anymore.

I’m actually starting to understand why people in Japan don’t like starburst, skittles, and other ultra-sugary sweets. Although, I still have a place in my heart for Sour Patch Kids. They’ll always be my favorite.

In Japan, people prefer more chocolately things. For example, chocolate covered macadamia nuts or chocolate covered biscuits. This seems to be the general trend. So, if you are ever buying some sweets for your sweets, be sure to avoid the Skittles.

What Contrast Have you Noticed?

What is a contrast between Japanese and western culture that you have noticed in your studies or your trips abroad? Let me know in the comments below.

Stay tuned toward the end of this podcast for a special bonus N5 vocabulary lesson. Give it a listen and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments.

P.S.  Do you have a drinking problem? Then, you should join my newsletter!

P.P.S. Did you kick the bottle years ago?  Really, me too! You should leave me a comment on iTunes and leave me a review.  If you have comments or suggestions for the podcast, by all means let me know in the comments below or contact me and let me know what I can do to improve the show.  Thanks!

P.P.P.S. Join the party over at the Facebook Page.  There you can get up to the date info about the site and join the conversation.  Hope to see you there!

Music by Kevin MacLeod Photo by Anthony Easton

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • J.D. January 20, 2012, 9:21 pm

    Hi! I’ve only been listening for a few weeks to your podcast but it sounds like you are trying to branch out a little so here’s my feedback on the N5 vocab segment.

    If you aren’t planning to create a standalone language learning site then don’t waste your time going over the most basic introductory stuff like ‘otoko’ and ‘onna’. Anyone planning on taking N5 has probably at least signed up for a basic course somewhere already and they want the material that isn’t covered in every single basic course out there. If you can find it in the first ten lessons of any course then don’t bother teaching it like it was new material in your podcast.

    Also, for verbs don’t reel off a bunch of conjugations ‘taberutabemasutabetatabemashou’and then expect these beginners who are learning ‘otoko/onna’ to repeat. Even if they memorize the string of sounds there is not much logic to the chosen forms (dictionary/formal present/informal past/formal suggestion).

    I think you can give the most help to N5 students by clarifying what they do and don’t need to study but don’t try to be the study material itself, at least regarding vocab. Podcasting is ideal for listening practice. Focus on that.


    • Mac January 22, 2012, 5:03 am

      Excellent feedback JD!

      I kind of went through writing this and at the end, didn’t feel so comfortable with the end product. Still trying to struggle with how to fit a good lesson into the podcast with a lack of native speakers that is easily available.

      To complicate things, everyone in this area speaks either Kansai dialect or Kyoto dialect, which are both non-standard. Maybe I should have a show on Kansai-ben? hehe

      Anyway, I’ll give it another try here in a few weeks and see how it goes. Thanks for the comment!

  • Stephen April 30, 2015, 4:46 pm

    Hi, I recently found the podcast and am going through. I actually started listening on Monday. I don’t really know any Japanese. I think that the lesson section was good, but I think maybe you could do fewer vocabulary and stick to just one category at a time,. I.e. Siblings, or types of ways to say to eat. Just my thoughts. Have a good day!

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