Monthly Archives: October 2013

Some Stories About Our Japanese Course 21

Hi everyone, 皆さん、こんにちは。

My Japanese classes/lessons included practices to develop skills of speaking, reading, listening, writing, interacting, and constructing/performing dialogues. As for the main textbooks and materials, Beginner 1 used Training Manual and other handouts for vocab, grammar etc; from Beginners 2 up to Pre-Intermediate 2 used Genki Book 1; and Intermediate 1 began using Japanese for Busy People Book 2. Also, I used pictures, many ads (esp. of Japanese magazines, e.g. Nichigo Press, Jenta), children’s story books, magazines, CDs, videos, DVDs, songs etc. At the end of each class of 10 weeks, an exam was given (if the student wishes to have it as an open exam, it can be done in that way.)

Late in each course, every class has to make a dialogue with partners with use of vocab. and grammar introduced in the latest unit introduced. Previous Beginners 2 and current Intermediate 1 did well and also some of the students memorized some parts for the performances.

The new class that began this week, Pre-Intermediate 1 has 4 students, who finished Beginners 2 last week, and 2 other students, who were in my course some time ago and had a break and came back to join the class. That was delightful.

The Japan Foundation kindly gave me many video tapes of its library for my teaching (since many daytime schools do not use VCR and borrow such tapes from the Foundation any more). Those tapes include a language teaching (long) series though they are a kind of old ones but the quality of the contents is excellent including the language taught and ways it is taught and presented throughout the series; it is one of my favorites from time when I often used them at a big TAFE in Melbourne. Also, they included many video tapes of children’s, Japanese, well known and beautiful or cute fairy tale stories in Japanese. They are all wonderful resources for teaching the Japanese language (both polite forms and plain forms), culture and values.

Regarding news on Japan, I informed my classes the following.

  1. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 25, originally an article from The Wall Street Journal): The Prime Minister Shinzo Aze’s economic policy (i.e. Abenomikkusu) has been working for Japanese economy, share market and business sectors very well. And the government will raise the sales tax, i.e. from 5% to 8% from April next year. The current economy is growing at an annualized pace of 3.8% from the figure a month ago. That is much bigger percentage than the US and Eurozone. A senior politician and the former Finance Minister, Mr Takeshi Noda commented to The Wall Street Journal that the package will probably include corporate tax relief steps that are aimed at spurring investment as well as raising salaries.
  2. (The Australian, 12.9.13, p. 16): There is (was) Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom at beautiful and educational Cowra Japanese Garden Festival on 28-29 September for the 24 year’s annual event. There are (were) many activities taken place for the visitors, such as traditional tea ceremony, ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement), calligraphy, bonsai, kite flying and marshal arts.  (Reported by Susan Kurosawa)


Japanese Teacher, Toshiko Jackson


Important Tips When You are Invited to a Korean friend’s house: Bring a thing!

In Australia, when your friend invited you to a Sunday bbq at home, it is very common that people just bring their BYO drinks. However if you do the same in Korea, people might think that you don’t have a good sense or you are just very stingy.

Here are some tips to act right when a Korean person invites you to a home dinner.

Bring a gift and don’t be stingy

If you were invited to casual home dinner, those gifts do not need to be pricey. Probably you can bring something to eat or drink.

Good items: Cakes (Koreans do not like super sweet cakes. Avoid too heavy, sweet cakes like chocolate mud cake), fruits, ice-cream (not from supermarket but from an ice-cream shops) and quality juice bottles in the box (you can buy them from Korean grocery stores for $10~15), a bottle of wine, a bunch of flowers or herb pots. Bad items: a bag of chips plus a bottle of coke (unless you are year1), a bottle of soju (it’s only $1 in Seoul ^^)

Dress to look your best

Even he/she is your very close friend, Korean people think what you wear is reflecting who you are, especially if it is a home party. It is not polite to wear smelly t-shirt and dirty socks (remember, you will take off your shoes.). A clean/ironed outfit plus well-groomed hair/ nice make-up is basic when you are invited to a Korean home party.

Well, do you think that Koreans are too picky? Don’t worry. Once you are in their living room, they will treat you like a prince/princess by awesome foods and drinks.  Enjoy your Korean party!

Ashley (Korean teacher)

Korean Dining Etiquette

As you have learned in the class, politeness is the key feature of Korean culture. Hence we do have many things to be considered when you eat meals with someone. Today, let’s learn some Korean table manners.

Do not start your meal before the oldest person starts

Normally the host of the dinner will introduce you a seat. Do not sit until you are told where to seat. In addition, do not start your meal before the oldest person starts the meal. Please wait for the oldest person to lift their chopsticks and spoons first before you start eating.

Before you eat, say “ 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~~)”

(i.e. I am excited to eat/ will enjoy the meal from now on)

Look at the person who cooked/hosted the dinner and say “잘 먹겠습니다 (jal meokket seumnida~)” which means that I am looking forward to eat this meal/ Thanks for your hard work.

Don’t eat too slow/ fast

Always check other people’s speed and try to finish your meal as others.

While you are eating foods

Do not speak too much when you have foods in your mouth. Never blow your nose. It’s good to say compliments about the foods to encourage the person who cooked the meal.

Do not hold your Soup and rice bowls

Unlike many other Asian countries like Japan or China, Korean people do not hold their soup/rice bowls. Put your bowls down on the table and eat slowly by using both chopsticks and a spoon.

Share the Side dishes with other people

We do have many side dishes to be shared. Do not take a certain food item too much even it’s your favourite food. Side dishes are to be shared.


When you drink alcohol with older people, it is polite to turn your head a little bit left/right (about 45degrees).

After you finish your meal, “ 먹었습니다 (jal meogeot seumnida)”

Don’t forget to say “잘 먹었습니다” when you finish your meal. It means “thank you very much for your food, I enjoyed it a lot”.


Ashley (Korean Teacher)

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October 2013
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