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Thanks for all the comments and discussion on the last entry. “I can’t claim credit for…” means “I can’t say it is because of me that something good happened.” You could also use it in a negative way to say, for example, that a manager or a boss “claims credit for every success and blames other people for every failure.”

As I mentioned on Friday, we are going to have a Q & A-style blog with a special guest this week. Our guest will be Kattie, whose comments I’m sure many of you have read before. Kattie (short for Katherine) and her husband, Tom, live in Manchester in northern England. They have been the host family for five of my Japanese students, so that is how I got to know them. They are both very interested in Japan and Japanese people because they have had so many Japanese students staying with them.

This week, I thought it might be interesting for you to hear about their experiences as a host family, and particularly about their impressions of Japanese people based on the students they have hosted.

I met Kattie and Tom for the first time in person when I went back to the UK in the summer. They were both lovely, and their house was really nice as well. Actually, I was quite excited about meeting Tom, because he is a professional pianist. He has played with some really famous people, and he can play the kind of piano that I would love to learn. When I was at their house, I showed him a video of a song I would like to be able to play. It was really complicated and fast, and it would probably take me about six months to learn. He just walked over to the piano, said, “It’s something like this, isn’t it?” and played it perfectly. I hate him! (Just joking.)

Anyway, Kattie has said that she will be happy to answer your questions this week. I know she is very busy, though, so I’m not sure if she will be able to join us every day. I will start with a simple question. After Kattie answers it, please feel free to post your own.

Hi Kattie, can you tell us how you and Tom came to be a host family?

このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか?」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ!

コメントを投稿するときは、名前とメールアドレス、メールアドレス欄下に表示される4文字の英数字(CAPCHA code)を入れてください。 最初のコメントは承認後の公開になりますが、2回目からはそのまま投稿できます。

※メールアドレスは公開されません。

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82 Comments

  1. YU on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 06:25 PM

    Hi David,

    I’ve finished translating your entry into Japanese. If you need it, please let me know.

    PS Is the couple in the photo Kattie and Tom?



  2. Kimi on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 09:52 PM

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I know the rule, but I typed it without considering well.
    皆さんが時々(A-Z:○○)と書いていたのは、本のことだったんですね。何のことだろうと頭の中が?マークでした。教えていただきありがとうございました。この本はぜひ手にいれておいたほうがいいですよね?

    Kimi



  3. Fumie on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    I can recognized your husband in the picture. I saw a picture of you for the first time. You two are a really nice couple! I don’t know your age but both of you don’t look like you have grown-up children (Am I right about their age?) It is very nice to have you as a special guest!

    Please answer my questions after you answered David’s question.
    David wrote both of you are very interested in Japan and Japanese people.
    1) What aspect of Japan and us are you interested in?
    2) What was your impression of Japanese students if you compare with students of other countries?(I don’t know if you’d ever had students from other countries or not.)

    David said your house was really nice. And you said your house was built in 1880’s.(your comment of July 26th.) Ever since we talked about the charm of British older houses, I got interested in them.
    3) Are you posted any advertisement or something on website or someplace? Actually I looked up “Homestay in Manchester” in a web but there aren’t yours in it. I thought if I found your ad, I might see the photo of your house.

    How is the weather in Manchester recently? Is it already cold?

    Fumie



  4. kattie on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Tom and I started hosting students about 7/8 years ago. We had just finished renovating our house and were looking to make a bit of extra money. Initially we had a lot of European guests but more recently we have mainly had Japanese guests -I think we have had 8 in the last year!



  5. YU on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Hi Kimi,

    そうですね、私4ヶ月くらい買わずに参加してましたけどあった方がいいかもしれませんね。
    毎週金曜日のDavidのfeedbackの文末に(A-Z : notice/realize)とか書いてますよね。
    あれはA to Zの本のその項目をもう一度読んでみて、っていう意味です。
    「All Books」をクリックして最初に出てくる赤い本がそれです。中身も少し見れるのでチェックしてみてください。



  6. David Barker on Monday October 15th, 2012 at 11:54 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thanks for joining us. I’ll leave you to answer the questions as they come up.

    Hi YU,

    Thank you for doing that. It is very helpful. Please just post your translation as a comment in the normal way.



  7. kattie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:51 AM

    Hi Fumie,

    I will try to keep my answers brief.
    > 1) What aspect of Japan and us are you interested in?
    Britain is multicultural, so we come across a lot of different nationalities here however I have not met many Japanese people in fact, until we had Japanese guests, I don’t think I had ever had a conversation with a Japanese person. Japan is so far away, has such a different history, language, climate and landscape so it is both mysterious and fascinating for us to hear about it first-hand. It seems that Japan is an unusual mixture of the very traditional and the very modern.
    > 2)) What was your impression of Japanese students if you compare with students of other countries?(I don’t know if you’d ever had students from other countries or not.)
    We have really enjoyed having Japanese students because they are polite, friendly and we have had many laughs. In the past, I suppose my stereotypical image of the Japanese would have been that they are very serious but this has not been our experience at all. Of all the different nationalities (all European) we have had to stay over the years, we have had the most fun with our Japanese students – I think the Japanese, like the British, are generally very good at laughing at themselves.
    Another thing that we have noticed is that Japanese people are exceptionally clean!

    >3) Are you posted any advertisement or something on website or someplace?
    We haven’t sorted out a website yet because we are thinking about how to develop our little business. As I mentioned before, my mother died at the end of May and she left me a little bit of money. This means that we might (If we are lucky) be able to move to a slightly bigger house, where we can have more guests and where Tom can do more recording, so I am holding back on this at the moment. However, if you’re interested, I’ll try and post some this week.

    > I don’t know your age but both of you don’t look like you have grown-up children (Am I right about their age?) It is very nice to have you as a special guest!

    Thank you Fumie, you are very kind! Emily is 21 and Rosie is 19 – they’re both away at university. I am 46 and Tom is only 39 – he’s my toyboy!



  8. kattie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 01:13 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Just thought I’d better add that Tom is Emily and Rosie’s step-father!

    Also when I said ‘Of all the different nationalities’ I obviously meant all of the other nationalities, not including the Japanese.



  9. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 06:21 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Here is the translation of the entry.
    (今週のエントリーの和訳です)

    As I mentioned on Friday, we are going to have a Q & A-style blog with a special guest this week. Our guest will be Kattie, whose comments I’m sure many of you have read before. Kattie (short for Katherine) and her husband, Tom, live in Manchester in northern England.

    先週金曜に言った通り、今週はスペシャルゲストを交えてQ&Aスタイルでブログを進めてきたいと思います。ゲストはKattieです。彼女のコメントを読んだことがある人はたくさんいるはずです。Kattie(Katherineの略称)とご主人のTomはイングランド北部のマンチェスター在住です。

    They have been the host family for five of my Japanese students, so that is how I got to know them. They are both very interested in Japan and Japanese people because they have had so many Japanese students staying with them.

    彼らは今までに私の生徒5人のホストファミリーになってくれました。それがきっかけで彼らと知り合いになりました。彼らは2人とも日本のことや日本人に興味があります。なぜならこれまでに数多くの日本人の学生のホストファミリーを務めてきたからです。

    This week, I thought it might be interesting for you to hear about their experiences as a host family, and particularly about their impressions of Japanese people based on the students they have hosted.

    (というわけで)今週は彼らのホストファミリーとしての経験談、特に彼らが今まで世話してきた学生たちとの交流を通じて抱いている彼らの日本人に対する印象などを聞いてみると面白いんじゃないかな、と思ったんだけど。

    I met Kattie and Tom for the first time in person when I went back to the UK in the summer. They were both lovely, and their house was really nice as well.

    今年の夏イギリスに里帰りした時に初めてKattieとTomに会いました。2人ともすごく親切で気さくだし、彼らの家もとても素敵でした。

    Actually, I was quite excited about meeting Tom, because he is a professional pianist. He has played with some really famous people, and he can play the kind of piano that I would love to learn.

    実は私はTomに会えるというのでとてもウキウキ、ドキドキしていました。なぜなら彼はプロのピアニストですごく有名なミュージシャンたちと共演した事もあったからです。*それに彼は私が目標とするようなピアノの演奏(の仕方)をするんです。

    When I was at their house, I showed him a video of a song I would like to be able to play. It was really complicated and fast, and it would probably take me about six months to learn. He just walked over to the piano, said, “It’s something like this, isn’t it?” and played it perfectly. I hate him! (Just joking.)

    彼らの家にお邪魔した時、私は彼に自分が弾けるようになりたい曲のビデオを見せました。それはとても難しくてテンポの速い楽曲で、私ならおそらく弾けるようになるのに半年くらいかかりそうな曲でした。(でも)彼はさっとピアノの方へ行って、「こんなような感じでしょ?」と言って完璧にその曲を弾いてのけたのです。もう、Tomなんて大嫌い!(もちろん冗談!)

    Anyway, Kattie has said that she will be happy to answer your questions this week. I know she is very busy, though, so I’m not sure if she will be able to join us every day. I will start with a simple question. After Kattie answers it, please feel free to post your own.
    Hi Kattie, can you tell us how you and Tom came to be a host family?

    それはいいとして、Kattieが今週あなたたちの質問に喜んで答えますよ、と言ってくれました。彼女はとっても忙しいので毎日返信できるかどうかわからないけど。(まず)私が簡単な質問をして始めます。Kattieからその返事が来たら、その後は自由に自分たちの質問を投稿してください。

    “Kattie、 あなたとTomがホストファミリーをするようになった経緯(きっかけ)を教えてくれますか?”

    PS David and regulars,

    I’m not sure about the following part.
    Is my translation correct?

    > and he can play the kind of piano that I would love to learn.

    *それに彼は私が目標とするようなピアノの演奏(の仕方)をするんです。

    and he can play the kind of piano that I would love to learn



  10. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 07:23 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    (I’ll write Japanese translations for beginners, but please just ignore them.)

    Thank you for your kind offer!
    You and Tom are so harmonized. He looks very kind, and you look very young!! Are you really 46??

    Well, I don’t think I can afford to send my son(still 4!) to a foreign country to study for a long period, but I’m interested in the “short” homestay.
    息子を長期間留学させる余裕はありませんがショートホームステイには興味があります。

    Here are my quetions for you ;

    1) I understood that you’re holding back on putting advertisements at the moment, but how you could have so many guests so far? Are you registered with an agency or something like that?
    現在広告を出すのを控えているのは理解しましたが、今までどうやってそんなにたくさんのゲストを獲得してきたんですか?代理店かなんかに登録しているんですか?

    2) Could you tell us the stories about the most impressive guest?
    今まで一番印象に残っているゲストの話を聞かせてくれますか?

    3) Have you ever had any troubles with your guests?
    何か今までゲストともめたことはありますか?

    By the way, I’m 42 and my husband is only 34!
    But don’t you think “young husband keeps you young”!?? hahaha!!

    I’m looking forward to your reply!



  11. amo on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 08:33 AM

    Hi YU,

    I think your translation would be fine.

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for accepting David’s offer. I am on a train to go to work. I will ask you a couple of questions tonight.

    Am off the train. Got to go now.
    Have a nice day everyone:)
    amo



  12. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 09:52 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I found Kattie’s expression “laugh at oneself” very interesting.
    (I think the Japanese, like the British, are generally very good at laughing at themselves.)

    Is that mean “自虐ネタで笑う/笑わせる(のが得意)= to toture yourself and make a fool of yourself”??

    If so, I agree with her!

    I’ve gotta go !

    See you!



  13. Anne on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for explaining the phrase of “claim the credit.” And thank you for giving us the chance to ask Kattie questions.

    Hi Kattie,

    It’s really nice to have you as this week’s guest! Oh, you two look very nice and the photo makes me feel closer to you even though we have been enjoying discussions over several topics from time to time. It makes me feel more interested in homestaying at your house in the near future.

    Fumie and YU have asked questions that I was interested in, and I enjoyed reading your answers to Fumie, especially, I found the following part interesting:
    ” It seems that Japan is an unusual mixture of the very traditional and the very modern.”

    Here are some questions for you:

    1. When students from Japan hommestayed at your house, did they stay alone or stay with their friends together?

    2. In general, the Japanese are said not to be accustomed to discuss something or to hesitate to express their feelings compared with people in Western countries(very vague,though..). Did you find these differences among people from various countries?

    3. What makes you thrilled most while you have been accepting guests from various countries?

    By the way, I’ve learned the following expression from your sentence:
    >this has not been our experience at all.

    I’ve never written this way, and I thought I would write “I’ve never experienced this at all.” if I were in your situation. Thank you.

    Hi YU,

    Your translation is really nice including the part “それに彼は私が目標とするようなピアノの演奏(の仕方)をするんです。” 

    Anne



  14. Biwa on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:02 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    My name is Biwa and thank you for sharing your interesting stories!

    I joined in this blog just a couple of weeks ago, so I hadn’t read your comments before, but I found some in the older entries which you had written about the Christmas Market in Manchester.
    How lovely it must be! Before that, all I knew about Manchester was that you have a famous football team (Manchester United) and a Japanese player named Kagawa has started playing there recently. Have you ever heard of him?

    Anyway, I have two sons (17 and 15), and my older son has just got back from his first one-week-homestay in Goldcoast, Australia last Saturday. He seems to have had a wonderful time, and I’m still having fun listening to his stories.
    His homestay was a kind of school trip, so everything was handled by the travel agent this time. He was so lucky that his host family had four children (12,14,16 and 18), so he could see the real life of the teenagers over there. He went to school with his “buddy” everyday, attended classes together and also shared various things to introduce their cultures to each other.

    The first thing he said when he got back home was ” It was soooo fun! I want to go there again!!” Of course, I was very glad to hear this, and I asked him why he liked it so much. He told me that the way everyone in the family acted was just natural and ordinary, nothing special. I’m not sure if I can explain this thoroughly in English, but I think he wanted to say that he was not treated as a guest but as one of the children in the house.
    I laughed when he told me a story about the boys fixing sandwiches for snack. One of the boys just grabbed some slices of bread from the bag and spreaded peanut butter dropping lots of bread crumbs all over the floor!, and just no one seemed to care about that. That would be exactly the same thing he would be doing here at home, of course I would tell him to clean them up!, but I guess those little things made him feel relaxed.
    Sorry for writing too much, and here are my questions.

    1. What things do you do or not do to make the guests relaxed?

    2. What things might be important to remember for the guests to make you and Tom happy?



  15. Anne on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    it’s me again.

    Sorry,”I’ve learned the following expression from your sentence” should be,”I’ve learned the following expression from your sentences.”



  16. Anne on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:09 AM

    Again, it’s Anne.
    Correction:
    I guess I should be careful about the tense.
    >. What makes you thrilled most while you have been accepting guests from various countries?

    —–What made you thrilled most while you have been accepting guests from various countries?



  17. Biwa on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Hi David,

    I’m so sorry that I’ve forgotten to say thank you for recommending the mangas!! As I’ve wrote before, they worked a lot!
    Thank you so much!!

    Also, thank you for the word “Kind regards”!
    My son told me that the host mother was surprised to see my excellent English! LOL!



  18. Biwa on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Hi David,

    correction

    “As I’ve wrote before” shoud be “As I’ve written before” LOL!



  19. Kimi on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    I’m Kimi and just joined here some days ago. I’m very happy to meet you on this blog. I love travelling abroad, but unfortunately, I haven’t been to the UK. I’m looking forward to hearing about your life there by your answering the questions. You already have a lot of questions, so I have one question now. (I might ask some questions later, though.)

    Do you have a plan to visit Japan?

    Hi everyone,

    Would you help me with my English?
    I’m not sure if this sentence is correct.
    ⇒I’m looking forward to hearing about your life there by your answering the questions.
    (私はイギリスに行ったことがないので)「みんなの質問に答えてくださることで、イギリスでの生活ぶりをうかがい知ることができるので、楽しみにしています」というようなことを伝えたいのですが・・・。by answering the questionsにしてしまうと、Kattieではなく私が質問に答える、という意味になるのではないかと思い、yourを入れてみました。ただ、そもそもby を使うのが果たしてあっているのか自信がありません。

    Kimi



  20. David Barker on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Hi Kimi,

    How about “I’m looking forward to learning more about your life there by reading your answers”?



  21. Kimi on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your suggestion. I am happy to learn a lot of things on this blog. I’m lucky to find here!



  22. Kimi on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 12:44 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    (I am rewriting a massage to you because I found a sentence wrong. Sorry.)

    I’m Kimi and just joined here some days ago. I’m very happy to meet you on this blog. I love travelling abroad, but unfortunately, I haven’t been to the UK. So I’m looking forward to learning more about your life there by reading your answers. You already have a lot of questions, so I have one question now. (I might ask some questions later, though.)

    Do you have a plan to visit Japan?



  23. miktak on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 03:13 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your joining here.
    There have already been many questions to you, and I’m looking forward to reading your answers.

    I’ve hosted a woman from New Zealand for the first time a few weeks ago.
    She is a teacher of junior-high and high school and led her students who were coming to Japan as exchange students.

    All of my family enjoyed spending time with her, but there was one problem.
    It was a meal.
    She had little traditional Japanese meal such as a roast fish, miso-soup, vegetables dressed with sesame and so on.
    She had said she would tried anything new, though.

    So I have one question.

    Have you had any troubles about meals for the guest from Japanese?

    See you,



  24. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 04:13 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I know some of you don’t like reading off-topic comments, but for me that is one of my pleasures(or even my favorite!!) being on the blog, so please just skip them if you don’t want.

    Today, I went to my English Club (for mothers and kids). One of the friends came back after giving birth to her third child in July. She has three childern including the baby, girl-boy-boy. She named her first son 豪(Gou), and we were all very curious to know about how she would name her second son this time.
    She named him 快(Kai). Yes, if you put their names together, it becomes a Chinese compound word, – 豪快. I love their names!

    今日英語サークルに行ってきました。メンバーの1人が7月に3人目の出産を終え、復帰してきました。彼女は3人子供がいて、女、男、男、です。長男の名前は”豪くん”。みんな今回の次男にはどんな名前をつけるのかな~と興味深々でした。次男の名前は”快くん”。そうです、二人の名前をいっしょにすると”豪快”という熟語になります。私は彼らの名前、すごく好きです!

    Another friend of mine from the same club whose name is 百合(lily) has two daughters. She named them すみれ(violet) and らん(orchid). Yes, they are all named after names of flowers.

    同じクラブに”百合(ゆり)さん”というメンバーがいます。彼女には2人の娘さんがいますが名前は”すみれちゃん”と”らんちゃん”。そうです、みんな花の名前にちなんでいます。

    I wonder parents in other coutries also enjoy “word-play” like that when naming children.

    外国の親たちも子供に名前を付けるときにこういう「言葉あそび」ってするんでしょうかね?

    Hi Anne,

    I’m glad that you liked my translation! Thank you for your compliments!

    Hi Biwa,

    I think your son was really lucky to have a nice host family like them. Some of my friends who have homestayed told me that their hostfamilies were really terrible. For example, they seldom spent time with their guests, and they(guests) ended up having only a little chances to improve their English. Or they never cooked for guests and just asked them to cook themselves using the foodstuff in the fridge.
    By the way, did you(or your son) write a thank you letter to them?

    息子さん、そんな素敵なホストファミリーにあたってすごくラッキーでしたね。ホームステイって結構ひどい話もよく聞きます。ホストファミリーがほとんど家にいなかったから英語を話す機会がほとんどなかった、とか全く食事を用意してくれず、勝手に冷蔵庫の食材でなんか自分で作って食べろ、と言われたとか。
    ところでもうお礼状出しました?



  25. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 05:27 PM

    【correction】

    >I wonder parents in other coutries also enjoy “word-play” like that when naming children.

    I wonder “if” parents in other…



  26. rinko on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 07:08 PM

    Hi David.
    Thank you for giving us a good opportunity like this and showing a photo of Kattie and Tom.They are really a nice and lovely couple!

    Hi Kattie.
    Thank you for sharing the time with us. I’m very glad to have a chance to ask you some questions.
    You must be surprised to see lots of questions for you!

    I’ve stayed with a host family in London about 14years ago.The members of family were very nice and kind to me and I had a great time with them although it’s quite a short term,less than 4 months.
    And there was a kind of rule between us that my host mother suggested me to have a time and chat together as much as we could while I stayed at home.Because she experienced some students she’d hosted shut themselves in the rooms apart from having meals at a dining. She might not like that way.
    A Japanese friend of mine from English school in London, she cooked her host family Japanese meals once a month. (it’s not a rule or duty,though)She said she could enjoy pasta meals every month as well because there was another student from Italy with her.

    So I would like to ask you,,,Do you have a kind of rule or arrangement between you and the students you would host like that? If you have something ,could you tell me about that?

    rinko



  27. rinko on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 07:28 PM

    Hi YU

    >if you put their names together, it becomes a Chinese compound word, – 豪快. I love their names!

    I love their names,too!!
    I wonder your friend named her first son thinking about the name of second son….
    最初から熟語にすることを考えて、豪くんと名づけたんですかね??本当に素敵な名前です。

    rinko



  28. YU on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 07:52 PM

    Hi rinko,

    > 最初から熟語にすることを考えて、豪くんと名づけたんですかね??

    That’s a good question, I’ll ask her next time! 🙂
    いい質問ですね!今度会ったら聞いてみます。

    Interestingly, “豪くん” is a strong boy, and “快くん” is always in a good mood as their names suggest!
    おもしろいことに豪くんはとっても強い子で、快くんはいつも機嫌がいい子です。そう、まさに名前どおり!!



  29. David Barker on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 08:50 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Thanks for all the interesting questions, but please don’t post any more until Kattie has had a chance to answer these.

    Thanks.



  30. kattie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 09:53 PM

    Hi everyone

    I think it might be best if I answer a few questions at a time so that I can answer them properly and also because it might spark off more discussion.

    Hi Yu
    >1) I understood that you’re holding back on putting advertisements at the moment, but how you could have so many guests so far? Are you registered with an agency or something like that?
    Yes I am registered with an agency, they mainly send me European students but they have also sent me one or two Japanese students However, as I’ve said before, I think there are often too many middle-men involved when people come to us through the agency which means that the agency charge people too much and the host family gets paid too little. It also means that we usually have no contact with people before they arrive, so we can’t help them with planning their stay and they don’t get the most out of their trip. More and more students are coming to us by personal recommendation.

    >2) Could you tell us the stories about the most impressive guest?
    I think you mean to say who was the most memorable guest we have had. Actually we remember everyone who has visited us over the years and they have all left an impression – here are just a few examples; there was an international synchronised swimming judge who was passionate about English gardens, a French boy who was extremely religious, he wanted to be a doctor and enjoyed cultivating plants for medicinal purposes and a lovely air traffic controller who spent a lot of time chatting to Tom about his girlfriend problems! However, this year we have had a lot of fun with the girls who David used to teach. Three of them came to us for a month in March and then one of them came back again in August with another two friends. When they left they left little notes around the house with nice messages on them – I found one of the notes in the freezer compartment a few weeks after they’d gone!

    >3) Have you ever had any troubles with your guests?
    No I think we’ve been very lucky because we’ve never had any real trouble with our guests but in the last year or two we’ve decided not to take people younger than 18 (Of course, we have no upper age limit!) This is because I don’t think the younger teenagers we have had (They were all European) were that interested in Britain or British culture and they really just wanted to be at home with their friends – it is also quite a big responsibility looking after someone else’s children. Tom and I both work so although we spend a lot of time chatting to our guests and helping them with their travel plans, we can’t look after someone 24/7! (Do you know this expression?)

    >By the way, I’m 42 and my husband is only 34!
    But don’t you think “young husband keeps you young”!?? hahaha!!
    I hope so! I hope it doesn’t work the other way round and make them grow older more quickly!

    Hi Anne,

    You said that you were most interested in my comment that Japan is an unusual mixture of the very traditional and the very modern – do you think this is the case?



  31. Fumie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 10:45 PM

    Hi David,

    Did I asked Kattie questions too early? I should have asked her after she answered your question. I’m so sorry.

    Hi Kattie,

    I’m so sorry I should have asked you after you answered David’s question. I hope I was not rushing you.
    And I’m also worried that I might made you to answer rather personal matters (ages of you and your family) . I didn’t intend to do that. I’m sorry about that too. I should be more careful about that. BTW, you and I are same age.

    And thank you so much for answering my questions.
    I’m glad to hear that you have enjoyed having Japanese students and British people and Japanese people are generally very good at laughing. Laughter is a very important factor in life.
    >However, if you’re interested, I’ll try and post some this week.
    Thank you for the kind offer. But we already make you busy by asking you so many questions, and I can see some pictures of British older houses on the internet. So please don’t worry about that.
    Please have a nice day!

    Fumie



  32. kattie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Hi Anne

    >1. When students from Japan hommestayed at your house, did they stay alone or stay with their friends together? Some of the students have come alone and some have come together and either is absolutely fine. However, I really like it when people come with a friend or two because it can be a lot of fun – on the last night of the girls’ stay, we had a takeaway meal at home and then we all sat round the piano while Tom played – it was like a little party and it’s a lovely memory. It’s also more cost effective to do certain things, for example we took the girls on a couple of long drives out into the countryside which would probably have been too expensive to do with just one guest.

    >2. In general, the Japanese are said not to be accustomed to discuss something or to hesitate to express their feelings compared with people in Western countries(very vague,though..). Did you find these differences among people from various countries? This is very interesting and we have not found this to be the case, so far we have only had Japanese university students so I wonder whether there is a generational divide, or perhaps our guests open up to us more because they are in a home environment. However, some of our Japanese guests have mentioned that Japanese people generally are very reserved with strangers and they are surprised how often apparent strangers here (in the UK) will spark up a conversation with each other. Do you think Japanese people are more reserved than other people?

    >3. What makes you thrilled most while you have been accepting guests from various countries? I have visited many countries (mainly in Europe though) and when you stay in hotels or privately rented apartments you can easily spend 2 weeks in a place and see a lot of the country but hardly speak to a local. I have learnt more about different cultures from having people to stay in our house than I think I’ve ever learnt from travelling! It’s easy to think that people from different countries are very different but I think this more to do with rituals and customs and the more you get to know people, the more you realise that people are actually quite similar the world over – of course, you get the different personality types; the gregarious ones, the quiet ones, the serious ones, but you find these types in every culture.

    Hi everyone,

    By the way, I have wondered whether I could ‘pick your brains’ (I hope you understand this expression!). We have been having people for homestays for several years and we are now thinking about developing our business, particularly in Japan. We would ideally like to have people to stay (with or without friends and possibly with a child) for 2 to 4 week stays. Do you have any thoughts about what type of people might like to visit us, what they would want to do and how we could help them? Also are there any particular concerns that you or your friends have about homestays – eg toilets, safety, washing facilities, food etc. I am really interested to hear your thoughts…and please don’t be shy



  33. kattie on Tuesday October 16th, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    I’ve just seen your comment – I like to answer your questions, I am not at all offended!

    If I can, I’ll post some photos, I’m not very techy myself, so I’ll ask Tom.



  34. YU on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 12:02 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you very much for answering my questions!

    > I think there are often too many middle-men involved when people come to us through the agency which means that the agency charge people too much and the host family gets paid too little.

    Very true!! I have had a similar experience myself when I was in university. At that time I had a part-time job tutoring a junior high school student. I got to know the student through a private teachers agency. One day, after having taught her 10 times or so, her mother hesitantly asked me how much I got paid per hour. So I answered it honestly. Then she told me that she actually paid to the agency almost double as I got paid and suggested me to cancel my contract with the agency so that they didn’t need to waste money and I could get paid more. Of course, I immediately accepted her kind offer! I think I was a bad part-timer for the agency, though…

    本当にそうですね!私も大学生のとき似たような経験をしました。そのころ私は家庭教師の派遣センターを通して中学生の家庭教師のアルバイトをしていました。その子に10回くらい教えた後のある日、彼女のお母さんが聞きにくそうに「先生時給おいくら?」と聞いてきました。私が正直に答えると「実はうちはその倍近くその派遣センターに払っているんですよ、と教えてくれました。」さらに、「そのセンターとの契約を解約ませんか、そうすればこっちも無駄なお金を使わなくて済むし先生にももっとお支払いできますから」と言われました。もちろん即その提案に乗りました。私はそのセンターにとってとってもイヤなアルバイトだったと思いますけどね。

    > It also means that we usually have no contact with people before they arrive, so we can’t help them with planning their stay and they don’t get the most out of their trip

    I see. By the way, did all the guests you’ve hosted speak good English? Do you think we must have a certain level of English before homestaying?

    なるほど。ところで今までホストしてきたゲストの皆さんはみんな英語が上手でしたか?ある程度の英語のレベルになってからホームステイするべきだと思いますか?

    > a lovely air traffic controller who spent a lot of time chatting to Tom about his girlfriend problems!

    Hahaha! I liked him the most among your examples. He can control a lot of planes at once, but he can’t handle even a single girl!

    あげてくれた例の中で彼のことが一番気に入りました。彼は一度にたくさんの飛行機をコントロールできるのに女の子だとたった一人でも手こずっているんですね!

    > When they left they left little notes around the house with nice messages on them – I found one of the notes in the freezer compartment a few weeks after they’d gone!

    That’s a lovely story! I have a feeling that I’ve seen the scene like that in a film.

    素敵なおはなしですね。なんかの映画に似たようなシーンがあった気がします。

    > we can’t look after someone 24/7! (Do you know this expression?)

    Yes, I learned the expression on this blog!

    ええ、このブログでその表現覚えました!

    > I hope so! I hope it doesn’t work the other way round and make them grow older more quickly!

    Indeed!! 🙂

    本当に!

    Thank you again for taking your time!

    See you!



  35. amo on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 12:21 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thanks for your time and answering the questions. I supposed to ask you a couple of question as I mentioned earlier. But you already seemed to have gotten a lot of questions, and they are really interesting, so I hold back my own questions. Anyway, I can’t wait to read your answers(I don’t mean to rush you so please take your time) 🙂

    amo



  36. kattie on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 01:24 AM

    Hi everyone,

    I think I’ve answered all your questions to date but please don’t hesitate to ask anything else – I really don’t mind. Amo, I’ve just read your comment, please go ahead and ask your question!

    Hi Biwa
    >1. What things do you do or not do to make the guests relaxed? Before our guests arrive we like to exchange several emails so we get to know each other and also so we can find out what they would like to do during their stay, we can then plan an itinerary for them so that they get the most from their stay. We always pick our guests up from the airport and when we get home we give them a cup of tea and a piece of cake – I think it’s a very British welcome! In the first few days we explain things like money, transport, banks etc and we like to show them the local area. We treat our guests as part of our family and when we have friends round they also chat to our guests – one of my friends came round when the girls were staying and we all sat round the dining room table talking and doing origami (badly!). We like to tailor the holidays to our guests needs so, for example, when we had the girls to stay, because they are university students and the same age as my youngest daughter, we thought it might be nice if they stayed in her university accommodation with her and met some of her friends. Rosie (my daughter) is at London university so she also took them to a few places they wanted to see and we have a lovely photo of all 4 girls walking across Abbey Road – just like the Beatles!

    >2. What things might be important to remember for the guests to make you and Tom happy? It’s really nice when people are interested in learning about British culture and want to try new things, also I like it when people smile and say remember to say thank you. One final thing, and this isn’t directed towards younger guests, but if you go to a pub/bar in Britain it’s customary to take turns ‘to buy a round’ – have you heard of this custom and do you have something similar in Japan? Generally though, Tom and I are very easy to please!

    It sounds like your son had a lovely time in Australia – I’m sure it’s an experience he’ll never forget, I hope he manages to keep in touch with his host family.

    Hi Kimi

    >Do you have a plan to visit Japan? We will definitely visit Japan at some point and I hope it will be in the next year or two – it would be perfect if Tom could get some gigs (concerts) out there in bars and clubs, it would help to pay for the trip and it would also be fun if we could meet Japanese people this way. We would also like to meet up with our guests – past and future.

    Miktak

    >Have you had any troubles about meals for the guest from Japanese? I think our guests find European food very different and if people have never really eaten it before I can imagine it takes a bit of time to get used to it. Our guests have never said anything horrible about our food (maybe they are being polite) but sometimes they have eaten a lot more than other times, so we get to know which dishes they like best. As I’m sure you know, British food has a very bad reputation internationally but things have changed a lot in the last 30 years and I think this is an old fashioned viewpoint. In all the major cities, there are all sorts of restaurants (including Japanese) and there are also markets and shops where you can buy all kinds of ingredients

    Hi Rinko

    So I would like to ask you,,,Do you have a kind of rule or arrangement between you and the students you would host like that? If you have something ,could you tell me about that? No we don’t have any rules but we are always very happy when people want to cook for us. Several of our Japanese guests have cooked meals for us and it’s a lot of fun for them…and us! I think the girls cooked a meal 2/3 times for us over the course of a month.

    Hi Yu

    > By the way, did all the guests you’ve hosted speak good English? Do you think we must have a certain level of English before homestaying? No, some of our guests have had hardly any English. This is not a problem for us but I think that it’s much better if you have a reasonable level of English because you will get much more out of your homestay experience.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the story about the air traffic controller – by the way Tom’s advice was that he was trying much too hard with his girlfriend and it was making him look too desperate so he should try to be a little more aloof – after he left us, he sent a message to Tom saying he had acted on his advice and things were going a lot better!!

    By the way, I am always very impressed by everyone’s English on this blog!

    I’m sorry this is so long but I didn’t want to keep you waiting too long for your replies.



  37. Biwa on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 08:37 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you so much for your quick reply!
    I can’t imagine how you and Tom manage to get all your work done, especially after learning how much closely and warmly you pay attention to your guests. I hope we’re not taking away your sleeping time.
    The ways you do to your guests are exactly like how we would do to our relatives or friends that visit our place, and I guess that is what makes their stays most precious and memorable ones. I really admire you, Kattie and Tom!

    Talking about “to buy a round”, when my husband and I visited London (only for two days because we mainly visited France), we went to a pub and just sat down at the table to be waited! Finally, a kind American couple sitting next to us told us that we had to buy our drinks at the counter first. This was very different from the Japanese way. Japanese pubs are more like a casual restaurant, the waiters/waitresses come to our table and take the orders, and we pay the total at the end.
    So, if you were drinking as a host, it’s natural to pay the bill (including the guests’), but I guess, “to buy a round” is a more casual and easier way to get closer to each other. Sounds very nice!

    And yes, my son has already written a thank you card to his host family. I was really surprised because he wrote a quite long one using a dictionary. He said he had to say so many thanks to every one in the family. I think his experience motivated him a lot to study more English, and I’m very happy about that, too. If I have a chance to be a host mother myself some time, I’d really like to welcome them just like you.

    Lastly, I think I have some ideas for your business, though I’m not sure if my brain is good enough for you to pick up (LOL!), I’d like to write about it later. I think I’m writing too much again! Sorry for that!
    See you later and thanks for reading.



  38. Kimi on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 09:56 AM

    Hi kattie,

    Thank you for taking your time to answer our questions. What you answer gave me the impression that you give generous affection to all of your guests. So any guests would open up to you.

    時間を割いて質問に答えてくださって、ありがとうございます。ゲストすべての方々に深い愛情を注いでいらっしゃることが文面からうかがえました。だから皆さん、お二人に心を開くんですね。

    Anyway, I gave much thought to your question. I guess many mothers will be happy to be able to stay with their child. The problem will be whether their husbands allow them to be away for 2-4weeks. If I can homestay with my child (Actually, I have no kids), I want my son/daughter to enjoy the natural beauty of your country. Are there any natural environments like woods, river, or mountains close to your place? I also like to attend Tom’s concert if possible.

    さて、質問についていろいろ考えてみました。おそらく多くのお母さんたちは、子供と一緒にホームステイできるなら喜ぶのではないでしょうか。ただ問題は、旦那様たちが2-4週間も家をあけることを許してくれるかどうかですが。もし私が子連れでホームステイできるのなら(実際には子供はいませんが)、子供にはあなたの国の自然の美しさを堪能してもらいたいです。近くに森や川、山、といった自然はありますか?また可能であればTomのコンサートに行ってみたいです。

    I think you don’t have to be worried to have people to stay because you are good enough as you are. I hope your business will be more successful.

    お客様を迎えるにあたって心配しなくてもいいと思いますよ。今のままで十分です。ますますのご発展をお祈り申し上げます。

    Kimi

    PS If you ever come to Japan and Tom has a chance to join a gig, I really like to go to enjoy it. I hope it will come true.



  39. YU on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Here are my suggestions ;

    > Do you have any thoughts about what type of people might like to visit us

    Considering you’ve decided not to take people younger than 18, I guess the most possible guests for you would be university students and elderly people(couples), but you may have parents with kids during the long holiday seasons in Japan like the New Year holiday or the Bon holiday in midsummer. Actually, I’ve almost never heard that parents around me want to homestay with their children, but is it common? In my case, I want my son to go and stay alone without my help. But, this is just my personal opinion.

    18才以下を受け入れない、という条件を考慮すると一番考えられるゲストの層はやはり大学生と年配の方々(ご夫婦)になるでしょうか?でも日本の長期休暇の期間、例えばお正月、お盆休みとかなら子供連れのゲストも望めるのではないでしょうか?実は私のまわりで子供と一緒にホームステイをしたい(考えている)というのはほとんど聞いたことがないです。でもそれって結構よくあることなんでしょうか?私の場合は自分の息子は自分の助けを借りずに1人で行って経験してほしいけれど。でもこれは私の個人的な意見です。

    By the way, have you ever thought about receiving Japanese people who come to the UK by using the system called “working holiday visa”? In this case, it might not meet your condition of “for 2 to 4 weeks”, but because they usually stay for a longer period, you might have a stable income instead.

    ところで「ワーキングホリーデービザ」を利用してイギリスに来る日本人を受け入れることを考えたことはありますか?その場合2~4週間という条件には合わないかもしれないけど、彼らはもっと長期間ステイするので安定した収入を得られるかもしれませんね。

    > what they would want to do and how we could help them?

    I think what you and Tom are doing for your guests now sounds already too nice!
    What you would like to experience in the UK differs from person to person. So the best is asking them directly before coming to you as you already do now.

    あなたとTomがゲストのために今やっていることで既に素晴らしすぎるくらいです。イギリスで何を体験したいかは本当に人によってそれぞれ違うと思うので、今やっていらっしゃるように事前のやりとりでニーズをつかむのが最善の方法だと思いますよ。

    > Also are there any particular concerns that you or your friends have about homestays – eg toilets, safety, washing facilities, food etc. I am really interested to hear your thoughts…and please don’t be shy

    I’ve been to England three times, but all the hotels I stayed there were beyond my expectations, but I’m not familiar with how the normal home life in the UK is. In my case, I really get used to use “Washlet” (toilet seats with water spray feature for washing), though… My biggest anxiety is food. When you stay at the hotel, you can dine out every day and eat whatever you want, but I’m not sure I can eat the British-style menus at host family’s house every day for 2 to 4 weeks…. I’m a person who needs to eat “rice” at least once a day. When I lived in Germany, I cooked Japanese food every day, of course, I ate German food outside, though. So, I would be very happy if you offer me a rice cooker and some rice to cook myself!! Having said that, this is just my personal taste, younger generations might not care about that.

    今までイギリスには3回行った事がありますが、そのとき泊まったいずれのホテルも想像以上に良かったです。でもイギリスの一般家庭の生活がどんな風なのか、全く知りません。私の場合トイレはウォシュレットに慣れすぎてますが。。。
    でも一番心配なのはやはり食事かな?ホテルに泊まると毎日外食して好きなものを食べられますが、2~4週間毎日イギリス式の食事を食べられるか自信がありません。私は一日に1回はお米を食べないと生きていけないタイプなので。ドイツに住んでいるときも外(学食とか)で食べるとき以外は自炊して和食を食べていました。なのでもしホストファミリーが自炊用に炊飯器とお米を用意してくれていたらすごくハッピーですね。でもこれはあくまで私の食の好みで今の若い人たちはそんなに気にしないかもしれません。

    I’m sorry that I have only such stupid ideas, but I hope that helps.

    See you!



  40. Biwa on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    This might be a little piece of idea for developing other kinds of guests from Japan.

    I think there is a kind of trend in the ways of living these days here in Japan. Inspite of the bad economical situation, I guess most of the people are already satisfied materially, and many of them are looking for a more spiritually satisfied lifestyle. So the way British people cherish old things like houses, furniture, tea sets…etc and the way you lead a simple but also a rich life without being surrounded by too many stuff are very interesting for us. I think this is not just my impression but lots of people’s, because once you step inside a book store, you can see lots and lots of books related to those ideas.

    For that, I think many people would be very interested in seeing those things. Visiting antique-fairs, house-tours in various types of old houses might be exciting, beacause in that way, people can see how you actually get on with those old and precious things. Also, as you already are doing, welcoming them with a British styled tea and showing them how to do that should please them very much.

    It might also be interesting to share guests with other guest-house owners, too. In this way, the guests can stay at different types of houses during their stay.

    By the way, have you ever heard of a toilet called “wash-let”? We don’t have any in my house but it’s very common in Japan. It’s a kind of toilet with a shower and dryer to keep your place clean, but I don’t think you have to renovate your facilities into a fancy and modern type like those because it will just be the other way round! I think they will be really interested if you used a rather old-fashioned type.

    I’d like to write again later if I come up with other ideas.



  41. Biwa on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    Hi Kattie and YU,

    Isn’t it funny that YU and I both should have mentioned about the “Washlet”!! LOL!



  42. Kimi on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 01:19 PM

    Hi kattie,

    It’s Kimi again. I have to say, sorry. I wrote “Many mothers will be happy to be able to stay with their child.” But, as YU wrote, there may be a few. I thought that mothers who want to go abroad who can’t because their children are quite young would be glad. However, such a person might go abroad alone.

    再びKimiです。謝らなくてはいけません。さきほど「多くのお母さんが子供と一緒にホームステイできるのなら喜ぶでしょう」と書きましたが、YUの言うように、そういう人は少ないのかもしれません。海外に行きたいけど子供が小さくてあきらめている母さん方は喜ぶのでは、と思ったのですが、考えてみればそういうお母さんは一人で行きたいのかもしれないですよね。

    See you!

    Hi David and everyone,

    Well, I have some questions.
    I thought that mothers who want to go abroad who can’t because their children are quite young would be glad.
    「海外に行きたいけど子供が小さくて行けないお母さん方が喜ぶのでは、と思ったのです」
    関係詞の二重限定を意識して書いたのですが、自信がありません。訂正していただければ有難いです。それに随分と頭でっかちな文章になってしまいました。他にいい表現があれば教えてください。

    それから本当は最後に「manyなんて大げさなこと言ってすみませんでした」と一言添えたかったのですが、それも教えていただけますか? I’m sorry I exaggerated …の後に何と書けばいいのかわかりません。

    I found many “like to” in kattie’s comments. It is used for the same meaning as “want to”, isn’t it? I never use “like to”. Is “like to” more natural?

    kattieのコメントの中にたくさん”like to”という表現がでてきます。これは”want to”や”would like to”と同じ意味ですよね?私は”like to”は使ったことがないのですが、このほうが自然な言い回しなのでしょうか?



  43. YU on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 02:08 PM

    Hi Kimi,

    You don’t need to say sorry at all.
    I just couldn’t imagine that I would be able to have enough time for chatting with Kattie and Tom even if I took my child with me now. As I mentioned, my son just turned 4, and my day is still occupied with looking after him. And as you know, most of the mothers around me have very young children, but some of the mothers who have older childern might be interested in homestaying with their kids…

    Sorry, I’d like to translate, but I’ve got to go now!

    See you!



  44. Biwa on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 02:08 PM

    Hi Kimi,

    >I thought that mothers who want to go abroad who can’t because their children are quite young would be glad.

    How about this?

    I thought that the mothers could easily go abroad without worrying about leaving behind their young children.

    Kimiの”would be glad”を少し変えてしまったのですが、「行きやすくなる」という風にしてみると、主語が頭でっかちになるのを防ぐことが出来るかな、と思いました。(あくまでも参考意見ということで・・・)

    それと、このブログは、みんなが色々な意見を出すことが楽しいので、謝る必要はないと思います。かえってびっくりしてしまうのではないかしら。

    また、”like to”は、「喜んで~する」みたいなニュアンスだと思います。”would like to”は”want to”よりもっと丁寧な感じがするように思いますがどうでしょう。



  45. Kimi on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 02:31 PM

    Hi YU and Biwa,

    >You don’t need to say sorry at all.

    >このブログは、みんなが色々な意見を出すことが楽しいので、謝る必要はないと思います。

    そうですね、お二人のおっしゃる通りです。ありがとうございます。

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for correction. I see.
    It’s very useful to me.

    “like to”、なるほど~、そうすると”be willing to”に近いニュアンスなのでしょうか。ありがとうございました。



  46. Tomo on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 02:48 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for joining us and answering our questions!

    I’m Tomo, and I’m married with three children. My oldest son is 18, my middle son is 11, and my youngest daughter will be 9 this month. I’ve never been abroad, but I’m very interested in Britain and British culture. I’d love to visit there sometime in the future. I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments and your answers, and they made me want to visit Britain more than before. I like to see old buildings like castles, bridges, and houses, and I’d like to see the local life and speak to locals. I like the sound of the piano, and I play it myself too(very poorly), so your house sounds a perfect place to stay!!

    My biggest concern about homestays is safety. Well, it would be the biggest concern about my first trip abroad, but I wouldn’t worry about that if I stayed your house because I already learned that you and your husband are very nice 🙂

    My second concern is food. I’m sorry, but I had a stereotypical image of the British food because of those reputations. I’m glad to find that things have changed and it’s just an old fashioned viewpoint. When we(my family) go on a trip, the things we remember most are the place we stayed and the food we ate. These two points often play a big role in making our trip good or bad. I guess there are many people who still have the stereotypical image of the British food, so it might be a good idea to put some pictures of meals on your website when you make one. Also, I think it would help your future guests to imagine how they would be treated if you put some pictures of your cake and tea(the British welcome) and activities in your house(piano parties). It sounds really nice to be treated part of your family.

    > Do you think Japanese people are more reserved than other people?
    David often told me that how nice it is to have a conversation with people you have just met on a street or somewhere. I agree with him, but it is not easy for me to do it especially in Japan. I’d love to experience it when I go abroad.

    Anyway, let me ask you some questions. Is it possible to stay at your house with all members of the family? Are there any good activities or places for young boys and girls(like my children) to have fun?

    By the way, I’m around your husband’s age, and my husband is around your age. I really hope I keep my husband young and he doesn’t make me grow older quickly! LOL

    Hope you and your family are well.

    Tomo



  47. miktak on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 03:00 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your kind reply.

    I’m very interested in differenses of food cultures.
    There are various way how to eat, how to cook, how to keep etc. in the whole world.
    I think it is one of the interesting point of a host family. How about you?

    Have a good day.



  48. YU on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 07:00 PM

    Hi Kattie and everyone,

    > When we(my family) go on a trip, the things we remember most are the place we stayed and the food we ate

    Tomo, I thought you were talking about MY family!

    > I’m sorry, but I had a stereotypical image of the British food because of those reputations.

    Me too! I still have the image even after travelling there three times(my last visit was in 2004, though), sorry, Kattie.
    Of course, in all the major cities, there are all sorts of restaurants(including Japanese) as Kattie mentioned, however, I don’t think you can have good meals unless you spend a certain amount of money. They are not really wallet-friendly, I think. In Japan you can find good restaurants with very reasonable prices here and there, but in England, especially in center of London, I didn’t find almost any like that, and I always ended up spending “at least” about 2000yen for each meal. I didn’t think I chose only high level restaurants, though.

    Kattie, I happened to hear on TV that actually British food wasn’t as bad as today before the Industrial Revolution. Till then primary industry such as farming or fishery used to be flourish in Britain, and people were interested in food and eating. But after the revolution, those industries have rapidly declined, and it got very difficult to get fresh foodstuff for people. And then they gradually lost interest in food and eating. I also heard that British people tend to cook(grill, boil, or fry…) every ingredient more than necessary, and that is a trace that they couldn’t get fresh food in those days. Have you heard of that??

    I’m sorry this is too long.
    I’ll stop here for now.

    See you!



  49. kattie on Wednesday October 17th, 2012 at 10:19 PM

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for all your suggestions it’s really good to hear what sort of things you like doing on holiday and what you would expect/wish for from a homestay.

    Hi Kimi and Tomo…and anyone else whose intererested,
    As far as the local countryside is concerned we are extremely lucky. The Greater Manchester area is not far from 4 of Britain’s National Parks – National Parks are beautiful areas of countryside which are protected so that the public can enjoy them – here is a link http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/. Our house is especially close to the Peak District, which was the first National Park in the country. We are only about 10 minutes drive from Kinder Scout which is the highest peak in the Peak District, to walk up (and down!) Kinder takes about 5 hours and it’s a 9 mile trip. We are also quite near (The Lake District, The North York Moors and Snowdonia).

    We have several stately homes and historic buildings near us, many of our historic buildings are owned and/or managed by the National Trust – again here is a link http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/. The nearest stately home to us is Lyme Park (about 2 miles away) – this was the setting for Mr Darcy’s house in the BBC’s production of Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice. There are lots of other historic buildings near us e.g. Tatton Park, Dunham Massey and Quarry Bank Mill and Styal Estate, all can been found on the National Trust website. Chatsworth House is one of the most spectacular stately homes in the UK, it’s about an hour away and we sometimes take guests there because it’s difficult to get to by public transport.

    Sometimes it’s possible for our guests to see Tom play but it depends whether he’s playing at a private or public function and also whether it’s reasonably near – however, even if you don’t see him at a gig, he’ll definitely play a few tunes fo you at home!

    Hi Yu,
    Thank you so much for your suggestions – they’re really helpful. To date, we have only had university students from Japan but it would be really nice to have couples and families (As Tomo suggested). I am a little bit unclear about when people take their holidays in Japan so perhaps you can let me know – for example, when do university students have their holidays and when do most other people take their holidays and for how long? We have had longer term people to stay in the past but we have now decided we would rather concentrate on the tourist side – we like helping people plan their stays and entertaining them properly – also it would be difficult to please everyone if we had a permanent lodger alongside our tourist guests.

    Hi Biwa,
    Good to hear from you and thank you so much for all your ideas – keep them coming! I like the idea of getting together with other guest house owners so that people can experience different lifestyles and I have thought about this but it’s finding people who a) Have similar ideas and standards of hospitality b)Have houses of a similar standard and c) Want to do it! I will keep working on this idea though.

    We have taken students to country houses and for tea etc but because our Japanese guests have all been students I think they have generally more interested in things like Harry Potter Tours, Manchester United and shopping! However, we are really keen to tailor things to our guests – we don’t want to pigeonhole people (Do you know this expression?) so it’s really nice to hear what other people might be interested in. By the way, there is a lovely little town near here that holds regular antiques fairs, here is a link http://www.antiques-atlas.com/antique_fair/buxton_antique_collectors_fair/af870

    I’m going to stop now – I don’t want to make this too long but I’ll write again later on food, toilets etc!



  50. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:17 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Let me answer your questions briefly.

    > when do university students have their holidays

    It’s been a loooooooooooong time since I graduated from my university, and I can’t remember it well, so I checked it on the Internet.

    – summer holiday : Aug.5-6 to Sep.15-20th

    – winter holiday : after Chiristmas to Jan.7-10

    – spring holiday : Feb.1 to Mar.31

    *These are just the general examples, and the period differs according to the university.

    > and when do most other people take their holidays and for how long?

    I guess you mean working people.

    – Golden Week : Apr.27-29 to May.5-10

    – Bon holidays : Aug.12-13 to Aug.15-20

    – New Year holidays : Dec.28-29 to Jan.3-10

    * The period differs depending on companies. And some of them add their paid holidays to the holidays above, so the periods could be a bit longer than these sometimes.

    > We have had longer term people to stay in the past but we have now decided we would rather concentrate on the tourist side

    Actually, I already suspected so.
    I think that’s nicer, because you could get to know more people!



  51. Anne on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:25 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for answering my questions.

    >You said that you were most interested in my comment that Japan is an unusual mixture of the very traditional and the very modern – do you think this is the case?
    —I’m not sure if I got it right what you meant, but when I read this, I just wondered if you had experienced or seen such things in students. As you said, Japan attracts people from various countries with its high-tech and traditional culture.

    >. It’s also more cost effective to do certain things, —-Oh, I see. Going on a drive out into the countryside sounds nice!

    >Do you think Japanese people are more reserved than other people? —I think so. In Japan, we usually don’t speak to strangers, and don’t greet with strangers. ( There are some exceptions,though…) I visited the UK four years ago and studied at the language school for two weeks and then traveled for a week. What surprised me was students were very positive and talkative, and if I hesitated to speak, I guess my turn to speak would never ever come! Anyway, in there, all the students were from various countries, not from the UK,though. That’s the reason why I asked this question, and situation would be different when students stayed at your house, I mean, not at school but at home. Students staying at your house were lucky to have had such a relaxing time.

    >when you stay in hotels or privately rented apartments you can easily spend 2 weeks in a place and see a lot of the country but hardly speak to a local—-Yes, indeed. I think you(in general) can experience different types of attractions.

    >I have wondered whether I could ‘pick your brains’ —Let me share a couple of my thoughts. (The expression ‘pick your brains’ was new to me!)

    Firstly, thank you for the further information about the area where you live and the link.
    Oh,Mr Darcy’s house? That captured my attention!

    1. As for the type of people who would like to visit you:
    *Students would be interested in the homestay as you have had so far, but I guess the season is limited; summer and spring vacation.

    * Middle aged or a bit older generation like me are comparatively easy to take a long off. A lot of retired people are interested in traveling or staying in foreign countries, so you can expect the guests whole the year round.

    2.About washing facilities:

    When I homestayed, my host mother did my laundry once a week. To be honest, I hesitated to ask, and I thought to myself, “I wish I could do it myself.” This is not the case for young people,though…

    3. About refrigerator:

    When students or other guests stay for two or four weeks, if there are some space for the guests to put something in the refrigerator, that would be fine.

    4. Website:
    When you make a website, as Tomo suggested, you should put the photo of the “tea and cake.” This kind of thing is sure to capture women’s attention.

    By the way, I’m a fan of Jamie Oliver,a famous cook in the UK, and as far as I have been watching his cooking program, I bet the reputation of British food has changed:)

    Good night,

    Anne



  52. amo on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:32 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    I was a bid of surprised to see your comments this morning. I didn’t expect your reply so soon of course it was a nice surprise 🙂

    >I really don’t mind. Amo, I’ve just read your comment, please go ahead and ask your question!

    How nice of you say so, but after reading your answers, there is no need to put my question. What I wanted to know is what the advantage of staying at your place is and It was in your reply to Biwa. Like others, I want to stay at your house too. As I mentioned before, I love British houses and antiques. So your place is paradise for me 🙂

    >By the way, I have wondered whether I could ‘pick your brains’ (I hope you understand this expression!).

    Wow, you’ve gotten lots of suggestions from others. As I said above, your place is already paradise for me so I can’t think of any more… By the way, I have done a home stay in the UK once. I was lucky enough to have a nice host mother who were really good at cooking. I was staying there three weeks and she fixed dinner including dessert every night. They were delicious!!

    It’s already late so I will check sites that you mentioned tomorrow(it’s already today, though)

    Good night,
    amo



  53. kattie on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:44 AM

    Hello everyone,

    British Food!
    Yes, I understand your fears! Yu – I have also heard that prior to the Industrial Revolution, British food was often very good and there are many old cookery books which show this. Rapid industrialisation, together with the large numbers of people (particularly women) who then had to work long hours in the mills, meant that fresh food was hard to come by and there was also little time to cook, so the cooking skills of the older generation were not passed down to their children. I wonder whether Japan has experienced this phenomenon? However, our food (and reputation) suffered another blow during and after WW2 – this was because of very strict food rationing which didn’t end until 1954!
    In the last 20/30 years there has been a revival in British cuisine – I just found this discussion on google which you might find interesting http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/329749. As Yu says it can be very expensive in Central London but it depends where you go and it’s easier for non tourists to find cheap deals at the better restaurants – we know where to look! The problem with a lot of places in Central London is that they have a constant supply of tourists who only eat there once, so they do not have to be good to surivive. Tom and I very rarely eat convenience food and we both enjoy cooking – actually I think Tom likes it more than me. We use fresh ingredients and we try not to overcook them! Here are a list of the type of things we cook at home; pasta with various sauces, roast chicken/pheasant, stir fries, chilli con carne, fish pie, fish (grilled or fried), cous cous, sausages etc. and we serve these meals with vegetables, salad or rice.

    Hi Tomo – I really like your idea about taking photos of our food, when we do the website, we’ll definitely do this. Our Japanese guests always take photos of the food – I think it’s unusual for Europeans to do this, so it never occurred to me.
    On the safety point, we live in a very safe area (most areas in the UK are quite safe), I have never heard of any personal attacks, muggings etc and I have lived here for many years. When people are travelling to other places e.g. London, we always give them advice about this but I don’t think London is a very dangerous city if you compare it to other very big cities. I lived in London for many years and it never bothered me but, of course, you have to be a bit careful.

    Hi Yu – we are absolutely fine about people cooking rice – I used to have a rice cooker but it stopped working so I’ll buy another one – is there any particular sort that you would recommend? Also, we have quite a small fridge but we’re fine with people putting things in there. By the way, thank you for taking the trouble to find out about uni holidays.

    Hi Miktak
    I agree with you I think that it’s one of the very interesting things about staying at other people’s houses – even people in the same country can have very different ideas about food. Emily’s boyfriend (Emily is my eldest daughter) is mixed race, his grandparents came over from Jamaica in the 1950s and so his family cook many British classic dishes like roast beef but with a Jamaican twist. He cooked a lovely meal for us a little while ago. There is also a lot of etiquette about food which is very interesting.

    Toilets – or loos as we often call them!
    I have heard of the Washlet but I have never seen one in real life – they sound very complicated and I have heard stories about foreigners squirting themselves with water because they don’t know how to operate them! I wonder whether they will become popular soon in the UK, I think they must be very good for the elderly and disabled. If and when we move house, I will see if this is something we can easily do – in the meantime, I think we will have to stay old fashioned!

    Hi Anne,
    Lovely to hear from you. Thank you for your tips – when the Japanese girls stayed I did their washing almost daily (they were very clean!). we don’t mind at all if people want to do their own washing themselves, I just prefer it if there is a full washing load because it uses a lot of water.
    I’ll write again later about the traditional/modern point – I have to do some work first and it’s an interesting discussion.

    Sleep well!



  54. kattie on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:48 AM

    Hi Amo,

    I saw your comment straight after I had posted mine.

    I’m glad I answered your questions but if you want to ask anything else, please do.

    Sleep Well! It’s only 5pm here.



  55. David Barker on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 07:50 AM

    Here is an interesting link for any of you who like jazz.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbDDaXWmqhE&feature=related



  56. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 09:31 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    > I wonder whether Japan has experienced this phenomenon?

    I’m not really sure about that.
    Some of the young girls don’t cook at all, they don’t know how to cook(I was one of them!), but they gradually learn to cook after marriage. Generally speaking, I think Japanese people(Asian people) are more interested in “food” rather than “shelter”. Good, recommendable restaurants are introduced in TV programms every day, day and night here in Japan! (I know David doesn’t like those TV programs at all, though.) But I believe they are aired because “most” Japanese people like to watch them, and the audience ratings are high.

    > The problem with a lot of places in Central London is that they have a constant supply of tourists who only eat there once, so they do not have to be good to surivive.

    I totally agree with you!!
    Last time I visited London with my German friend. We ate at a Japanese restaurant in Central London.
    She ordered “Tonkotsu ramen” (noodle with a thick broth made from boiling pork bones). Actually she liked the “instant” tonkotsu ramen that I brought from Japan and cooked for her at my house in Germany. After taking a bite, she just said, “How could they cook this so awful? I can easily see they used instant noodles, but I really wonder what extra seasonings they put in. Dishes at restaurant should be better than “instant food taste” at least, but this is far worse than that. You(I) should go to their kitchen and teach them how to cook “instant noodles”!!”. After we left, we talked exactly the same thing as you mentioned(=they have a constant supply of tourists who only eat there once, so they do not have to be good to surivive). I wonder if the restaurant is still running business there…

    And thank you for the interesting link. Some mentiond that Indian food in the UK is good, and I agree with them. I ate Indian, Mexican, Chinese, Italian,etc…food in London, and they were all good, but they were very expensive and they are all foreign cuisines… I’m sorry to say this, though… I like to enjoy “local food” when I go on a trip, but I wonder what you would recommend us to eat in that case… Fish and chips? Roast beef sandwiches? I like them all, but do you call them “British cuisine”?? I liked British-style tea(afternoon tea) too, but that is not “cuisine”, either.

    > so I’ll buy another one – is there any particular sort that you would recommend?

    I don’t think you need to buy an expensive one with many functions. The rice cooker I bought at an Asian food store in Germany was a very simple one and cheap. I think it was made in South Korea, even. I remember it had only 2 functions, cooking rice and keeping it warm.

    > Here are a list of the type of things we cook at home; pasta with various sauces, roast chicken/pheasant, stir fries, chilli con carne, fish pie, fish (grilled or fried), cous cous, sausages etc. and we serve these meals with vegetables, salad or rice.

    Huummmmh, that sounds really yummy!!
    As other members mentioned, I think you should take photos of your food when you do the website.
    Actually I have another idea. I thought it might be very effective to have Japanese language site as well as English language one when you do the website, if you really want to develop your business particularly in Japan. And maybe Japanese guests you’ve hosted might write some recommend comments….I guess everyone here will be happy to help you. However, I realized there is one problem in this idea. That is – you might receive many inquiries written in Japanese from Japanese people!! Hahaha!!

    Oh, this is again too long.
    Sorry!

    See you!



  57. Biwa on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 09:39 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    I really enjoy reading everyone’s ideas and your replies! Everything is so intereting to me.

    We often say that the richest people in Japan are the young girls and the upper-aged women. Have you ever heard of that?
    So if you are trying to shift target to the tourists, like Anne, I also think it might be good to target the rather upper-aged people because those are the ones who have time and money! People who are still struggling to pay their children’s school fees just cannot afford that even if they want to.(Including me!) It still costs an amount to go to Britain from Japan, so it quite differs from the people who come from other European countries.
    Also, this might sound a bit weird to you, but a lot of Japanese women like to travel with their friends(women friends) instead of traveling with their husbands! I think this is very different from the Western ways.
    Adding to that, I think, staying at one place(homestay) is still not a very common way to spend a holiday in Japan. Many people like to visit as many places as they can to make the most of the money they had spent. I don’t like talking about money too much, but sadly, I think this is reality.

    Have you ever thought about advertising or suggesting “a more leisurely way of traveling” to Japanese people?
    There is a magazine called “mr. partner”. I think the readers are mainly Japanese who are interested in British culture, but it also has useful articles for foreigners living in Japan, too. This is the link.
    http://www.mrpartner.co.jp/
    I’m afraid you wont be able to read it because almost everything is written in Japanese, but if you click the “magazines”, you can see a picture of the latest issue. It features “Homestaying at Cotswolds” as a cover story. You can also see a lot of back issues with articles like “Studying abroad at your 40s”, “Staying at British B&Bs”, “British tearooms and cakes”, “Women who knit traditional sweaters”, and so on.
    I thought the readers of this magazine will definitely be interested in your guest house!

    By the way, if I were your guest, I would really like to learn some recipies from you and Tom! I’m interested in the things you cook or bake for your family and guests every day, rather than the fancy ones you get at restaurants. It’s something really tailored, isn’t it? (The expression “pigeonhole” was new to me! I’d like to use it some time!)

    Bye for now. I’ve got to go!



  58. Kimi on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    Hi kattie,

    Thank you for your interesting comments. I was really excited with reading through all of them. Many pictures on the website you recommended reminded me of travelling in Switzerland. As you know, it has tons of wonderful nature surroundings and I enjoyed them to my satisfaction. I’m happy to hear that there are a lot of rich natural in the UK. I really want to visit there at some point. Actually my sister lives in Switzerland, so I have a plan to go there next year. I may not go as far as the UK at the next time, but I like to visit the UK someday.

    興味深いコメントをありがとうございます。ワクワクしながら読みすすめました。おすすめのウェブサイトに載っているたくさんの写真をみて、スイス旅行のことを思い出しました。ご存知の通り、スイスにはたくさんの素晴らしい自然環境があり、心ゆくまで楽しんできました。イギリスにも豊かな自然がたくさん残されているとわかりとても嬉しく思います。いつか是非訪れてみたいものです。実は妹がスイスに住んでいて、来年あそびに行く予定です。今回はイギリスまで足を延ばすことは難しいかもしれませんが、いつかかなえたいですね。

    Wow! Now I noticed the attached link and clicked it. How splendidly Tom plays! A man who devotes himself to something is very nice. Did you fall in love with him for that point? Hahaha.

    わ~、今リンクに気づいてクリックしてみました。Tomの演奏、なんて素晴らしいのでしょう!何かに打ち込む男性の姿は惚れ惚れします。その点に惚れたのでしょうか?!(^^)!

    As far as food is concerned, in Japan, there are a lot of instant food and frozen food for those who are busy with raising their child or the job. Some instant food is designed for people not feeling guilty about using them. In fact, I cooked for dinner by using one. I cut the ingredient and sautéed them, then I added it to the instant food. (or rather I should say ‘instant seasoning’.) We can cook easily and feel we cook by ourselves by cutting ingredient and so on. It was better than expected. Maybe, the more that kind of food companies produce, the harder it is that people pass down the cooking skills to the next generation.

    食べ物といえば、日本では、子育てや仕事で忙しい人たちの為に、たくさんインスタント食品や冷凍食品が売られています。なかには、インスタント食品を使う後ろめたさ軽減するためにちょっとした工夫がされているものもあります。実は先週それを使って夕飯を作りました。自分で食材を切って、炒めて、そこにインスタント食品(というよりインスタント調味料かな)を加えるのです。簡単に作れるし、実際に自分で材料を切ったりすることで作った気にさせられるのです。意外とおいしかったです。ただこういった食品が増えれば増えるほど、料理の技術を次世代に受け継ぐのが難しくなっていくのかもしれません。

    I’m looking forward to reading your next comment.
    Thank you for reading.

    Kimi



  59. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 10:16 AM

    Hi David,

    I can’t see his face well, but is he Tom?
    Anyway, he is a great jazz pianist!
    When I lived in Hamburg, I sometimes went to the very famous jazz club named “The Cotton Club”. I’m not really familiar with music, but I like jazz.
    Many professional jazz musicians from European countries come and play there. I wonder if Tom has played there too.



  60. Kimi on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I tried writing “the 比較級, the 比較級” in my comment to kattie by following David.
    Davidを真似て、kattieあてのコメントの中で「the 比較級, the 比較級」を使ってみました。

    The more that kind of food companies produce, the harder it is that people pass down the cooking skills to the next generation.
    こういった食品が増えれば増えるほど、料理の技術を次世代が受け継ぐのは難しくなっていきます。

    (前半)The more that kind of food companies produce,
    うまく英作できずに無理やり「会社がたくさん生産すればするほど」としたのですが、単純に「増えれば増えるほど」としたいときは
    The more that kind of food there is,
    でいいのでしょうか?

    (後半)the harder it is that people pass down the cooking skills to the next generation.
    the harderのあとどう処理していいか悩んで、結局仮主語のitを立ててみたのですが、文章として成立していますか?

    いつも質問ばかりで申し訳ありません。よろしくお願いいたします。

    Kimi



  61. David Barker on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Hi Kimi,

    Please don’t apologize for asking questions. That is exactly what I want people to do!

    The more of that kind of food that companies produce, the harder it is for people to pass down cooking skills to the next generation.

    Is that what you wanted to say?



  62. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Hi everyone,

    My image of “homestay” used to be staying at host family’s house to improve your English, that is why I wrote that “I want my son to go and stay alone without my help”.
    However, after having read Kattie’s comments, it turned out that Kattie and Tom don’t think that way. That seems to be only one aspect of “homestay” to them. Rather I felt that they just want to offer us a nice accommodation instead of expensive hotels and experience lots of entertainments and the British home life.

    私の「ホームステイ」のイメージは「ホストファミリーの家に滞在して英語を上達させる」ということでした。だから前のコメントに「息子には私を頼らず1人で行って過ごしてほしい」と書きました。
    でもKattieのコメントを読んでいるうちにKattieとTomはそう考えてないことに気づきました。そういうことはホームステイのほんの一面に過ぎず、むしろ彼らは私たちに高いホテルの代わりに泊まる場所を提供し、思う存分エンターテインメントを楽しみ、イギリスの家庭生活を体験してもらいたいだけなんだ、と。

    Hi Biwa,

    > People who are still struggling to pay their children’s school fees just cannot afford that even if they want to.(Including me!)

    Very true! And in my case, I prefer to travel with my family alone to staying at someone’s house, even if I ended up spending more for hotel expenses. In Japan the number of days of holidays is very limited, husbands can’t take a long holiday so easily, so those long holidays(GW, Bon, New Year’s holidays) are very precious time for families. I guess these ways of thinking is majority in Japan, though there are always some exceptions.

    本当にそうだと思います。
    それから私の場合、たとえホテル代に散財する羽目になっても誰かの家に泊まるより家族水入らずで旅行したいです。日本では休暇の日数ってすごく限られているし、お父さんたちはなかなか長い休みを取れない。だからそういう長期休暇(GW、お盆、正月休み)って家族にとってとっても貴重な時間だと思うんです。例外はありますがこういう考え方が大多数ではないか、と思います。

    > I think, staying at one place(homestay) is still not a very common way to spend a holiday in Japan. Many people like to visit as many places as they can to make the most of the money they had spent. I don’t like talking about money too much, but sadly, I think this is reality.

    Too true!!! Though I don’t think that is “ellegant” at all, but I still prefer those ways of travelling! 🙂 I’m typical Japanese!

    おっしゃるとおり! そういうのって全然エレガントだと思わないけど、それでもやっぱりわたしはそういう旅のほうが好き、というか満足できるかな。典型的日本人だから!



  63. Kimi on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you as always.
    I will never apologize so that anyone who reads this blog can easily ask questions.!(^^)!

    “The more of that kind of food there is” is also correct?



  64. David Barker on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 11:57 AM

    “The more of that kind of food there is…” would be fine as well.



  65. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    Hi David,

    I read the Japanese comment you added.

    I find this part a bit weired to me.

    > このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づくことができますよ!

    この文の主語は隠れていますが「あなたが」、述語は「近づくことができる」、でも「近づくことができる」のは「あなた」ではなく、「あなたの英語」だと思います。
    だからこの文をなるべく生かすなら「近づけることができますよ」かしら?でもちょっとまだスッキリしないけど。 
    言っている意味わかりますか?  
    ほとんどの日本人はヘンだと思わないと思いますが、一応。



  66. rinko on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Hi Kattie.
    Thank you for your quick answers to our questions!
    Also nice to hear you are thinking of developing your business in Japan.I hope it will go well!!

    And I really enjoyed seeing the sites of Manchester that you showed us.I love countryside vews like the lakes, parks and histric buildings very much,so I had some short trips to the cities such as Cotswolds,Bath, Oxford and some more while I stayed in London.They were so great and lovely,but I should have visited your city as well !
    By the way English foods never troubled me at all while in London although I sometimes missed Japanse ones.I especially loved having lunch with my friends at a pub occasionally.It’s nice you can have a meal with a glass of beer even in the daytime,isn’t it? It’s not so common to have lunch with alcohol on weekdays in Japan,so it was quite new to me and I really enjoyed it.

    Hi David and Kattie
    I heard Tom’s piano,too.
    What a great performance!!

    See you!

    rinko



  67. Kimi on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you very much. They’re helpful to me.
    I want to steal a lot of expressions on this site.

    Kimi



  68. Biwa on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 01:24 PM

    Hi David and Kattie,

    Isn’t he lovely! Lucky you, Kattie!
    I think I’m going to tell my sons to learn how to play the piano! (Half joking!)

    Hi YU,

    Yes, I think the word “homestay” still recalls that kind of stereotypical image to most Japanese. But I guess, little by little, things are changing, and words like “B&B” are becoming quite familiar these days.

    Also, I see the word “customized” very often. Not just for travels but also for household electrical appliances, cars, clothes and almost anything, and I think this is another aspect of people being satisfied with just “having” things. They want something more special=tailored=various choices.

    Re. the Japanese explanation
    I know what you mean. Then, how about this?

    「~~~、より自然な英語が話せる(書ける)ようになりますよ。」



  69. Biwa on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 03:18 PM

    Hi YU,

    I think I should have put a “not” or “already” before “being satisfied with just having things”.
    I’m wondering which should make my sentence clearer.



  70. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 05:27 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I’ve just come back from 入園説明会.
    During the meeting our kids had to go to the other room to play with other kids and teachers. Some children cried a lot and couldn’t leave their mother. Fortunately, my son managed to play without me. That was a nice trial for both him and me. After the meeting he came back and reported me how kind his teacher was!! Anyway, he told me, “I want to go to the kindergarten and play again”. I’m really glad that he liked his future kindergarten! 🙂

    > I think this is another aspect of people being satisfied with just “having” things

    Sorry, I can’t translate this into Japanese…
    Maybe you can do it for me first?

    > I know what you mean. Then, how about this?
    「~~~、より自然な英語が話せる(書ける)ようになりますよ。」

    Actually my suggestion was「 ……表現を身につけていくことであなたの英語はより自然なものになるはずですよ」.
    Do you remember it? I just tried to use the original sentence as much as possible this time. I think yours is fine.



  71. Biwa on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 06:07 PM

    Hi YU,

    Glad to hear your son has made a good start!
    Good boy!

    I wanted to write like this.
    >様々なものに「カスタマイズ」というオマケ?を付けるという現象は、みんながただ「ものを持つ」ということでは満足しなくなったということの一つの側面なのかな、と感じます。
    これだとnotですが、すでに満足して「さらに特別感」を求めている、と考えるとalreadyなのかな、と悩みだしたら訳が分からなくなりました(笑)

    Hi everyone,

    Have you taken a look at the teacher’s blog? I’ve heard David’s voice for the first time! The presentation is really interesting.



  72. YU on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 06:33 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    うっ、日本語でもかなり難解ですね。
    正直私には難しすぎてBiwaの文を直せないわ!(汗)
    私ならこう書くかな?

    I have a feeling that this might be a sign that more and more pepole are starting to feel unsatisfied with just having things.

    それ(=カスタマイズを求める傾向)は人々がただモノを持つことだけでは満足しなくなり始めたことの表れのような気がします。



  73. David Barker on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 06:56 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I don’t mind if people watch the video, but I don’t really want people to write comments if they are not teachers. I want to try to keep my two blogs completely separate.



  74. Biwa on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 07:26 PM

    Hi David,

    Sorry, I didn’t mean that at all. I thought everyone knows your thoughts from your comments in the previous entry.



  75. David Barker on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 07:32 PM

    No problem. It’s just that some people might not have seen the previous entry, and I don’t want to fill up the teacher blog with comments from people who are not teachers.



  76. kattie on Thursday October 18th, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    Hello everyone,

    Thank you so much for all your comments and suggestions, it’s nice to have a frank discussion about your likes…and dislikes when it comes to holidays.

    First of all I’m going to respond to some of your comments generally because several of you mention the same points and then I’ll post another comment a bit later on.
    Re: Food
    Hi Yu – you mentioned a terrible Japanese restaurant you went to in London, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience, how annoying! I think it’s always a bit risky eating your own cuisine in another country, I think it’s unlikely
    to be done well. I steer well away from anything purporting to be ‘British’ (food or otherwise) when I’m abroad, partly for this reason and partly because I want to try new things when I’m away. Having said that, I believe there are a few very good Japanese restaurants here (one of our students mentioned one in Manchester) but they are generally very expensive and they might not be really authentic. Actually I think food in Britain is more expensive than many other countries, I’m not really sure why but it doesn’t stop us eating out a lot! When Emily was in America she said the food was very cheap but Americans (perhaps like the Japanese) spend a lot of money on education and healthcare whereas in the UK, 93% of the population are state educated until the age of 18 and we use the National Health Service for healthcare. However, I see that this is a real cost for tourists and it makes staying in hotels and eating out all the time very expensive.

    As I’ve mentioned before, Britain is a multi-racial society (particularly in the major cities) so our cuisine reflects that. As Yu said, Indian food is particularly popular, there are curry houses everywhere and many are extremely good. I love curry but when we have had an Indian curry with our Japanese guests they have always found it too spicy, so I think you have to be careful what curry you choose! Many curries have been adjusted to the British taste and some are completely British inventions. We also have a lot of restaurants which would define their food as ‘Modern British’ – here is a link to my favourite local British restaurant http://www.thelimetreerestaurant.co.uk/ – I wonder if David has eaten there, it’s expensive so we only go there for special occasions.

    Most people (particularly the upper and middle classes) eat lots of different cuisines and they also cook a variety of different foods at home, I think this sector of the population eat well. I don’t like to talk about class but Britain sadly still has a complex class system which is difficult for non native people to really understand and it’s not only based on how much money people have. It is definitely much less rigid than it was in the past but it still effects the way most people live (for example the food they eat, their house furnishings, clothes and the types of holiday they might choose to go on)

    Re: Learning Holidays
    A few of you have you touched on this. As I said before, when we first started having guests I got all my students through an agency – the agency advertise language teaching holidays. All the hosts registered with them have to have either a suitable degree qualification and/or a recognised EFL qualification (EFL stands for teaching English as a foreign language) and the lessons are assessed by the company periodically. I have a degree (in law) but I don’t have an EFL qualification. One of the problems with this type of ‘holiday’ is that the children/teenagers (which most of them are) are coming all the way to us just to have the same type of lessons that they can easily have back at home. Often the parents want them to have 5 hours lessons a day which means there is very little time for them to go out and see something of the country and to practice their English with people in the real world. I don’t believe they learn any more English (and in most cases they probably learn less) than the students who have come to us directly and they haven’t really got the most out of their holiday either. It would be really interesting for me to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think parents only really want to help pay for their student age children to come to the UK if they are having formal lessons? Should I only offer extra formal English conversation lessons? My personal view is that this shouldn’t really be necessary because we are talking to them all the time but maybe parents would like this. Should I take them on educational trips like a visit to a typical British school, university or company? Of course, we don’t know any Japanese (apart from the odd word like ‘Kawaii’!)so they have to speak English! Any ideas are very welcome.

    Re: Homestays
    I think I really ‘get’ what you’re saying when you (Yu, Biwa) say that the word ‘Homestay’ doesn’t really conjure up an attractive holiday image. Perhaps what we are hoping to offer is something between a homestay and a B&B but I’m not sure how I can convey this in one word! We help our guests plan their stay (help them book train tickets, shows, trips etc, help them get special offers) we also provide food, include them in our family life (If they want to be included) and take them on a few trips to places which are hard to get to by public transport, or places where tourists do not normally go. Most days they are out and about (except when they’re exhausted and want a quiet day watching a film by the fire) and we all get together in the evening for a nice meal and chat. As you say, people travelling to the UK from Japan normally don’t want to stay in one place. All our Japanese guests have travelled extensively round the UK, Manchester is in the centre of the UK so it’s possible to visit Scotland, England and Wales in one visit – there are 3 trains an hour to London and the journey takes just under 2 hours. Sometimes our guests stay the odd night or two in other places and we help find a reasonable B&B. In fact, one of the girls, who stayed with us for 2 months this year (2 separate visits), has visited numerous places around the UK, as well as short trips to Germany, France, Holland and Belgium. We helped her with all the planning and were always ‘on hand’ to provide any help, even when she was away. It’s easy and cheap to get flights from Manchester to many major European destinations.

    Hi Biwa,
    By the way, thank you so much for sending that link – it makes me think that the best markets for us are older women travelling with friends or students – it’s ‘food for thought’ – do you know this expression?! Obviously older people would probably have different preferences to younger people, so we would need to customise our holidays to suit.



  77. kattie on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 01:24 AM

    Hi everyone,

    As I promised before, I’m just going to respond to a few individual comments this time!

    Hi Anne,
    >’You said that you were most interested in my comment that Japan is an unusual mixture of the very traditional and the very modern – do you think this is the case?
    —I’m not sure if I got it right what you meant, but when I read this, I just wondered if you had experienced or seen such things in students.’As you said, Japan attracts people from various countries with its high-tech and traditional culture.’

    On the traditional side I suppose the main things that I have noticed from our students, and from reading the blog, is that everyone is very courteous to each other – asking about people’s health and families. Older people in the UK often complain that people today are not as polite to each other as they were in the past. There also seems to be a lot of very old customs and rituals in Japan such as the Dolls’ Festival and unusual funeral customs, all of which I find really interesting – in the UK we have lost a lot of our old traditions. I have also noticed how there seems to be a very clear gender divide in Japan – for example, when childcare issues are discussed on the blog, everyone seems to assume that this is women’s work. In the UK, whilst some people still hold this view it isn’t nearly so common, particularly in anyone under 50. It also seems that the different sexes don’t seem to socialise that much together in Japan.

    On the modern side of things, I notice how people of all ages seem to be very adept with computers and technology. When I see Japanese cities on TV I think they are incredibly busy places (much busier than here) – I have seen YouTube clips of people being pushed onto the commuter trains – and everything seems ultra new, high tech……and very noisy and bright. Then I have seen photos of the beautiful temples, the cherry blossoms and the countryside and it’s hard to believe these things share the same island!

    Re: Jamie Oliver – I’m glad you enjoy his shows – in the last few years he has become very interested in trying to improve school food (which sadly is still very poor) and lots of other issues, not all food related. We also have a lot of other celebrity chefs; Gordon Ramsey, James Martin, Nigella Lawson etc and, like Japan, we have a lot of cookery shows on TV.

    Hi Yu
    >’Actually I have another idea. I thought it might be very effective to have Japanese language site as well as English language one when you do the website’
    Yes this is a great idea and something David mentioned to me in the summer but you have a point when you say that I will then get enquiries in Japanese – I hadn’t thought about that!

    Hi Kimi
    >’Actually my sister lives in Switzerland, so I have a plan to go there next year. I may not go as far as the UK at the next time, but I like to visit the UK someday’.
    It’s really easy (and cheap) to get flights from Switzerland to the UK, here is a link which might be useful http://www.skyscanner.net/flights-to/gva/cheap-flights-to-geneva-airport.html – I hope you’ll have a chance to pop over and stay in London for a night or two while you’re there.

    >’Wow! Now I noticed the attached link and clicked it. How splendidly Tom plays! A man who devotes himself to something is very nice. Did you fall in love with him for that point? Hahaha’ – This made me laugh – I read it to Tom and he liked it but I think he might get big-headed if I read him too many nice things! Actually I first met Tom when he was playing at my father’s party so I suppose it was the first thing that attracted me to him. Tom plays by ear and is mainly self taught – it’s very annoying because he doesn’t have to practise much, he just hears something and quickly works out how to play it!

    >’As far as food is concerned, in Japan, there are a lot of instant food and frozen food.’ Our guests have all brought a lot of these food packets and I wondered how popular they were in Japan.

    Hi Rinko

    >’It’s nice you can have a meal with a glass of beer even in the daytime,isn’t it?’ Haha, yes it is, but it makes me really sleepy. Most British people drink a lot, pubs are such a big part of our culture.

    Hi Biwa,

    >’Isn’t he lovely! Lucky you, Kattie!’ He’s lucky too!!!!

    Hi Fumie,

    The weather has been quite nice here recently – there’s a nip in the air (do you understand this expression?), all the leaves have turned golden and are falling but it’s also been quite sunny. I like this time of year because I can light my fire and look forward to Christmas. What’s the weather like in Japan at the moment, is it cold yet?



  78. amo on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 02:01 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you so much for your comments:) I really enjoyed reading them.

    >Should I only offer extra formal English conversation lessons?

    I don’t have any children so I am not sure though, I don’t think you should offer extra lessons. As you said, go out and see something of the country and to practice their English with people in the real world is much much important and good experiences for them.

    >Perhaps what we are hoping to offer is something between a homestay and a B&B but I’m not sure how I can convey this in one word! We help our guests plan their stay……

    That is exactly what I always needed!! When I went to Paris with my sisters several years ago. We stayed at an apartment not a hotel because we wanted to feel like we lived there. In the morning we went to buy some bread, fixed breakfast and prepared lunch. Then we went around places. As you said, it’s hardly speak to locals. So what you are doing now is really great, I suppose.

    oh, it’s 2 in the morning, I should be in bed,

    bye for now.



  79. Kattie on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 07:25 AM

    Hi Amo,

    Thanks for your comment, I hope there are lots of other people who will also be interested in our homestay. By the way, when I looked at your comment I just noticed that I wrote ‘to practice’ with a ‘c’ – when this word is used as a verb I think it should be written with an ‘s’ – native English people make mistakes all the time (I even spot mistakes in books and newspapers sometimes!)

    >’we stayed at an apartment not a hotel because we wanted to feel like we lived there’ I completely agree with you, we try to do this too but the thing I particularly like is when we have a chance to chat to the locals. I think English people are lucky because so many people speak our language but the downside is that it’s hard to improve our foreign language skills because often when we try to speak another language, people respond in English – they are either trying to be kind or perhaps they’re just too impatient to wait for us!

    >’I don’t think you should offer extra lessons’ Actually I have been thinking about taking an accredited EFL qualification anyway (although it is a bit costly and time consuming) whether or not I give formal lessons, because I think people might like this – I’m sure I would also find it interesting.

    I’m off to bed now – night night!



  80. Fumie on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 07:44 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    >If I can, I’ll post some photos, I’m not very techy myself, so I’ll ask Tom.
    – Thank you for your kind offer. If it’s not bothering you much, please do. I’d like to see them. The word “techy” is new to me. I’m not techy at all. So this phrase is very useful for me.

    I’m sorry for not replying you earier. This week there are so many great comments especially yours. Just reading and following your conversation takes me long hours. I learned a lot this week from your comments and high-level members’ comments. Thank you! Plus I learn not only English but also how can I please others from everyone’s comments. People who join here are very nice people and good at care for others and write warm comments. Kattie, you are one of them. You are very considerate person. I can tell from your comments and what you do to your guests. Your guests (past and future) are very lucky. Having a chance to listen to the professional pianist play is a great benefit too.

    I watched Tom’s video. He is amazing! He looked playing tunes very pleasantly and easily. >He is mainly self taught. He is a genius!

    As for the idea of developing your business, other members had already answered. I just wondered if you mentioned that the host is a professional pianist on the advertisement? I think if you added that, more people would want to stay at your house. Or you’d rather avoid inquiry from lots of people. As Biwa wrote, there are many Japanese people who are interested in British cultures and life and want to visit the country. So if you put an ad on magazines like “mr. partner” (Biwa mentioned) and wrote about Tom with his and your pictures, you might have influx of inquiries.

    >Do you think parents only really want to help pay for their student age children to come to the UK if they are having formal lessons?
    -No, I don’t think so. If my son goes to homestay, I want hostparents to accept him as like a member of the family and help him learn not only English but also cultures. And he should spend time going out like people do and talk to locals. The purpose of homestay should be learning not only language but also their cultures.

    Your viewpoints about Japanese cultures (comments addressed to Anne) is very interesting. If you didn’t point out them, I wouldn’t notice the difference of ours and other countries’ because I just take our cultures as granted.
    You saw YouTube clips of train pushers. That’s terrible isn’t it? I don’t want to ride on such a crowded train.

    Oh, you are careful not to miss any of our questions. How kind you are!
    I’m glad to hear that the weather has been nice in the UK. I checked “a nip in the air” in the dictionary and I understand the meaning now. Japanese weather is pretty much the same as you described about British one. We are in fall and many people go to mountains to see beautiful crimson colored foliage.

    May I ask you one more question? You said you never had any trouble with the guests. But have you ever worried if the guests are bad people? When the guests are introduced by their friends, you don’t need to worry too much but other cases the guests will be total strangers and there is a possibility that they might be bad people.

    I hope I could get my meaning across in English.
    With kind regards.

    Fumie

    Hi everyone,

    There are two PCs in our house and there is a glitch on the new one. So I sent it for repair and it will take about a week. Until then, five of us (there are 5 people in our family) has to take turns to use one PC.

    Take care!

    Fumie



  81. Kimi on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 10:08 AM

    Hi kattie,

    I’ve learned some more from your answer. They are really interesting.

    I knew you have a class system in the UK, but the details sounds very hard to understand for me. Does it mean people are classified when born? You cannot change the class all your life, can you? I have a lot of questions about it but I don’t ask any more because there’s no limit. I will look into it more by myself.

    イギリスに階級社会が残っていることは知っていましたが、その詳細を理解するのはとても難しそうです。生まれながらにして階級が決められてしまうということですか?一生、階級は変えられないんですよね?たくさん聞きたいことはありますが、きりがないのでやめておきます。自分でもう少し調べてみようと思います。

    >Should I only offer extra formal English conversation lessons?
    I don’t think so. In my opinion, when you want to achieve the goal, the motivation is the key. For example, any child who is eager to become a professional sport player, he is willing to undergo the strict training. Those who want to be a pianist like Tom would practice spontaneously. If people go to the UK to develop their English, they should experience the real life, chat with the locals and enjoy the variety of environments apart from taking lessons. Having such experience could motivate them to learn English more. Homestay is a perfect to do that. We can take formal lessons even in Japan.

    >正式な英会話の授業だけを提供すべきでしょうか?
    そうは思いません。人が何かを成し遂げようとするときには、動機づけが鍵になると思います。例えば、プロのスポーツ選手を目指す子供は、厳しい特訓を受けることをいといません。またTomのようなピアニストを志す人たちは、誰に言われるともなく自発的に練習をするのではないでしょうか。もし英語能力の向上を目的にイギリスに行くのならば、正式な授業を受けるたけでなく、現実の生活に触れ、地元の人との会話を楽しみ、様々な環境を体験するべきです。そんな経験が、さらなる英語への探求心を高めると思うのですが。それにはホームステイはうってつけです。日本にいても授業なら受けられますからね。

    Summarizing my ideas and writing it in English require a great deal of time and effort, but it is one of the best ways to improve my English skills. Unlike things like journal, I’m glad to receive mixed responses.

    自分の考えをまとめ、英語で書くことは多くの時間と労力を要しますが、英語習得のための非常に有益な方法のひとつです。日記などとは違って、様々な反応がかえってくるのは楽しいです。

    Have a nice day!

    Kimi

    Hi everyone,

    これを読んでくださっている全ての方々、もし私の英語、あっ日本語もですが、「これ間違ってる~」とか「この表現のほうがいいのに」と気になったら、お時間があるときにぜひ遠慮せずどんどん指摘してください。たったこれだけのことを数時間かけて書いています。今回も2時間は超えているのではないでしょうか・・。読むのにも時間がかかるので、本当に骨が折れますが、たくさんの表現を学べますし、なんといっても楽しんでやっています。誰かに指摘してもらうことで、さらにやる気につながりますので、よろしくお願いします。私も自分の能力の範囲内でお手伝いできることはしたいと考えています。



  82. YU on Friday October 19th, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    > Do you think parents only really want to help pay for their student age children to come to the UK if they are having formal lessons?

    In my opinion, it differs depending on how long your children stay there. I mean, if my son homestays in a foreign country to study for a year or more, I may expect him to take formal lessons at language school or local school aside from staying at host family’s house. I got to know a lot of people from other countries at my German language school in Germany and lots of Germans at my German uni. It certainly costs parents much, but they all turned to be a great experience for me after all. On contrast, if he stays just for a week or two like Biwa’s son did this time, I don’t really expect his improvement in English from the short homestay, but rather I want him to experience the culture and people. But in both cases, I never expect his host family to teach him “formal” English lessons at home. I never thought that it is a role of host family. Of course, I think they should be native speakers of English and speak “proper” English at least, though. (For this reason, I don’t think my family can become a host family because my husband is a foreigner. My husband speaks pretty good Japanese, but he still makes a lot of mistakes.)

    私の意見を言わせてもらうと親がホームステイや留学に求めることってその留学期間によっても違うんじゃないかしら?
    もし自分の息子が1年以上外国へ留学するなら、ただホームステイしてホストファミリーや地元の人とふれあうだけじゃなく、きちんと語学学校や地元の学校に通って(交換留学制度など使って)英語を学んでほしいな。確かに親にとってかなりの負担ですが。私もドイツのドイツ語学校で世界中の人と知り合えたし、大学ではたくさんのドイツ人の若者と知り合えた。そういうことは全部私の人生の財産になっています。
    一方、もし私の息子がBiwaの息子さんが今回したような1、2週間の本当に短期間の留学をするのなら、私はあまりそのステイから英語の上達を求めたりしませんね。むしろ文化や地元人々とのふれあいを経験することを期待します。
    でもどちらのケースも私はホストファミリーに自分の子供に
    きちんとした英語のレッスンをして欲しいとは思わないし、そういうのがホストファミリーの役割だと考えたことは全くありません。もちろん少なくともホストファミリーはネイティブスピーカーで「きちんとした」英語を話す人たちであってほしいですが。

    I hope this is what you wanted to ask us.

    See you!



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