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[wpaudio url=”https://www.btbpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Chores.mp3″ text=”Click to listen”]

Last week, one of the topics on Jaremaga was “chores.” Chores are little jobs that parents ask their children to do around the house. Some common examples are taking out the rubbish, taking the dog for a walk, and washing the car.

Since so many of the readers of this blog are mothers, I thought it might be interesting to find out how much (or how little!) Japanese parents ask their children to help out. Even if you are not a parent yourself, I hope you will tell us about your own experiences from when you were a child.

Doug wrote in his article that many American children receive “pocket money” for doing chores, and I was wondering – do Japanese parents have the same system, or do Japanese children get pocket money even if they don’t help out around the house? I guess a big difference between American children and Japanese children is that Japanese children never really have any free time, because they are always either studying or doing their club activities.

Anyway, this week’s topic is really simple – I just want you to answer the following questions. If you do not have any children, please just answer from your own experience.

1. Do you ask your children to do any chores? If so, what?

2. Do you think the situation in Japan has changed since you were a child?

3. Do you pay your children for doing chores? How much do you give them?

4. Do you give your children pocket money even if they don’t do chores?

5. From what age did you start giving them pocket money?

Look forward to reading your answers.

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37 Comments

  1. David Barker on Monday January 21st, 2013 at 04:38 PM

    Hi everyone,

    This has got nothing to do with the topic, but I would like to get your opinion on something. One of the people who sells my books has suggested that we should make an audiobook of the English version of “An A-Z of Common English Errors for Japanese Learners” and make it available as a free download on this site. I think it’s an interesting idea, but I’m not sure what would happen – would people download it because it’s free and then get interested in the book, or would they think there was no need to buy the book because they already got the audio version for nothing? You are all English learners, so it would be really helpful to get your feedback on that.



  2. yuri on Monday January 21st, 2013 at 04:40 PM

    i don’t have my children, so i’ll answer from my own experience.

    1、i sometimes did any chores…forexample, go to buy groceries, wash dishes,take in the laundry, hang the laundry up to dry etc…

    2、i don’t know much about that because i don’t have my children yet,but i guess it has changed more or less.

    3、My parents sometimes paid me for doing chores, but sometimes didn’t pay me for that,so i used to negociate with them.

    4、I won’t give them if they don’t do chores, tell them〝If you don’t work, you can’t get money…〟

    5、I think it started from 7 years old…



  3. David Barker on Monday January 21st, 2013 at 04:45 PM

    Hi Yuri,

    Thanks for answering the questions. Nice to have you with us.



  4. Mika on Monday January 21st, 2013 at 08:50 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    When I was a child, I helped around house but never having asked my mother for any rewards. Because, it’s horse sense that family should help each other.

    1 Of course I asked my children to help me. (washing-up, to vacuum the floor, to go get the newspapers, and so on)
    2 Yes. Recently there are a lot of children who are not to help around the house.
    3 No, I didn’t pay.
    4 No, I’ll never pay anything.

    I think that children can learn about address and way to invest time and more if they help their mothers with the housework.



  5. Cocon on Monday January 21st, 2013 at 10:07 PM

    Hi David and everyone
    It has been about one year since I wrote the comment in this blog.
    I’m not a mother, so I am going to answer from my own experience.

    1. Do you ask your children to do any chores? If so, what?
    I was often asked to wash the bathtub in my house by my mother.
    I don’t understand that I was asked that, but maybe it’s simple and easy, I think.

    2. Do you think the situation in Japan has changed since you were a child?
    Chores such as taking out the rubbish and taking the dog for a walk you say as examples are necessary for living. So, I don’t think the situation has changed.

    3. Do you pay your children for doing chores? How much do you give them?
    I wasn’t given money by my mother in my childhood.
    My mother often said that everyone could do chores, it was no wonder child do that.

    4. Do you give your children pocket money even if they don’t do chores?
    I wasn’t given pocket money by my parents. I got only New Year’s gift money.
    But, they bought and gave me something necessary in school, and my birthday present and so on.
    I had enough to live in.

    5. From what age did you start giving them pocket money?
    If I was a mother, I could do what my mother and father did for me to my children.
    Although I won’t pay pocket money to them, I will give them all necessary in school or birthday present. Probably I will continue to do that until my children work or do part –time job.

    Cocon



  6. Fumie on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 09:16 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Thank you for choosing the light/mothering topic!
    Let me answer your questions.
    1. Do you ask your children to do any chores? If so, what?
    Yes, each one of my children has some chores.
    Answering telephones and doors, washing the dishes(just obentos, though), feeding pets, watering the flowers, drying their own futons, carrying heavy stuffs, bringing in the laundry when it starts to rain (Although I do those things sonetimes and children do them sometimes.) Plus, I ask them to do something when I want them to help me like grocery shopping. When I have to go somewhere on weekend and there are sales on local supermarkets, I ask them to go shopping. Also, at some supermarkets, there are sales on some stuffs but one person can only buy one item so I ask them to buy that. That’s mean we can get four of that items. My children voluntarily offer to help me when I’m busy. They are always big help for me.

    2. Do you think the situation in Japan has changed since you were a child?
    I don’t think the situation doesn’t change much but there are more working mothers than before, so I guess they have to their own things by themselves.

    3. Do you pay your children for doing chores? How much do you give them?
    I don’t usually pay them when they help out something. But my mother gives them some money when they help her so they are so happy when their grandma asks them some choirs. She is generous or too soft on grandchildren, so she gives them 500 yen or 1000 yen for just a small choir.

    4. Do you give your children pocket money even if they don’t do chores?
    Yes, I give them monthly allowance (Okodukai) even if they don’t do chores.
    *I have a question. Are there Okodukai system in the West? Do parent give their children monthly allowance except paying some money when they do some choirs?

    5. From what age did you start giving them pocket money?
    I started giving them Okodukai when they get into elementary school, so from six years old.
    By the way, my eldest son really likes cleanup and tidying things up. When the house becomes dirty, messy, he starts to clean up. I’m lucky to have such a son.

    Fumie



  7. Biwa on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 09:50 AM

    Hi Yuri,

    Nice to have you with us!

    Hi David,

    Thank you for the new entry. I’ve never heard of Jaremaga, and I found it in the “Links” on the top of this page. (I hope this is it!)
    Anyway, here are my answers:

    1. Yes, I do. My sons lay out their “futon”, fill up the bathtub with hot water, set/clean the table every night and take out the rubbish in the morning. I sometimes ask them to do some shopping.

    2. I don’t think situations have changed so much comparing with my own childhood. However, I was more interested in helping things in the kitchen.

    3. I don’t pay for their chores, but I pay them them some spending money so that they can learn about money.

    4. I don’t have to worry about that because they know if they don’t do their chores, they won’t be able to sleep or take a bath!

    5. We started giving them money since they entered elementary school starting from 50yen/week. Now they get 800yen/week!

    As you say, I think Japanese children are really busy. My sons don’t go to cram schools, nor do they watch TV on weekdays, but they still have very little time left. After doing his homestay in Australia, my elder son often says ” I don’t know why they can have ‘morning tea’ every day and so few classes at school. We’re the same high school students! Are we spending time for learning things that we don’t really need to?”

    Regarding the audiobook, I don’t think it’s really necessary. I would love to have an audio version for a novel or essay to learn natural pronunciations or intonations, but for me, this book is something I use to look up for tricky grammars. I would rather like to ‘read’ the explanations than ‘hear’ them.



  8. Biwa on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 11:35 AM

    Sorry, this is a correction:
    “spending time for learning things” should be “spending time ‘on’ learning things”

    Hi Fumie,

    I think it’s just a typo, but just in case…
    chore(with a “ch” sound)「お手伝い・雑用」 and choir(kwai-er)「合唱・聖歌(隊)」



  9. YU on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Here are my answers ;

    1. Do you ask your children to do any chores? If so, what?

    Yes.
    As you know, my son is four.
    He always tries to help me around the house, but what he can do properly is still very limited.
    I ask him to loose the hanging dryer’s clips and take in the washing, fold towels and socks, put them back in the drawers. He likes to press the button to heat a bath because it speaks. I mean, it tells us 「お湯の温度を41度に設定しました」, 「お風呂を沸かします」, 「およそ残り5分でお風呂が沸きます」, etc with its automatic voice. Well, back to the topic, I ask him to drain the tub after we get out of the bath, too.
    He likes to prepare grated daikon(だいこんおろし)with his father, but I don’t think grating daikon is a chore, or is it?!

    2. Do you think the situation in Japan has changed since you were a child?

    As other members say, I don’t think it has changed so much, but as women were encouraged to participate in society, lots of convenient home appliances(like all-in-one washing machine/dryer, dishwasher, robot vacuum-cleaner) appeared, and household chores were drastically simplified. So, children today might not have so much things to help their mothers comparing to the old days.

    3. Do you pay your children for doing chores? How much do you give them?

    No, I don’t. Fortunately, my son still doesn’t have the idea(He gets money for doing chores), but I don’t think I’ll pay him even when he knows it later.

    4. Do you give your children pocket money even if they don’t do chores?
    5. From what age did you start giving them pocket money?

    Not yet, but I think I’ll start giving it sometime when he starts school because I want him to learn aboout money as Biwa mentioned.

    As for the audiobook, I agree with Biwa. Lots of language learnig books are sold with CDs, but I think most of them are focused on “listening” or “conversation”. Your A-Z book is to learn correct grammers or natural phrases, so I don’t really think it is necessary to make an audiobook.



  10. David Barker on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 12:14 PM

    Hi YU,

    >He always tries to help me around the house, but what he can do properly is still very limited.

    This sounds like my mum talking about my dad!



  11. Fumie on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 12:30 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for pointing out my mistake. I didn’t notice those misspelling when I checked my comment.

    I’m taking my day off because I have a terrible backache. I hope it will be better tomorrow.

    Hi David,

    About the idea of audiobook, for me A-Z book is a great grammar book and I often check it. If I didn’t have the book and listened to its audio and got interested in it, I would buy the book. But I’m not sure what would very advanced-level learners do.

    Fumie



  12. Biwa on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    Hi Fumie,

    You’re welcome. It’s a lot easier to find your own mistakes after your comment is published, isn’t it? Actually, I’ve found another mistake in my last comment! (“I pay them them some spending money.” What a stupid mistake.)
    I hope your backache gets better soon.

    Hi David and YU,

    It sounds like me talking about my husband, too. I’ve already gave up expecting “properly” from him though!



  13. YU on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 03:42 PM

    Hi David and Biwa,

    There are a lot of men who do not help their wives at all, so in this sense, both your mother and you(Biwa) are lucky. You might want to say, “But it just produces extra work for me!!”, though… hahaha!!



  14. kattie on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 09:58 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Sorry for my late response to the debate on corporal punishment. I didn’t vote in the poll because I have only just seen it but, if I had, I would have voted for number 1. I don’t think it’s necessary to use violence to instil discipline and, when I was a child, the only times I ever remember seeing a teacher hitting or throwing things at a child was when they had clearly ‘lost it’. These teachers were not respected, liked or even any good at teaching! I think teachers should teach children how to reason and get their point across without resorting to violence and the world would be a better place, if everyone learnt this! There are two expressions which spring to mind when I think of this; ‘Violence breeds violence’ and ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right’

    Hi Fumie
    > Are there Okodukai system in the West?
    A lot of parents in Britain give their children a monthly allowance when they start secondary school at about 11, prior to that they often give a small amount of money every week, this is called pocket money.

    Actually I didn’t really have a set system with Emily and Rosie when they were younger. Emily was very interesting in riding and she had a pony on loan (this means she borrowed a pony from someone)so we had to pay for the pony feed, tack etc which was quite expensive. Rosie was always interested in music so we paid for guitar lessons and bought her music equipment, when we thought she needed it. We are both self employed so we didn’t want any further monthly commitments. However, when Rosie was 16, she moved away from home to go to a special music school in London so, at that stage, we had to give her regular money.

    We never paid them to do chores because, as many of you have already said, I think they should do them because they are part of a family – after all, Tom and I don’t get paid to do our own washing up!



  15. YU on Tuesday January 22nd, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    > A lot of parents in Britain give their children a monthly allowance when they start secondary school at about 11, prior to that they often give a small amount of money every week, this is called pocket money.

    I didn’t know the differences between monthly allowance and pocket money.
    Actually, I was a bit surprised to read the sentence “We started giving them money since they entered elementary school starting from 50yen/week. Now they get 800yen/week!” in Biwa’s comment. I wondered if her sons have never asked her to give them a monthly allowance. When I was in junior highschool, I already got a monthly allowance from my parents.

    By the way, may I ask you a question?
    Is/was it allowed to work part-time in your daughters’ highschools? In my case, it wasn’t allowed, so I got a monthly allowance until I entered university and started working part-time.



  16. kattie on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 01:05 AM

    Hi Yu

    >Is/was it allowed to work part-time in your daughters’ highschools

    Generally children under 14 are not allowed to work but after the age of 14 they can do some jobs, as long as they don’t work too many hours and the work is only light work. A lot of children do baby-sitting, occasional shop work or a paper-round. Emily worked in a bakery and Rosie did a paper-round and they also did the odd waitressing and babysitting jobs.

    Most Schools don’t mind at all if a child does a bit of part-time work, providing s/he doesn’t fall behind in their school work. However, when Rosie went to the special music school we had a letter from the school before she started to say that they strongly advised children not to work in the term-time because the work was very intensive. Because the school was in London, Rosie had to live away from home during the week, so she was often travelling between London and Manchester (about 200 miles) so she didn’t have time to work anyway.

    Now they are both students Emily sometimes does a bit of shop work and Rosie sometimes busks or does a gig (small concert) but they don’t earn much!



  17. Fumie on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 05:46 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for answering my question! So, British children are also given monthly allowance.
    Japanese children are not given such money like pocket money prior to that.

    >Generally children under 14 are not allowed to work but after the age of 14 they can do some jobs, as long as they don’t work too many hours and the work is only light work.

    From the age of 14, that’s early! In Japan, children can work part time from when they get into highschool so from the age of 16. Jobs are waitering, factory work, cashiering etc and they can’t work late hours. At some highschools, students are not allowed to work because they want them to concentrate on study and club activities.

    Fumie



  18. Biwa on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 09:52 AM

    Hi YU,

    As we don’t pay our children to do chores, it was a weekly allowance from the beginning. I think it’s just the difference in “how” we pay their spending money. We just started paying them weekly because we thought it would be a good training for them to record their incomes and expences at shorter intervals. Anyway, now they get 3200yen(about 26to27 euros?) per month. Maybe it’s less than the average, but I don’t think they should get so much money easily.



  19. Biwa on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 10:29 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    It sounds like your daughters are really active girls! Especially, a paper-round (this word was new to me!) must be very hard work, and I don’t know any girls doing that in my neighborhood.
    Also, it’s really nice that pony-riding is a familiar sport in the UK. In Japan, I think very few people ride ponies/horses, so Emily’s story sounded very UK to me.
    I would like my sons to work part-time, but as many people said, they’re not allowed to. Well, as they can work as much as they want after they graduate high school, I don’t worry so much about that and I hope they concentrate on what they can do now.

    By the way, did your Japanese guest like the “beef-bowl”? I tried one of her recipes the other day. It was “Guiness-beer stewed beef”. I think it’s an Irish food, but everyone liked it, and also very easy to cook. I think I’ll add it to my favorites.



  20. YU on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    > Generally children under 14 are not allowed to work but after the age of 14 they can do some jobs, as long as they don’t work too many hours and the work is only light work.

    I see.
    To be honest, I’m not sure if there’s a limit of working hours for Japanese highschool students, but I remember that some of my college friends(mostly male friends) work too many hours to make money for his love of having a good time and finally they ended up repeating the year! They’ve got their priorities backwards!!

    Hi Biwa,

    Thank you for your explanations!

    > We just started paying them weekly because we thought it would be a good training for them to record their incomes and expences at shorter intervals.

    That’s very true, but I’m afraid your idea is suitable for children maybe under the third and fourth grades of elementary school(up to 10), but after that, I think they should gradually start to learn to manage money at longer intervals(on a monthly basis). I mean, they should know what would happen at the end of the month if they spent too much at the beginning of the month or what should they do if they want to buy something expensive. That’s exactly what they need to know when they live alone or get jobs in the future. So I think I would start giving my son a monthly allowance when he becomes a fifth or sixth grader(11 or 12).
    However, this is just my opinion, so please don’t take me wrong. I think every parents has a different way of thinking. What is more, I know your sons are smart enough to do that without such trainings!

    > Maybe it’s less than the average, but I don’t think they should get so much money easily.

    You’re very right!!

    BTW, why did you convert 3200yen into Euro? Perhaps for Kattie?! I’m afraid Euro is not used in Britain because they are not a member of EU.



  21. Biwa on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 02:08 PM

    Hi YU,

    >I’m afraid Euro is not used in Britain because they are not a member of EU.

    Thank you. I know that, but I just couldn’t remember the exchange rate for the pounds. I know a euro is around 120yen, so I thought it might be easier for Kattie to figure out. Now I know that a pound is around 140yen. Well, I should have checked the rate because I had to calculate 3200/120 anyway!

    Also, thanks for your idea about paying children monthly. I think I’ll talk about that with my sons tonight!



  22. amo on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 02:18 PM

    Hi YU

    >BTW, why did you convert 3200yen into Euro? Perhaps for Kattie?! I’m afraid Euro is not used in Britain because they are not a member of EU.

    If I remember correctly, Britain is one of the member of EU, but Euro hasn’t been introduced in the UK, yet.
    Or am I wrong ?

    Get back to work, bye

    amo



  23. YU on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 02:35 PM

    Hi amo and Biwa,

    Thank you for your correction, amo, you are right. And Biwa, sorry for my wrong information!
    BTW, is that true that most British people think the UK should leave EU and the goverment is planning to withdraw from EU? Or is it just a rumor??



  24. Biwa on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 03:34 PM

    Hi YU and amo,

    Thanks! And yes, I also heard that the UK is going to have a national referendum (国民投票)to decide whether they should stay in the EU or not.
    By the way, should ユーロ begin with a capital letter? “Euro” or “euro”, which is correct?



  25. YU on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 05:11 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    I’m not sure, but I think “euro” is correct just like “dollar”. Sorry, I’ve written “Euro” carelessly, just because it is written so in German language. I mean, ユーロ should begin with a capital letter in German language.

    > And yes, I also heard that the UK is going to have a national referendum (国民投票)to decide whether they should stay in the EU or not.

    I didn’t know that.
    The UK is such a major power in Europe, but I have a feeling that they don’t really play a big role in the EU(Sorry, if they do!) or stand out compared to France or Germany. Is it just my imagination?! Anyway, maybe that is why I felt sure that the UK was not a member of the EU!



  26. Mika on Wednesday January 23rd, 2013 at 09:37 PM

    Hi everyone,

    Good evening.

    I heard this story.
    Although UK is a member of EU, but doesn’t use euro, because UK has much pride.
    Since there was a time when pound was used as settlement-of-accounts currency in the world before dollar gained power, UK doesn’t want to accept pound is at the same level as euro.



  27. Biwa on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 09:30 AM

    Hi YU,

    Oh, please don’t apologize, and thank you for thinking about it. I’m still not sure, but skimming through some of the articles in Japantoday and the Times, they seem to use “euro” instead of “Euro”. However, when you want to say things like “Euro bank””Euro currency””Euro zone”, they use a capital “E”. Maybe, it’s not such a big problem! lol!

    >The UK is such a major power in Europe, but I have a feeling that they don’t really play a big role in the EU(Sorry, if they do!) or stand out compared to France or Germany.

    I’m not sure about that, but I guess the public opinion that they should withdraw from the EU has lots to do with the Euro-crisis. I think it’s not that easy to decide because they must be receiving lots of economical benefits, too!



  28. YU on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 10:57 AM

    Hi Biwa,

    > but I guess the public opinion that they should withdraw from the EU has lots to do with the Euro-crisis.

    I agree.
    I heard that UK PM Cameron announced the yesterday that the UK is going to have a national referendum by the year “2017”, but it seems that Germany and France have already warned them of their selfish behavior.

    http://www.novinite.com/view_news.php?id=147157

    Anyway, for me, it sounds like Germany and France are taking the leadership in the EU, not the UK. Whenever I heard the news about Euro-crisis last year, I felt that “Germany and France” appeared in the news much more often than the UK.

    By the way, did you talk about “monthly allowance” with your sons last night? I wonder how they reacted…

    Hi David,

    This has nothing to do with the topic, but I heard that the government is going to annouce the outline of housing loan rebate after 2014 today. Apparently, the amount would be up to 400万円 in 10 years(40万円/year).
    Opinions are divided whether you should buy a house before the tax increase even among the housing specialists, but the government seems to have succeeded in fulfilling their original purpose. I mean, it was to aovid last minute demand and fall in demand after the tax hike. So the profit and loss should be subtle.



  29. Anne on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 06:29 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    I guess some of you were wondering why Anne didn’t leave comments recently. Actually, I’ve been hospitalized since Jan.10 for two weeks. I left hospital and came home yesterday. My disease was (Miller) Fisher Syndrome; it’s an immune deficiency disease and seems to be the rare one. It was an emergency hospitalization. After 5 days intense treatments(drops) and rehabilitation, I let the hospital, however, I still have a difficulty with my eyes; my right eye doesn’t work well, so I have an eye-patch. Left eye hasn’t recovered perfectly, so when I see things besides me, I need to turn my face to that direction, so I twist my waist. Doesn’t it look like a good exercise!? I hope it works well to get a smaller waist,haha! Everything including a variety of examinations was new to me; one of the examinations was the electric exam and it reminded me of frog experiments. I got it around 200 times on one exam and had twice!
    Anyway, it’ll take some more weeks( months?) to recover.

    Hi kattie,
    Sorry for the late reply about you questions.
    I don’t think there are many vegetarians in Japan as David mentioned. It’s quite difficult to be the one because even soy sauce based soup for noodles, fish are often used.
    I’m also choosy when I buy foods including vegetables. A lot of ( or most of?) the supermarkets have become to show where they are produced and people seem to become fond of products from neighboring areas. In Japan, we often have recently heard a word called “locally produced and consumed”(地産地消).

    >I had heard that Japanese people often don’t eat dairy products but all our guests have, so I wondered whether this is a recent change
    –Some of the Japanese don’t, but I don’t think it’s a recent change. In Japan, we have lots of nutritious ,fermented foods like “natto” or “miso.” They are very healthy, so people eat those products instead of dairy products. By the way, the word “dairy” is new to me.
    I hope you are having fun to cook Japanese dishes and have a great time with Japanese guest(s).

    Anne



  30. amo on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 06:43 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    As you know, I don’t have any children so I will answer the question from my own experience.

    1. I did many chores: did the dishes, polished the shoes, swept the front porch, washed the car, helped grocery shopping, cooking and laundry. I did those things until I entered junior high school, because I joined a club and when I was a high school student, I had a part time job so I didn’t have much to help.
    2. I don’t know much about the current situation but maybe children don’t do much chores when I compare to my time.
    3. I’ve never been paid.
    4. I’ve never been get any pocket money from my parents. I just saved my “Otoshidama” and used for the things I wanted.
    5. I don’t know. maybe around 10.

    Hi kattie,

    Both of your daughters are so talented!! I admire people who can play instruments. Two of my nieces take lessons(one is violin and other is trumpet.)
    Speaking of a paper-round, I remember some of students did that when I was in junior high school. now I remember my younger sister did that too. I thought it was a tough job.

    Hi everyone,

    I finally took some comp time today. I supposed to take it easy and lay back but I have to finish some paper works until tomorrow. Anyway, I went to get a massage and it really did the trick. Now I am ready to face the paper work again!!

    correction:
    >Britain is one of the member of EU…
    Britain is one of the members of the EU…
    I am tend to forget put “-s” when I am in a hurry 🙁

    By the way, David, I have a question.
    >please just answer the question from your own experience.
    In this sentence you didn’t put “s” after “question,” but you asked us more than one question. even in the case, you don’t need to change the noun to plural?

    amo



  31. YU on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 07:56 PM

    Hi Anne,

    I’ve been wondering where you’ve been!!
    Your blog haven’t been updated since the end of the last year, either!
    I was hoping that you were well, but you were just busy.

    > My disease was (Miller) Fisher Syndrome; it’s an immune deficiency disease and seems to be the rare one. It was an emergency hospitalization.

    That’s too bad! I’ve never heard of the disease. Don’t you need to take a good rest? Isn’t it bad for your eyes to use a computer?
    Anyway, I hope you’re feeling better soon!



  32. kattie on Thursday January 24th, 2013 at 09:17 PM

    Hi Anne,

    I’m really sorry to hear you’ve been ill and I hope you are feeling better now, it sounds like you haven’t had a good start to 2013.

    Hi David and everyone,

    I hope you don’t mind me veering off the topic but I was just going to say something about Europe.

    Europe: It’s complicated!

    I was interested to hear your thoughts on Europe and the UK’s role within Europe. David Cameron (Our current Prime Minister) has said that we will have an EU Referendum in 2017, if his party win the next General Election. Cameron’s party are called the Conservative party and they are a right wing party, some people who used to vote for his party have started voting for another party called UKIP (UK Independence Party). UKIP, as their name suggests, are a right wing party and want the UK to leave Europe. They only secured 3% of the vote at the last election (but if an election is close then 3% can be significant) and a lot of people, especially right wingers in the conservative party, have sympathy with their cause.

    The Conservative party did not win the last General Election outright and so they had to form a coalition government. Coalition governments are rare in the UK because of our ‘First past the post’ voting system. Cameron is not doing particularly well in the polls and he is also not popular with some people within his own party so the next election is likely to be very close again. Many believe this is the reason behind his call for an EU referendum; he is hoping this promise of a referendum will be popular with some conservatives.

    Generally I think that people do see a lot of benefits of being in Europe but the thing that annoys people more than anything is the increase in bureaucracy which is often blamed on Europe.

    As far as the euro is concerned, many politicians(mainly on the left) were working towards the UK joining it but they wanted to do this when ‘The time was right’, they were talking from an economic point of view. When the euro crisis started this discussion was put on hold because it was obviously not the right time and the euro crisis has revealed some major problems of joining a single currency. It is true that some people have a sentimental attachment to the pound because it’s part of our history but I don’t think this is a huge thing and this feeling is perhaps no more than, for example, the French having an attachment to the franc (their old currency)

    One of the main reasons why the UK don’t seem to take such an active role in the euro crisis talks is because we are not actually in the euro.

    By the way Biwa, thank you for converting yen into euro, euros are very easy for me!

    Kattie



  33. YU on Friday January 25th, 2013 at 02:14 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your explanations.
    Now I know the reasons why PM Cameron announced an EU Referendum.

    > UKIP, as their name suggests, are a right wing party and want the UK to leave Europe.

    May I ask you a question?
    What does “to leave Europe” actually mean?
    It means the UK is going to be independent from Europe(=to become the outside Europe)? I wonder this is possible, though.
    Or you just mean the UK is leaving the European Union(EU)?

    > One of the main reasons why the UK don’t seem to take such an active role in the euro crisis talks is because we are not actually in the euro.

    Does this mean the UK didn’t really have an influential voice in the euro crisis talks because they were(are) not in the euro?



  34. Biwa on Friday January 25th, 2013 at 08:24 AM

    Hi Anne,

    Although it must have been (and still must be) a very hard time for you and your family, thank you for telling us about your disease. Please take good care and I really hope you get well soon.

    Hi YU,

    We decided to start paying them monthly! The way of payment didn’t seem to have so much difference to them, because they said they often save their money for weeks to buy clothes and other things to wear. They’re fashionable teenagers, you know! lol! Well, we’ll see what’s going to happen.

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your comment. It sounds like the same thing happens in many countries(including Japan!) when the economy starts turning bad. I mean, the right wingers start to gain power, and the people tend to close up their countries because they don’t want to take the risk.

    I’ll check out the newspaper later to get what your saying about “increase in beaurocracy”. It’s very nice to hear these things from you because it makes me more interested in the UK and other European countries.



  35. David Barker on Friday January 25th, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Hi Anne,

    Sorry to hear that you have been under the weather, but I’m glad that you are on the mend. I hope you will be back to full power in the near future!

    Hi YU,

    Thanks for the info. I talked to a guy from the JA bank about this the other day, and he said it is possible to get the low tax rate if I sign a contract before September 30th this year. He also said that I could qualify for the new tax rebate system if I actually move into the house next year. In other words, the timing is perfect for getting the best of both worlds. Is that right?



  36. Biwa on Friday January 25th, 2013 at 02:10 PM

    Hi David,

    Sorry, this has nothing to do with the topic, but I was looking at your A-Zbook last night(not reading, actually!), and noticed that you have written quite a long preface. I mean, I knew that there was a preface, but I have never read it!
    Stupid me! I was missing the most essential and fun part of your book. I laughed when I read the “otsukaresama-deshita” story. Also, I couldn’t find out what was wrong for some of the questions in “It’s not grammatically wrong, but…”. Sigh…I don’t think I will ever be able to speak natural English!



  37. Biwa on Friday January 25th, 2013 at 02:38 PM

    Hi David,

    I just came up with the idea that it might be interesting for learners if you make an audiobook for your message(preface) “to the students”. I think the part which is written in thick-letters is the most essential thing you want to say, and the stories are very interesting. Actually, I got more interested in this book after I read this part! This kind of audiobook would sound attractive to me.



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