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Thanks for all your comments. The discussion ended up with a slightly different focus than the one we started with, and that is a very good thing! One reason why I think this musician’s fight was so successful that the song is really, really good. I love his voice, and I’m going to hunt around on YouTube to see if I can find some of his serious stuff.

As for the discussion of the PTA, I realise that PTAs do good things, but it just seems strange to people from other countries that Japan needs to have a committee and meetings to do even the simplest things. I wasn’t saying that I would refuse to take part in a PTA, just that if I had the choice between leaving a small child alone at home and attending a meeting, it wouldn’t be very difficult for me to choose. Actually, Japanese-syle meetings could be a whole topic on their own, so let’s leave that discussion for another day.

In the meantime, here is some feedback on your comments.

About 20 years ago I’ve once flown with United Airlines.
We don’t usually use the present perfect to talk about specific times in the past, so “I flew” would be more natural here. (A-Z: present perfect tense)

Do you think “KIND” Ms. Irlweg still works for United??
If she does, I guess she is probably cleaning the toilets now!

Very sarcastic lyrics !!
Indeed. It is very important to understand sarcasm if you want to communicate in English. I think we did this before, but it was a long time ago, so I might do it again.

The action needs tons of energies to keeping stand up against the incorrectness, unfair, disadvantage to be won and quite likely it’s normaly take time.
How about “It takes a lot of time and energy to keep fighting against injustice and poor service.”

I really shocked and gradually more get angry when I think about it afterward.
I was really shocked, and I got even more angry when I thought about it afterwards.

Some of my Hong Kong Chinese friends suggested me on this story that I could escalate the problem to the headquarter of the shop with providing the name of the staff.
… suggested that I take my complaint to the headquarters of the shop and give them the name of the assistant.

I don’t think I will never ever fly with them.
“I will never, ever fly with them” or “I don’t think I will ever fly with them.” You could also say, “There is no way I would ever fly with them.”

In Germany it is very common to give someone a book for Christmas gifts.
“It is very common to give someone a book for Christmas” or “… to give someone a book as a Christmas gift.” (A-Z: present)

The manager apologized to me and explained that they hired the staff as a temporary part-timer only for Christmas season,
… that they hired the woman as a … (A-Z: staff)

it’s so tiny one compared with the mucisian’s though..
It’s such a tiny one compared with the musician’s, though… (A-Z: so / such a)

He was stunned and stopped complaining.
Good for you!

I thought Airline company is kind of service industry,but it’s getting to be changed…
… but it’s changing.

If I were in your situation, I won’t hesitate making a phone call, either.
If I were in your situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a phone call, either.

In the book, she talks how she was interrogated.
I heard this story. I can’t believe the people who falsified the evidence were not sent to jail.

I guess he’ll be a head of a small branch forever!
Maybe he can join United and help Ms. Irlweg clean the toilets!

Japanese people do make a claim when our possessions are damaged or when we buy bad products.
Yes, but I think Japanese people are much more likely to give up when they are told 申し訳ありませんが、これ以上何もできません.

My mother had been worked at a laundry.
My mother used to work at a laundromat. (A-Z: used to)

I think the spirit of Gaman is situations that for example when your boss ask you to do unfair things: like treating women employee as a servant and ask her to serve tea. That is often happened in Japanese companies a couple of decades ago. I used to work in such a company. Although I was reluctant to do such a request, I smiled and served tea to keep harmony.
I knew a woman who was told by her boss that being touched by male colleagues at “nomikai” was just part of the job, and that she had to “gaman suru.”

I was surprised to hear that almost everyone in Britain would have done the same. Don’t they care for others??
I think the difference is that British people feel they are 働いてあげている rather than 働かしてもらっている. Does that make sense? I don’t feel that way, of course!

I thought I didn’t want to use my energy for useless matters.
I didn’t want to waste my energy. (A-Z: think)

To tell the truth, I didn’t understand what he was telling me, I thought he was speaking in another language but English.
Don’t worry about it; I often have the same experience when I go to London!

Since Monday, I couldn’t take a lunch break.
I haven’t been able to take a lunch break since Monday. (Poor you!)

I can’t believe Japanese police are still conducting such an awful interrogation to the accused without evidence.
It’s because Japanese people and the media don’t complain about this kind of thing enough, isn’t it?

I remembered a video I saw on TV news some months ago that made me amazed.
… that amazed me.(A-Z: make / let)

If I were in other members’ situation, I didn’t do anything in most case.
If I had been in the other commenters’ shoes, I don’t think I would have done anything.

Those who complain about everything just to get rid of stress are out of question.
You can’t really use “out of the question” here. Maybe just “It is completely wrong to complain about everything just to alleviate your own stress.”)

Do you call those people “a coward”?
Would you call those people cowards?

That’s all for today. Let me know if you have any questions or if you think that I missed something. Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday.

14 Comments

  1. YU on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 02:32 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback !

    I think Ms.Irlweg and rinko’s former boss could be good friends.

    > I think the difference is that British people feel they are 働いてあげている rather than 働かしてもらっている. Does that make sense? I don’t feel that way, of course!

    なるほど~、that makes sense.
    I still wonder where does confidence come from, though.
    Add British people and Japanese people together and divide by two,and they would be just right.(足して2で割るとちょうどいいかも)

    Reading your feedback, I realized that I make many mistakes, big and small. And I decided to buy your A-Z book this time. Are you surprised to hear that I don’t have it yet?
    Anyway, someone(I think it was Fumie) asked once about the differences between “English version” and “Japanese version” and Tomo answered it, but I can’t remember what they were any more.
    I think Japanese version is easier to understand because I’m good at Japanese language. 🙂
    Which do you recommend if I buy first?

    Have a great weekend, all !

    See you !



  2. David Barker on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 02:42 PM

    Hi YU,

    The books are exactly the same, but the Japanese version is written in Japanese, and the English version is written in English. If it were me, I would buy the one written in my own language.

    >Add British people and Japanese people together and divide by two,and they would be just right.(足して2で割るとちょうどいいかも)

    That is true of a great many things!!



  3. YU on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 03:50 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your advice.
    Then I’ll buy the Japanese version.

    See you !



  4. Anne on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 04:13 PM

    Hi David,
    Thank you for your feedback.

    >If I were in your situation, I won’t hesitate making a phone call, either.
    If I were in your situation, I wouldn’t hesitate to make a phone call, either.
    —Oh, I should have used “hesitate to..” not “hesitate …ing.” I see. I didn’t notice this mistake when I wrote this.

    It started raining here, in Nagoya.
    Have a lovely weekend,everyone.

    Anne



  5. Tomo on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 09:44 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback.

    >it just seems strange to people from other countries that Japan needs to have a committee and meetings to do even the simplest things.

    Actually, I was not sure if the word “committee” fits groups at school. We call teams that have some specific roles “委員会”(students also have their 委員会s), but the English word sounds more formal(official?) than the Japanese one to me.

    >Indeed. It is very important to understand sarcasm if you want to communicate in English. I think we did this before, but it was a long time ago, so I might do it again.

    It’s not easy for me to understand sarcasm, but it’s very interesting.

    >I think the difference is that British people feel they are 働いてあげている rather than 働かしてもらっている. Does that make sense? I don’t feel that way, of course!

    I see, and I agree with YU’s idea! There seems to be a lot of things we can learn each other.

    Hi YU,
    >BTW, I heard from mama tomo that some fathers do PTA jobs such as “evening patrol”, so in my area PTA jobs are related to fathers too.

    I see some fathers at my children’s schools too. PTAs are used to be like “MTA”(Mothers and Teachers Association), but they are changing little by little.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!

    Tomo



  6. rinko on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 10:48 PM

    Hi David.
    Thank you for your feedback!

    >The discussion ended up with a slightly different focus than the one we started with, and that is a very good thing!

    I always can learn various things from you and all other members who can make a range of topic extend.
    That’s really good for me!

    Hi YU

    >I think Ms.Irlweg and rinko’s former boss could be good friends.

    I agree with you!

    Have a nice weekend everyone!

    rinko



  7. Fumie on Friday June 8th, 2012 at 11:16 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for youe feedback.

    >×My mother had been worked at a laundry.
    → My mother used to work at a laundromat.

    I think this is the second time you corrected this mistake. When I wrote this sentence, I was not sure whether I use “used to” or “past perfect tense”. And I chose latter one because that was my mother’s past experience. I checked A-Z again. 過去完了は過去の出来事を2つ話す時にしか使わない。母が働いていたのは、1つの過去のできごとで、繰り返された動作だからused toを使うんですね。

    >I knew a woman who was told by her boss that being touched by male colleagues at “nomikai” was just part of the job, and that she had to “gamansuru.”

    That’s disgusting! What kind of boss would say such a thing.

    I can’t believe Japanese police are still conducting such an awful interrogation to the accused without evidence.
    >It’s because Japanese people and the media don’t complain about this kind of thing enough, isn’t it?

    I think people and the media in other countries won’t tolerate these wrongdoings. We should not give up our belief( あきらめない) like Ms.Muraki didn’t give up.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Fumie



  8. Mika on Saturday June 9th, 2012 at 09:01 AM

    Hi David,

    How are you?

    I’m Mika. Last year I entered my comment but only one time. By the way, I just finished to read your newest blog and suddnly remember my experiences about 15 years ago. The stories are a little longer, but may I write one of them here?

    “Non Smoking Seat”
    One day in August, 1997, I came back to Osaka from Frankfurt on Lufthansa Airlines. I smelt something bad as soon as I sat down in my seat on the airplane at Frankfurt Airport. I thought that it was caused by my slight cold because I was sitting in the nonsmoking area.
    During the movies, I had a sore throat and started to feel nauseous, too. I had to cover my nose with a handkerchief because something stank. After the movies finished, almost all of the passengers fell asleep and at the same the smell went away too.
    How stupid I was! After the breakfast, I noticed my seat was just three rows in front of the smoking section. After the airplane arrived at Kansai International Airport, although I followed the passengers in front of me slowly, when I went to the front row of the business class; I sat down on a seat to my left quickly and waited for the other passengers to exit.
    A Japanese flight attendant spoke to me; she was wondering why I didn’t seem to want to leave the airplane. She asked me, “Are you ok?” I asked to speak with her supervisor. She returned with the senior flight attendant who was an older German man and I proceeded to complain about the smoke. The Japanese flight attendant kindly interpreted for us.
    He apologized, “I’m very sorry but there were special conditioners in the smoking section.” His excuse made me angrier. I sternly replied, “Even if you have air conditioners, the smell will spread throughout the airplane and be smelt by the passengers and crew. Do you know that air is stirred by people’s walking?” He replied, “If you are feeling ill, please tell a member of our crews anytime.” I could hardly believe his answer because that’s not what’s I asked.
    I asked the senior flight attendant again, “What you mean is if someone complained about his or her seat, the person could get a different seat, isn’t it? Your idea is really unfair. In my opinion, you have to discontinue the smoking section.”
    I still had a sore throat so; I asked the Japanese flight attendant, “May I have some candies for my sore throat?” She replied, “I’m sorry but we don’t have any candy as it’s already been offloaded.” She seemed really sorry.

    Although I went back home from Kansai International Airport about two hours later, my throat was still sore. Also I was still angry at the smoking seats and yearned for every tobacco product to vanish from all over the world.
    A couple of days later, I got a few phone calls from Lufthansa Airlines. I demanded a report from them on how their airline’s smoking policy could be changed.
    At the end of that year, 1997, I received a report and a special German cake for Christmas from Lufthansa Airlines. The report said that Lufthansa Airlines promised me that they would consider many pleasant situations for every passenger to have a wonderful flight and would try to do their best. Also the airline said that unfortunately they still have a problem with their smoking seats but they would solve the problem as soon as possible.
    The cake was too sweet for me because it had a lot of powdered sugar on top of it. Still I ate the cake by removing the powder sugar and appreciated them sending it to me.
    It was one year and seven months later from that day, in March of 1999, when I went to Europe with Lufthansa Airlines again and there weren’t any smoking seats anymore. What a great negotiator I was! I helped all second-hand smokers’ health. I guess I did a great job!

    Thank you very much for reading.

    Have a nice weekend.
    Mika



  9. YU on Saturday June 9th, 2012 at 10:22 AM

    Hi Mika,

    Thank you for sharing us your story.
    I don’t smoke, and I can imagine how uncomfortable you felt during the flight.

    I found an interseting description in Wikipedia:

    “Smintair, or Smokers’ International Airways, was a proposed luxury passenger airline that was scheduled to begin flying between Düsseldorf and Tokyo in march 2007. [1] Smintair was founded by German financier Alexander Schoppmann, a heavy smoker who, according to the International Herald Tribune, obtained approximately 300 million euro from private investors in Europe and the Middle East. Smintair flights would have had business and first class seats.

    The airline would have been marketed for business travelers, who would be permitted to smoke cigarettes or cigars during the flight.

    Two similar attempts in the United States to launch smoking-friendly airlines failed. The Great American Smokers’ Club, a members-only charter airline, intended to fly between Dallas and Houston. It signed up more than 6,000 members but was refused a license from the Federal Aviation Administration. Florida-based Smokers Express failed to obtain enough money to become viable.”(Wikipedia)

    Their idea of “smokers-friendly” completely goes against the trend of the times, but it is an amusing attempt by smokers, they finally failed, though. And somehow their “desparate resistance” makes me feel like smiling….

    Today more and more public places separate areas for smokers and non-smokers, and smokers are forced to feel small. Restaurants in my area(Kanagawa) have to provide a smoking section and a non-smoking section, and children!? under 20 cannot enter the smoking section, even if their parents smoke. It was regulated by law last year.

    See you !



  10. Mika on Saturday June 9th, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    Hi David!

    Thank you for your nice feedback so quickly.
    One of my friends has been stopping smoking since he heard my story.
    Everyone knows that smoking does any people absolutely no good, but still today a lot of people can’t stop… Why?

    By the way, Last month I suggested to read your blog to one of my friends who has been studying English since 2005 at an English conversation school. Her comments are that your blog is easy to read and can learn many many things. So, she enjoys reading.

    THank you again.

    Mika



  11. YU on Saturday June 9th, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    Hi Mika,

    I’m sorry to say this, but I(“YU”) commented on your comment, not David.

    BTW, nice to talk to you.
    I should have written this first.

    Bye for now !



  12. Fumie on Sunday June 10th, 2012 at 05:53 AM

    Hi Mika,

    Thank you for sharing your great story.
    > What a great negotiator I was! I helped all second-hand smokers’ health. I guess I did a great job!

    Yes, what you did was amazing! It’s a good example of one’s act could change big companies’ policies.

    Fumie



  13. amo on Sunday June 10th, 2012 at 09:15 AM

    Hi David,

    Thanks for your feedback:)
    Wish I would have commented on the topic.

    Hi Fumie,

    I am thinking of taking my vacations twice, one in the end of summer and other in the autumn. But it’s my wishful thinking though:(

    Hi Mika,

    Nice to have you with us again. Hope you will join us from now on.

    Hi everyone,

    How’s your weekend?
    Am on my way to work.
    Have a nice day;)
    amo



  14. trmr on Sunday June 10th, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    Hi David
    Thank you for your feedback.

    > Actually, I think that is a type of bullying that is commonly used in Japan.
    –Yes, you are right. I hate that (kind of 同調圧力). I didn’t get a point of argument, sorry!
    By the way, responding like “Not my problem” is not good. Should be “I have more important problem”. I think that’s constructive way.

    Hi YU
    Ha ha, I do same thing in a restaurant. But in restaurant case, I have other reasons not to complain. First, I don’t want to wait anymore. Second, if I ask waiter/waitress to make correct meal, a wrong one will be disposed. It’s so “mottainai”!!!

    Hi amo
    Way to work! It’s tough :-(. Good luck.

    trmr



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