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Appropriate discussion topics in japan

 
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Dean T



Joined: 13 Feb 2003
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:32 pm    Post subject: Appropriate discussion topics in japan Reply with quote

another question.......what discussion topics are relevant for adult japanese society when taking a adult conversation class ? is their topics others discuss that seem to work, and is there topics you feel i should never discuss with adult japanese ....please respond
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lajzar



Joined: 09 Feb 2003
Posts: 647
Location: Saitama-ken, Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It really depends on the person. Depending on who you talk to, you can find a receptive audience for almost any point of view.

With large groups, I'd personally avoid any sexual topic, drugs, and Japan's involvement in ww2. Japanese domestic politics is also off-limits for me, but that's more because I find it excruciatingly boring than because it is taboo.

On the tpic of drugs at least, my students are disastrously misinformed. One of them sincerely believes they cause disease, cancer, and rheumatism. I'm not sure how to break through that without looking like a drugs advocate.
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David W



Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Posts: 457
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I might disagree with Lajzar a little here. I think WW2 can be discussed with adult Japanese students but you must tread very carefully. Try to get away from saying things like "well I think....." and use "well a lot of people in America/Australia/England think...." when discussing these topics. Other than that go with the flow of the class, very little is really taboo and Japanese people can often be quite forthright in their opinions if you give them a chance to talk. Like the citizens of most countries the Japanese are very interested in what foreigners think of them, but make sure you hand out any criticism with a smile and velvet gloves.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Feb 13, 2003 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bear in mind the makeup of your class. A mixture of old and young people will find it hard to discuss certain topics because of the age differences and the respect one group may hold for the other (and therefore hold back on making opinions).

Also, if the group has just formed, you aren't going to get a lot of in-depth personal opinions from most of them because they don't know each other very well. Ease into those touchy subjects.

You will have to prod people for their opinions, but do that carefully. If someone makes a statement that you see a second person disagree with (but remain silent), don't assume that you can pry that second person's opinion out of him easily. I've had numerous excellent discussion groups, but they become that way only after being together for some time. The best times I've had are when someone says "We Japanese...." and someone else in the group contradicts that line of thought with valid exceptions.

Your best role will be moderator. David W makes an excellent point; you should make it clear that not ALL Americans think a certain way, or do things the same, for example. Japanese tend to have the group mentality and assume it applies to other countries a lot.
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