25 de maio de 2024

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What a cultural shock!

Click on the link below to listen to the dialogue “What a cultural schock!” and then do the activity that follows.


Dialogue comprehension

  1. Japan is a very easy culture to understand.   True __ False __
  2. You don’t have to take off your shoes when entering a house in Japan.   True __ False __
  3. Bowing is more common than shaking hands.   True __ False __
  4. Rodney made three mistakes.   True __ False __
  5. You should always be quiet when eating.   True __ False __

Find words in the dialogue that mean the same as:
a- Angry: _____________
b- Force someone to leave; expel someone: _______________
c- Surprised: ______________
d- Foolish or embarrassing mistake; blunder: _____________
e- Tear into pieces: __________________
f- Something that serves as a protection; a defense: _______
g- Bend your body as a greeting: _____________________
h- Get used to: _______________________
i- Eat or drink with a loud sucking sound: __________________
j- Bottoms of a shoe: ______________________
k- Disgusting; rude; offensive; unpleasant: __________________
l- Social blunder; mistake: ________________________
m- Smell badly: ______________________

Choose the alternative that best explains the meaning of the words in bold in the sentences below: 

  1. “Can you please try not to slurp your soup? There are people watching you”, said Gary to a friend in the restaurant.

a- eat or drink with a loud sucking sound
b- spit on
c- stir up
d- gobble down

  1. “I think I could never grow accustomed to living in a small city”, said Don to his friends.

a- get usual to
b- used to
c- get usually to
d- get used to

  1. “I wish Jennifer would stop bossing people around. It’s a pretty gross attitude”, said Nancy to her friends.

a- kind
b- weird
c- awkward
d- rude

  1. “Those socks of yours smell badly. Can you please take them away from here?”, Terry asked his roommate.

a- stray
b- stain
c- stink
d- stench

  1. “I’ve never seen Derek so angry like this before. What’s the matter with him?”, Steve asked his friends.

a- pissed off
b- teased off
c- freaked off
d- sneezed off

  1. “Make sure you shred that document after reading it”, said Nick to a co-worker.

a- file carefully
b- tear into pieces
c- check the source
d- throw away

  1. “Troublemakers or any other inconvenient drunk people are forced to leave by the nightclub bouncer”, explained the manager.

a- invited out
b- sent out
c- thrown out
d- asked out

  1. “I can´t believe Hank made that stupid comment. That was a real goof!”, said Pete to his friend.

a- funny or unexpected comment
b- foolish or embarrassing mistake
c- weird comment
d- awkward and unpredictable mistake

Dialogue Script –What a cultural shock!

Kevin: I heard that you spent a couple of years in Japan on an educational program. So, what was it like?
Rodney: It’s pretty difficult to tell you what it was like in 20 words or less. It is a very complex culture and there was never a boring day.
Kevin: It seems like such a mysterious place and complicated to function in from day to day. Somebody told me that you have to bow instead of shaking hands.
Rodney: Normally you do. Now they have grown accustomed to the western culture, so they shake hands a little more these days. But when you meet someone who is your superior or if you are in a more formal situation, then yes, you need to bow.
Kevin: I also heard that they make a lot of slurping noises when they eat. Please don’t tell me that’s true!
Rodney: Yes it is, sorry to say. It’s only when they eat noodles like Ramen. If you can believe it or not, it is not considered rude to slurp a big mouthful of noodles at your table. I tried my best to get the noodles into my mouth with as much silence as possible.
Kevin: That’s pretty gross. Did you ever commit a cross-cultural faux pas?
Rodney: Oh yeah, a couple of times. The first mistake I made was entering my friend’s house with my shoes on.
Kevin: You mean you always have to take your shoes off when you go into someone’s house?
Rodney:  Absolutely. Even if your feet stink, you gotta take those shoes off. See, they have this floor that is made from rice or something like that called tatami. So you can imagine if you walk over these sensitive floors with shoes that have hard soles, you can do some serious damage.
Kevin: So was your friend pissed off at you or did he throw you out of his place?
Rodney: No of course not. The Japanese do not like confrontations so he was almost apologetic when he approached me and asked if I could remove my shoes. I was actually quite struck by the humility. Someone like my brother would just yell “Take your stinking shoes off!!”.
Kevin: So what about the other situation?
Rodney: The second goof I made was when I received a present for my birthday from my superior. I thanked him and quickly tore into the package, shredding all the paper and ribbon in my attempt to show my enthusiasm for my new present. I looked up at him and he had this look of shock and amusement. What I found out later was that in Japan, you never open a present in front of the giver.
Kevin: Why is that?
Rodney: It is like a safeguard to prevent any embarrassment of opening a gift that you might not like. What is more important is the act of giving the gift, not the gift itself.

Referência: “Fale Inglês como um Americano” – José Roberto A. Igreja e Robert C. Young  –  Disal Editora.

José Roberto A. Igreja is the author and co-author of several ELT books, including:

LET´S TALK ABOUT IT! – The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book 

Available on Amazon (e-book) and UICLAP (print book)


Let's Talk About It!: The Ultimate ELT Conversation Book (English Edition) por [Jose Roberto A. Igreja]

600 Phrasal Verbs (with Jonathan T. Hogan)

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Quer ter aulas de conversação em inglês online ao vivo? Clique aqui!