Episode One of “Small Talk”

This is my first English blog about episode one of the podcasts from the “Small Talk in Japanese” series hosted by two young Japanese girls. I document in English what the two hosts are talking about in the episode. This is to help podcast listeners to learn what these girls are discussing in Japanese.

Episode one is about 14 minutes long where the two hosts of the show introduce themselves. You may find the episode here: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/anchor-podcasts/small-talk-in-japanese/e/58157172

Episode 1. はじめまして!〜成人式(せいじんしき)って何?〜 What is…

First of all, the two hosts greet listeners by saying that this podcast is for people who are learning Japanese. They are very excited that they have started the podcast (ポットキャスト).  

They begin the episode talking about 中毒(ちゅうどく) which means “addictions”. An addiction example they share is a coffee addiction. In Chinese, these characters mean “being poisoned” however, apparently, the word “ちゅうどく” is often used to describe additions. One of the girls said she is has a YouTube addiction, while the other female host says she has a cookie addiction. The one with a cookie addiction, she said “袋を開けたら、半分は食べちゃって” meaning that if she opens a bag of cookies, about half of the packet will be eaten. She has probably had about 20 pieces of cookies so far for the day. It is mentioned that the word “ちゅうどく” is a good word to use and listeners should use it.

Self-introduction was given next. The first female host’s name is Mizuho and she is a third-year student; 21 years of age. She identifies as a PodCast addict(ポットキャストちゅうどくですが…). The other host’s name of the podcast is Kayoko. She was a second-year student a the time of recording this episode. They both live in London. They both have been living in London as an exchange student for a year. One asks the other “How is London life?” One answers saying it is a lot of fun(とても、楽しんでます). Mizuho mentions the cookies in London are very yummy and that Kayoko likes musical. Kayoko say because she is living in London, she would often go and it is cheap. Kayoko likes a musical called “Opera za no kaijin” which is the Phantom of the Opera. She really likes it. She has seen it many times. Last month, she had seen it three times.. or maybe even to the point where she watches that musical three times a month. Mizuho next shares her addictions which include her being a YouTube addict, a cookie addict and a musical addict. She calls this “三つのちゅうどくですね”。

The podcast conversation changes here where they talk about travelling. Kayoko comments by saying that isn’t Mizuho a frequent traveller herself (旅行がけっこう行けるじゃないですか). Mizuho agrees that she is. Kayoko continues to say that from London, people can immediately go to other places in Europe. Mizuho talks about when travelling from Japan, places such as Korean, Taiwan and China are very close. In terms of Europe, it is very far from Japan. Having said this, she suggests to her podcast host to do lots of travelling while being over there -> “この一年間、たくさん旅行しようと思ってます!”

At this point, the podcast discussion changes again. Mizuho says to Kayoko “ところで、かよこちゃん、せいじんおめでとうございます” which means “By the way, congratulations on your Coming of Age!” Kayoko thanks Mizuho for the congratulations. Mizuho continues the discussion saying that January 14th is the date where Japanese people celebrate the “Coming of Age”. It is a national holiday (祝日です) in Japan. They explain the purpose of 成人式 (Coming of Age ceremony) is to celebrate when a person comes of age or enter the age of adulthood when they turn 20. Very quickly they mentioned one reaching 18 and/or 20 and how it is a little bit complicated. However, coming back to the discussion at hand, in the case for Kayoko, she felt it was a bit of a shame because she is living in London on this special day so she cannot go and attend a ceremony like most would in Japan.

Mizuho and Kayoko explain that the ceremony is attended by most people who reach the age of adulthood. It is not a mandatory event so people do not have to attend. Mizuho explains there are definitely people who do not go or cannot go. Nevertheless, people would basically go – primarily people who are turning 20 years of age.  Kayoko says that she wasn’t able to go and that it is an event that only happens once in your life. She turns to Mizuho to ask her that “didn’t she go?” to which Mizuho says yes she definitely did go (もちろん、行きました!). This is where they changed the topic to discuss how was the ceremony – based on Mizuho’s experience and her thoughts.

Kayoko starts the conversation of the Coming of Age celebration about outfits to wear (ふくそう、何を着るか) to the ceremony. She begins by talking about what females would wear to the celebration. Mizuho talks about kimono being a popular choice as it is a very traditional option for many. As traditional as that it may be, another perspective is that kimonos are thought to be a cute outfit for females to wear, in general. Mizuho continues to share that for her ceremony, she wore her mother’s kimono (私はね、 ははのふりそでを着ました). It was a kimono that her mother wore for her Coming of Age ceremony. Mizuho explains that, in many cases, the ceremony outfit that females wear to the ceremony are received or handed down from either their own mother or grandmother as part of a family tradition. A second way to get an outfit is to rent a long-sleeved kimono from the shops but it can be extremely expensive. A third way is where people can purchase a new outfit if they wanted to. To Mizuho’s knowledge, these are the three ways to get an outfit for the ceremony. But again, in her case, Mizuho received her outfit from her mother and wore that piece. She shared that at the beginning of the process, she really resented the idea of using her mother’s outfit “本当は最初はすごい嫌で…”. Mizuho says because she really likes the colour pink, she was planning to go for a rental and choose what she wanted to wear instead “レンタルして、自分で選べたいの”. Mizuho wanted to choose a long-sleeved kimono in pink, but her mother said she wanted Mizuho to wear her old one. Mizuho shared that when she heard this idea from her mother, she really did not want to. She even said to her mother “やだ”.  Whilst that was what she felt at the time, Mizuho ended up trying it. When she tried it on, she saw that the colour of the outfit was a mixture of purple and white. In actual fact, she found the outfit really cute. Regardless of what she thought at the time, Mizuho ended up wearing it and her mother was very happy. Mizuho further mentions that in the future, if and when she has a child, she hopes that her daughter will also wear the same long-sleeved kimono. Kayoko comments about how would that work as in would the kid go and receive it from Mizuho’s mother or … but Mizuho says that regardless of how the process works, she thinks it would be a good idea to have her child to wear the same kimono as well.      

After talking about the outfit, they start to talk about the ceremony itself. Mizuho begins to explain that the Coming of Age ceremony starts in the morning. It is described to be a rather serious/formal ceremony. Then fast-forward to the afternoon, people go to attend another gathering called the どうそうかい (同窓会). This is known as a reunion party. This party is participated by one’s classmates from junior high school who you probably last saw when you were 15 years of age as that was the age students finished junior high school. For Mizuho, to meet with these old classmates again, at that time of their life, is very fun. Kayoko says that she probably understands how special it would have been because it has been five years since everyone last saw one another since graduating from junior high school. Mizuho further adds that everyone looked really grown up and really beautiful. Also, some people may have entered university but there are also others who are already working. So, it was a very meaningful event to attend and catch up with everyone. Mizuho says to Kayoko that it’s a bit of a shame that Kayoko could not go to her own Coming of Age celebration. Kayoko agrees with a sad voice. Mizuho says though that may be the case, there are mobile apps like LINE and twitter which allows people to reconnect with one other. Mizuho says on the podcast to everyone listening that they need to connect Kayoko, please! “かよこちゃんを連絡してください!”

After about 10 minutes of discussion about the Coming of Age ceremony,  they reached the end of their podcast for this first episode.

They ask the audience what they think of the episode. Mizuho and Kayoko say they hope to share more Japanese cultural information through these podcasts.

As a final note, they thank everyone and say goodbye.  

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