Q. How many languages can you speak?
A. I can speak two languages, Japanese and English. Japanese is my native language, but my English is still growing.
Q. How useful will English be to you in your future?
A. After I finish studying abroad, I would like to work in the trading industry, so English will be essential. The better my English is, the better my salary and other conditions will be.
Q. What do you remember about learning languages at school?
A. Japanese people learn English as part of their compulsory education. I started learning English in the first year of junior high school, and I found it very interesting to be able to talk in a different language. My teacher was very good at pronunciation, and I admired her.
Q. What do you think would be the hardest language for you to learn?
A. That would be the Arabic language for sure. Although I think the Arabic script is beautiful every time I see it, it is so different from Japanese that I don’t think I will ever be able to read or write it.
Q. Describe a website that you bought something from.
You should say:
what the website is
what you bought from this website
how satisfied you were with what you bought
and explain what you liked or disliked about using this website.
A. I am a frequent online shopper because I live in the countryside, and I would like to talk about last week’s shopping. I bought a Christmas tree from Amazon. I know it’s too early in the season to buy a Christmas tree, but in Japan, popular products sell out quickly, so I acted fast. This Christmas tree was certainly not cheap, but I took the plunge and bought it. It was recommended by my favorite influencer on Instagram, and I fell in love with it at first sight when I saw the picture because it was so different from the others. The tree is a fake one that you assemble on top of a pipe stand. It came with a whopping 100 ornaments. We know the standard colors for Christmas trees are red and green, but the tree I bought is white, and all the ornaments are white, gold, and silver. My family loves it, and of course, I love it too. My young children look at it with sparkling eyes, and it fills me with a very happy feeling. The web page that sold this tree had over 20 product images, along with detailed instructions on how to assemble it and what parts and materials to use, which helped to dispel my concerns about the purchase. It also had over 100 product reviews, most of which were positive. The only complaint I have is that it took a little longer to ship, but since I wasn’t going to use it right away anyway, the wait wasn’t painful at all.
Q. What kinds of things do people in Japan often buy from online shops?
A. All kinds of things can be bought at online stores in Japan, but I think most people purchase heavy items online. Since I don’t drive, I use online stores to buy things like drinks and diapers that are too heavy or bulky to carry home on foot or by train.
Q. Why do you think online shopping has become so popular nowadays?
A. One big reason would be social networking sites, where influencers recommend new products that make us want to buy them every minute or second. Since social media are online, we inevitably purchase those products online. When I met one of my friends the other day, we both had a good laugh because we were both wearing clothes trending on a social networking site.
Q. What are some possible disadvantages of buying things from online shops?
A. When you buy clothes and shoes online, you cannot try them on, so it is possible that they will not fit. Especially for children’s clothes and shoes, getting the wrong size can be fatal. However, there have been many cases recently where companies have taken on these risks for consumers by offering free returns, thereby making their products more attractive.
Q. Why do many people today keep buying things which they do not need?
A. One reason would be that companies are becoming very clever and sophisticated in their advertising strategies. One of them is personal advertising. Due to the advancement of Internet algorithms, products that interest you or solve your problems are being displayed at the perfect time, repeatedly. As a result, you are gradually made to feel as if you must have the product, instead of just being slightly curious about it.
Q. Do you believe the benefits of a consumer society outweigh the disadvantages? How possible is it to avoid the culture of consumerism?
A. Yes, I would say that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Consumer society is often seen as a negative thing, but it has many advantages. The more people consume, the more people become wealthy, both financially and psychologically. It is remarkable that more and more people feel happy in their daily lives. Also, in this capitalist society, many people will agree with my opinion, so I believe it is inevitable that the culture of consumerism will continue to expand.