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Class Report 2013


Class Report 47: November 29th and December 6th, 2013

Nine of us including two new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.
Nine of us including two new members got together at Studio PETU in Harajuku.
We prepared the cards written in Japanese New Year’s events, gave Non-Japanese members a sense of how the Japanese celebrate the New Year in their homes. For example, we Japanese call the last day of the year "Oh-misoka" and typically follow a tradition to eat soba (=Japanese noodle made from buckwheat). This custom is called “Toshikoshi-soba”. It’s thought that soba is a bringer of good luck, family fortunes, and longevity because soba is physically long.

In the English Discussion, we really digging in on the topic “What is success?” We thought that many of people defined success as making a lot of money, but most of members said that “Money” was not a key to success. Success definitely has a wide range of meanings and outlooks. We cannot afford to base our success on what other people think it is. What success means to everyone is as unique as that person.

For some members, success had to do with: 1. Health, 2. Creativity, 3. Happiness, 4. Grit, 5. Passion and 6. Focus on one thing. They concluded that making a balance between those 6 categories was absolutely essential for true personal success, and required to keep pushing themselves to be maintained!

On the other hand, success, to the others, is to set goals and strive to achieve them in their way. More, to enjoy making and learning from mistakes. Even some of their seemingly minor changes (successes) are lifelong achievements. They linked being successful to making positive changes, even those that might seem insignificant to others. Success is within my heart. It emphasizes that success comes from the inside, not from external sources.

Success is a multifaceted, and it’s entirely personal. By defining what your personal definition of success is, you will move your life in that direction! No power, no success!

Thank you for bringing such great ideas into the last class this year! We are looking forward to seeing you all in January, 2014!


Class Report 46: November 8th, 2013



Sixteen of us including four new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku.


We learned when we Japanese typically apologize in Japan. Japanese members also introduced several expressions used to apologize (e.g. すみません、ごめんなさい、申し訳ございません、失礼しました) to other Non-Japanese members.


The Japanese have a word “Gomenasai” that is roughly equivalent to the English word “sorry”, but “Sumimasen” is probably the most common phrase used to apologize. Some people say it as "Suimasen" (spoken language). Since "Sumimasen" could be used in several different situations, one of our groups categorized it into 4, 5 groups (when requesting something, when thanking someone, when asking someone, when apologizing, and when getting attention etc.). Most of the Japanese advised others to listen carefully to what the context was!


Apologizing “sorry” showed that we took responsibility and avoid blaming others. It must be used to apologize when you harm or offend someone. The word often implied humility (Sorry to disturb you, Sorry for coming into your house, Sorry for using FREE coupons, Sorry for not having changes, and Sorry for bothering you), but it was also used as a way to avoid guilt. It was what we found in our session.


Next, we thought that why Japanese apologized far more frequently than Westerners. Most of us said that we were afraid of conflicts, so we apologized quickly in order to avoid arguments. Others said that one of our Japanese cultures (“Harmony” is the most important), a virtue, and avoid courts.


Maintaining peace is a worthy goal in a human relationship, but if we're consistently apologizing without talking through the underlying issues for our disagreement, it could create an unbalanced relationship. So we must find out what the issue really is and talk it through before temporary apologizing. Some Non-Japanese members mentioned that very often apologies got watered down when we were saying sorry for something we really did something wrong. Nobody takes seriously your words when you apologize deeply.


Taking back your days, do you automatically say “sorry” (Gomennansai or Suimasen) at least one a day even if you are not really wrong? If you have something in your mind, you’d better rethink why we apologize, when we should apologize before you say “sorry”!




Class Report 45: October 18th and November 1st, 2013


Twenty three of us including thirteen new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku. Ten of us including four new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.


We picked up the topic “Why do people work? What is your main reason that you work?”, and started by discussing "why do we work?" which most of the people first answered "for living". Then thought about what if we don't need any money for living supposing that all the food and drinks are provided for free. Some people answered that he or she would do nothing and play around for the rest of their life, however most of the people answered that they even would like to work and pursue the quality of our lives. Some mentioned about the actual examples such as people who pour themselves into work that they don’t have to do for living, such as the volunteer who may even work harder than the paid staff.


So for the latter part of the discussion, we searched other pieces for "why do we work" since "for living" or "for the money” seemed to be only the partial answers to this complex question "why do we work". By exchanging our own views, we came up to another keyword, the "Motivation". Money was the provider of basic motivation but other motivators that people referred to was the opportunity for "personal accomplishment", "growth" and "social relationships".
For conclusion the answer to the question "why do we work" was summarized as follows.


The bottom line is that we all work for money but most of the workers also work for personal fulfillment; to accomplish goals and to feel as if they are contributing to something larger than themselves such as community, their culture, their country or any other societies which they belong to.

One member introduced interesting ways to find out why you work.


Question 1 Why do you work Answer Ex) For money

Question 2 Why do you need money Ex) To buy things for living
Question 3 Why do you have to buy things for living  Ex) To live happy with our beloved family


The answer to the third question is the answer to “why do you work”!!




Class Report 44: October 2nd and 11th, 2013


Nine of us including two new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku. Twenty six of us including eleven new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.


In the Language Exchange part, we picked up some new words and phrases in vogue (e.g. 大人買い、婚活、アラフォー、クールビズ、イクメン). Japanese members explained the meanings of the words, how to use it, and why the phrases got popular to Non-Japanese members.

We moved on the English discussion part with the topic “What is beauty?”, where we tried to find what the beauty and attractiveness were, but defining them was not easy. In frustration, some members gave up and claimed that “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. So is beauty really a personal phenomenon? Or is beauty just a cultural thing?

We found that the most important indicators of beauty were facial symmetry, well-balanced, and clear skin when we said someone was beautiful. But a certain portion of the beauty pie is taken up by cultural preferences. In many parts of Africa, obesity is desirable – it is associated with abundance and fertility. The Padaung women of Southeast Asia like to place metal rings around their necks. She is considered beautiful and sexy in her tribe. Most of all members thought that they were strange. But, it is more ridiculous than putting lumps of silicone in your breasts, isn’t it?

Our culture is very superficial. When a culture changes, the standards of beauty often change with it. So to a certain extent, beauty is ‘democratic’, decided by whatever the people happen to prefer. For example, even though “thin is in” at the moment, it’s not true that every thin woman is considered beautiful.


So, the beauty is relevant to a specific culture at a specific place and time, so there is no definition of beauty. Personality, building self-esteem (confidence) is the best way to be a beautiful woman/man because you are more beautiful than you think!









Class Report 43: September 20th and 26th, 2013

Thirteen of us including 1 new member got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku.

We all learned that each Kanji was consisted of one or more radicals and how to read in two ways: "on" or Chinese reading and in the "kun" or Japanese reading. For example, as Kanji for “” (“un” or “hakobu”) consists of “” (“kuruma” meaning “car”) on the right-hand side and “” (“shin-nyo” meaning “foot”) on the left-hand side, so “” means to carry something to a place by car/hands.

In the English discussion part, picked up the topic “Life in Okinawa”, where is the zone in which people live long and healthy lives. We thought about what factors behind the longevity in this island after watched a few short videos.

First, eating a well-balanced diet. Okinawans eat daily seven portions of vegetables and fruits, seven of cereals and two of soy products. They take various portions of fish, meat, and dairy products. Their diet is low in calories and contains a lot of vegetables. Second, the aged 90-100 of Okinawa are preoccupied by hobbies. They practice karate, kendo, walk several kilometers daily, and even work on vegetable gardens. They like to do any activities in the open with their friends. Physical activity is not isolated, but it has an objective. Last factor in Okinawa is that people take care mutually of each other, forming more coherent and supportive links. That means they keep their mental health and low stress.

Of course, having ingredients of the longevity: brown sugar "made of Okinawa cane", kombu, tofu and other products is the key to prolong our life. However, the most important factor for living longer we supposed is linking to a social support network, and that makes the elders more active and positive attitude towards their life!


Class Report 42: September 5th and 12th, 2013

Twelve of us including four new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku. Nine of our regular members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.
We learned how to use Japanese onomatopoetic words, which are created imitate natural sounds such as ぱらぱら(para-para), がたがた(gata-gata), and ぶるぶる(buru-buru). Japanese members translated those words into simple English words, for example, がたがた means bumpy, uneven, and pothole.

In the English discussion part, we picked up 3 items “Japanese character, places to visit, and technology” as Japanese “cool” aspects. About Japanese character, according to the groups asking for the “perfect words to describe Japanese people” from a foreigner’s/Japanese eyes were surprisingly positive. The most common adjectives were polite, well-organized, hard-working (diligence), respectful, kind, clean, shy, grouping and so on.


One of our groups pointed out that Japanese people seemed to find a goal and stick with it. They throw themselves into their hobbies and work with a zeal, and make their efforts step by step. That’s truly commendable.


And more, watched the short video “Spirit of Japan”, where we have worked together for reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Japanese called it“一体 (Ittai)”, it means to come together as one body.


All members enjoyed talking about top 3 must-see attractions they highly recommend, an amazing high technology, and planned for next ICT events together over light meal!


Class Report 41: August 23rd and 28th, 2013

Ten of us including two new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku.
Thirteen of us including one new member got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.
We tried to answer a desert-island question “If you are on stuck on a desert island, and survive until rescue arrives, what three items would you bring and why?” A pot and pan two groups picked up were in common to boil water, plants, and cook something to eat. Survival knives, fishing tools and tents were also basic needs.


How much space do you need to live comfortably? In the English discussion part, we discussed about “Think about to live micro apartments less than 250 square feet”. 2,000 square feet is normal class in much of America, but limited space and tight budgets cause a boom in building tiny, cramped living spaces in the dense of city such as Tokyo, NY, and SF.


Surprisingly, the owners built micro houses felt convenient and relaxed in short videos. However, imagine living a tiny house, some members said the privacy was challenge in case two residents lived together in a tiny space. Others figured out that living the most of a smaller space to made our life easier because everything was within reached. And the residents would consider how to get in outside lights, enjoy how to make hidden cabinets and design their house more comfortable. It would be even more enjoyable!


We’ve come to realize that making super tiny apartments and living there is a shortcut to find what your perfect size is. It has nothing to do with how much stuff you have but how you enjoy your life even just a house on land the size of a parking space!

Class Report 40: August 7th and 15th, 2013

Ten of us including two new members got together at Studio Petu in Harajuku. Thirteen of us including five new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.
We, even Japanese members, learned how to count in Japanese. Counters are attached directly to a number (e.g. ni-tsu 2通、san-hai 3杯、yo-ninmae 4人前、go-soku 5). There are a variety of counters, which are similar to English expressions such as "a cup of ~", "a sheet of ~" and so on.
In the English discussion part, we talked about “Train Manners” in Japan. First, we did a quick quiz on it, and thought what taboos of riding the train were. Most of us agreed with the rules “No smoking on the train”, “Giving up your seat for those people who sit priority seats”, and “Turning your phone on “Manner Mode” or “Silent Mode””.
However, some members (including Japanese) from different countries felt that “Talking on your cell phone on the train or subway” was not always rude. As you may know, trains in Japan are typically pretty quiet, so even a beeping or ringing cell phone is pretty obvious.

After all members watched the slides that were catchy posters (Tokyo Metro) asking commuters to mind their manners, they challenged to make a poster with iconic illustrations and positive messages. All eye-catching posters were so unique!


One of our groups made the poster that a kind man woke an overslept passenger up at the last station, the other suggested that cleaning off rain drops on your umbrella before you get on the train (not to wet for others) was a great manner.

Please be considerate of those around you on the train! A little consideration, a little thought for others!

Class Report 39: July 25th and 31st, 2013

Eighteen of us including five new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya. Twelve of us including two new members got together at Studio PETU in Harajuku.
After Language Exchange session where Japanese members explained how to use Japanese body phrases (e.g. 顔が広い、目を配る、肩を持つ) to Non Japanese members, we moved on to today’s topic “Polygamy”.
First, we watched some videos; an American reality show “Sister Wives”*, multiple husbands (all brothers) isolated village in Himalayas, and a Muslim tribe in Togo. And then, we all discussed the reasons why they choose polygamy. For example, some advantages in polygyny* are sharing houseworks with other wives, making a big family and creating a support network for women and their children. On the other hand, in polyandry*, economic benefit is the best reason in polygamy.
It was hard for all members to come to a conclusion when we did a case study, which if the man takes a second wife for the first married wife who has tried forever to fall pregnant is wrong or not.
Polygamy is helpful that polygamist does not stay alone at home, but how their wives or husbands handle their jealousies each other, how parents explain their polygamy to their children… Moreover, we still questioned if the man/woman who has chosen polygamous relationships leads happy lives.
In conclusion, whatever form of marriage individuals choose for themselves, they must enter in it with utmost faithfulness, sincerity, compromise, unconditional love, respect and trust!
*Sister Wives: an American reality show, which documents the life of a polygamist family (one man, four wives, and their seventeen children)

*Polygyny: a man has multiple wives

*Polyandry: a woman has multiple husband


Class Report 38: July 11th and 17th, 2013

28 of us including 6 new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya. 11 of them came join us from different countries.
Language Exchange part, where Non Japanese members learned some words (Kanji) which are pronounced same in Japanese but are different in meaning (e.g. 遅れると後れる、異義と異議). Most of Japanese had a hard time with explanation!
We moved on English Discussion (ED), and talked about “Funny and Creative Advertisements”. Key words to make TV commercials more attractive we thought were funny, memorable, unexpected, cheeky, ironic, clear, sexy… and so on.
The most exciting part was that we made an advertisement to promote a product in groups. To our surprise, all groups were so creative! One of our groups put the product “Umbrella Stool” for use at a bus stop, others created an advertisement on a building and designed an elevator… It was a great opportunity to give a short presentation for members.
In normal, we don’t pay attention why some advertisements are funny or memorable. But we placed in the ad-maker's position, then we found a new perspective of advertisements!

Class Report 37: June 26th, 2013

Twenty four of us including ten new members, the biggest number ever, got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.
After language Exchange where we played a small game for Non-Japanese members, we moved on to the topic “Homeschooling”, which had 2 parts.
First, we talked about advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling in groups. Parents can teach the values that they think are important. More, the three reasons for homeschooling were that parents wanted their children to learn what they want to learn, concern about bullying and more individualized approach than public schools.
On the other hand, most of us pointed out lack of socialization with peers (e.g. no friends, feel isolated) as disadvantages, and it’s hard for parents to provide their children with a flexible curriculum every day.
Went on the next part after watching 2 short videos “Online learning”, we discussed about the best learning environment for children to grow up. One of our groups suggested that homeschooling could be combined with traditional education and e-learning. We freely exchanged our opinions and ideas thanks to the regular members and ten new members from different culture. A special thank you to all members!!


Class Report 36: June 13th, 2013

Seventeen of us including five new members got together at Allincco Office in Shibuya.

It was the first day of our new classes! ICT members enjoyed their English/Japanese conversation in our new room!


We played a game to guess the meanings of Kanji (Chinese Characters) while seeing Japanese typography cards with signs or symbols. Non Japanese members learned various “bushu”, a fundamental part of Kanji used for classification, after checking their answers.


What is the most interesting vending machine you’ve ever seen? In English Discussion part, we talked about Japanese “Vending machines” which sell a wide range of unexpected products, from noodles to oden, and even vegetables. Rice vending machines have been placed in local areas.


Here in Japan, touch screen vending machines that we often see now are getting common. It amazes not only foreign tourists but also Japanese. Most of our members didn’t know that there were many kinds of vending machines such as selling books (UK), bicycle tubes (Germany), gold (Germany), pizza (Italy) and Jeans (US) in the world.


If Japan is home to vending machines, what comes next? Each member contributed a different perspective on the future of vending machines.


Class Report 35: May 30th, 2013

Eighteen of us including two new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.
Before discussion part, we tried "伝言ゲーム" in English. The game is always fun and ice-breaking.
The topic was "Powerful Women". You can see 'The World's Most Powerful Women 2013' ranking on this site.
First of all, we talked about our image of "Powerful Women". And then, we went into how social believing system affects our way of thinking.
In Japan, almost all of the men think they have to earn for their family. If a woman buys into that idea, she would be a house wife or a part-time worker. In middle-eastern countries, women have to work because their husband can't earn enough money for paying their bills.
Other than social believing system, religion also affects on our way of thinking. To know about how women work in other countries is important. But it is more important to think 'What I do' in the society.

Class Report 34: May 16th, 2013

Twenty of us including two new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.
Before starting discussion part, we played ‘伝言ゲーム’. We made two teams and challenged three sentences. It was fun to find the message which has been changed into something far from the original one.
In discussion part, we shared each ‘home town story’ with members. Some members talked about festivals which are famous in their cities. Others introduced their home town’s famous food and drinks. It was interesting to hear about the member’s home town.
As a matter of local accent, there was the story that a flight controller who could not understand a pilot speaking in a very strong English accent, told the wrong instruction.
We also talked about
'ゆるキャラ’ which is a character made by local government for PR purpose. And we found that ‘ゆるキャラ’ didn’t exist in other countries.
This was the last class for one of our members who has to go back to his country soon. We miss him so much. 'Thank you for your joining our class, Lachlan. We appreciate your warmth and friendliness. Please join us again when you come back to Japan!!'

Class Report 33: April 25th, 2013

Eighteen of us including four new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.
The topic was '24hrs subway system in Tokyo'. Almost all of the members disagreed with the idea.
A decrease of public safety, drunk passengers, constant fare increase, additional fare for the late hours, more overtime working, complain from taxi drivers, when to maintenance?....etc.
After the bombing in Boston, people care about the safety. We agreed with the idea that if Tokyo wants to get more bid to host the Olympic in 2020, the bid commitee should appeal the public safety.
Still, it’s good for environment. 24hrs service during the weekends or running just one train per hour in the late night would make a lot of difference for Tokyo.

Class Report 32: April 11th, 2013

Nine of us including one new member got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya. 
The topic was 'What would you advise students to do in their school days?'

Some members would advise to study abroad. Others thought knowing themselves and finding their strength are important.

Then we went into the cultural difference in business. For example, Kansai people feel difficulty in business with Tohoku people. Although Kansai people urge to talk, Tohoku people offer pickles and eat them without saying anything. After that, they start business. In that reason, to know other culture is important for business person.

One of the big advantages for students is a long vacation.

Now that we are in the 'Real World', we don't have as much time as students. But we still have a chance to talk with members who have a variety of backgrounds in the class!


Class Report 31: March 28th, 2013

Twenty of us including four new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.
The topic was 'Your McDonald's Story'.

Some members enjoyed the benefit of its convenience and price. But others, especially women, concerned about calories and nutrition.


Although Japanese students want part-time work at McDonald's as means for making friends, people in other countries work there only to pay the bill. In that reason, there is no 'Smile ¥0'. 


While people can request to remove some ingredients, because they don't like them, at fast-food shop in the U.S., the shop staff in Japan refuses to remove something or put some extras. There must be a strict inventory control system?!


Class Report 30: March 14th, 2013

Eleven of us including two new members got together at Sakura Café Jimbocho.


Japan marked the second anniversary of the March 11 massive earthquake and tsunami last Monday, so we discussed about “How to prepare for an earthquake” for 2 hours.


Some of us carried a potable flashlight, small whistle and glasses (for contact lens users) in their bag at all the times, and they also suggested putting slippers or rigid-soled shoes to protect their feet from the broken glass in the case of an earthquake at night. For pet owners, they considered having extra food/water, and preparing a cage for pets not to run away during an earthquake.


On the other hand, to our surprise, only a few members packed an evacuation bag (including such as cash, food, water, First-aid kit, portable toilets and spare clothes etc…) to protect themselves for survival for at least a few days.


We all know that we must do something for disaster prevention, which stock up on supplies of drinking water, emergency food, and secure furniture to walls using belt, chain and stopper to prevent it from falling, but we believe that we might be able to manage somehow. Now, it’s time to take first steps in making well preparation for an earthquake before the “Big One” hits Tokyo!




Class Report 29: February 28th, 2013


Fifteen of us including three new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.


We talked about “which animal is the most like you” while linking our personality, habits and lifestyle to the topic.

All members compared themselves to an animal. Some members who had cats thought back on their life, they found something traits common to their cat’s characters such as waking up/sleeping when cats want to, living without being bothered and doing at their own pace. It seems that pets resemble their owners or owners start resembling their pets like the Chicken or the Egg.


The most impressive story was that the member who flies around the world on his business likened himself to a bird. According to his self-analyzed behavior, he thought he didn’t have his feet on the ground.


In the last half of the session, we broadened the discussion to the Chinese zodiac (Junishi), which is believed the sign of the year represents the character of the people born in that year. This common Chinese zodiac signs (12 animals) are also in use in other countries (e.g. Thailand, Vietnam, Russia, Turkey and Bulgaria), but some animals are substituted by other ones.


Thanks to having three new members and regular members, our conversation got moving with fresh angles and full of laughter.




Class Report 28: February 13th, 2013

Eleven of us including two new members got together at Sakura Café Jimbocho.
After some Japanese conversation, we moved on to the discussion part where we talked about the way of working in diverse ways.
Some of the members chose to work with large companies because of the benefits that they are offered health care packages to all their employees and their families, paid vacations/holidays, retirement benefits, and full-coverage health insurance. And they can receive a higher and stable salary compared to smaller companies.
On the other hand, working with a small company has its own benefits. Other members thought that they can be involved in multiple projects, and gain more experience in the company with potential for growth. More important, they could stand a greater chance of being noticed. They may get faster promotions and pay raises if they are strong performers.


After 2-hour long discussion, our working style should be based on individual values and minds, which means how to enjoy our life without relation to the size of the organization.


Class Report 27: January 31st, 2013


Fourteen of us including five new members got together at Sakura Café Hatagaya.

After an hour of Japanese-English language exchange, we talked about the today’s topic “The 3 priority points when you choose an airline”.
Divided members into 2 groups, we freely exchanged our opinions and ideas.
Group A agreed on 3 points: price, time, and service. The members in Group A thought that saving money, not wasting time and comfort service were the 3 most important things, while Group B also picked up the price and service, but they looked at their final destination. Some members in Group B take a connection instead of a direct flight for the reason of saving money, but some others choose a direct flight for time-saving.
In our common subjects, one group who likes to sit a window seat may have a chance to see amazing views from high, the other group who books an aisle seat can go to the bathroom anytime as a big advantage!
Depending on flying to domestic or overseas, being on long plane flights or short plane flights, most of the members enjoy their traveling or business trip on their own ways such as drinking luxurious wines, good sleeping on the comfortable seats, watching latest movies on demand and moving around to avoid “Economy Class Syndrome”!
Needless to say, in-flight services vary a lot in how much we pay the airline tickets. There are different levels from high quality service to “No service” in each airline.


Class Report 26: January 10th, 2013


Fourteen of us including seven new members got together at Sakura Cafe Jimbocho.


We started out with talking about New Year, where we learned how they celebrate New Year in China, Spain, Taiwan, Malaysia…


For people from Western countries (where they have Christmas holidays) or people with Chinese background (where they have Lunar New Year), January the first isn’t as big feast as we Japanese feel, but they do celebrate the beginning of the new year with some events like fireworks or countdown.


After that we separated in two groups and talked about whatever each member had in their mind about their culture, which was even more enjoyable thanks to as many as seven new members and so much variety in their background!

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