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The English Discussion Topics

ICT English Discussion Topics for Part B (from July 2012 to March 2014)

53. April 9th, 2014 (Studio PETU)

5 tips on writing poems Haiku!! Learn beautiful Japanese senses from 4 seasons

Have you ever heard "Haiku"? Haiku is a very short poetry that uses sensory words to capture a feeling or image, and it often inspired by an element of nature, a moment of beauty or a poignant experience. It consists of three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables. Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese poets, but now which is at present well known and loved throughout the world. English-Language Haiku is also usually written in three lines!

In this class, we will introduce the outline of Haiku, and will teach the tips on how to write a Haiku in English such as the selection of season words (Kigo), picking up two images or ideas, putting "cutting" words (Kireji), adding a twist ending etc. Your best Haiku will be selected as No.1 in the Haiku contest (in this class).

So just try putting into words the things that can be seen in your surroundings or describing events that have occurred! It's good to include one or more senses such as sound, smell, taste or touch, and not just what we can see. Enjoy making a Haiku and voting to decide the best Haikuist at the end!

What is Haiku?


FYR: How to Write a Haiku!  Just 4 Steps!

52. March 25th, 2014 (Studio PETU)

Thinking about ”Wagokoro [和心]” ~ Japanese Heart, Mind or Spirit ~

What exactly does "Wagokoro" mean?
When do/did you feel Wagokoro in Japan?
Do you have Wagokoro in your life?

The kanji character "wa" [和] of wagokoro means peace, harmony, sum, calm (なごむ)and Japan, "gokoro" is a variant of "kokoro [心]" that means heart, mind or spirit. It hard to difine Wagokoro with one word, so sharing our experiences and viewpoints about Wagokoro with those from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds will encourage us all to think in a more expanded way!

For a starter we will pick up any words related to Wagokoro (e.g. Omoiyari, Omotenashi, Teinei, Nintai, Seiketsu, Nakayoshi, Kodawari, Kiwami, Yuzuriai, Kenkyo, Haji, Kyochosei, Yaoyorozu and much more), where all are encourage to contribute a personal idea with following The World Cafe*. Write, doodle and draw key ideas on their papers.

*The World Cafe

E.g. Omotenashi from foreigner's eyes


For the conversation itself we will choose a different approach than previous class. Instead of using the same question for all tables we have 2, 3 different questions on 4, 5 tables. Travel to a new table, meet new faces and new questions, and link and connect ideas coming from their previous table conversations. At the end, we share discoveries and insights in a whole group conversation.

Please come to take part in deep and constructive conversations about Wagokoro. We look forward to the conversation! Both Japanese and Non-Japanese are welcomed!!

51. March 7th, 2014 (Studio PETU)
Effective Communication 2, 5 tips to make "Impressive" Words
This class will show you how to create the touching words to move people's heart. What phrases do you use to motivate people? How do you inspire people with an email, conversation and speech? Pick up 5 recipes (e.g. repeat, surprising, gap and so on..) and explore them from different angles; advertisement, historical speech, poems, TV commercial, and much more.

In case studies, we'll be titling the posters and videos. This is an example, check out the link below!
"Children See, Chiledren Do" Share YOUR words/title with us at the class!

This will change you in exactly 60 seconds

50. February 19th, 2014 (Studio PETU)
Effective communication (1), 7 tips to change No to "YES" when you asking favors.
Communication is hard work. Communicating with your spouse, boss and even friends aren't always easy. This class will tell you 7 tips to change "No" to "YES" when you ask/request someone. How to communicate better in relationships using some case studies.

49. January 24th and January 31st, 2014 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
What does it mean to be "adult" today? What does being an "adult" mean to you? Completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying, and having a child? When do you know that you grown up?
48. January 10th and January 17th, 2014 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
What are your New Year's resolutions?" Happy 2014! Did you make good on the resolutions you picked up last January? TIME brings you the resolutions most often forgotten. Yes, New Year’s resolutions are a bit like babies: They’re fun to make but extremely difficult to maintain. This year 2014, what will you pick one of the worthy resolutions? Can you stick with it?
47. November 29th and December 6th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
What is success to you? How do you define success? Think that success means making lots of money? Think again. How can you be successful if you're not happy? And buying things with that all money isn't much better. Real success comes from the quality of your relationships and the emotions that you experience each day?
46. November 8th and November 13th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"Apology", just saying sorry is the most effective way to make peace?
There are plenty of times when you'll have to apologize in life. Japanese typically apologize (saying "Gomennasai" and "Sumimasen") far more frequently than Westerners, but an apology is not just a tool to make peace. Apology words lead the amicable atmosphere and promote interaction? So when should you apologize seriously? What is the deepest apology that you think?
45. October 18th and November 1st, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"Why do people work?"
Work is a big part of our lives. When you ask people why they work, a lot of them will say they’re ‘only in it for the money’. What are some other reasons that people work? Work for family? building carreer? getting basic needs for life? Let us know how to enjoy your life and your job.
44. October 2nd and 11th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"What is beauty? Do we think beauty? or Do we feel beauty?"
Is beauty just a cultural thing, based on whatever the common consensus is at any particular time? Or is there a ‘true beauty’, that we find in all cultures and times? Do you think stick thin models are truly beautiful? What about the “Giraffe Women” in Southeast Asia who like to place the metal rings around their necks?
43. September 20th and 26th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"Life in Okinawa"
Do you want to live forever? Okinawa, Japan has the highest concentration of 100+ year olds. What is the secret to longer life? Explore the Okinawa life and think about "immortality"! With advances in technology it may soon be possible to not die, to be able to live "forever".
*Regular Class on Sep 26th was cancelled.Would you want to? Why? Why not?
42. September 5th and 12th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"Discovering "Cool Japan"
Let’s find cool things/facts in culturally rich Japan from both Japanese and Non-Japanese viewpoints!! Pick up 3 amazing things “People, Places to visit (Tokyo), and Technology".
Jojo will show you some videos and slides related to 3 things above before small talk!
Your ideas will be picked up as a class topic in future classes!
41. August 23rd and 28th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
"Japan's Micro Apartment"
How much space do you need to live comfortably? What is your perfect size to live? 2,000+ sq.ft is normal class in much of America, how about 200 sq.ft? Think about to live micro houses in the dense city of Tokyo! Is it true that a big house is cool, small one is miserable?
40. August 7th and 15th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
“Train manners”
Mind your train manners! It goes without saying, bad manners are subjective – what is bad to one might not be bad to another. Japan is well-known for its polite populace, but that doesn't mean everyone follows the rules. What is PROPER Train Etiquette?
39. July 25th and 31st, 2013 (Allincco Office, Studio PETU)
Do you think polygamy is wrong? Let's take a look at "Life in polygamous marriage". How do they handle their busy lifestyle? Do the wives get jealous of each other? You may find different kinds of LOVE!
38. July 11th and 17th, 2013 (Allincco Office, Unity567)
"Funny advertisements"
Funny and creative advertisements in the world! What kind of advertising is the most effective and attractive to customers? And let's think about the positive/negative effects of advertisings on society!


37. June 26th, 2013 (Allincco Office in Shibuya)

Homeschooling vs. Public School:
Have you ever wondered what Homeschooling is really about? In the US, a growing number of parents are choosing to educate their children at home. Let’s talk about its background, good/bad impact on children.


36. June 13th, 2013 (Allincco Office in Shibuya)

“Vending Machine”

Japan is home tovending machines that sell a wide range of crazy and unexpected products. What kinds of vending machines did you find in Japan? What do you expect them?


35. May 30th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Who do you think the 'Powerful Woman'? The Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to increase the women executives' rate around 30% by 2020. Other than business area, there are Hillary Clinton(politician), Lady Gaga(Musician), J.K.Rowling(author)…etc. Do they have anything in common? Are there any around you?

Related info. http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2013/05/22/the-worlds-most-powerful-women-2013/


34. May 16th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Why don't you share your 'home town story' with us?
Where to visit when we travel your home town? Do you have any food or drinks to recommend? Dialects or expressions to be cared about ... etc.

The 'home town' is not only your birthplace but also wherever you feel‘home’!


33. April 25th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

24h subway system in Tokyo: Do you think 24h subway system is a must for global city?
Let's talk about the merits and demerits!
More overtime working? How about the environmental concerns?


32. April 11th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What would you advise students to do in their school days?

Study abroad? Travel? Part-time job? Internship?...

If you are a student, what would you like to do before entering the 'Real World'?


31. March 28th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Do you have your "McDonalds story"
to share with us? How often do you eat at McDonalds? What burgers do you like?
Have you ever collected Happy Meal toys?


30. March 14th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

The day "3.11" the Great East Japan Earthquake hit Japan, will be coming in 1 week.
How do you prepare for an earthquake? Stock up on emergency food and water,
create a first aid kit... Do you have what you need? Let's find out!
29. February 28th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)
What type of animal are you?
You may be a lazy Koala or a loyal Dog.
Tell us which animal is most like you, and what animal you would be if you weren't human!
28. February 13th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Some people prefer to work for a large company. Others prefer to work for a small company.

Which would you prefer? and why?


27. January 31st, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What are the most important points you look for when choosing an airline?
Price, length of flight, on-time record, meals, comfort and seating, rewards, big lounge,
overhead bin space, customer service and so on...
Why don't you share your priority points with us?


26. January 10th, 2013 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Let’s talk about Japanese culture through New Year’s events!

What do you find unique about it?

What local characteristic can you tell from the way they celebrate New Year in each area?


25. December 20th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Looking back on 2012.
Let’s talk about whatever we had during this year, from social issues to your personal achievements!
24. December 13th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Christmas in Japan.

With only small amount of Christian population in Japan,

Christmas is widely recognized more like as a seasonal event rather than a religious one.

Let’s find out what’s strange about the way we “celebrate” in comparison with the Western way!


23. December 6th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya) Cancelled

The five-day school week. What's your take on this ongoing system?


22. November 28th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Marriage and relationship. What is your ideal married relationship?

What would you expect from your partner?


21. November 20th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Tips on surviving winter in Japan. What’s unique about winter in here?

Out of so many selections of thermal goods, heating devices, and hot meals to stay warm,

which one is your favorite? Let’s talk about them and get ready for the season!


20. November 14th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What were your favorite sweets in your childhood? Any special stories related to them?
Have you ever encountered any eye-opening local sweets when traveling abroad?
Let’s talk about sweets, humans, and the world through the “sweetest” point of view!


19. November 8th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Autumn in Japan: How would you enjoy this beautiful season?

In Japan, many people love autumn as it is the best season for enjoying sports, arts,

traveling, and foods! Let’s take a look at Japanese culture through seasonal trend!!


18. November 1st, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Social connections in the digital age:
In which situation do you feel connected with others?
Did any of digital gadgets or social networking tools change the way you connect to people?


17. October 25th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Halloween is just around the corner!

What is it all about? How do you celebrate it in your country?

Let’s talk about Halloween and make it twice as enjoyable!


You may refer to this video for the history of Halloween.

The Real Story of Halloween



16. October 17th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

In which situations are you likely to cry?

Do you remember when and why the last time you shed tears?

Let’s talk about a human’s one of the basic emotional behaviors!


15. October 12th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Let’s talk about Japanese proverbs!

Does any other culture have the same/similar sayings? Where did they come from?


14. October 5th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What the internet has brought to our society?

Let’s talk about its pros and cons based on our personal experiences and perspective!


Please take a look at these videos for further discussion:


Eli Pariser: Beware online “filter bubbles”



Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet enables intimacy



13. September 27th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

The uniqueness of Japanese customs, manners, and gestures.

Which of them are hard to be understood by non-Japanese people?

Could any of them be universal?


12. September 19th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Tips on getting along with someone from a different culture.

How would you start a conversation with others, especially when they are from different countries?


Do you have any specific attitude in listening to others to better understand them?

Have you had difficulties in making yourself understood because of cultural differences?


Let’s talk about how to build up good relationships with people from all over the world!


11. September 11th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Welcome new members & thanks to frequent participants!
Let’s get to know each other in a free discussion!!
After having 10 classes and more than 15 members participated in the past 2 months,
we would like to take a time to know a little bit more about you.
What are your concerns? What do you do on weekends?
Why don’t you share whatever in your mind and get to know more about ICT and its members!
10. September 3rd, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya) Cancelled
Homeschooling: what would be its advantages and disadvantages?

In the US, a growing number of parents are choosing to educate their children at home, without sending them to any school. Let’s talk about its background, good/bad impact on children.


For your information, you may refer to these links:

A brief outline of this homeschooling trend.



What is homeschooling?




Why some parents choose to homeschool their children.



9. August 30th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Be familiar with instruction manuals in English!
How would you explain how to use products like electronic gadgets, cosmetics, or stationery
if your English-speaking friends ask you?
Let’s take a look at instruction manuals, learn typical expressions, and get ready to use them!

*Please bring a few instruction manuals written in English (whichever product is fine).


If you are non-Japanese and having trouble reading Japanese instructions, please bring

all of them so that we can assist you!


8. August 23rd, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Let’s talk about Japanese traditional/seasonal events!

What is Obon? What does Golden Week mean? It’s time to explain our common practices in English! We will have quiz-style material to have fun with it!!


7. August 16th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

“The shared experience of absurdity.”
A talk by Charlie Todd, the creator of Improv Everywhere.
Please watch this 10-minute video (which is so funny!) before the class and get ready to discuss about it!


Have you ever encountered any hilarious person/performance like this? How did you and people around you react? Do you think this kind of humor works in Japan too? What does humor bring to our life?


6. August 9th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

Let’s talk about Olympic! Which events or athletes are you supporting?

What do you think about league competitions (as compared with tournaments),
which sometimes lead players to lose on purpose? What is sportsmanship?
We do have a mini quiz about Olympic too!
5. August 1st, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)
We are going to talk about Gary Larson’s famous cartoon book “The Far Side”.
Please take a look at the cartoons listed below and share your take on them.
What’s funny about those cartoons? Which part of the humor you got or you didn’t?


4. July 24th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What kind of stereotypes do we have of specific ethnic groups?

And which of them are true or not?


3. July 17th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Hatagaya)

What kind of stereotypes do we have of specific ethnic groups?

And which of them are true or not?


2. July 10th, 2012 (Sakura Cafe Jimbocho)

Differences between Japan and America.

-from food, clothing and housing to entertainments and culture-