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John Couldn't Believe What He Saw in Japan

2024-06-04 00:00:00 / episode: 389

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Hi, this is a listening practice podcast. It’s a story. The story is about John.

In this episode, I have included some questions. If you like, you can listen to find the answers to the questions.
I will include the answers at the end of the video.

Pre-listening questions

  1. John was going to Japan. What was one thing John wanted to do in Japan?
  2. What surprised and shocked John when he saw the map near the temple?
  3. Why did John think there must be a mistake?
  4. What did the man working at the shrine tell John?
  5. What is the difference between a swastika and a Manji?

the trip

John was ==excited==. He ==just got off== the phone to book his tickets to Japan. He thought the trip was going to be great. He was going to hear ==real Japanese== spoken by Japanese people. He was going to visit the old temples. He was going to eat ==fresh sushi==, and if he was lucky, he was going to see ==cherry blossoms==. But, he was ==in for== a big ==surprise== when he got to Japan.

arrival and shock

After arriving in Japan, John ==checked in== to his hotel. When he arrived at the hotel, he was ==doubly happy==. He saw the ==torii gates== nearby. That meant there was a shrine close to his hotel. After dinner, he ==went for== a short walk. He ==got to== the shrine ok and there were some signs in front. He ==went to== look at the signs. One of them was a map. He looked at the map. John was ==puzzled== by what he saw. Then he was ==shocked==. He could not believe it. Here he was in ==modern day Japan== looking at a map that had ==swastikas== on it!

troubled

He ==went back== to the hotel, thinking he had made a mistake. Then he thought about history. The Japanese and the Germans were ==historically connected== during World War II. Could they be ==keeping such a connection alive==? He had trouble sleeping that night. He thought this ==must all be a mistake==.

confusion

The next day he woke up and ==thought about== the swastikas at breakfast. The suddenly he felt better. He thought that Japan today is ==fully modern== and has ==renounced== all war and violence. These people surely would not preserve a swastika in memory of World War II. This must be a ==simple mistake==. He was about to find the ==answer==.

resolution

John went back to the shrine. He looked at the map again. There was ==no mistake==. There were ==lots of== small swastika marks on the map. He went in the ==shrine compound==. There was a small line in front of ==what looked like== a temple shop. They sold candles and books and ==good luck amulets==. John lined up.

When he came to the front of the line he ==asked the person in the shop if== he could speak English. The man said yes. John ==asked about== the swastikas. The man smiled and gently replied that those were ==not swastikas==. He said they were called Manji and had been used in Japan for thousands of years. They ==represent good luck== and also temples, the man added. John thanked him for his help and bought a ==good luck amulet==.

mixed feelings

John felt better but he still had a nagging feeling. The swastika had been ==desecrated== by the Nazis. How could they keep it on the maps in Japan after that? Then he took a closer look at it. He looked at the swastika on his smart phone. He ==suddenly realised== that they were different! They were like ==mirror images== of each other. They ==swirled in opposite== directions! Finally John began to relax. After that, John had a wonderful vacation in the ==land of the rising sun==.

Answers to the questions

  1. John was going to Japan. What was one thing John wanted to do in Japan?

He wanted to hear real Japanese spoken, he wanted to visit some shrines, and he wanted to eat fresh sushi.

  1. What surprised and shocked John when he saw the map near the temple?

He was surprised and shocked to see swastikas on the map by the shrine.

  1. Why did John think there must be a mistake?

He thought Japan was a modern country and modern countries mostly look down on the swastika.

  1. What did the man working at the shrine tell John?

The man said they were not swastikas. They were Manji, which is a symbol of good luck.

  1. What is the difference between a swastika and a Manji?

The swastikas and the Manji swirl in opposite directions. You can see it if you put them side by side.