Close Up #1 – Culture Shock

In this episode Jen and Chris meet up in a crowded café to discuss Chris’s latest adventure. He is Canadian and has just come back from an exciting trip to Tokyo. They discuss about Chris’s experiences in another country and culture. Here we explain expressions like time flies and to show someone the ropes, and other new vocabulary!


Expressions included in the learning materialsconversation_two_people

  • Tag questions
  • The crack of dawn
  • To crack (under pressure) can mean to surrender to something or someone. Example: They pressured him until he cracked.
  • To crack up means to laugh suddenly. Example: I told a joked and she cracked up.
  • To crack down means to get serious about something. Example: They really cracked down on violence in prisons
  • The time flew by “Time flies when you are having fun.”
  • Stumble
  • Kind of
  • Sorta
  • To show someone the ropes
  • Gerund

Sample transcript

Jen: You just got back from a trip, didn’t you?
Chris: Yeah, I was gone for two weeks and I got back yesterday at the crack of dawn. It was so much fun. The time flew by.
Jen: Where did you go?
Chris: I was in Tokyo visiting a friend. She’s living over there and teaching English to kids at a private school.
Jen: Really? That’s an incredible experience. I have always wanted to travel to Asia. But I haven’t had the opportunity yet.
Chris: Yeah. I am thinking about teaching English in another country too. My friend is having the time of her life. She doesn’t even know when she’ll leave.
Jen: But tell me about your trip. Did you experience any culture shock?
Chris: Well, once I stumbled upon this little restaurant and I was all alone. I decided to go in but I had difficulty ordering because everything was in Japanese. I felt embarrassed, so I just decided to choose something. But when the meal arrived I didn’t know what it was or how to eat it.
Jen: Wow. So what did you do?
Chris: I tried to eat a bit of everything. Then I quickly paid and left.
Jen: Did you have any other trouble?
Chris: The train system there was kind of confusing too. Luckily my friend was there to show me the ropes. Jen: It sounds like so much fun. I’ve got to start planning something soon.
Let’s look at their conversation in more detail. Jen starts:
Jen: You just got back from a trip, didn’t you? Here she makes a positive sentence and then puts a negative question at the end. This is called a tag question. We use this when we check for information.
Jen thinks that Chris when on a trip. She is not 100% sure so she uses a tag question to check if she is correct. I will give you another example. My friend heard that it was my birthday recently. So she said to me, “It was your birthday a few days ago, wasn’t it”? Or, I have a friend who I think knows a lot about computers but I am not completely sure. I need help with my computer. So I ask my friend, “You know a lot about computers don’t you”? In these examples I used a positive sentence, followed by a negative question.


Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast