It seems to me this has been a year for weddings in our wonderful little community. 2 of our students at SSE Ohtsu have gotten married this year, and 2 others have been proposed to by the [now] fiancees. Also, Adam from SSE Sakai Higashi and his lovely wife Mayumi had a traditional Japanese style ceremony in Osaka Castle Park in April. To top it off, at the end of May I married my [beautiful] partner Chiharu at Auberge Maison in Ohmimaiko, Shiga Prefecture (about 30 minutes north of Ohtsu).
So marriage was on my mind when I returned to school after a 5 day “wedding” break. Chiharu and I were planning our lessons for the next week and she suggested doing the “Giving Advice” lesson with a group of 3 older high level students. I used the “older” adjective as this is the key to her lesson plan: have the students discuss marriage and offer advice to newlyweds (i.e. US!). Mr A, Mr B and Mrs C have been married for 28, 45 and 12 years respectively- so they had some great ideas for keeping a marriage running smoothly and keeping things fresh.
I asked the students to come up with some problem situations and then offer advice on how to solve the problems. Key language for this lesson was: should, ought to , had better and the negative forms.
Mr A’s problem:
Mr A: I go to an Izakaya with my co-workers every Friday night. I often get home late and my wife is unhappy.
Mr B: You should go home after work and offer to take her out with you. (straight faced answer!)
Mr A: Thank you… but my wife won’t go with me to the Izakaya.
Mr B: Oh. Well… you should take her to a restaurant.
Mr A: What restaurant do you recommend.
Mr B: McDonalds. (laughter all around)
Mrs C: You ought to go to an Italian restaurant.
Mr B’s problem:
Mr B: I want to go to English countries for our vacation, but my wife wants to go to Asian countries.
Mrs C: You ought to go to an Asian country this year, and an English country next year.
Mr B: But we always went to Asian countries!
Mr A: You had better go to different countries. You should go to Canada and your wife should go to China.
Mr B: No…We must travel together!
Mrs C: Hmmmm… You ought to go to Singapore, because you can speak English.
Mr B: Really?
Mrs C: I went to Singapore and they talk English.
Mr B: Good Idea, thanks. But my wife wants to go to China!
Mrs C’s problem:
Mrs C: My husband doesn’t like foreign food. I must always cook Japanese food.
Mr A: You ought to cook Korean or Chinese food. It is like Japanese food.
Mr B: You should cook anything and tell your husband to eat it.
Mrs C: Ok!
The students really enjoyed giving advice and they could relate to the topic and thus the lesson was not only fun but also practical. Some excellent discussion ensued regarding marriage and married life and so on. I received lots of great advice, from people with real marriage experience! I very much appreciated it….
To end the lesson, I had the 3 students practice using the negative forms by giving 3 pieces of advice on things you should NEVER do if you want to have a long and successful marriage.
Mr A: Just a moment.
Mr B: You should not smoke at the kitchen table. My wife made me eat in my room.
You ought not to have a girlfriend.
You had better not work too much. My wife didn’t like too much work.
Mrs C: You should not drink too much. I don’t like when my husband is drunk.
You ought not to watch TV at dinner time.
You had better not make your wife wait. I don’t like waiting for my husband.
Mr A: Ok. You should not play music loud.
You ought not to not eat dinner. Always eat dinner my wife makes.
You had better not TELL your wife something. You should ASK, and you should say PLEASE.
I hope all the newlyweds or soon to be wed or already married couples out there can learn something from this, and if you want more advice…. ask an “older” student, I’m sure they would be happy to offer you some marriage advice!
Edward, SSE Ohtsu