Note: When this site was initially reviewed, it featured interviews with Japanese-speaking executives. Since it has been updated to include executive interviews from other countries as well as Japan.
The review pertains to the original Japanese interviews, although the site now includes many other cultures.
Cultural Interviews with Japanese-Speaking Executives is a collection of brief video clips in which 42 native Japanese speakers and 3 Japanese-speaking executives (8 females , 36 males) discuss cultural issues mainly categirized into 4 major groups; Professional, Courtesy, Negotiation and Stereotypes. Each group has more specified topics which amount to 36 sub topics in total. It features a video clip with transcript in both English and Japanese. The video clips are downloadable in MP4 format for ipod users. This site was originally created by Profs. Orlando Kelm and Midori Tanaka of University of Texas at Austin.
Type of Material:
Case Study (video clips of native Japanese speakers)
These clips could be used in class when exploring specific cultural issues (professional communication, greetings, working in groups, stereotypes of American businessmen, etc.). Opinions of clip speakers could be used to generate discussion among class members.
Students could be assigned to view the clips and identify grammar which has been covered in class or simply comment on what the speaker says (based on the English translation).
Quicktime Player required (video clips are embedded Quicktime files)
Worked well in Firefox 3.0.14
Identify Major Learning Goals:
Learners will be able to express a deeper understanding of cultural information about business topics, to develop vocabularies used in and about business settings, to enhance their listening skills through interviews and to improve reading skills through scripts.
Target Student Population:
With a careful selection of topics, this site can be used for intermediate learners, but it is best suited for learners with an advanced Japanese grammar and vocabulary background.
By using scripts in English, it also can be used in introductory culture courses for discussion.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Basic vocabulary and grammar necessary for conversational Japanese. One to two years of language study would be required to fully understand the video clips. To utilize Japanese transcripts, students would need advanced reading ability.
Cultural Interviews with Japanese-Speaking Executives is well designed to provide a variety of cultural information in and about business settings, which is difficult to cover with resource available in a majority of textbooks. The interview videos provide natural and authentic materials in which interviews were not scripted in either the usage of vocabularies or the content of opinions.
The resource's objectives are clearly stated on the website: to provide information about business topics, to provide vocabulary used in professional settings, and to expose students to native speakers. Each clip could be used separately to generate discussion or for personal review. Because the speakers are native Japanese, their opinions are very valuable in teaching students about culture and attitudes.
The site is not interactive. It would be difficult to re-purpose the material.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
This site will enhance learners’ understanding of culture in and about business situations through the effective use of videos. The variety of interviewees differ by gender, birthplace, age, nationality and speech style and provides the user abundant
examples of authentic and natural speech. The easy control of video as well as transcripts in English will motivate the learner and the videos themselves engage multiple senses. A user can see the interviews according to topic or by individual interviewees. The first can be easily used for a discussion comparing different opinions and the latter can be used to note a particular speaker’s speech style, choice of vocabularies, accents, etc. This site is engaging and can be easily integrated into the curriculum.
The transcripts may be useful for language study, but there is no supporting material for the transcripts. Japanese transcript would be more effective as a learning tool if it included vocabulary lists, kanji readings, and grammar explanations.
Some video clips do not have transcripts in English yet. Vocabularies glossaries would also benefit learners.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This site is easy to navigate. The color changes for mouse over makes it easier to know where to click next.
The usage of drop down menus keeps information from overcrowding the page. The video page has a very simple yet functional design. A user can pause, play back or skip ahead of the interview when necessary. “Instructions to view the video clips” provides clear explanation on how to use the site.
The link to the top title bar on the homepage is broken. Some of the video takes more time to download. A user might benefit from an indication of the length of the interview for each video so that they can gauge how much time to wait for downloading. The gray fonts on the homepage appear difficult to read in the Firefox browser.
Other Issues and Comments:
Search by ISBN?
It looks like you have entered an ISBN number. Would you like to search using what you have
entered as an ISBN number?
Searching for Members?
You entered an email address. Would you like to search for members? Click Yes to continue. If no, materials will be displayed first. You can refine your search with the options on the left of the results page.