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Academic English

“Japanese Bamboo Artifacts – Script”

Listening Exercise

Listen to the recording and read along with the conversation. Review the key vocabulary and the sample sentences.

Hi, this is Randall from Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab. Now today, I’d like to talk about several interesting cultural artifacts that are a part of daily lives of the Japanese, and perhap. . . perhaps other Asian countries as well.

Now, for hundreds and even thousands of years, the bamboo plant has played an important role in the lives of the Japanese, and at one time, it was believed that the Shinto gods could be found in the stem of the bamboo plant, and this is something that is portrayed in one of Japan’s oldest tales, the Tale of the Bamboo Cutter.

Now, bamboo is a very versatile plant. It’s light and flexible, an . . . but strong, and there are many varieties of it. Now today, I’d like to talk about three bamboo objects.

First of all, the chashaku. And this is a chashaku. And the chashaku is a tea spoon, and it is used for measuring powdered green tea during the tea ceremony.

Uh, second, uh . . . is a chasen. And this is a chasen. And a chasen is a tea whisk, and it is for mixing the powdered green tea in a small bowl, uh, until . . . a . . . it becomes a frothy mixture.

Finally, uh, I’d like to introduce the mimikaki. This is a mimikaki. And although it looks like a small type of spoon, it is act . . . actually an ear pick . . .uh . . . used for cleaning out ear wax.

Now, today I talked about three different . . . uh . . . bamboo objects: the chasen, the chashaku, and the mimikaki, but these are only three of the many bamboo objects that can be found in Japan. 

Vocabulary and Sample Sentences

  • artifact (noun): a tool or other object used by people, particularly in the past
    – What kinds of artifacts did they discover yesterday in the cave?
  • portray (verb): describe in a particular way 
    – This movie doesn’t portray the people of this culture in a positive light. That’s too bad.
  • versatile  (adjective): having many uses 
    – A smartphone is a very versatile piece of technology that can help you do many things.
  • frothy (adjective): very bubbly 
    – I really enjoy this frothy hot chocolate.
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