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Culture Forum

Culture Forum

Date: Oct 26 2013

Topic: Conversational English

Author: englishteacher24/7


A. Forum goals:

  • Provide information on other cultures from the readers.
  • Identify the relationships between culture and language.
  • Provide information on English-speaking cultures to develop an understanding of the English language used in a particular country.

B. Introduction:

  • Cultural influence - Culture has a direct influence on the language(s) used in society. Learning the culture of a society can identify some general characteristics of its people.
  • Cultural factors - Factors such as religion, economics, traditions, customs, natural resources, and politics influences culture.
  • Benefits of learning other cultures - Information about other cultures can help us to understand why people of a society do the things they do, even within the same country. Therefore, let us use this opportunity to learn from each other and seek to improve ourselves.


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La Princesse de la vie


WobblyJoe, You are right, on my second read I noticed there are more than the one I have caught on my first read. However, while reading, I focus on the meaning even when I encounter some new expressions I search for the meaning behind the words and if I get it, I skip it.

But the dialogue between Mr. Alston and the japanese coworker in Las Vegas is still a bit bewildering for me.

“took the walk” , you know, I even didn’t think it might be an expression, because pursuing the text “I took the walk down the church aisle, joined the church, and began to meet new people and we grew spiritually together” I took it as a literal part. Now that you mention it, it might be meaning that Mr. Alston decided to take the step to join the church after the new birth.

buttafly, for the first moment, I took it (I placed both my hands on her shoulders) by its literal meaning, but then I thought it might be figurative of Mr. Alston’s decision to claim her as a wife. But I still want to know the exact meaning.

07:28 PM Apr 11 2016 |

1 person likes this




Dear, Alston I have read this touching post in one breath. 

God has done everything you asked. It poroves that God is alwasys beside us.

Thanks for telling about your father. It was very interesting for me to learn about his persoinality.

He will always live in your heart. Blessed  memories to him!

Alston, how lucky you are in my eyes! You have been to Japan! Great!

I dream to visit this country one day. When I was in Thai, I saw by my own eyes the special kind attitude payed to Japanese tourists.

Japanese people are always honoured whenever they are and they truly deserve this. Japanese traditions are amazing for us, European people.

How beautiful Japasnese girls are! They are like porcelain dolls! 

At the moment I am embroidering a picture “Japanese Maiden”. I fell in love with this beautiful sight of this girl. This link shows the finished work which I will get in a year. :) 


Do you see? I am a great fan of Japan. I like their music, movies, poetry…

Thanks for inspiring us, dear Alston

With friendly love to you, dear teacher.




The questions of La Princesse de la vie and Wobbly Joe made me chew about an expression you used at the beginning of the second paragraph in the Marriage part. You said: I placed both my hands on her shoulders and was convinced that she was going to be my wife even though I never seen her before.

( I think it’s in a figurative sense since we all know that touching strangers is a risky thing to do)

Now is this another way of saying: I laid my hands on her ( to acquire possession after I was trying for so long to find her – or did you rather mean to signify a biblical/ spiritual form of connection with your future wife? 

Looking forward to your explanation..

06:30 AM Apr 11 2016 |



United States

Great question La Princes.

Hint: Where this conversation happened matters as much as what was said.

You gave me an idea though, as I read I noticed there is at least one phrase that might be hard for many native speakers!

For example “took the walk”, in the first sentence of the finding a wife part.

They might be an interesting discussion.

How many do you see?

Good hunting.

10:38 PM Apr 10 2016 |

La Princesse de la vie


I’m sure that the Japanese staff were lucky to have you among them as we are now, Mr. Alston. Thank you for sharing your experiences and memories with us.

One thing, could you please give further explanation on your dialogue with the Japanese engineer who lost money in Las Vegas?

09:45 PM Apr 10 2016 |




Dear Alston, thank you for writing big for those of us who love to follow you as our mentor.

I for one, just love to read and absorb everything you create to spark up this site. I believe we can all feel the effort and the passion that drives you to teaching American English. I am so grateful to you for your writing ( especially the pieces that content your personal history), your lessons and the challenge that comes with every single piece. I/we learned so much from you. Trust me on this one…I’m looking very much forward to following your continued journeys on English, baby!  Much admiration from across the pond ;-)


United States

Part 4- Growing up in the U.S. (1979-2016) Life After New Birth / Marriage/ Move across the country / Retirement

Life After New Birth / Transition

My (Born Again) life style after the party life style was quite different. However, it was not without temptations. For example, one of the female neighbors in the apartment complex and I befriended each other.

We partied together with some other neighbors. After informing her that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour she came over to pay me a visit.

We talked about my experience and she mentioned that she knew other people who had a similar experience but they didn’t last and returned to their old life style.

We always had a platonic relationship but had fun in our mutual partying activities. However, this particular time she wanted me to hug her which I did, but she wanted to take it to another level; however, God gave me the strength to not go there.

From that point on our relationship grew apart but we remained on good terms but didn’t keep in touch in the future.

Finding a Wife

At this point I took the walk down the church aisle, joined the church, and began to meet new people and we grew spiritually together. Nevertheless, I saw my need for a wife, being alone, I began to pray for a wife. I wanted God to reveal to me who she would be.

I met a young lady and we talked, but it was like a job interview with her asking many questions such as: Where do you live? Where do you work? How long you worked there?

Yada, yada, yada, well, you know for sure that she wasn’t the one! Then there was a young lady who was a neighbor I grew up with and we went to Junior High and High School together. We spent a little time together but no, she wasn’t the one.


Then one Sunday morning a young lady came down the church aisle at the end of the church service (during the time the church doors were open) and sat down on the first row in front of me (I was on the second row).

I placed both my hands on her shoulders and was convinced that she was going to be my wife even though I never seen her before. I believed that she was an answer to my prayers.

Later on I introduced myself and asked her out on a few dates which she accepted. We spent time talking on the telephone, studying the Bible and spending time together. Then I popped the question and made a marriage proposal, “Will you marry me?” She ultimately replied, “Yes.”

We were married within 5 months and by God’s grace we have been married now over 35 years.

The cross country move

After about a couple of years the company I worked for began to close up their operations and I lost my job. In Michigan the economy was in a recession and jobs were very scarce. Therefore, we made the decision to move across the country to California and within 5 months I began employment with a Japanese automobile company.

This was a very pleasant and interesting time for us. We became friends with Japanese people and learned of their culture and they learned ours. One time a Japanese couple invited us to their home and my co-worker’s wife dressed my wife in her kimono and she looked beautiful in it.

Experiences at the company

Working with the Japanese staff was an enjoyable experience for me. My general manager (who approved my hiring) became good friends even to this day. During lunch time he taught me how to eat with chop sticks and play the Japanese game “Go” and I taught him and the other staff English and English phrases. This is where I began teaching English phrases and helping the Japanese with written English (in addition to the translators.)

My Job Duties

I had many job duties but the main one was preparing test vehicles with the installation of test equipment for road tests and to accompany visiting and resident engineers on the test trip.

On one occasion (re-created) we stayed overnight in Las Vegas and one of my favorite engineers would win money there. On the next day he was very quiet and not his usual self. So I asked him, “What’s up, you’re mighty quiet today?” His reply was, “Hmm Alston-san, lost a lot of money!”

So I said, “But on the other times you won a lot of money, so it comes out in the wash!” So his reply, “Yes, but I don’t want to lose money.” My reply, “It goes with the territory, you’ll be alright.”

Company Trip to Japan

One time during my career the company selected to send me to Japan for training for 4 weeks. This was a golden opportunity for me so I treasured it. Not only did I receive excellent training but I had the opportunity to visit my hiring general manager and his wife at their home and other Japanese staff I previously worked with.

On one visit to a friend’s home in Japan, we talked extensively about cultural things and their daughter had a dream of “studying aboard” (in the U.S.). The conversation evolved to English and I explained to her that many phrases, idioms, and slang are weaved into everyday English and some you won’t find in a dictionary. So she threw the dictionary across the room and we talked well into the night.

Meiji Village Museum Visit

The couple I first mentioned that we went to their home is the couple that escorted me on a tour of the Meiji Village Museum in Japan during my visit. It was very interesting to see the historical buildings and artifacts there as well as meeting with my Japanese friends again.

Passing of my father 

After I returned home from Japan, a few months later, my father passed away (died) from cancer. My Dad and I were close and his memory lives in my heart.

Some of our memories were: we took martial arts together, moving from the projects to our house, working on a car, picking up Dad’s new car at the dealership, accompanying me to college and supporting me (he was so proud when I graduated) and many other memories…

Dad was such a friendly person who never met a stranger. He retired from a car company and sold many things on the side. My Dad could sell the rug off of your floor; he was so good at selling. He often told me, “This is Big Business, Big Business!” and would say, “Son, think positive, don’t think negative!” May Dad rest in peace.

My retirement

All of my supervisors, managers, and general managers were excellent people who did their jobs well. Nevertheless, one person I would like to make mention of was my supervisor Rainer who was a native-born German that taught me many things concerning vehicles. We became friends and often ate lunch together.

He had a sense of humor and if the phone rang in the room and you asked him who it was, he would say, “It’s Harry, he says he wants his tie back!”

The time came where I had enough seniority to retired so I took the opportunity to retire. So now instead of teaching the Japanese staff English phrases I teach them to you!

To read my full autobiography, please scroll back to February 29, 2016 for the posting dates.

Amira (LaPrinces) thanks for your nudge to complete Part 4.

Thanks to all others who made comments and provided support.

I intend to resume writing on other English topics and comments.

La Princesse de la vie


We’re waiting for it impatiently Mr. Alston. Good luck! :)

08:48 PM Apr 09 2016 |


United States

Part 4 of “Growing Up in the U.S”. mini autobiography is coming soon, will post when completed. Please stay tuned.

04:12 PM Apr 09 2016 |


United States

Welcome Sidhu, thanks for your feedback.

10:16 PM Mar 24 2016 |



Good forum, much interesting.

07:55 AM Mar 23 2016 |


United States

LaPrinces, congratulations on reading through to this point. Now that means I have to continue on with the rest of my life story. Please stay tuned!

02:21 AM Mar 20 2016 |

La Princesse de la vie


Wow! I’m so glad I made it to here finally. That was a really long interesting journey for me to take. It is a gate for me to a typical American’s life with some personal experiences, some lessons and of course lots of English material for me to take in. 

Mr. Alston, that was another great initiative from you to give us a picture of your life and a very rich English content.

I’m more than eager to pursue the rest :)

09:38 PM Mar 19 2016 |


United States

Hello Hermitlady, what you are interested in is the topic entitled: “Growing up in the United States” which is a record of my life experiences living in the U.S.. 

The Introduction was posted on January 21, 2015; continue reading until you arrive at the last post which is the time period of 1975-1978. Here is the link:


Let me know if you have any questions or comments. Welcome to the forum.

09:24 AM Mar 17 2016 |



  It is a little late when I see this forum.

  It seems that there is one story about one person’s experiences about culture. But I can’t find that story. I am interest in this topic.


   Only I don’t know where to start .


02:53 AM Mar 17 2016 |


United States

Hello 彭古千 and welcome.  I agree with you that culture influences our parents and the education that parents provide to a certain extent influence their children. Good point.

Anja, I intend to “keep on truckin’” ”until the cows come home” as long as readers desire to read my contribution to the website.

Joao Correia, welcome. I know what you mean. Adding audio to the chat room would be great!

01:46 AM Mar 17 2016 |

joao correia


Hello Mr. Alston thanks for you advice.

We need talking more sometimes I want practice speaking fluently a lot.

12:12 AM Mar 17 2016 |

joao correia


Hello Mr. Alston thanks for you advice.

We need talking more sometimes I want practice speaking fluently a lot.

12:12 AM Mar 17 2016 |




It’s my pleasure, Alston. Just keep on rollin’ with the flow ;-)

12:26 PM Mar 15 2016 |




Culturel influence parents , while what influence our characteristics is more the way of education by our family than culture. 

11:36 AM Mar 15 2016 |

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