Sunday, October 03, 2010

Toyo Gakuen University Introduction to Business English B: Unit 7 People Lesson 2

Hello everyone,
I hope you had a great week-end. Today we are going to finish Unit 7. We will read profiles of two famous business people: Mercedes Erra and Bill Gates. We will also learn about conflict resolution.

Image downloaded from iStockphoto

Click this link to learn more about Mercedes Erra and Bill Gates: . Read the post and do the tasks. After that return to this post.

Finally, let's think. Last week we talked about the kinds of people we like working with. Sometimes conflict happens because we define things differently. For example, how do you define "hard working":

  •  働き過ぎ - over working yourself, working for a very long time, working overtime
  • よく働く- industrious, efficient
  • 頑張る- trying hard, pulling one's weight, doing one's best
Last week my great colleague Phil Brown left a comment on this blog. Mr. Brown is bicultural. His father is English and his mother is Japanese. He told me, "For me, the saying "Never be afraid of a bit of hard work!" (よく働く) is something I grew up with on my English side with 頑張る strong on my Japanese side..."
What do you think. Do Japanese people define "hard work" differently?
Leave a comment below.


  1. Here are some other common expressions:

    "She's as busy as a bee" / "You're a busy bee."
    - I think this is similar to 働き者。
    "He's a workhorse!"
    "I'm turning into a workaholic!"
    "Some people have to work for a living!"

    And do you know these common sayings? I've only given you the first half so you'll have to find the second half! Can you work them out?
    "All work and no play _____ ___ __ _____ ____"
    "We've been working ______-___ seven!"

    Well, I'm sure that's plenty to set your mind to work on and play around with. And I should be getting back to my work since there's a lot to be done. Hopefully, however, I'll find time to do some exercise and have a workout later.

    Enjoy :)


    PS If you've understood and/or learned one new thing, that's great. If not, that's fine. keep working at it and it will come. Even as an English teacher, I'd almost forgotten how many meanings of work there are - and there are still many more! In fact, 'work' is a very hard-working word and does many jobs in English!

  2. I think "hard work" can imply either negative (きつい、つらい、大変) or positive (がんばり、一生懸命) feelings/attitudes towards the work, but (to me) "hardworking people" describes the way people are working (trying hard, putting a lot of effort) and usually implies positive attitudes towards the people/the way.

    I feel よく働く and がんばる are quite different, but how hard it is to explain the difference! Here's what I thought (glad I remember what I came up with before sleep):

    1. When I hear "あの人はよく働く(ね)," I imagine that the person is industrious, and he/she is doing fine what he/she can do. When I hear "あの人はがんばってる(ね)," I imagine that the person is trying hard to do something challenging.

    2. You can say "がんばります!" to show you are willing/motivated to try hard, but it sounds really odd if you said "よく働きます!" instead.

    What do you think?


  3. Anonymous5:13 pm

    Dear Phil sensei

    Hello, my name is Kohta. The answer is "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." and I don't understand the rest...
    Mr.Stout would like us students to reply your comments, I googled them but I didn't figure out in the end.

    Dear Mari sensei

    One of our teacher often discribes other teacher "He's a hard-working man." When I hear that, I think よく働く人 suits well.
    がんばる or つらい aren't pretty enough for the expression. They make me feel some kind of negative, unconfortable, and severely.

  4. Takaaki.T5:38 pm

    Dear Philip and Mari-sennsei.
    Hi,I'm Mr.Philip,I understood you're question.first question's answer is 「All work and no play makes jack a dull boy」is it?
    at second question, I tried my best but I couldn't understand sorry.

    so Mari-sennsei.
    I think you're rihgt. I think so too.
    but,I think some word's meenings are defferent by location and culture.

    It's over bye bye!

  5. Haruna S9:56 pm

    Dear Philip.
    Hi,I'm Haruna Sasaki.
    I understood you'er question.
    I thought question's answer is [All work and no play makes jack a dull boy].
    And second question's answer is i couldn't understood.sorry.

    Dear Mari-sensei.
    I agree you'er opinions.
    I think so too.


  6. Naokit.11:49 pm

    Dear Mari-sensei
    I agree with your opinions. I have the same opinion as yours. From my point of view,'hard- working is positive expression too.
    「よく頑張る」and「一生懸命」are the match for 'hard-working'
    I think 'hard-working'is positive word.