Posts Tagged Friends

November 6, 2006 – Goodbye Pizza and Friends

The Penpal came to visit me after work for a typical date night featuring Pizza-La while watching Friends. With just under 10 days left before I move back to Canada, this might be our last pizza and Friends night. I’m going to miss it!

The Penpal will be joining me in Canada early next year after her visa is approved. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of new traditions we start together.

(2018 Update) For most of The Penpal’s first year in Canada, our date night was Vietnamese take out from Vi-Ann and a movie rental from Movie Village.

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August 2, 2006 – Friends

I worked an early shift today and got to spend my evening with The Penpal. We ordered pizza and watched Friends. Believe it or not, there is a lot of material to cover on both topics, so I’m breaking this up into two posts.

As an English teacher, students are often asking me what they can do to improve their English. One of the things I recommend is watching TV in English, and I specifically recommended watching Friends.

I was a fan of Friends back in Canada. It’s a fun show and it was always easy to find reruns on almost any channel. For those who have been living in a cave, Friends is a show about 6 friends who live in New York City. All of the action takes place in only a few main locations, and the stories mainly revolve around relationships, family, and jobs.

In addition to being a fun show, Friends is a great tool for learning conversational English. The characters speak the kind of English that many students want to learn when they go to a conversational English school. The language is casual without being overloaded by slang, the conversation is about things that people actually talk about (the aforementioned relationships, family, jobs), and there is a lot of movement and physical humour to help provide context to the spoken language.

English students in Japan can all find something to relate to in the characters in Friends. Overbearing parents? Check. Working an office job that your friends don’t understand? Check. Divorced parent? Check. Apartment life in a big city? Check. While not everyone has a pet duck or an evil twin sister, there still are at least a few things in the characters that everyone can identify with.

As one final advantage of the show, Friends is easy to find. Reruns are shown on TV and the DVDs are easily available to buy or rent. The DVDs come with audio and subtitles in both English and Japanese. I’ve been encouraging students to watch in English with English subtitles if possible, and only to use the Japanese subtitles if they had trouble understanding something.

What’s not to understand?

I know a few students have taken my advice so far, and I have been enjoying rewatching the show with The Penpal as a fun way to practice her English before she moves to Canada. That’s when we’re going to graduate to The Simpsons!




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February 18, 2005 – Sick day

My first day calling in sick since I came to Mishima school. I spent a relaxing day trying to settle my stomach, sleeping, and watching Friends on DVD.



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February 3, 2005 – Friends and bad haircuts


Today was Setsubun, which I explained in detail here. Since I didn’t participate in any of the usual traditions, it was just a regular day for me.

During the day I went for a haircut at QB house near Seiyu. QB House is famous for their traffic light sign outside the store that indicates how long you have to wait, and for their 10 minute, 1000 yen haircuts. The barber who cut my hair was extremely friendly, and turned a simple haircut into an energetic show. Unfortunately friendly does not cancel out a communication barrier. I now look like a cross between an English soccer hooligan and a reject from a punk band.

Thanks to the internet, I was able to finally start watching the final season of Friends. I have liked the show for a long time, and it’s going to be good to see how it ended. Friends is one of those shows that probably stayed on the air a year or two longer than it should have, but there were piles and piles of money to be made.

Speaking of money, don’t EVER download TV shows from the internet for free. It’s just plain wrong. It is your duty to sit through at least 6 minutes of commercials during every 30 minutes of entertainment. If you do accidentally find copies of downloaded TV shows on your computer, you are pretty much obligated to look up a list of the show’s sponsors and go buy their products.

Regardless of how you choose to legally view Friends, it is a show that I always recommend to students who are looking for more exposure to conversational English. The characters on the show mostly talk about jobs and relationships, and there are usually a lot of visual clues to help fill in the context of the conversation. Other than the really wacky episodes with monkeys or dance routines, Friends is a fun way to practice listening to natural English conversation.

(2015 Update) I was excited to find that friends is now available on Netflix. However, they took the original 4:3 picture and trimmed off the top and bottom to completely fill today’s 16:9 standard. Yes, in the interest of filling up the whole screen, they cut off part of the picture. Everyone please stop doing this!!!

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April 26, 2004 – Friends Marathon

Tonight in the Hello House common room people were watching Ally McBeal. I hate Ally McBeal. To fix the situation, I busted out my homemade VCD copies of Friends Season 9 that I brought to Japan. I was very proud of my VCDs – I took a lot of effort to make a menu title screen with graphics and everything.

The good news was that I watched 9 back to back episodes before calling it a night. This was much, MUCH better than Ally McBeal. The bad news was that I lost 500 yen in a bet with TimTam that she couldn’t stay awake for the entire 9 episode marathon.

The wild times never stop in Hello House!

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