Discussion Class Topics



Due to the Coronavirus pandemic we have reduced our class sizes. As such, until our class sizes return to pre-pandemic numbers, presentation and debate style  discussion classes will not be held.


All discussion classes will be discussion style only.

- Friday 22nd of January -


- Pet stores and pets in Japan -


 Lets move away from the heavy politics of the last few months. Lets talk about pets and animals. Specifically animal welfare and pet shops in Japan.

In the UK, you will not find a pet shop that sells cats and dogs. It is just not acceptable to keep cats and dogs in small cages of boxes. Even at home, I don't know anyone in the UK that has a cage at home for their pet. Of course they have a carry box to take them to the vets or other places. But I was shocked when I tried to get some kittens in Japan last year and was told that a requirement was I had to buy a cage to keep them in at home! I have had cats for over 25 years, and this is just so strange, and in fact, I would go as far as to say this feels cruel.


Pet shops seem especially cruel in Japan. Kittens and puppies are taken away from their mother really young. In the UK, you have to wait at least 12 weeks before removing a kitten from its mother! In Japan they are left in small hot boxes all day while hundreds of people come in a knock on the box and want to pet it and then put it back.


This is on top of the extreme prices! I couldn't believe how expensive a kitten was in Japan. My kittens in England were only 1000 yen each!


Why do you think that Japan has such a different culture around keeping pets? Why do people keep them in small cages? Why do dog walkers alway carry their  dog? They are not exercising their dog and it seems pointless if you just carry it.




Let's discuss this!


- Friday 22nd of January -


-  Deciding other people's deaths -


It is not uncommon to see headline news in Japan where someone has killed a bunch of family members, and then killed themselves.


Last year, I believe it was in December or November, a young man, 21 years old, drove a car with his sister in the passenger seat with the sole purpose of killing them both. He survived, only his sister died. He was attempting to kill himself and to take his sister with him.


Some of the more common ones are headlines like "Man in his 40's kills mother, father, aunt, and then himself" or "Father kills daughter then himself" and other combinations of murder-suicide.


But why does this pattern appear in Japan so commonly?

Don't take my words the wrong way, I am sure this sort of thing happens in other countries, but in Japan, a country where people believe they are part of a society that needs to work together, (rice-farming culture and all that kind of stuff), why would people want to kill so many, before suicide?


Obviously, all the of the different cases will have some different causes, but is there something in Japan, or Japanese culture, or Japanese society, that could contribute to the feelings that make this kind of act occur?


Of course they don't always kill themselves right after, and that is just plain murder. Looking at the crime section of the Japan Today news site shows a few murder cases on the first page, but as you go through the pages you will find some murder-suicide stuff too. Take a look:



Let's discuss this!

- Sunday 24th of January -


- The "good old days" -


For some reason, people tend to look back on the past, and think 'hey, those were good times, I like the "good old days."  ------>


A big part of Trump's campaign was to "Make America Great Again" but when was America great? Great for who? What was great about it?


When were these so-called "good old days"?

Why do people want to get back to these days?

What is the "good" part of the "good old days"?

Who were those days good for? Surely not everyone?

How could we ever get to those days anyway? Things have happened that can't be returned to the way they were, how can the "good old days" fit these new changes?

Which people want these days to return? Just those who benefitted from those days?


Do you have an opinion of when the "good old days" were for you?

If you do, when would you like to get back to (not like a time machine, but more like changing the world situation to match how it was back then)?


Let's discuss this!


In class with Hohua!


Mark, Connor, and Hohua!













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