IELTS GT Test – Speaking Mock Test # 14
[The examiner asks the candidate about him/herself, his/her home, work or studies and other familiar topics.]
Q. What would you suggest a visitor should see and do in your country?
A. I am from Japan and this is one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world. With a remarkably unique tradition, this country has so many places to visit and so many things to do.
I would recommend a tourist to visit and enjoy the Mount Fuji, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Himeji Castle, Todaiji Temple and Tokyo Tower.
Among the activities, I would suggest that someone should experience the Otaku culture in Akihabara, eat ramen and sushi, take a field trip to a castle, wear a kimono, talk to the local people to get a glimpse of their life, overindulge on food in Dotonbori, and watch a traditional festival. There are still so many things to do and a tourist should explore himself to make it a lifetime experience.
Q. Are there any traditional arts or music you would recommend?
A. Traditional Japanese arts have been a source of fascination and inspiration for centuries. Calligraphy is one of the most admired Japanese arts and I am quite positive that a foreign tourist would thoroughly enjoy it. Ikebana, also known as flower arranging is another unique Japanese art form that delights the tourists.
For music, I would definitely recommend ‘Geza’ that includes music and sound effects played on stage right, behind a black bamboo curtain. Besides, ‘Ki and tsuke’ music covers the distinctive sounds made by striking two square oak boards and it is a famous traditional music type in Japan.
Q. Tell me about the kind of foreign visitors or tourists who go to your country.
A. In recent years, Japan attracted around 29 million international tourists in a year and a majority of these tourists come from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong. The number of American, Australian and Malaysian tourists are also significant. Most of these tourists desire to experience the unique traditions and cultural aspects of Japan and a good number of them are solo travellers who want to explore oriental charms and traditions.
Q. In what ways has tourism changed your country?
A. The number of foreigners who visited Japan in the year 2000 was just over 4 million and it went well over 30 million in 2017. The country has relaxed visa restrictions for many nationalities and tourism has emerged as a new economic driver for Japan.
Perhaps because some Asian countries leapt ahead too quickly into tourism without sufficient controls and infrastructure, some Japanese fear the result of a huge influx of tourists might be negative. However, a more developed tourist industry has left Japanese culture intact and unharmed since the Japanese economy is not as vulnerable to fluctuations as developing economies might be.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Describe a memorable event in your life.
You should say:
- when the event took place
- where the event took place
- what happened exactly
and explain why this event was memorable for you.
Cue Card Answer:
We never really thought that we would be able to attract so many people to attend our event. In fact, we didn’t exactly do too much of promotional works to spread the news of our fundraising event that took place about 6 years ago with a very limited amount of preparation. Of course, we were lucky enough to have managed the permission, as it was for a noble cause, from our local authority to organize such a big and important event at a local youth club in my home town. I had no idea back then that this event would later become a memorable experience in my life.
The event started at around 4:00 pm with an introductory speech from our chief event organizer, followed by a live musical performance show by one of our local music concert groups. It was, after all, a fundraising event to help out people in the continent of Africa, so our chief event organizer very passionately tried to describe the plights of some African people who were/are still living under so much economic hardship despite the continuing efforts of many charity organizations around the globe.
As time progressed, people were gathering at our event in numbers. At some points, we were even worried that we wouldn’t be able to accommodate everybody as the crowds were getting larger and larger. The event had continued for about 3 hours, and it had ended with a refreshing snack time. I am taken aback with the sheer number of participants and was equally excited about it.
This was a very memorable event for me primarily because I was the one who provided all the logistics behind the scene to turn this event into a success story. Besides, watching so many people “contributing” so generously in the cause of humanity to help out their other fellow human beings was certainly an unforgettable experience for me. Neither, could I ever forget the “little note of thanks” from one of our brothers, living in a little poor village of Africa, after receiving our little “donation” which I had helped collect, nor did I forget how our neighbours, friends and many people I had never met before helped us collect the donation. It was a great experience that I will cherish for a long time.
Discussion topics: The role of ceremony in our lives
Q. How important are ceremonies in our lives?
A. In Japan, ceremonies and social events are part of our nationalism and tradition. Such events are the best way to socialise and get familiar with new people and Japanese people love it. Ceremonies inspire us and let us forget our woes and distress.
Many ceremonies strengthen our family and social bonding. We celebrate to congratulate a new couple, welcome a newborn baby, congratulate someone on graduation or birthday. We often show respect to our national heroes, celebrate religious ceremonies to reinvigorate our faith and such ceremonies show that we care, we believe and we are there for others.
I believe that ceremonies can motivate us, stimulate our emotions and prompt good memories. The positive effects of the ceremony are universal across countries and regions.
Q. Do you see the role of private and public ceremonies changing in the future?
A. I personally believe that the role and appeal of ceremonies are universal and though the way of celebrating would change in the future, their role would be quite similar as they are now.
However, public ceremonies would be more widely accepted and participated by the people from all walks of life in the future. They will bring people closer and help forget our class divisions. Such ceremonies will promote nationalism, the religious norm and strengthen social bonding.
Private ceremonies, on the other hand, will become more complex and engage a group of people with similar social status and thus focus on celebrating special occasions like a birthday, a wedding and so on. They will be more important in our social life and give us more chances to get together and enjoy the event.
Discussion topics: Attitudes to marriage in your country
Q. Have attitudes to marriage changed in recent years?
A. I believe people in western countries want to choose their life partners after spending a considerable amount of time with them and the attitude towards marriage has shifted significantly in recent days. Many of them remain single and even same-sex marriage is allowed. Many prefer to choose their own life partner unlike the past when marriage was mostly arranged by the family.
In Japan, traditionally, marriages were categorized into two types according to the method of finding a life partner: omiai (arranged marriage) and ren’ai (a boy met a girl and decided to marry). The distinction, however, has grown less meaningful over postwar decades as Western ideas of love has altered Japanese perceptions of marriage.
The number of unmarried Japanese in recent years is alarming and economic and social aspects are two reasons for this declining trend to get married and have a family. Besides, The average age of marriage in Japan has climbed steadily.
Q. In what ways do men and women feel differently about marriage, in your opinion?
A. I believe the reason for getting married is to have a life partner and a family, and this feeling is the same for both men and women. However, boys and girls don’t exactly think alike when it comes to marriage, at least not in traditional marries. In such a marriage, the bride is excited to have a partner but also worries about leaving her own house and making a whole new life. A groom, on the contrary, thinks about all the responsibilities and cost he will have to bear from the time he gets married. Besides, the number of elder men getting married is much higher than that of women. In my country, interestingly, more men than women are reluctant to get married.
Discussion topics: Events of national/global significance
Q. What sorts of national events make headlines in your country?
A. Big political agendas, sports news, a scientific breakthrough, heinous crimes and our success at an international level often make it into the headlines. Apart from that, a big national event, any political movement which is controversial are often the headlines in our national news and TV channels.
Q. Does the media in your country pay more attention to global or national events?
A. I believe media in Japan give equal emphasis both on national and international events and they have dedicated pages for both. With the globalisation, the rest of the world is no longer far away from us and any big international even ignites interest to Japanese media. Having said that, I would like to mention that regional newspapers, radio stations and TV channels focus more on national news while English newspapers and satellite TV channels deal more with international events.