Technology in the Food Industry


Skip is joined by guest host Samantha Vega to talk about how the food industry is slowly but surely embracing technology.

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Skip: This is Skip Montreux in Tokyo, Japan. And you are listening to Down to Business English.  Hello everyone! Welcome back to another episode of Down to Business English. The podcast that helps you improve your business English through discussing business topics making the news around the world. Unfortunately, my dear co-host, Dez Morgan, can’t be here today, as he is stuck under a mountain of research, as he works on his PhD in TESOL. But fear not, today I am very fortunate to be joined by a colleague and dear friend, Ms. Samantha Vega. Coming to us from Auckland in New Zealand. Thanks for being here today, Sam.

Samantha: Oh, no problem. It’s lovely to see you again, and to talk to you.

Skip: Yes. It’s good to hear your voice. Now, for all you listeners, Sam is a very, very old friend of mine. And Sam, why don’t you tell us how, how did we meet?

Samantha: Well gee, we uh, are both Canadians, so maybe that’s one reason why we get along so well. But we met in Tokyo in Japan, gosh, 13-14 years ago? How long we known each other? 

Skip: That’s right. We did not meet in Canada. I have been in Japan for 18 years now. And you are one of the first people I…I met here. So, it’s been that long, actually.

Samantha: It has been. I moved there in, uh, 1997, is when I went there. But, I stayed there for six years. And then I moved to Thailand for 13 years, and I’ve, less than a year now, moved to Auckland, New Zealand, which is actually where I was born. But I was raised in Canada. That’s why I don’t have the Kiwi accent.

Skip: Now, just, just one moment. You lived in Thailand for 13 years (chuckling). I know a lot of people who visit Thailand. I don’t know anyone who stayed there for 13 years. You got to tell us a little bit about that.

Samantha: Well, I kinda got stuck on Thai time which is very lazy, lazy time. The time seems to move… 

Skip: Thai time.

Samantha: … it moves a little bit slowly there. Well, I decided to move from uh Tokyo, one of the biggest cities in the world to Ko Samui, Thailand, which is a very small tourist island. So I decided to go from a very big place to a very small place to see…

Skip: That must have been a very dramatic change. 

Samantha: It was! It took some time. And then I kind of, now that I’ve gone back to the west, it’s taken some time for me to get back into the way of the western world. I was in Asia for 19 years. So, it’s definitely a difference in culture, between Asian countries and Western countries.

Skip: Well, I’ve never been to New Zealand. I’ve been to Thailand, a couple of times. But, Tokyo certainly is my home, and I’m very accustomed to everything. Uh, what about you? Is there anything about Tokyo that you miss?

Samantha: Loads about Tokyo that I miss. And …

Skip: For example?

Continue reading Technology in the Food Industry

Youth Unemployment



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Skip and Dez discuss youth unemployment in the EU and UK.

Dez:     Hello everyone and welcome to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Skip:     Yes, thanks to all of our listeners, regular and new, for downloading D2B today.

Dez:     And I guess I should say welcome back to you too Skip. How was your fishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico? I see you managed not to get lost at sea.

Skip:     It was fantastic Dez! My first experience with offshore fishing and boy did I ever enjoy it.

Dez:     So you actually caught something? That’s good, as I was worried you would come up empty.

Skip:     I held my own I think. I didn’t keep track of every fish but I did land some snapper, a grouper, and even a shark.

Dez:     Sharks? That sounds exciting.

Skip:     It was. But enough about that. How are things with you Dez?

Dez:     Not so bad, I have been really busy with finishing up courses and exams as it is the end of the semester here.

Skip:     Well, I certainly hope you passed.

Dez:     The students have been taking exams Skip, not me.

Skip:     Only joking Dez. But busy is good. I know for a fact that there are a lot of people that would love to be a bit busier.

Dez:     I guess you are talking about the high rates of unemployment since the financial crisis in 2009?

Skip:     That I am Dez, but I am especially talking about the high rates among the under 25s, and most notably in some countries in Europe.

Dez:     And is that our story for today, the difficulties that many young people are having getting jobs?

Skip:     It certainly is. So let’s do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with youth unemployment, jobs and the unscrupulous practice that some employers in the United Kingdom have been using.

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Continue reading Youth Unemployment

Shale Oil

The extraction process known as fracking


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Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan discuss the economic benefits of shale oil and the controversial drilling technique of fracking.

Skip:     Hello everyone. Skip Montreux here. Thanks for joining us on Down to Business English today.

Dez:     Yes, welcome back listeners, I hope everyone is well. How is life treating you Skip?

Skip:     Me? Oh not so bad. I’ve been dealing with a few issues in my office which have caused some minor setbacks recently, but essentially I am good. How about you Dez? How is family life treating you?

Dez:     Well, thanks for asking. Well, the big news here is Roxie and I have just bought a flat in Scotland.

Skip:     Nice! Congratulations.

Dez:     Thanks Skip. But unfortunately this investment will be taking most of our salaries for the next 20 years.

Skip:    That is if you are still around in 20 years. You don’t lead the healthiest of lifestyles Dez.

Dez:     That is certainly a consideration but I imagine the world will be a very different place by then.

Skip:     It most definitely will.

Dez:     I wonder if we’ll all be driving around in self-controlled electric flying cars, living in solar heated and cooled apartments that are floating in the clouds, and if everyone will have a computers strapped to their wrists that are more powerful than a supercomputer today?

Skip:     Actually, with the advances in technology over the last 20 years, that scenario doesn’t sound too far off. But I am sure that fossil fuels will continue to play a big part in our lives for the foreseeable future, especially now with the recent discoveries of shale oil in the US.

Dez:     Maybe. I still prefer my version though. Anyway Skip is that our story for today, shale oil?

Skip:     Well partly. Today we’ll be talking not only about shale oil and the countries with the biggest reserves but also we’ll be taking a look at the advent of a new oil drilling technique known as fracking, as well as how all of this will affect the energy markets moving into into the future.

Dez:     Okay, lets do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with…with that list of topics that Skip just rattled off.

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Continue reading Shale Oil

Roundup Episode

The markets react
The markets react

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Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan update several of the business news stories recently covered on Down to Business English.

Skip: A big hello to all of our listeners out there. Welcome to a new episode of Down to Business English, the show that helps you build your base of professional vocabulary through discussing the latest in business news.

Dez: And a big hello to you too Skip. 

Skip: I’m sorry. Hello to you Dez. 

Dez: Hello Skip. 

Skip: Okay, now that we have all greeted each other, how are things? 

Dez: Well my wife Roxie and our new baby daughter have just gone on a trip back to Scotland for a week. 

Skip: Oh nice, so you are free then! Are you going to paint the town red. Party every night till dawn. Get out your old dancing shoes maybe? 

Dez: No Skip. I am going to take it pretty easy. Maybe get a takeaway, get out some of the Playstation games that I’ve been meaning to play, maybe Skype a few people that I haven’t spoke to in a while and check up on the prices for the Baltic Dry Index. 

Skip:  The Baltic what? Wait a minute, you don’t even have a Playstation, that’s way too cool for you. 

Dez: You’re right. I don’t have a Playstation, and the Baltic Dry Index is the index used to calculate the cost of shipping goods transported by sea. 

Skip: In the Baltic Sea? 

Dez: No that’s just the name. 

Skip: So, is that our story for today? Shipping charges? 

Dez: Actually not really. But I am trying to create a nice segue into our episode today. 

Skip:Really? I’m a bit confused.

Dez:Nothing new there. Anyway, I thought that today we could do a roundup of some of the recent stories we’ve covered here on D2B. So, of course Scottish Independence and computer games were the first two topics I mentioned. Then Skype, which is owned by Microsoft and therefore connected to the story we did on their acquisition of Nokia.

Skip:Okay, I see that now.

Dez:But I couldn’t think of anyway to shoehorn Khalifa port into the conversation so I talked about the Baltic Dry Index. 

Skip: Well this is a relief. If we were doing a report on the Baltic Dry Index and shipping charges, I would need to pour myself a giant sized coffee to stay awake. So let’s do it…let’s get D2B Down to Business with updates on some of the most recent stories covered on Down to Business English. 

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Continue reading Roundup Episode


a bitcoin
The crypto currency Bitcoin

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Dez:     And welcome to Down to Business English

Skip:     Thanks for downloading us today. It is good to have you here.

Dez:     So Skip, what have you been up to recently?

Skip:     Well to tell the truth, I’m working as much as I can, saving my money up for a trip I’m planning to the US later this year.

Dez:     Oh? Where in the US are you going?

Skip:     I am on my way to Texas actually.

Dez:     Nice.

Skip:     Yes, I’m hooking up with some friends and we are going to do some offshore fishing in the Gulf of Mexico.

Dez:     Great, but it sounds expensive. At least the exchange rate is still somewhat favorable for you coming from Japan.

Skip:     Well, the Japanese Yen has weakened over the last few months but historically it is still fairly strong.

Dez:     The currency in the UAE is officially tied, or artificially pegged, to the US dollar, so has not been faring too well over the last few years.

Skip:     A lot of that has to do with the US quantitative easing policies which has seen the America create more and more money.

Dez:     And the more money they print, the more people lose faith in the currency and so its value goes down. The same thing has been happening in Britain too. In fact there are a couple of towns that have created their own money.

Skip:     Really? Can they do that?

Dez:     The two that I can think of are Brixton in London and Lewes, which is near Brighton in Sussex. Both places have created their own pound which is equivalent to a British pound but can only be used to make local purchases. So I guess they can do that locally.

Skip:     That is interesting but on a much larger scale, have you heard about Bitcoin, the alternative international online crypto currency?

Dez:     Bitcoin? Yes I’ve heard it mentioned but I’m not that up on the details. So are you going to tell me and the listeners the story behind Bitcoin?

Skip:     I sure am. Are you ready?

Dez:     I’m all ears?

Skip:     Great. So let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Bitcoin. What is it? How did it start? And why has it been in the news recently?

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Continue reading Bitcoin

Scottish Independence

A Passionate Scot
A Passionate Scot

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Dez gives his take on the upcoming Scottish referendum on independence from the U.K. He also has a big announcement to make.

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Dez:     Hello Skip. Good to hear your voice.

Skip:     Hi Dez. Good to hear yours too. Once again we must apologize to all our listeners for being off the air for so long as both Dez and I have been absolutely snowed under with work and other personal commitments.

Dez:     Yes, indeed. Humble apologies. So what have you been up to, to keep yourself so busy Skip?

Skip:     I have been working on a book, a series of books actually.

Dez:     Oh wow. Is it Skip’s guide on how to win at high stakes poker?

Skip:     You really think I would tell everyone my secrets?

Dez:     Skip, I’ve seen you at a poker table and your ‘secret’ looks more like blind luck to me. So what kind of books are they?

Skip:     As a matter of fact they are textbooks aimed at Japanese professionals on how to give an effective business presentation in English.

Dez:     Very cool.

Skip:     Thank you. But holy cow! This is the first time I have written a textbook and I am just amazed at how time consuming the whole process is.

Dez:     I know. I’ve written textbooks in the past and there just always seemed to be a deadline looming.

Skip:     You can say that again. But that is enough about me. You are the one with the big news. Are you going to fill everyone in?

Dez:     Well, Roxy, my wife, had a baby girl a few weeks ago so that has kept us pretty busy.

Skip:     Congratulations, from me and I am sure, all of our listeners.

Dez:     Thank you everyone.

Skip:     Fantastic. So, how are you coping with becoming a father for the first time?

Dez:     I’ll tell you that I am not getting much sleep and I miss the house being quiet when I get home from work, but apart from that things are going fine.

Skip:     So all of that must be keeping you really busy?

Dez:     That and all of the paperwork that we need to do to register our daughter and get her passport, her visa and her identity card, and so on.

Skip:     She has a passport already?

Dez:     She does and pretty soon she might have two passports?

Skip:     Really? How do you figure that out?

Dez:     Well Roxy was born in Scotland and Scotland might very soon be a separate country so hopefully we can get our daughter separate passports for both England and Scotland.

Skip:     That’s right, I have been reading about the referendum coming up later this year in September where the Scots will vote on whether they wish to remain in the union with England, Wales and Northern Island. And is that our story for today Dez?

Dez:     It sure is.

Skip:     Okay, let’s do it. Let’s get D2B… Down to Business with Scottish independence. Who wants it? Who doesn’t want it? And how likely is it to happen? Continue reading Scottish Independence

Khalifa Port

Khalifa Port
Khalifa Port UAE

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Dez fills in Skip on all the details about the recently opened Khalifa Port in the UAE and how it is impacting the regional economy. While doing so, he also reveals a bit of his ‘nerdy’ side.

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Dez:     Welcome back to another episode of Down to Business English.

Skip:     Yes, greetings to all our listeners out there. It is good to be back with you.

Dez:     How are you doing today Skip? The last time we spoke you were up to your eyeballs at work. Still busy?

Skip:     There are always things to do but recently I did manage to make a day trip down to the Yokohama area, and that was very pleasant.

Dez:     I lived there once many years ago. It’s a very nice area. So what did you do?

Skip:     Nothing too exciting. I went for a walk through Yamashita park by the sea, did some shopping in the Motomachi and then had dinner in Chinatown.

Dez:     You didn’t walk through the Industrial port, then?

Skip:     No. Why would I do that?

Dez:     Oh well, Yokohama is the 18th largest container port in the world.

Skip:     Oh, how fascinating.

Dez:     Do you really think so? Well a few months ago I went to look at the new container port that they’re building here in Abu Dhabi.

Skip:     You visited a container port?

Dez:     Yes, quite interesting.

Skip:     I am beginning to understand why you have so few friends Dez.

Dez:     Would you like me to tell you all about it and compare it to the other large ports in the world?

Skip:     Is that our story for today?

Dez:     It sure is.

Skip:     Okay, if you must. Let’s do it let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the world’s largest ports and the technology behind them.

Continue reading Khalifa Port

The Computer Gaming Industry



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Skip provides Dez with the business background on something he has been spending way too much time on recently–computer games.

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Recorded October 27, 2013

Dez:     Hello everyone. Dez Morgan here. Thank you for joining us today. Skip, how is my co-host doing?

Skip:     Hi Dez. I’m doing alright, thanks for asking, but you know me, always busy with work. This time of year, many companies are entering the second half of the fiscal year and along with that comes renewing language training courses. That and working on this podcast keeps me pretty busy.

Dez:     So you’ve just been working then Skip?

Skip:     Well…no. I have been driving around quite a bit, and then I had a Pisswasser beer the other day with a few of the boys. Oh and I did a bit of yoga with Fabien LaRouche my yoga teacher, well he mostly did yoga with the women in the class while I sort of watched.

Dez:     Hang on Skip, I didn’t think you had a car, and yoga…that doesn’t sound like you and what was that beer called?

Skip:     Pisswasser or Dusche Gold. That’s a pretty good beer too.

Dez:     I’ve never heard of them.

Skip:     They are not real of course, but they are in the new game that I have been playing.

Dez:     Skip, you are not staying up late at night again, obsessing how to get to the next level of a video game?

Skip:     No.

Dez:     I thought we agreed that you were going to give the Playstation away.

Skip:     Yes, yes that’s right. I did put it in a box and it was all ready to go out the door…but then GTA 5 came out and I was walking past Yodobashi in Shinjuku…

Dez:     The big electronics store in Tokyo for those of you who don’t know.

Skip:     Yes, my slice of heaven. Anyway, as I was walking by, there was a big commercial for GTA 5 in the window and so I walked in the door …

Dez:     GTA 5?

Skip:     Yes, Grand Theft Auto dude, get with program.

Dez:     Sorry, are you really telling me that we’re doing a story today on the computer gaming industry?

Skip:     I sure am.

Dez:     And is there a business angle to this?

Skip:     There most certainly is. Computer gaming is a huge industry.

Dez:     Okay, if you insist, let’s do it. Let’s get D2B…Down to Business with the Computer Gaming Industry. What is it? Who are the big players and why is it so significant?

Continue reading The Computer Gaming Industry

Nokiasoft: Microsoft acquires Nokia


Nokia event in London



Skip explains everything you need to know about the recent acquisition of Nokia by Microsoft. He even throws in his own little conspiracy theory…

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Skip:     Hello everyone I’m Skip Montreux. Welcome to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Dez:     And this is Dez Morgan and yes, hello to all our regular and new listeners out there.

Skip:     We are very sorry to have been off the air for so long but Dez, very selfishly, took an extended time out, to go off and get married and then treat himself and his lovely bride to a long honeymoon.

Dez:     Yes, sorry everyone. It’s all my fault that we have been away for a few months. Honestly Skip, I was planning to take my computer and microphone along on the honeymoon but my new wife was not very happy about that idea.

Skip:     I really can’t think why.

Dez:     No, me neither.

Skip:     Anyway Dez, how was it? How was the honeymoon?

Dez:     Great! We got married in Kenya and then had the Honeymoon in Scotland.

Skip:     That’s interesting. I would have thought it would have been the other way around?

Dez:     Surprisingly, no. And to make things even more confusing, the weather was better in Scotland than it was in Kenya.

Skip:     Huh. A sure sign of climate change my friend. Anyway it is really good to have you back Dez. Congratulations to you and Roxy. We are all really, really happy for both of you.

Dez:     Thank you Skip. We appreciate that.

Skip:     Not to rain on your parade, but while we were off, there has been another marriage in the news.

Dez:     Prince William and Kate? But that was awhile ago now.

Skip:     Well yes, them too. But that wasn’t the marriage I was referring to.

Dez:     Hmm. Jennifer Aniston? But she’s not married yet.

Skip:     Nope.

Dez:     Okay, then I give up.

Skip:     Let me give you a hint. I’m referring to the corporate marriage of a software giant and one of the world’s largest handset makers.

Dez:     Oh yes. You’re talking about Microsoft buying Nokia’s mobile phone division.

Skip:     I am indeed, and that is the topic of our show today.

Dez:     Great!

Skip:     So let’s do it…let’s get D2B…Down to Business with Microsoft’s recent acquisition of Nokia Mobile phones for $7.2 billion.

Continue reading Nokiasoft: Microsoft acquires Nokia

Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline


Iran Pakistan pipeline



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Skip Montreux  & Dez Morgan are back together again! Today they talk  you through everything you need to know about the history and geopolitical forces behind the Iran-Pakistan pipeline.


Skip:     Hello everyone. Skip Montreux here welcoming you to an all new episode of Down to Business English.

Dez:     And this is Dez Morgan. A big hello to all returning and new listeners.

Skip:     How are things with you Dez?

Dez:     Working really hard at the moment Skip.

Skip:     I certainly don’t see you online very much recently. What have you been up to?

Dez:     Mainly with IELTS testing, along with all my usual teaching work. How about you?

Skip:     I have been up to my eyeballs with work recently as well. April is the beginning of the fiscal year for most companies here in Japan, and that means many of my clients are renewing their language training programs.

Dez:     I don’t know about you but I don’t even get time to read through the business headlines in the morning at the moment.

Skip:     Well I don’t get as much time as I would like to either, but I was reading a very interesting business story from your neck of the woods the other day. Well it was Iran anyway, and that is near you, right?

Dez:     Sure, it’s just across the Gulf, no distance really. So what was this story then?

Skip:     It dealt with Iran and Pakistan planning to build a gas pipeline to connect the two countries.

Dez:     I bet that the US is not very happy about that!

Skip:     No, they are not very happy at all.

Dez:     Although I haven’t heard that story I do know some of the geopolitical background.

Skip:     Great! So lets do it, lets get D2B…Down to Business, with the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. Continue reading Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline

a Business English podcast with Skip Montreux and Dez Morgan