新芽からとれるお茶をその年の一番茶として「新茶（shincha ；the first tea of the season）」と呼びますね。
I first found the music of Aya Gloomy on the Soundcloud page of the legendary record store Big Love Records located in Harajuku, Tokyo (which also has a record label that releases Aya’s music). I instantly fell in love with her yearning but not overly emotional, almost spectral voice at the eye of the storm of swirling, intoxicating electronic composition. Last month I had the opportunity to stop by Big Love Records while visiting Tokyo and I bought Aya’s first short release on vinyl, but just yesterday her debut album 「陸の孤島」 was released. I ordered the album online today, so while I excitedly wait for it to be shipped to me I’ll have her single 「静かに消える」on repeat.
Do you have a certain movie that you can watch over and over without getting tired of it? I really enjoy the movie “The Prestige”. The movie stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as rival magicians. The two men compete to be the best and most creative magicians in the world. The magicians will stop at nothing to be number one. They even risk their lives and hurt each others families to prove they are the best in their field. Even though I have seen the movie many times, the ending still surprises me each time I watch it. What about you? What movies do you like?
All of us here at AMIC have things that we are very passionate about. Of course, we are enthusiastic about the English language, but we also have a range of different hobbies or interests in our free time. Reading books, watching movies, playing games, and listening to music are all great ways to relax. They can also be a fantastic way to improve your language skills. Exposing and immersing yourself in foreign media is a great way to supplement your lessons and increase your overall fluency. Today I’d like to talk a little about something I love, board games.
I learned to love board gaming while I was in graduate school in the UK many years ago. There are many different types of games, but some of my favorites are co-operative games, where everyone works together to solve a problem or puzzle. Its a great communicative activity to enjoy the company of friends while working together towards a goal. In many places, you can even find Board Game Cafes. These are places where you can meet friends and enjoy coffee or food while playing games. There are many such places in Europe, and there are even quite a few in Asia. When I lived in Hong Kong I would often meet friends at a board game cafe downtown, where they also would use those games to teach English. Some larger cities in Japan such as Tokyo or Osaka also have places like this, but I haven’t had a chance to visit any.
I’ve used some popular board games to teach English in my recreation class before. Pandemic is a co-operative game where players must work together to cure diseases, and discuss planning and puzzle solving. I have also used Catan, an economic game where players need to negotiate and trade resources with each other. Some Japanese games have also become popular in English, such as the deduction game Love Letter from カナイ製作所. Playing these sorts of games lets you use English as a tool for accomplishing different tasks, and this goal-oriented approach can be helpful for improving fluency.
The difference between green and black tea results from the manufacturing process. Black tea undergoes fermentation which transforms its colour and flavour, whereas green tea remains unprocessed and retains its colour. Green tea is grown in higher altitudes, more specifically the mountainous regions of East Asia. Some green tea is still picked by hand, and it is thought that handpicked teas are less bitter and yield a sweeter, more robust taste. Other factors such as the climate and soil can also affect the flavour.
My students often laugh when I tell them my favorite Japanese musical artist is X Japan.
When I was 15 years old, my cousin showed me a video he had downloaded (this was pre-YouTube) of what looked like a Western glam metal band in concert. I quickly learned the band, called X Japan, was actually Japanese, and their visual kei style was unlike anything I had ever seen or heard. I was immediately drawn to their extravagant costumes, the relentless energy of drummer Yoshiki, and songs like “Kurenai” that transitioned from emotional ballad to driving power metal right in the middle of the track.
At the time, I figured I was the only 16-year old in Midwestern America listening to a burnt copy of X Japan’s The Last Live album while driving around town. But in 2014, X actually performed at and sold out New York’s Madison Square Garden. While I was unable to go, a documentary called We Are X was made about the concert and is now available on NetFlix. In addition to teaching me more about the band’s history, the film made me realize I was not the only American that grew up a fan of Yoshiki, Toshi, Heath, Hide (RIP) and all the rest.
Long live X!
Among all the sites I check and interact within on a daily basis is the well-known site Soundcloud. Focusing solely on streaming music for free and serving as a platform for many “bedroom producers” to share their music, it’s a good site to find obscure new music as well as keep up with the artists you follow even if it is a bit dated at this point. I do a lot of my searching for new music here (specifically electronica), and always find something that impresses me. From now on I’ll start sharing some of my findings in my Thursday posts.
My first share is “Hunted” by Lotic. They have been one of my favorite producers for a few years now and their debut album is about to be released this summer. To say the least I am very excited by this first single. It’s abrasive and some might even call it creepy, but the harmonies that come together in the swirling structure of the track create something much more than meaningless cacophony and strike me as unsettling and beautiful at the same time (a lot like the world itself!). There of course is a meaning to the chant but it’s not blatantly obvious. Their music is largely instrumental so it’s up to the listeners to peel the layers and find out for themselves.
If you read all that, bravo! I hope you enjoy this different perspective on music being made in this day and age.
I enjoy watching Disney Pixar movies and have a small collection of DVDs at home. I have watched them countless times mainly because of my of my three-year-old son, but I still get into it. I’d like to share a meme about one of Pixar’s movies I read a while back ago that really made me smile.
Can you guess the movie title?
‘I just watched a film where a man’s wife is brutally murdered by a serial killer and his son is left physically disabled. In a twisted turn of events his son is kidnapped and he has to chase the kidnapper thousands of miles with the help of a mentally disabled woman.’
If you guessed Finding Nemo, then you are right!
It is one of my all-time favorite animated movies. What is your favorite animated movie?
On Saturday, I took a trip to the Tobe Zoo. The weather was nice and I had a great time. This small zoo exceeded my expectations! I saw many amazing animals including Peace, the polar bear, and Diddy, the orangutan. Peace is famous for being the only hand-raised polar bear in Japan. She must have been very warm because she was busy soaking in her pool of cool water. Diddy the orangutan is huge! I was not expecting him to be so large. Watching him chow down on a head of lettuce was amazing! Speaking of eating, I was also able to feed the sea lions fish. I threw the fish high in the air and the sea lions caught it in their mouths. I was so impressed and amused by their fish-catching skills! I think the red pandas are my favorite, though. They are so cute and have so much energy! What is your favorite animal at the Tobe Zoo?
Today is Friday the 13th! In addition to being a popular horror movie series, in Western culture it is considered unlucky when the 13th day of the month aligns with a Friday. This usually only happens once or twice a year, but when it does it is said that many strange and unlucky things will occur.
While most people only ‘pretend’ to be fearful of the day, according to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in North Carolina, USA, many people actually are: “It’s been estimated that [U.S] $800 or $900 million is lost in business on [Friday the 13th] because people will not fly or do business they would normally do,” said founder Donald Dossey in an interview with National Geographic.
Another study found that in the UK, traffic accidents on Friday the 13th happened much more frequently compared to when the 13th falls on another day of the week. While this is probably only a coincidence, maybe be a little extra careful today just in case!