As a person that has been interested in Japanese culture since a young age, I of course have run across my fair share of manga and anime, superficially at least. But suddenly a couple months ago I started to watch anime and read manga and become much more interested in both. I’ve found a bunch of good stuff including classics like Death Note and some lesser known ones like Shiki. I really have become an otaku I guess. 😛
日本語で「メー！」となく羊ですが、英語では “Baaa!” と鳴きますよ (^^)
「ムー」と鳴くのは 「牛」：Moo モーじゃなくてムーね（笑）
では、今日も良い1日を！ Have a nice day!
Yesterday, a class I teach started a new unit in their textbook entitled “Monkeys are Amazing!” I don’t think of monkeys as being necessarily amazing, so I asked my students if they agreed with the title. Most of them did, and threw in a few other animals that they think are amazing, like gorillas and giraffes. I guess all animals are amazing in their own way, but most animals don’t incite feelings of wonder or make me go, “Wow! How does this animal even exist?? It’s sooooo amazing!!”
Regardless of how I feel about gorillas or giraffes, here are some animals that I do think are amazing. Funnily enough, the first two aren’t land animals at all.
The ocean is so deep that we can only theorize upon the creatures that live in the deepest and darkest depths. The first amazing animal is the giant squid (not to be confused with the colossal squid, which is also incredible). These beasts can grow up to 10 meters including their long tentacles and their eyes are thought to be some of the largest in the animal kingdom. They live in oceans all over the world except for tropical or arctic waters. Their main predator is the sperm whale. These cephalopods are so elusive that before they were captured or filmed, scientists only knew they existed from examining the contents of whales’ stomachs and finding tentacles or beaks of giant squids.
A dramatization of a sperm whale fighting with a giant squid.
The second amazing animal is the Greenland Shark which has the longest known lifespan of all vertebrate species: 300 to 500 years! It’s also one of the largest living species of sharks and grow up to 6.4 meters. Wow! They live in cold waters off of the eastern U.S. and western Europe, though they have been found at the depths of the Gulf of Mexico. It is also believed that they eat colossal squid because they live at the same depths.
A Greenland Shark just chillin’.
So, what do you think? Are these animals amazing to you, too?
Every time vs all the time
We use every time when we are talking about each individual time something happens. We do not know how frequently this is, only that it happens each individual time.
- Every time I go to the beach, it rains.
- He’s very reliable. He’s there every time I need his help.
- It’s like magic! She guesses the correct card every time!
All the time
We use all the time to talk about something that always or usually happens.
- In the UK, it rains all the time.
- She’s late all the time. We have to talk to her manager.
- What’s their secret? They’re happy all the time!
A few months ago, a friend introduced me to WaniKani.com as a way to learn kanji. Instead of simple symbol-meaning flashcards, the site gives you a mnemonic or other memory device to help you remember the reading for each kanji it teaches.
The other day I was introduced to the word 少し (sukoshi), meaning ‘a little’. I didn’t think anything special of it until I looked at the reading notes:
Did you know that this word created an English word you probably already know? Have you ever heard someone say “just a skosh”? That’s 少し! Hopefully you know this English word and therefore know this Japanese word as well.
This blew my mind, and if you had asked me before where I thought ‘skosh’ originated from I probably would have guessed from a Scandinavian or Indigenous peoples’ language. It also made me wonder what other Japanese words have snuck into the English language without me realizing, of which I found a few more that surprised me:
- Emoji (e/絵 “picture” + moji /文字 “character”)
- Soy (I knew that shoyu/醤油 was Japanese for soy sauce but never put two and two together)
- Tycoon (from 大君 meaning ‘high commander’ or ‘great prince’)
- Honcho (from 班長 hanchō, meaning ‘head of something’ or ‘chief’)
- Rickshaw (from 人力車 jinrikisha/ninryokusha)
A student recently asked me if there was an amateur summer sporting event similar to the Japanese High School Baseball Championship, one that captures Americans’ attention the way it does the Japanese.
The short answer is: no. While high school football and basketball state tournaments are popular and well-followed in certain parts of the country, they only really register on a regional scale (organizing a nationwide competition that includes teams from all 50 states would be difficult and expensive due to the size of the country). Plus, high school sports are rarely played during the summer.
The closest thing I can think of is the Little League World Series, which takes place every August in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.
Little League Baseball is a youth baseball organization for 10 to 12 year olds with member clubs all over the world. The winners of 16 qualifying tournaments (eight from America, eight from areas outside the U.S.) go on to represent their region at the LLWS. Like Koshien, the LLWS has its own hallowed ballpark: Howard J. Lamade Stadium, which has been hosting little league games for nearly 60 years and can seat around 30,000 fans if you count the many that enjoy watching from the large grass hill in the outfield. The tournament is broadcast live on ESPN and many of the young participants have gone on to play in the Major Leagues, including Gary Sheffield, Jason Varitek, and Yusmeiro Petit (the only player to ever win the LLWS and World Series).
Despite taking place in America, it’s actually teams from other countries that have fared better over the contest’s 71-year history. The Japanese team is actually the second-most successful LLWS club, their 11 championships (including five since 2010) trailing only behind Taiwan’s 17.
However, while most casual American sports fans are familiar with the event, to most it’s still not much more than an afterthought: something to put on TV in the background during an otherwise dead period in the American sports calendar (unless of course there is a big scandal surrounding the tournament, as there was in 2001 and 2014).
For some reason, I’ve always been a fan of the following painting:
I’d seen it online and in cafes, but I never knew the painting had a name or a controversial history until today. It’s called The Singing Butler and it was painted by Jack Vettriano in 1992. I’m not sure what draws me to this painting, most art critics (and Jack Vettriano himself) would say that the painting is not very good. I don’t stand alone in my admiration, however; reproductions of The Singing Butler are apparently the best selling art-print in the United Kingdom.
There’s something undeniably romantic about the painting. There’s an air of mystery and your brain is forced to fill in the blanks. I like to imagine the maid anxiously calling out for the couple to stop dancing right now because they’ll ruin in their lovely clothes in the sea spray and the rest of the dinner guests will be looking for them and they’ll just catch their deaths in the rain. The couple pays her no mind as the butler continues to serenade them (I imagine he’s singing “Bella Notte” from Lady and the Tramp), spinning in wide circles with his umbrella as a dance partner. The couple themselves are old friends and the twilight holds the possibility of a rekindled relationship…or not. Tonight, they are together and laughing like old times and that’s all that has always mattered.
At Amic’s Ishii location, there is a large and fantastically-detailed map covering the front wall of the lobby. As a lifelong map lover, I can easily spend way too much time walking back and forth, exploring the map for new cities, mountain ranges, and islands I have never heard of.
Sometimes I like to look these places up on Wikipedia and Wikitravel just to see what comes up. Other times I do similar random exploration just by zooming in on random places in Google Maps; here are three of my recent “discoveries”:
South Georgia Island: Situated in the South Atlantic about 1000 miles/1600 kilometers east of the Falkland Islands, this British overseas territory has snow cover eight months out of the year. Only about 20 people live there, outnumbered drastically by the literal millions of penguins, reindeer, seals, albatross, and countless other animal species that call the island home. Until recently the island also had a major rat problem, but after a mass extermination effort that involved dropping poisonous bait from helicopters, scientists say the island is once again rodent-free.
Ushakovskoye: A now-deserted settlement on Russia’s Wrangel Island in the far north east of the country, just a few hundred miles from Alaska. The settlement was established in 1920s by the Soviets essentially to keep Britain and America from doing the same. Despite having temperatures that rarely get above freezing, the settlement grew to have electricity, an airport, and even a museum of natural history. Eventually the settlement stopped being subsidized and most residents moved back to the mainland, save for the town’s final resident, who was killed by a polar bear in 2003.
Mount Nyiragongo: Resting on the Rwanda-Democratic Republic of the Congo border is conical volcano Mount Nyiragongo. Its main crater spans over 2km wide and within lies a lava lake that volcanologists think might be the deepest in recent history. Extremely active, the volcano’s lava flows can reach speeds up to 100kmh/60mph and in 2002 it erupted so powerfully that it caused a series of earthquakes in the area that continued off and on for three months.
Have you ever stared at a word so long or seen it repeated so often that you start to doubt that it’s actually a word? This morning I had to convert a few files into one pdf and took to naming the files “content 1”, “content 2”, and so on. That’s when it hit me–content is a really strange word. Has it always looked so strange? Is it pronounced with the stress on the first syllable or the second? Does the stress on the syllable actually change the meaning of the word? Was I even spelling it correctly? What the heck was a content anyway? I became convinced that I was making up the word. I felt that it looked deeply wrong despite not getting the squiggly red line under the word. What the heck was going on?! Before I had an epic word meltdown, I took a trip to Google to make sure I wasn’t the only one affected by this phenomena.
According to Matthew J.X. Malady, an Slate columnist/super villain, this condition is called “wordnesia” and it happens to the best of us, even linguists and professors! According to Malady’s article,
“James contended that our conscious experiences are made up of components he referred to as the nucleus and the fringe. The nucleus consists of sensory information that we discern easily and have no trouble perceiving (the individual letters that make up words, for instance) while the fringe entails more nebulous experiences or responses that help inform fully developed thoughts. Fringe-type sensations involving familiarity, significance, and correctness would appear to be critical in connecting all the dots when reading and writing, but in some instances the signals can get crossed. Sometimes, as Epstein says, “the fringe provides a sense of ‘wrongness’ when it should be providing a sense of ‘rightness.’ ”
To put it simply, while we’re going about our reading and writing business, there seems to be a small hiccup in our brain that says “This word isn’t right!” To put it even more simply, no one knows definitely why this happens to us. The good news is that the symptoms don’t seem to last very long and I was back to converting files in no time! Has wordnesia ever affected you?