アミックでは新年最初の授業で、皆さんに新年の抱負（New Year’s Resolution）を書いてもらっています。「英検にチャレンジする」、「英語の本を読む」、「単語を頑張って覚える」など、たくさんの意欲に溢れたコメントを頂きました。
実際に英語ネイティブの方はどのようなNew Year’s Resolutionを宣言することが多いのでしょうか？
〇become (more~) 「（もっと～）になる」
Become more active.「もっと活動的になる」
Become more confident and take some chances.「自信を持って何かをやってみる」
Start saving money.「貯金をする」
Start eating healthier food.「健康に良い食生活を始める」
Stop being late.「遅刻をしないようにする」
Stop relying on a dictionary too much.「辞書に頼りすぎないようにする」
One thing I’m really looking forward to putting on my taste buds when I get back to America is spicy food. In particular, I miss hot sauce—in U.S. supermarkets, it’s not uncommon to see shelves holding 50+ varieties of the stuff to choose from.
I also decided that making my own hot sauce would be a perfect hobby for me: it seems cheap enough, involves cooking, and allows plenty of opportunity for tinkering and tracking within a spreadsheet.
What I won’t be doing however is trying to see how insanely hot a sauce I can make—I’m more of a flavor-over-brawn kind of guy. Thankfully, most of the world’s hottest peppers aren’t sold on the open market, so I won’t have to worry about accidentally throwing one of the world’s three spiciest peppers (as measured by Scoville units, or SHU) into my batches.
Pepper X (3,180,000 SHU)
Created for the YouTube series “Hot Ones” (where celebrities are interviewed while eating increasingly spicy hot wings), Pepper X is the heinous result of breeding together spicy varieties of bonnet pepper. Currently, it can only be found (in very diluted form) in the “Last Dab” hot sauce made by the company of the same name as the web series.
Dragon’s Breath (2,480,000 SHU)
Another Frankenstein creation, Dragon’s Breath was conceived by a British chili farmer and university researchers. Ironically, this tiny pepper was not bred for its heat, but instead for its flower-like appearance. The responsible researchers even pose that it could be used as an anaesthetic.
Carolina Reaper (1,569,300 SHU)
This contribution in the pepper arms race is a product of the PuckerButt Pepper Company in South Carolina. The reaper will make you do just that, and then some—in 2018, a man was hospitalized after eating one, complaining of severe headaches. It doesn’t, however, seem to bother mice:
Yes, I had an amazing New Years’ vacation, thank you for asking. Happy New Year to you, too! I went to Hong Kong and Macao, visited Hong Kong Disney, ate a lot of delicious foods (including dim sum and egg tarts), drank a lot of tasty beers, and saw a massive Buddha on top of a hill. I also saw some ruins of an old cathedral in Macao and plenty of beautiful Christmas lights and some very festive Chinese Christmas carolers. Oh, and I got engaged (again) to my number one favorite person and travel buddy.
But, today’s blog isn’t going to be about any of that fun stuff. No, today is reserved for something far more important: this video I found on The Internet™.
Ho-leeeee cow. I was not ready. After the first couple dozen of sneezes, you can’t help but wonder, “Are these sneezes real?” I mean, this woman sneezes as if a demon is trying to come out of her soul with each breath. The title “Grandma Sneezes Dramatically” is so on point. I counted 38 sneezes (35 with false starts) and 12 wardrobe changes which leads me to believe that these sneezes were all filmed on different days. But still, who is this grandma’s grandson that just so happens to have a camera pointed on her anytime she sneezes? She also looks up at the camera a few times, which could suggest a fake, but could also be her way of saying “why are you always filming me?”. Fakery aside, my favorite sneezes are the ones when she’s in her pantry, because, why is this grandma just chillin’ in her pantry?! I also like that her dog is seemingly unfazed by her loud sternutations.
What’s your favorite video on The Internet™ currently?
Happy New Year!
People can be divided into two types, ‟larks” or ‟owls”.
‟Larks” means people who are early birds, whereas ‟owls” means people who lead nocturnal lives. Which type you are is determined by heredity. It is sometimes hard to adjust our sleeping rhythms and hours to our life.
The term ‘lark’ comes from the old English expression ‘Up with the lark’ to describe getting up when the birds (one of them being the lark) start singing first thing in the morning.
The early bird catches the worm.
Are you a lark or an owl? I am a total lark! I usually get up at 4:30 and do many things in the early morning. I read a newspaper, do some cleaning, make breakfast, and study English.I can utilize my time in the early morning.
Early risers are more likely to succeed in the future! One day I read an article which said this, and I tried to get up earlier. Finally I got up at 3:30! However, after I finished my work at 9:00, I felt really sleepy and almost dozed off while I was driving home. It was so dangerous that I had to stop getting up so early.
However, I still get up at 4:30 and enjoy my time. This year, I was able to see the first sunrise of the year. The early bird catches the worm!
Why don’t you try getting up earlier?
December of sophomore year of high school, I remember being in class and seeing several students huddling around my teacher’s computer. The video they described to the rest of us didn’t sound that exciting at the time, but it would go to spark a (arguably tacky) trend that adds even more to the spectacle of Christmas.
The video was of the home of Carson Williams, an electrical engineer from Mason, Ohio (about 25 minutes from where I grew up). Williams had rigged the 16,000 Christmas lights on his house to flash and dance in time with Christmas metal band Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards of Winter”, which you could hear if you tuned to a specific radio frequency in your car. The light show became so popular that Williams had to shut it down for the 2005 Christmas season due to the traffic congestion it was creating in his neighborhood.
The following Christmas season, many others started to post videos of their own elaborate light displays, and Williams was even hired to do the lighting for a beer commercial. The buzz around the idea allowed Williams to start his own holiday lights company, and in the years that followed he was commissioned to do commercial-scale holiday light shows in cities like Denver and Chicago.
Although the fad seems to be somewhat dying off (at least according to Google Trends), new light show videos still make the rounds every holiday season, often incorporating other pop culture trends.
Even if these immaculate displays end up fizzling out and going the way of sending a family newsletter or actually singing carols to your neighbors, the decade of the light show will live on for a long time in Christmas lore.
Around this time, as the end of the year draws near, you can’t help but look back and reflect.
I learn something new about Japanese culture everyday. As the new year is quickly approaching, I’ve said じゃね to learning about Christmas facts and 抗日わto New Year traditions in Japan. Last year, I learned that Japanese people visit their local shrine on New Year’s Day for hatsumode, or the first prayer of the year. People line up to pray starting at 10 P.M. at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo in preparation for the midnight prayer gong! This year, I was happy to learn about the Japanese tradition of hatsuhinode, or viewing the first sunrise of the year. In both Shinto and Buddhism tradition, the god of the New Year, Toshigami, arrives with the sunrise on January 1st to grant your New Year’s wish. Tokyo Skytree is very popular sun rise watching destination in Tokyo as well as Goryokaku Tower in Hokkaido Prefecture. While most people in America will be watching the ball drop and then partying ‘til the sun rises, I like the idea of quietly watching the sun rise with a hopeful heart. Maybe my Western traditions will take a backseat to Eastern sensibilities this year and I’ll tone down the partying enough to stay awake past midnight! Although, I’m not sure I can stay awake until 7:00 A.M. regardless of when the partying ends. Although I live in a relatively flat part of Matsuyama, I’m thinking of climbing up the hill to my local shrine to catch the first golden rays of the new year. Who knows? Maybe Toshigami will bless this poor Westerner with a hangover cure and a nap!