Even though my height is barely above-average for an American male, that is apparently too tall for Japan, as I manage to hit my head almost every day on something.
While in the moment I am often inspired to unleash profanity, the many hits I have taken have also inspired me to write haikus about being tall.
Some wake with coffee or tea
I just hit my head
One good thing about
being tall, Is that in large crowds
Never lose my friends
On train, alter-ego
comes to life as I dodge rings
I am the hunchback
I’m not sure about Japanese YouTubers, but American YouTubers sure have a lot of drama. Amazingly, under a glamorous or HD facade, it turns out most YouTubers are also human beings. You know what they say; to err is human, no one is perfect, bless this hot mess, yadda, yadda, yadda. Long story short, we all have a phase in our life when we’ve done or said something we’re not proud of. However, if you grew up on YouTube, there’s a chance that whatever cringe-y or uneducated moment was captured on video. Famous YouTubers are just that–YouTubers, as in, their primary source of income is their YouTube channel. If you’re making a living making videos, you should at least have a personality or quirk that viewers love. Now say some video or other evidence were to come out that shows you weren’t the sweet or family-friendly YouTuber your viewers thought you were. Proof like that could ruin your follower count (aka your revenue source) which in turn would wreck possible sponsorships.
Once a famous YouTuber is publicly shamed or shunned it seems like they go into “PR/PC freak-out mode”. Maybe their follower count is steadily dropping (and followers/views = money) and they need to remedy the situation. The first thing they usually do is issue an apology tweet and if that’s not enough to staunch the flow of upset unsubscribing, an apology video will be shortly underway. Depending on their level of fame (or infamy) their apology video will usually be the most watched video for several days before everyone moves on with their lives or some other YouTube drama breaks out. If they are deemed apologetic enough, they may make it out with their follower count still relatively intact. Of course, these apology videos are then dissected by other YouTubers either to see if their apology was genuine enough or to ride on the coat tails of a more famous YouTuber for views and clicks of their own.
Here we have PewDiePie, a famous Swedish Youtuber who has issued his own apology video, break down and rate other apology videos for our enjoyment:
At least in the American education system, every high school student gets drilled into their head a number of English “rules” that we later learn are completely false: don’t begin a sentence with “And” or “But”; paragraphs must be at least three sentences long; never split infinitives, and many others.
Perhaps the most famous and well-known of these misconceptions is that a sentence cannot end in a preposition (e.g., “Where is my coat at?” should instead be “Where is my coat?”).
Grammarians have been pushing back against this myth for literal centuries, arguing that these stranded prepositions are perfectly fine in modern English. For example:
What did you put that there for? is much more natural than For what [reason] did you put that there?
The same goes for The match was rained off. versus Rained off was the match.
So who’s to blame for this confusion?
According to Wikipedia, the guilt falls on the pen of Englishman John Dryden. A poet and playwright, Dryden argued in a 1672 essay that since Latin (seen as a more elegant language) sentences cannot end in prepositions, neither should English ones.
Even with so much opposition and most modern grammar resources (from Fowler’s Modern English Usage to the internet’s Grammar Girl) dispelling and denouncing the myth, for some reason it lives on and is still taught in classrooms today.
Thanks to the internet, there are seemingly endless ways to learn and practice English. Today, I’d like to focus on webcomics. Webcomics are very aptly named in the sense that they are exactly what they sound like; comic strips hosted on a website. Unlike newspaper or magazine comics, webcomics can be started by nearly anyone with an internet connection and basic drawing skills. The beauty of using webcomics to learn English is that nearly every webcomic deals with a different aspect of Western life. Some webcomics can be political or contain social commentary, such as Questionable Content and Scenes From A Multiverse. Some can be fun and educational (funducational?) like Hark! A Vagrant and xkcd. And some can be downright weird and hilarious like Wondermark, Dr. McNinja, and BOASAS. Whatever your story preference is you can find a webcomic that fits the bill. Learn different English expressions and metaphors, as well as clever Western humor, all in three to five frames! Enjoy!
Turns out I still haven’t learned every word in the English language (but I’m working on it). Here are seven more words I came across recently that I had never seen (or at least remembered) before.
- Canard: a false or unfounded rumor, story, or belief
- Furtive: done secretly, stealthily
- Inchoate: being imperfectly formed or only partly in existence
- Limn: to draw or paint on a surface; to outline in sharp detail
- Spume: frothy matter/foam/scum on liquids
- Sui generis: unique, particular, in a class of its own
- Yegg: safecracker, robber
If you’re a chemistry enthusiast and/or huge nerd, you’re in for a treat! Mole Day, which is an integral part of National Chemistry Week, is the celebration of Avogadro’s Number. You may be asking yourself, “What in the world is Avogadro’s Number?!” As I am no chemistry devotee, I took the time to look this information up for you, dear reader. Avogadro’s Number (or Avogadro’s Constant, if ya fancy), named for famed Italian scientist, Amedeo Avogadro, is the number of molecules in one mole. I understand that you may be shouting “Now, what the heck is a mole?!” at your computer screen. Fear not, dear reader, a mole is but the unit of measurement for amount of substance. Simply put, moles give chemists more accuracy when it comes to determining amounts of substances produced in a given reaction. Okay, maybe that wasn’t so simple, but the mole is a very useful unit of measurement. The measurement is approximately 6.022140857(74)×1023 mol−1 (and yes, I copied and pasted that formula). And so on this October twenty-third in the year two thousand and eighteen, and every October 23rd hereafter, between the hours of 6:02 A.M. and 6:02 P.M., we celebrate the mole. I recommend a visit to the American Chemical Society for more Mole Day activities and crafts to get you in the spirit to celebrate your favorite unit of measurement.
For those of us that are still confused; here’s a handy chart!:
- Meaning: Arrest
- Example: The guys who robbed the bank last week have finally been run in.
- Meaning: Use new machinery at less than full speed, preventing damage
- Example: I have to drive slowly for the first 1,000 miles to run the engine in.
- Meaning: Enter by running
- Example: He ran into the building.
- Meaning: Collide with
- Example: He lost control of the vehicle and ran into a tree.
- Meaning: Encounter or meet unexpectedly
- Example: I ran into your cousin the other day.
- Meaning: Cause to blend into
- Example: You can use the paintbrush this way to run the colors into each other.
- Meaning: Reach a large figure
- Example: By the end, the cost of the project ran into the millions of dollars.
- Meaning: Near the end of a supply of something; to be nearly running out
- Example: Our stocks of meat are running low.
RUN OFF meaning – Phrasal verbs with RUN
- Meaning: Flee or depart quickly
- Example: Don’t run off before the end of the event.
- Meaning: Make photocopies, or print
- Example: Please run off a couple dozen more flyers to pass out.
- Meaning: Write something quickly
- Example: Shakespeare could run off a play in just a couple of days.
- Meaning: Pour or spill off or over
- Example: They kept a barrel to store rainwater that has run off the roof.
- Meaning: Chase someone away
- Example: If anyone comes into this field, the bull will soon run them off.
- Meaning: Operate by a particular energy source
- Example: This radio runs off batteries.
Run off with
- Meaning: Leave with someone with the intention of living with them or marrying them
- Example: The chief accountant has run off with his secretary!
Run off with
- Meaning: Steal or abscond
- Example: He ran off with my wallet.
- Meaning: Continue without interruption
- Example: We can’t afford for the performance to run on for more than the specified time.
- Meaning: Using a certain time zone
- Example: I was still running on daylight savings time.
- Meaning: Continue talking for a long time
- Example: She ran on and wouldn’t let anyone get a word in edgeways.
It has been a really long time since I last watched a good horror movie. Now that Halloween is approaching, it might be the best time to get back into it. When I was just a wee little girl I remember the thrill I got from watching Jaws, Arachnophobia, and The Gremlins. I miss the adrenaline rush, getting goosebumps, jumping out of my skin, curling up and hiding under a blanket, and covering my eyes or ears because it’s too scary to watch or listen to. You know it’s a good horror movie when you’re too scared to go to the toilet on your own!
To name a few, my favorites would have to be The Exorcist, The Ring, Shutter, Thirteen Ghosts, The Grudge, Shutter Island, and Silence of the Lambs.
A student recommended I watch a more recent one titled A Quiet Place. What do you recommend I watch?
One of my favorite sports stories comes from the 1974 National Hockey League player draft.
Back then, the player selection process was painfully slow and done via telephone. As a tongue-in-cheek protest to this, Buffalo Sabres general manager Punch Imlach and PR director Paul Wieland decided to use their 11th round pick on an entirely fictitious player.
That “player” was Taro Tsujimoto, so-named for a Tsujimoto grocery store just outside Buffalo. According to the Sabres, Tsujimoto was the star of the Japanese Hockey League’s Tokyo Katanas. While the JHL was a real league, there was no team in Tokyo at that time, with katanas being a subtle-sword nod to sabres. With no way to confirm his actual existence, the mystery pick was made official and Taro’s name appeared in newspapers and league publications.
When training camp rolled around that fall, Imlach finally revealed that the pick was a hoax. The official record now shows that the Sabres made an ‘invalid claim’ or no selection at all with their pick.
Even still, Taro continues to live on today: a local sports column goes by the name ‘Taro says…’, fans sometimes chant ‘We Want Taro’ when the Sabres are winning big, and occasionally you can see a Tsujimoto jersey in the stands at the KeyBank Center.
Trying to learn Japanese when you’re an English teacher can be a challenge. When you teach English all day, the opportunity to speak Japanese is close to impossible. Luckily, with a little help from Netflix, I can hone my Japanese listening skills. I especially like the Netflix anime series Aggretsuko for it’s honest (if not exaggerated) portrayal of the Japanese workplace.
Aggretsuko, a combination of “aggressive” and “Retsuko”, follows the mishaps of a young red panda named Retsuko. By day, she silently suffers at her boring office job where she is overworked and under-appreciated. But by night, she releases her workday stress by singing death metal. Her musical ire humorously covers nearly every topic from her horrible boss to uncomfortable shoes to meddling shop clerks.
What I enjoy the most about Aggretsuko is the juxtaposition of the cute animals with the decidedly un-cute world of office work. The characters were created by Sanrio, which is world-renowned for Hello Kitty, Purin, and other adorable characters. But Kitty-chan and Purin-kun don’t work terrible office jobs; their biggest problems are what birthday present to get their friends or getting a stomachache from eating too many apples. Aggretsuko has the nostalgia factor and brand-power for young adults who love cute Sanrio characters, but are forced to grow up and start their own, possibly awful, careers. Plus, with an episode run time of 15 minutes, I can watch two or three episodes in Japanese before I go to bed. Who says learning a new language can’t be fun?!
Retsuko by day–calm, polite, and hard-working.
Retsuko ready to unleash her grievances.
And here’s a 15 minute compilation of all of Retsuko’s rage breakdowns.