Sunday, October 31, 2010

Culture: Halloween

Photo and cardboard skeleton by Rob.
As today is Halloween I thought it fitting to do a quick blog about the origins of Halloween. Very briefly, the idea of Halloween is to scare away evil spirits that might come at this time of year to eat the food we have kept for winter!


Before Christianity came to Europe people believed that a door opened between the spirit world and our world at this time of year, and that bad spirits came and destroyed our precious crops. To stop this from happening the people decided to look scary, so the spirits would go back to their world. Christians believe in one God, so they did not like this idea, and tried unsuccessfully to stop it several times.
Yes, this is Rob!
Now that's scary! こわっ!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Word Watch: Mono / Uni = 1

MONO = 1
UNI = 1
MULTI = Many

MONO がつくと1つという意味合いが含まれます。

Monobrow by Rob.
もしも片方眉毛を整えている時に剃り落としちゃったなんて事がある場合、片方しかないのでone eyebrowとなります。
そんな時はこのMONO = 1 を使い a monobrow なんて言い方もできます!

Most people have eyebrows. (2 eyebrows, one above each eye)
Look! Rob has only one eyebrow!
Look, Rob has a monobrow!

'monotone' の意味を一色だけ使っていることだと思っている場合が多いのですがもともとの意味は色の事ではないのです。

Many people use 'monotone' to mean '1 colour', this is not traditional!

Monochrome Rob by full colour Rob.
Monotone is a sound! 本当のモノトーン'monotone' の意味は実は音の事をいうのです。音の事って?どういうことかというと。。

She spoke in a monotone voice. のように使えます。

モノトーン'monotone' ではなく、Monochromeを使います。白黒の映画なんて言う時は、Monochromatic filmblack and white films. と言います。

Monochrome = One colour. Usually this means different shades of one colour.
Rob is in monochrome.
I love old black and white films.
Films shot in monochrome are very romantic. (In this sentence 'monochrome' = 'Monochromatic film')

Monotone = A sound that has only 1 pitch.

UNI もまた一つという意味があるものが多いです。なのでUnicyclesは一輪車という意味。とっても上手に乗れる人いますよね。この間池袋で中国からやってきた雑技団の人たちがものすごい高い一輪車に乗っていました。

Unicycles are very popular in Japan.
I have never tried to ride
a unicycle.
a unicycle looks very difficult.
I like my
bicycle. (bi = 2)
bicycle is a mamachari!
She used to ride
a monocycle (= a unicycle) when she was a child.
I saw a professional
unicyclist in Ikebukuro a few years ago.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Word Watch: Multi...

Multi = Multiple / Many

Gotta love the old multi-tool!
Gotta love... = I really like...
'The old' is an expression we use to mean 'my familiar object'

Multi-cultural = Many cultures together
Australia is a multi-cultural country.
Is being multi-cultural the way of the future?

Multi-purpose = Many purposes
My multi-tool is a multi-purpose tool!

Multi-task = To do many tasks at one time
Multi-tasking is dangerous!
People who can multi-task are useful.
Multi-tasking is the reason people do bad work!
People should not multi-task, they should focus on one thing at a time.

My friend is multi-lingual, he can speak English, Japanese, French and Chinese!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Health: Vaccination 予防接種

Trust me...I'm a doctor...


もっともよく使うのはvaccinate で予防接種をするという意味。下記のように受身として“ be vaccinated” と使われます。~予防のため(例えば結核予防や百日咳予防など)予防接種をすると加えたい時は、against tuberculosis(結核予防のため) against whooping cough(百日咳予防のため)と、againstを使います!
ところで最近 密かに結核(tuberculosis)や百日咳(whooping cough)が流行っているとのことご注意を。

I have an eleven month old boy.
He needs to be vaccinated (against diseases). 
He needs to have his vaccination shots (injections).
We took him to the hospital, but he had a fever, so he was not able to have the shots.
We have to take him back this afternoon.

Other words with the same meaning
He needs to be inoculated (against diseases).
He needs his immunization shots.
He needs to be immunized (against diseases).

Friday, October 15, 2010

Shopping: Is it the real thing?

Is it the real thing? (本物ですか)

Is it genuine?“偽りのない ”
Is it authentic?“信用できる, 確かな ”

Is it legitimate?“真正の ”


Is that a real Rolex?
Are you wearing a real Rolex?
Is your watch authentic?
Is that an authentic Rolex?
Did you buy your watch from a legitimate dealer?
It is difficult to know which retailers are legitimate and which are not when you shop on the Internet.

It's a replica. (Positive image - It was sold as 'not the real thing'.)
It's a copy. (Neutral image - Perhaps it was not sold as 'the real thing'.)

It is not genuine. = It is a copy.


It's a fake. (Negative image - It was sold as 'the real thing' but it is not real!)
It's a knock off (casual) = It's a fake.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Word Watch: You, You, You!

You  はご存知の通り “あなた、あなたたち” という意味です。が、特定のあなたではない意味で使われることが多々あります。最近よく見かけるのは、タバコのパッケージに書かれている言い方。あなたの健康を損なうおそれがありますので吸いすぎに注意しましょう。このあなたは特定のあなたではなく、一般的なあなたとして日本語でも使われていますよね。

You (特定のあなた)
I like you.
You are tall.
You are clever.
You are kind.
Are you happy?
Are you OK?

You (特定のあなたたち / 君たち / 皆さん) = You all / Most people
Where are you going? = Where are you all going?
Did you have a good time? = Did you all have a good time?
Do you eat cake at Christmas? = Do most people eat cake at Christmas?
Do you take your shoes off at the door?

You (一般的なあなた) = You all / Everybody
Smoking is bad for you.
Exercise is good for your health.
You should not drink alcohol regularly.
Sleeping just 4 hours a night is not good for you.
Relaxation is good for you.
You are not allowed to talk during the test.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Transport: Mamachari Rock!

Photo by Rob.

I love mamachari! ママチャリ最高!
 最高だぜぃと言いたい時、この rockなんて使ってみてはいかがですか?rockと言っても音楽のロックではないのでご注意を。

Mamachari are the best!  = (casual) They are great bikes!
Mamachari rock! = (casual) They are great bikes!
Mamachari rule! = (casual) They are great bikes!
They rock my world! = (casual) I like them very much!
Mamachari are gifts from God!
They are presents from Heaven!
Mamachari are called 'Step-through bicycles' in English.
Sometimes mamachari are called 'girl's bikes' in English.

Why do I love mamachari? なんでママチャリが好きかって?
I love mamchari because they are really convenient.
They have a step-through frame. = You do not need to lift your leg high to ride it.
They have an upright sitting position. = You sit up, with your back straight. It is comfortable!
They have baskets for groceries. (groceries = daily shopping)
You can add a baby seat, or another basket to the front.
They have built-in lights and a built-in lock and kick stand.
The seats are well padded.
Some seats have springs for cushioning!
They come with built-in mud guards! = These keep your trousers clean!
They are so cool!
And best of all they are REALLY cheap!

I used to ride an expensive hand made mountain bike from the U.S. It did not have a light, a stand, mud guards or baskets. The sitting position was uncomfortable, it did not have a step-through frame, so getting on and off was not easy. It cost me an arm and a leg to buy (it was expensive) and I had to wear a backpack to carry my stuff! Mountain bikes are great for jumping off mountains on...but I can't recall the last time I did that...step-through bikes are not very popular in western countries, but I think that they should be! Most people think they are old ladies' bikes or not cool, but I think they are a natural evolution! Yay! Mamachari forever!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Health: Yoga Photos

Jamie Reed Yoga Instructor at Prana English
Photo by Rob.

Jamie and I (Rob) just finished a photo shoot for a yoga manual we are making. The manual will demonstrate yoga poses and the text will be in Japanese and English. It is my hope that we can use it to teach English and yoga together, as we do every Monday morning in Asakadai. If you want to take a class with us, please contact Prana-English!

OK, I know what you are thinking! This is an English blog, not an ad for my school's yoga class! So here are some phrases for you off the top of my head.

I do not exercise regularly.
I need more exercise. (generally)
I don't get enough exercise. (generally)
I am unfit. ('unfit' = not fit)
Not fit = I get tired easily if I exercise
I am not fit, I need more exercise.
There is not enough time in the day for exercise.
I need to make more time for exercise.

Tight muscles
My muscles are stiff.
I am not flexible. = I cannot stretch very well.
Are you flexible?
No, not anymore, but used to be!
Stretching makes me feel great!
I wish I could do yoga everyday.
I would like to increase my flexibility.
I want to be more flexible.
Jamie is very flexible now, but 5 years ago she was not flexible.
Jamie was stiff 5 years ago, she could not touch her toes.

And finally, here is one more of my photos of Jamie...just to get you in the mood for yoga!
Jamie Reed Yoga Instructor at Prana English
Photo by Rob.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Word Watch: Appetite

Cooking nabe at a restaurant in Japan
Photo by Rob.
Right now
I have an appetite. = I feel like eating. (Now) / I am hungry.
I have an appetite for 'karintou'. = I want to eat 'karintou'. (Now)
I don't have an appetite. = I do not feel like eating. (Now)
I don't have much of an appetite. = I am not hungry. (Now or 'usually')

Usually / Always
He has a big appetite. = He usually eats a lot of food. (Usually) 
Do you have a big appetite? = Can you eat a lot of food? ('Now' or 'usually', it depends on the context of the conversation)
I don't have a big appetite. = I don't eat much. / I don't feel like eating much now.
I don't usually have a big appetite, but today I am REALLY hungry! (It must be the cool air!)

Word watch: Popular / Common / Famous

Danny Kaye
Rob's Comment
These words are commonly misused in Japan. The basic meaning is similar, but the usage is very different. From my experience, a lot of English students say things such as 'cancer is popular'. This is not usually what people intend to say! They intend to say 'cancer is common'.

Popular usually means that people like it, or do not have bad feelings about it, so if you say 'cancer is very popular' it is incorrect in most situations!
Cancer might be popular with people who sell graves or anti-cancer drugs, but most people would never think of it as a good thing!
Danny Kaye was a popular actor. (OK)
Harajuku is popular with young people. (OK)
Ramen is a popular dish with many Japanese. (OK)
Mamachari are popular bikes in Japan. (OK)
The actress 'Kouyuki' has helped to make 'high balls' popular again in Japan.

'Common' means that it happens often or for many people, or it is 'usual'.
'The common cold' - This is a popular expression for a cold that is not unusual.

'Cancer is a common illness.' - This is a much more reasonable sentence.

Patient: I feel sick! I have a sore throat, a runny nose and a cough.
Doctor: You have a common cold. Go to bed, and take plenty of fluids. (drink a lot)
Illness is common this time of year.
Mushrooms are common in this area.
Oak trees commonly grow around here.
House parties are not common in Japan. = House parties do not happen often in Japan.
House parties are not popular in Japan. = Japanese people do not like house parties.

`Famous` refers to something that many people know.
Danny Kaye was famous, he was a famous musician and actor who died last week.
Ichiro is famous, he is famous for playing baseball in America.
Japanese are famous for eating rice.
Manga is a famous export of Japan.
When I grow up I want to be famous! (I want to be a celebrity...or not!) 

Weather: Clear Autumn Skies!

Taken on Tue Oct 5th from Prana English roof
Photo by Rob.
Clear Autumn Skies
The sky is clear today.
The sky is clear and blue.
It is a lovely clear day today.
Autumn skies are clear and blue.
It is a lovely clear autumn day.
There is a slight chill in the air, but the skies are clear and blue.
`a chill` - This means it is cool. (`it` means `the temperature`)

There is a little but of cloud around.
It is slightly cloudy. (`it` means `the sky` or `the weather`)
That cloud looks like Italy!
That cloud is in the shape of Italy!
That cloud looks kind of like Italy. (It looks a little bit like Italy.)
The sun is bright and warm, but the breeze is a little bit chilly.
Clear autumn days are my favourite!
Autumn is my favourite season, because the skies are clear and the air is cool.
I don't like getting sweaty in summer, and I don't like freezing to death in winter!

1. Even though there is only one sky, we often talk about `the skies`. I am not sure why this is, but I think it is because the sky looks different from different places, or at different times.

2. The food (spice) called `chilli` is hot (spicy), but `a chill` means `cool` or `cold`!!
I have a chill. - I am cold, and I am probably sick.
Grandmothers are fond of saying `don`t go out, you`ll catch a chill!`
Another thing grandmothers like to say is `You`ll catch your death`. This has basically the same meaning. It means `stay inside, if you go outside you will get cold and then sick`. In the old days, before medicine, this often meant you might die. 

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Weather: Something is not right!

This weather is very strange.
Something is not right with the weather.
Global weather patterns are changing.
It is strangely warm for this time of the year.
This warm weather is not right.
This heat is rather odd for this time of year.
It should be cooler than this at this time of the year.
I heard that this winter will be colder than usual.
Summer is too hot, and winter is too cold!

I think global warming is real.
I have a bad feeling about the future of human existence. (I am pessimistic)
I am optimistic about the future. (I think we will be OK)
People can adapt (change) to new situations.
Temperature changes are natural.
The temperature and weather patterns have changed often throughout history.

Science: Gliese 581c and aliens

Image taken from...
Thank you Walter Myers
Life in outer space!
Gliese 581c is a planet that was discovered a few days ago.
I saw it on T.V.
It is far from Earth, but very close in terms of planets and space.
It is about 20 light years from here.
It has an atmosphere, and might support life.
Some scientists think that there are many planets that we are yet to discover.
It is highly likely that aliens exist.
A few scientists, such as professor Hawking, think that aliens must exist, but that they should be avoided because they might be dangerous.
Life forms probably exist on other planets.
One difficulty we have finding planets is that our telescopes are not sensitive enough to see them.

I read a short article about it last week. (in the newspaper / on the Internet / in a magazine)
I heard that it is very similar to planet Earth. = I hear that it shares many similarities to planet Earth.
I read that there is a chance that there is life on the planet.
I wonder how big the chances of it having life really are.
Is it big news around the world? = Is it an important discovery?
Does professor Hawking think that aliens exist?
Yes he does, well, he thinks it is highly probable that they exist.
It is more probable that they exist than that they do not exist.
He also says that it is highly likely they are hostile, so they are best left alone.
Hostile = Not friendly.
But there is no reason for them to not like us.
Yes, but he says that they probably need our resources.
He further supposes that there large space ships of aliens looking for resources.

Lifestyle: I hate chores!

A chore = Something you must do, for example, housework, that you do not enjoy doing.
Housework is a chore.
Cleaning the toilet is a chore.
Sweeping leaves is a chore.

A. 'How is work?'
B 'It is a chore!' = I do not enjoy my work, it is hard for me.

Grocery shopping is a chore for me, but my husband loves it!

A. 'Do you give your kids pocket money?'
B. 'Yes, if they do their chores.'