Category Archives: Translations

Are the ESL Programs in Japan Doing More Harm than Good?

When you see the same mistakes being made over and over by different people – which you will inevitably see in the English education system in Japan – then the problem is clear. It’s not an individual thing; it’s a systematic issue. Students are all somehow being taught the same mistakes, and/or not enough people are fixing them. There are hundreds if not thousands of small businesses and little organizations (especially in Tokyo) that are trying to beat the bad habits out of students, but you will be surprised at how far these mistakes reach. I didn’t have to look hard to find examples of this in the newspaper.

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What Do Japanese Children Want to Be When they Grow Up? (Survey)

The Asahi Shimbun recently produced a ranking of first-year primary school children’s future aspirations. The article came out on April 24th, and it ranked the top ten answers for boys and girls. Oddly enough, the survey was conducted by the chemical company Kuraray, but it is just the latest in a long line of annual surveys that they have conducted. What exactly can these rankings tell us about Japanese youth, or the future of Japan?

The Rankings

The rankings all have last year’s rank in parentheses. The average age of these students is six. There were about 2000 children surveyed.

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Everybody Hates Toby

The current and longstanding governor of Tokyo, who I affectionately call Toby, despite his birth certificate reading “Shintaro Ishihara,” is truly incredible. This controversial 79-year-old governor has publicly expressed his discontent with foreigners, gay people, and pretty much any other minority that overly conservative zealots tend to persecute. For the American audience, he’s quite like the Japanese version of Rick SantorumI wrote about his impressive ability to alienate and discriminate against individuals, but now I’ll take the opportunity to show how he manages to disgust the locals as well.

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Eastern Japan to Brace for Another M9 Earthquake Within 30 years

Japanese scientists are revising their earthquake prediction levels because of new information that has been analyzed since the Great Eastern-Japan Earthquake, according to the Asahi Shimbun. I haven’t seen this discussed by any English media outlets, so I’m just going to translate the main parts of that article. Basically, taken in the context of earthquakes in Japan as a whole, it means that the next 30 years are probably going to be pretty rough on Japan.

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100+ Japanese Students’ Reactions to Black Friday & Boxing Day

“This is shopping? It looks like war!” This is one of the comments I received from one of the 100+ students who saw the dangers of Black Friday for the very first time. I was asked to give a presentation at a senior high school on a serious topic regarding foreign culture, and I thought it would be timely to talk about the holiday season. That is, a brief comparison between the shopping culture in Japan, the UK, Canada, and America. None of the students (or teachers) had ever heard about these foreign holidays, but it was interesting to see their reactions, which they submitted to me via survey.

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17 Most Tweeted Events of 2011 (You’ll NEVER guess #1)

2011 was an impressive year for Twitter. (Beyonce is pregnant!) Many people, myself included, started taking Twitter seriously this year, and the numbers of users continue to increase, with no sign of letting up. (She’s pregnant!) Since the year is almost finished, there have been many people who have been saying that the biggest event of the year is… yes, Beyonce being pregnant. At least in terms of the number of people talking about it. (Pregnant!) But the year is not finished, and there has already been something that not only beat the record number of tweets per second, but absolutely demolished it. So let’s look at the most Tweeted events of the year.

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2011’s Most Popular (and banned) Japanese Baby Names

A ranking of Japanese baby names was recently released, showing which were the most popular this year. Apparently “Hiroto” is the most popular boy’s name and “Yui” is the most popular girl’s name. Name trends are an interesting thing, because they show us just how influenced we are by the popular culture. For example, there is a recent trend among Westerners in taking baby names from the vampire book/movie “Twilight;”and old heroes’ names are making a comeback, like Gatsby and Atticus. So what is the newest name-trend to hit the Island of Japan?

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Cute Pink Bunny Teaches Japan about the U.S. Economy

A website I have been frequenting recently, called the “Manga Newspaper” – which reports world news in manga (Japanese comic) form, not news about manga – has been making some nice articles recently. Unfortunately, it does not seem to have any English translations, so non-Japanese speakers are stuck with only the pictures for each story. I’ve decided to start translating articles sporadically, depending on stories that catch my eye, or for their unique Japanese-comic flair or local opinions. In this comic, they talk about the economic problems the lower class is facing in America. I bet you’ve never seen the economic collapse reported like this.

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