Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lost in Translation

Last week at the video store Staci and I left frustrated because we were unable to find a movie to rent. Certain factors make searching more difficult in Japan (i.e. the different language). But, last night we discovered another potential problem...the renaming of English movies...

In many non-English speaking countries a movie title can be “translated” and end up with a different meaning...

In France, do not spend too much time looking for “Home Alone” because the title there is “Mom, I Missed the Plane”

Or in Finland looking for “Bad Santa”, or should I say “Santa is a Pervert”

In Japan, this is also a problem. Here is what we have found so far...

“Jerry Maguire” becomes “The Agent”

“Up” was obviously too abstract so it was changed to the more descriptive “Old Man Carl's Flying House”

“Freaky Friday” becomes  “Fortune Cookie”

 “Shallow Hal” becomes “Beloved Rosemary”

“The Fast and the Furious” becomes “Wild Speed”


“Anger Management” becomes “NY-Style Happy Therapy”

“The Blind Side” becomes “Happiness's Hiding Place”

And my personal favorite, “Bedazzled” becomes “Let's Do Bad Things!”

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Miso Hungry

 Miso ramen (pronounced mee-so) with udon noodles that you add yourself. A very fluffy bun filled with meat and mizuna (water greens) with tuna.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


This last weekend I traveled to Miyagi Prefecture, home to the cities of Sendai and Ishinomaki. It was one of the hardest hit areas during the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. Ishinomaki, along with structural damage, experienced waves higher than 25 feet. There was considerable damage...

More than 50,000 residents had to live in shelters and nearly 4,000 are reported dead or missing.

Sadly, for some affected areas progress is slow and 7 months later they are still in desperate need of assistance.

The group I worked with spent the day tearing down ruined drywall and insulation. The waters reached the ceiling in this house...

There is still a tremendous need for assistance in these affected areas. If you live in Japan, there are great volunteer organizations like Be One Tohoku Aid.

If you live outside of Japan, there are several organizations accepting donations like the Japanese Red Cross and Be One Tohoku Aid.

がんばれ日本 !

Monday, October 17, 2011

Big Gulp!

We have 7/11 here, but no Big Gulps.

A fellow AET's picture.

No Big Gulp = No Happiness?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Monkey Suit

I am in a monkey suit. Actually, that is a terrible name for business clothes. Everyone knows that if monkeys wore suits they would be of the track variety...

The best picture I could find. Apparently,  a monkey in a tracksuit is the only image that can't be found on Google.

Of course if monkeys were civilized enough to wear tracksuits they would be doing things like leaving the toilet seat up, talking in movie theaters and cutting in front of you at Starbucks.

Anyway, the reason for my wearing a suit today goes back to Fall 2010. Last October, my English teacher informed me that the following week I should wear a suit because we were taking school pictures.

The next morning I arrived almost on time, in my suit and snapped the picture in 10 minutes. Obviously, that is not the end of this story.

Come to find out all of my morning classes were canceled. Why, you may ask? So we could walk to a field and dig up sweet potatoes...

What could I do? I put on some gloves, rolled up my sleeves and dug up some potatoes from the manure-rich soil. But the kids did most of the work...

Today,  I found a bag of potatoes on my desk.

I wore the suit because history is always destined to repeat itself whether it's fascists, fashion or romantic comedy plot lines. Be prepared!

Friday, October 14, 2011

This is my Family

This week I'm teaching family to my 5th graders. 

I decided to make new flashcards so I made these!

Sorry for the poor picture quality, these were taken on my phone.

 "This is my mother."

"This is me."

"This is my sister."
"This is my father."

Thanks family for helping my kiddos learn these valuable English phrases. 
I'm pretty sure they are laughing WITH you and not AT you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

White Diamonds!

The month of October means teaching colors and shapes to 1st and 2nd graders. It is complicated because many students do not know the names for the shapes in Japanese. My favorite mistake...

Daniel:  What's this?
Student:  It's a red scare.

I realize this is not a 'red scare' poster but it's red, could be political and is not offensive. When you think of red scare you probably think of Joseph McCarthy.

He pioneered the idea that if someone doesn't agree with you they are probably a communist.

Back to the classroom...

Daniel:  What's this?
Student:  I like white diamonds.

Though not answering the actual question, this is easily one of the best answers in English class.

This got me thinking about color and shapes. They can describe your personality, identify your body shape...

or denote potential road hazards...

So to review, stay away from red shapes and anyone with different opinions than your own (because they are probably communists).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Mary Jane

Japan has a no-tolerance policy when it comes to marijuana and most other drugs. Small infractions can lead to jail time, or if your are a foreigner, deportation and a ban from the country like Paul McCartney in the 80's. Yet you can still find the symbol many places...

as air fresheners...

in fashion...

But after seeing this particular sticker covered in hemp it was time to find out the truth. Why is marijuana so popular in Japan?

So one day at school Staci brought along a picture and decided to ask her teachers why this symbol is so popular. 

Staci:  So...do you know what this is?

Teacher:  Ah yes...it is a Hawaiian flower. It if very cute, right?

Staci:  This is not a flower.

Teacher:  Oh. What is it?

Staci:  It is marijuana. 

Teacher:  Huh?

Staci:  You know...(pretending to smoke a joint)

Teacher:  (gasp) Really?! I did not know. My daughter has clothes covered in them.

I do not know why they need a “Hawaiian flower” when they could just use the Japanese maple leaf that is just as beautiful...