unique to ... ～に特有の
bamboo stem 竹の筒状になっている部分
Beth: How do you celebrate the New Year in Japan?
Aiko: We make the first visit to a shrine or a temple, and enjoy zoni and osechi dishes.
B: Are they special cuisine?
A: Zoni is a soup with mochi rice cakes, meat, vegetables and others. Osechi is our traditional New Year dishes arranged in jubako, or multilayered boxes. It’s prepared so that we don’t have to cook for at least the first three days. Most of the ingredients of osechi have auspicious meanings.
B: Like what?
A: For example, kinton is cooked sweet potatoes that have been put through a sieve and mixed with chestnuts. It’s considered a lucky dish because its yellow color reminds us of money. And kelp is called “kobu” in Japanese. We associate it with another Japanese word, “yorokobu,” which means “to become happy.”
B: That’s interesting. Do you have any New Year decorations unique to Japan?
A: Yes, we display kadomatsu and shimekazari at the entrance. Kadomatsu consists of three bamboo stems, pine branches and other decorations. They symbolize longevity and prosperity. Shimekazari is a twisted straw rope with fern leaves and other lucky items. These are arranged to welcome a deity of good harvest called Toshigami. Also, we offer kagamimochi, two-tiered round mochi rice cakes, to the deity.
B: Rice cakes are not only for eating. What do they represent?
(The Yomiuri Shinbunより）
Some schools are giving letter grades an F. In their place, students will get detailed descriptions of their progress.
Critics argue that grades don’t say much about which skills a student has mastered. After all, grades cover a combination of tests, homework, extra credit, and behavior. That C in math could mean you’re struggling with division, or it could mean you don’t turn in your homework on time.
The answer? Read the teacher’s comments. They can provide more information about the skills a student needs to work on and those at which he or she excels.
But not everyone is sold on grade-free report cards. Some parents don’t like the change. They recognize that an A is good and an F is bad. Teacher comments are not so simple. Plus, some parents and educators worry about students who apply for a scholarship or for entry into a selective school. How will they show proof of their academic achievements?
TFK Kid Reporters weigh in on which system makes sense.
Benje Choucroun, 12
Corte Madera, California
Grades are outdated and cause needless stress for students. As long as grades are around, students will compete for them. But the letters and numbers on report cards send the wrong message. They turn school into a game. The goal becomes getting As and Bs when it should be understanding difficult concepts. What’s more, a bad grade can hurt your confidence. And it doesn’t help you figure out how to improve. Rather than focus on grades, students should pay attention to the teacher’s comments, which will help them do better. Consider this: Grades have been around since the end of the 19th century. Isn’t it time to try something new?
Gabrielle Hurd, 10
St. Louis, Missouri
Grades allow parents to track their kid’s progress in school subjects over the course of a year. A parent can see the improvement from a C in math on an early report card to a B on the last one. A grade of C lets parents know their child needs extra support. An A, on the other hand, shows skill. Without letter or number grades, parents would have to rely on teacher comments to determine how their child is doing. The comments might not be as clear-cut as a grade. There’s another problem, too. Let’s say your child wants to apply to a middle school or high school that requires top grades. Teacher comments may help. But the school may still want to see grades on a report card for added assurance.
（Time for Kidsより）
academic research 学術研究
humble life 質素な生活
beyond the framework of... 〜の域を超えた
Albert Einstein アルベルト・アインシュタイン
There was a girl in Princeton, a town in the United States, who was not good at mathematics. Her mother noticed that the girl sometimes took her homework out of the house.
The girl said, without the slightest hint of concealment: “I was having trouble doing my math homework, and I heard there was a great mathematics teacher living in our neighborhood who is a very good person. So I visited his house and asked him to help with my assignments, and he was very glad to help me.” This person was Albert Einstein.
The late mathematician Kentaro Yano, who studied at a local academic research institution in the town, introduced this story in an essay. It seems that Einstein, regarded as the greatest physicist in history, had a knack for spreading happiness to the people whom he encountered.
In 1922, while staying at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Einstein handed a hotel employee a note that said: “A calm and humble life will bring more happiness than the pursuit of success and the constant restlessness that comes with it.” The note, written on two sheets of hotel stationery, recently sold for about ¥200 million at an auction in Jerusalem.
How did his brain, which elucidated the origin of the universe with mathematical formulas, also accommodate such mindful concern for others? Einstein marvelously gave warm consideration to the space close to him. Einstein’s warmhearted quotations that go beyond the framework of science are still popular throughout the world. The words he left in Japan now join those quotations.
質問：Which do you think is more difficult, shogi（将棋） or go（碁）?
consecutive wins: 連勝
prisoner abuse: 捕虜虐待
make good use of: 利用・活用する
Beth: I hear Japanese chess is so popular now.
Aiko: Yes. A young professional shogi, or Japanese chess, player broke the record of 28 consecutive wins this June for the first time in 30 years. He was only 14, a junior high school student. I think today’s boom started then.
B: Are junior high school shogi pros common?
A: Not really, but there are five who became professional when they were in junior high.
B: Is shogi similar to chess?
A: Both originate from an Indian board game called “chaturanga.” Their goal is the same—to checkmate the opponent’s king. But there are some differences. For example, the number of grids on the board is 64 in chess and 81 in shogi. Each player has 16 pieces in chess, but 20 in shogi. The shapes and some movements of the pieces are different, too. The most unique difference is that we can use captured pieces as our own in shogi.
B: It’s interesting, but I think that makes shogi more difficult and complicated.
A: I agree. And because of this rule, The General Headquarters of the Allied Forces (GHQ) tried to ban shogi after World War II, saying it was like prisoner abuse to use captured pieces. But a famous shogi player protested that shogi is democratic because we give the pieces new chances to make good use of their abilities.
B: By the way, how many titles are there in shogi?
Congratulations on the English Speech Contest✨
１位 Kさん 明治学園中学校
２位 Sさん 明光学園中学校
３位 KMさん 博多女子中学校
The BURGER KING® brand is known for putting the crown on everyone’s head and allowing people to have it their way. Bullying is the exact opposite of that. So the BURGER KING® brand is speaking up against bullying during National Bullying Prevention Month.
seemingly minor problem 軽微に見えるトラブル
playful fighting ふざけあい
unpleasant feelings いやな思い
swiftly and appropriately 迅速かつ適切に
unacceptable behavior 許されない行為
Bullying can happen at any school. Ensuring all teachers and school staff share an awareness of this is the first step in dealing with the problem. In order not to repeat tragedies, all schools should thoroughly enforce an approach under which even seemingly minor problems between students are not overlooked.
The number of bullying cases recognized by elementary, junior high, high and other schools in Japan in the 2016 academic year reached a record-high 323,808, according to an Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry survey. This figure was up by nearly 100,000 cases from the previous school year.
A 1.5-fold jump in bullying cases at elementary schools was a major factor in the overall increase. The latest survey required each school to carefully determine whether fights and even cases that appeared to be playful fighting between students could possibly be bullying. Progress in efforts by schools to improve awareness of the problem and uncover cases of bullying also apparently had an impact on the figures.
A little less than 20 percent of bullying cases were detected following a complaint by the victims themselves, and only 10 percent were noticed due to reports by parents and guardians. Ten percent were detected by homeroom teachers, indicating that many cases occur in situations that are difficult for adults to witness. Half of the cases were revealed due to school questionnaires and other means — this information needs to be effectively utilized.
Kyoto Prefecture had the most bullying cases observed per 1,000 students, at 97. Each year, the prefecture conducts two multiple-choice questionnaires in which students give concrete examples of when they experienced “unpleasant feelings.”
(The Yomiuri Shimbun)
real company 企業の中の企業、素晴らしいという意味でrealが使われる
might as well 〜したほうがいい
Know the circle inside out inside outは「徹底的に」、know...inside out で「〜を知り尽くす」
own it （恥じることなく）堂々とするの意味もある
[Annie] I got you an interview tomorrow. Yes, I did.
[Mae] Really? No.
[Annie]I did, tomorrow.
[Mae] Holy s..., Annie, I love you.
[Annie] Remember, it's just customer experience. So answer phones, help people, what you're already doing but now a real company.
[Mae]I know, it's perfect.
[Annie]Tons of people started there.
[Mae] I know, I know. Thank you.
[Annie]Stop saying that. We're hiring a hundred people this month. One of them may as well be you.
[Annie]This doesn't mean you're in. You have to kill the interview. Know the Circle inside out. I'm back next week. By then, you'll be hired if you kill the interview.
[Mae] Okay, I will.
[Annie] You can do it, Mae. Own it!
The maid was asked late at night what time it was and said, “It’s already 12 midnight, sir.” The response must have really upset literary giant Ogai Mori (1862-1922), because he yelled at her, saying: “What do you mean by ‘already’? Why can’t you just say ‘It’s still 12 o’clock’?”
Literary critic Roan Uchida (1868-1929) wrote about what he had witnessed at Mori’s home in an essay in “Omoidasu Hitobito” (People I remember; Iwanami Bunko pocket edition). Mori did not mind losing sleep to indulge himself in his literary work and would often say, “A two-hour sleep should be enough for anyone.”
With all due respect, however, I would like to tell master Mori he is unreasonable, due to the medical knowledge shared by many people today — that is, of the “biological clock” [circadian rhythm]. They say defying this clock by leading an irregular life is what invites various illnesses.
The mechanism was unraveled some three decades ago. Three American scholars, who found that the secretion of hormones and other bodily functions are regulated by the clock, will be awarded the Nobel prize [in physiology or medicine]. The clock is at work, say, when people go to sleep. When the maid said, “already,” she was correct to a tee. What’s more, you could tell she was concerned [about Mori’s well-being].
There are people other than Mori who charged ahead by cutting down on their sleep. Bacteriologist Hideyo Noguchi (1876-1928) and Napoleon Bonaparte come to mind. In today’s entertainment world, Akashiya Sanma is rumored to be one of those people. Make sure you’re not influenced by these people the next time you read their success stories.
はばかりながら with all due respect
体内時計 biological clock
睡眠を削るcut down on one's sleep
立志伝 success story
(The Japan News）
call an election 選挙の実施を決める
stem from... 〜から生じる
social security 社会保障
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday announced he will dissolve the House of Representatives at the beginning of the extraordinary Diet session to be convened on Sept. 28.
The general election will be held on Oct. 22, with official campaigning starting on Oct. 10.
“I will dissolve the House of Representatives on Sept. 28,” Abe said at a press conference on Monday evening at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Abe said he is calling the snap election because he intends to change the allocation of the increased revenues stemming from a planned hike in the consumption tax rate from 8 percent to 10 percent in October 2019.
“As long as I am changing[the government’s] promise to the people and making a significant decision regarding their lives, I determined to swiftly seek the public’s mandate,” Abe noted.
The 2012 accord among the then ruling Democratic Party of Japan (now the Democratic Party), the Liberal Democratic Party and Komeito stipulates that about 20 percent of the increased revenues from the consumption tax hike will be used for social security services, while the rest will be for debt repayment and contribution to the state pension program.
Abe wants to “decisively change” the system so that the increased portion will be appropriated for investment in helping child-rearing generations and the stabilization of social security programs, he stressed.
ruin one's health 体をこわす
underweight, excessively thin やせすぎの
social norm 社会の見方
Are you interested in dieting? If so, you should never lose so much weight that you ruin your health.
Two French luxury fashion powerhouses recently announced they would stop using underweight models for their catwalk shows and campaigns.
The group that makes the Louis Vuitton brand, as well as another that manages the Gucci brand — two leading international fashion companies — said they will ask models they plan to hire to submit documents attesting to their well-being to prove they are not excessively thin.
More and more people in France are suffering from the eating disorder anorexia, creating a serious problem. The social norm of “thinner is better” is believed to be behind the situation.
The French government is speeding up efforts to cope with the problem. In May, Paris passed a law that bans using excessively thin models.
(The Japan newsから)
radio technology 無線技術
communication network 通信網
give a boost to ... 〜を後押しする
technological innovation 技術革新
beloved car 愛車
Automobiles are said to have entered a period of revolutionary change that comes once in a century. Around 1900, Daimler invented the first automobile in the world, and an electric vehicle also appeared.
In those days, Guglielmo Marconi succeeded in an experiment to send a radio transmission across the Atlantic Ocean. Radio technology has progressed, and the practical use of radio communication networks with speeds 100 times faster than current ones will come within sight around 2020.
To realize a self-driving car, the definitive next-generation vehicle, an advanced communication network is indispensable to avoid collisions with other vehicles. The evolution of EVs with many electronically controlled parts will likely give a boost to self-driving technology.
Various technological innovations that have been in the works for a century are nearing realization. Kazuhiko Toyama, who served as chairman of the government’s Council for Science, Technology and Innovation, anticipated a change in lifestyles surrounding automobiles in his book titled “AI Keiei de Kaisha wa Yomigaeru” (Companies will revive through management using artificial intelligence), published by Bungeishunju Ltd. In the same way that methods of transportation changed from horses to automobiles and horse-riding clubs appeared for leisure-time enjoyment, “car-driving clubs” will surely appear in the age of vehicles with fully automatic operations. On holidays, members will enjoy taking beloved cars — kept at a driving course.
In October, the Tokyo Motor Show will be held. The event may present the future look of automobiles.
Five Paragraph Essayとは、自分の意見を読み手に伝える文章を、Introduction（序論)＞Main Body（本論さらに3段落に分ける）＞Conclusion（結論）からなる「5段落エッセイ」のことです。
Student Model Print
Fifth-grader Melissa clearly states her opinion in the first paragraph. She shares supporting ideas, with details, in the middle paragraphs. In her conclusion, she restates her opinion in a fresh way.
Letter to the Editor
I’m writing to you about the Teacher-Who-Made-a-Difference contest. Ms. Wells made a difference to me! I think she should be the winner of your contest. Ms. Wells has done so much for me and for all of her students; this is the least I can do for her.
First of all, Ms. Wells is helpful. She’s willing to help anyone in the classroom who needs help. My teacher always helps us with worksheets. On Friday, she showed me how to do something in math. If you ask her for help, she’ll help you.
In addition, Ms. Wells is a kind person. She always lets her students stay in from recess. On February 26, she let our class have a Colonial Day. We got to dress up like colonists; it was a blast! Not only is she kind to kids, but she’s also kind to other teachers and parents. She is always thoughtful and considerate.
Lastly, Ms. Wells donates her time to kids. She donates her lunch recess for Student Council, which meets in her room. Last fall, Ms. Wells promised me that she would come to one of my soccer games. Guess what? She did, even though she had a lot of school stuff to correct and had to leave for Chicago.
In conclusion, I think Ms. Wells should be the winner of your contest. She is helpful and kind and gives her free time to students. I know you will agree with me that Ms. Wells is a Teacher Who Made a Difference. She’s the best!