The Yamanote Line game gets harder

image from JR East press release(PDF) and you can read more details here

Practice your summarizing skills by making a summary of this short article from Japan Today (click on the headline below), and then suggest your own ideas for the new station name. You can submit your ideas here (in Japanese) until the end of June.

 

 

 

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Floppy ears

Why do some domesticated dogs have floppy ears? Find out with this fun animated video from NPR:

This video says that it was 1868 when Darwin published his findings about domestication. That’s the same year as the Meiji Restoration. What other amazing things happened that year, I wonder. One research project idea?

 

Squatting

Japan is famous for its fancy toilets, which are getting fancier all the time. But one problem with this modernization of bathrooms is that we don’t squat as much anymore. Is the increasing number of foreign tourists to blame? Even though many Westerners (well, Americans) don’t really get them?

Even if we lose the squat toilets, we still need to put squatting into our exercise routine, says this article: “What Western people stand to gain from squatting more often” (from Big Think)

Just dance around like Beyonce:

 

The best of 2017, part 1

(image from Pixabay)

Today and tomorrow, I’ll share a couple of lists about the best of last year. Today is a list of “The 99 best things that happened in 2017” (from Quartz).

Some inspiring statistics on the list:

#27: Eleven countries are building a wall of trees on the border of the Sahara desert to slow desertification, and it’s already working. (video from BBC)

#38: 16,000 schools were built in Afghanistan, where the literacy rate increased by 5%, and the youth literacy rate increased by more than 16%. (from USAID)

#68: Almost a quarter (23%) of worlwide parliamentary seats are occupied by women. That’s up from 12% 20 years ago. (this and much more about gender equality from the World Bank)

#71: The number of biracial couples in the U.S. is now at 17%, five times as many as there were 50 years ago, when it was legalized in 1967. (from Pew Research)

#99: India and Italy banned the use of wild animals in circuses, making the total 40 countries which have done this. (from Inhabit)


Something you could do in your portfolio: make a list of a few of the best things that happened in Japan in 2017.