The grass is always greener…

“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”

This is a saying that means we often are dissatisfied with what we have, and we want what other people have. I think the Japanese saying is almost the same (the grammar is a little different). Can you imagine what it is without using your dictionary or googling it?

This short video is about how many women in Ghana go to great lengths to whiten their skin, sometimes at great personal risk.

I think more people are concerned about protecting their skin from UV rays these days, but it’s true that many fair-skinned people wish they had tanned skin.

Discussion/writing/research questions:

  • Is there anything about yourself that you’d like to change?
  • Why do you think the Japanese saying uses 青 instead of 緑? How would you explain to an English speaker why 青 is both blue and green (think 青信号, too …)?
  • Make some example sentences from your own life or books/movies/currents events you know about, in which “the grass is greener.”
  • Why do you think many people (women only?) in Japan and other parts of Asia think that fairer skin is more beautiful? OTOH, tanning salons exist in Japan, too. What kind of people do you think use them?
  • Do you think tanning salons are safe? What about skin whiteners or self tanners? Hair bleach or hair dye? If you’re interested, do a little research and find out.
  • What famous people can you think of who use some methods to lighten or darken their hair or skin color?
  • One news story this week focused on Princess Aiko’s entrance into high school, but some of the media has focused more on her tan than anything else. Apparently, she went skiing.  Here’s a short article about her from the Japan Times. Try summarizing it and noticing some language.

Should we die?

A thought-provoking article about whether death may not be inevitable anymore.

“Should we die?” (from the Atlantic)

This video is funny in parts and eye-rolling in parts. (Unable to embed; click on the screenshot below and the video should open in a new window. If not, you can find it in the article.)

should-we-die

A couple of reactions:

Do you really need a computer to tell you you’ve reached 66% serenity while meditating?

“Will aging dictators be able to stay in power forever?” (a cold chill down my spine)

Writing prompts:

Does having a “death deadline” encourage you to live your life to the fullest?

What aspects of IoT (the Internet of Things) do you think are beneficial to society?

Bibliotherapy

books-that-heal-kids

I ran across a blog called Books That Heal Kids, was intrigued by the title and think that even though most of my students are not “kids” anymore, you can still learn a lot from — and be healed by — books meant for kids. And if those books are written in English, that’s ‘two birds with one stone’.

The blog is a collection of book reviews and recommendations by an elementary school counselor, who focuses on “bibliotherapy” — using the power of books to heal.

A video introducing a book in the “Making Mistakes” section:

Found this on Reddit. It’s called “The Joy of Reading”:

Making a “perfect” country

my-perfect-country

“My Perfect Country” is a radio program by the BBC (13 episodes as of today, and there will be a total of 14) which imagines how we could build a perfect country, based on the best policies of countries around the world. We could use Japan’s gun control policies, Costa Ricas’ green energy techniques, Peru’s methods of reducing poverty, and more.

The episodes are 27 minutes in length, but there are also shorter clips:

clips

Another idea to add to the list:

“Iceland knows how to stop teenage substance but the rest of the world isn’t listening” (from Mosaic)

Can you think of others?

Although I don’t think perfection is possible in most things in life, a willingness to try to change things for the better is a more beneficial way to spend our time than complaining.