Diversions and distractions

This short video from The Met explains how different lighting makes us see one famous painting very differently, and probably more as the artist intended us to see it.

… which of course makes me think of the classic movie “Gaslight” and its relevance today. The movie is the origin of the verb “to gaslight someone”.

It also makes me think of the phrase “bread and circuses”

and this amazing circus performance I saw on Colbert the other day:

Discussion and writing prompts:

  • Have you ever been to a circus?
  • Should circuses have real animals?
  • How would you explain the concept of “bread and circuses” in Japanese?  In your own words in English?
  • What do you think are the main “bread and circuses” of today’s society?
  • Have you seen the movie “Gaslight”?
  • How do you say “to gaslight someone” in Japanese? Can you think of an example from the news, history, or a book, movie or manga you have read or seen, of someone being gaslighted?
  • How would you explain the differences between the words “diversion” and “distraction”? Try using both in detailed example sentences.

Down the rabbit hole of movie titles

This short video shows some examples of how Pixar movies are translated and adapted for international audiences. My favorite is exchanging broccoli for green peppers in the Japanese version of “Inside Out” because Japanese kids tend to dislike green peppers about as much as American kids hate broccoli. The video doesn’t mention that the Japanese title of that  movie is “Inside Head”. Which sounds to me like what they might use for the title of “Being John Malkovich”. Which is actually titled “Malkovich’s Hole” in Japan. Yikes.

Here’s a post from 2014 about movie titles and translation.

And if you haven’t guessed what “going down the rabbit hole” means from context, here’s the definition and the literary reference.

Money growing on trees

Here’s another inspiring story from India:

“An Indian Village Plants 111 Trees Every Time a Girl is Born” (from Atlas Obscura)

Some reading and discussion questions:

  • Why was this practice started?
  • Who cares for the trees?
  • What kinds of trees are planted?
  • Money is collected — from whom and what is it for?
  • What promise do the parents of each girl make?
  • Why are girls considered more expensive than boys?
  • What does “Beti Bacho, Beti Padho” mean? How would you translate it into Japanese?
  • Traditionally/historically, were boys valued more highly than girls in Japan and/or in the country you’re studying? How about today?
  • Can you think of other examples of “eco-feminism” in Japan or other countries?
  • The final sentence in the article talks about “money growing on trees”. In English, people sometime say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees!” What do you think that means, and do you have this idiom in Japanese or your major language?

Find out more about this small village (population about 5000) on the Piplantri site.

Find out what “Money doesn’t grow on trees” means.

Let off some steam

Sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation, when we get back and have lots to do. Start on the to-do list and then take a break. Let off some steam.

This is a compilation of great one-liners in movies, right before the good guy kills the bad guy. It’s violent, obviously, and there’s some swearing, but it’s good for listening practice if you like movies: small chunks of language and lots of idioms and colloquialisms.

My favorites are the Arnold Schwarzenegger lines. And the one from a 007 (I think it’s “Die Another Day”) at the 2:07 mark.

“Time to face destiny.”

“Time to face gravity.”

But my all-time favorite is Arnold in “Commando”: “Let off some steam, Bennett.” Which unfortunately isn’t in this video, but is elsewhere.