Games and sports

What’s a game? What’s a sport?

How would you explain the differences?

“What makes a sport a sport?”

This short piece from 1843 gives us a little background about the word “sport” as opposed to “game”. It explains that bridge (a card game) has been declared a sport, not just a game, by the European Council of Justice.

It made me think of a scene in a movie called “What Women Want” (Japanese title: ハート・オブ・ウーマン). The main characters work for an advertising agency and they’re making a commercial for Nike. Here’s the clip:

Here’s another clip that shows a bit more background. The premise of this rather silly movie is that the man (played by Mel Gibson) can read women’s minds. IMDb calls it a “romantic fantasy comedy” and it plays with the idea of stereotypical “macho” men and the women who have to deal with blatant gender inequality at work.

Happy Marine Day 🐳

Today is Marine Day, a relatively new holiday in Japan. Here’s a short explanation from this site:

Discussion question:

We’ve talked about national holidays in class and one question I always like to hear the answers to is: If you could create your own holiday, what would it be for and when would it be? Personally, I think we need at least one holiday in June. Maybe we could have a “Hydrangea Viewing Day” or make Father’s Day a 3-day weekend?

Language usage questions:

  • How do you say “sun-worshipping” in Japanese? Do you think it’s similar to 日向ぼっこ (my answer is  “no” but what do you think?)
  • A.K.A is a relatively common acronym/abbreviation in English. Can you find the three words it’s made up of in this short text? Then, can you do a little research (or ask me or another native speaker) how the acronym is used?
  • Try using “make the most of” in your own original sentences, about topics relevant to your life and what you’re studying.
  • This text uses some different words instead of “and so on” or “and etc.” Can you find them? Did you know that native speakers really don’t say “and so on” nearly as often as Japanese speakers do (at least I don’t think so)?

Try this for a-ka-sa-ta-na

This is a graph of the frequency of English letters of the alphabet, based on where they’re most likely to appear in words — at the beginning, middle or end. For example:

The letter “a” most frequently appears towards the beginning of a word, and rarely at the end.

Here are the rest. Can you think of examples for each letter? For “b” — “baseball” and “thumb”. Keep going! This is a good way to activate your latent vocabulary. And for students who like this kind of data analysis, try it with Japanese kana.

Baby, you’re a firework

No, not that Katy Perry song. But this video explains, in a very easy to understand way, how she was right and we are like fireworks.

July 4th is the biggest day for fireworks in the U.S., but the season is just starting here in Japan. Have you been to any big fireworks displays? Are you going this summer? And which word do you like better — fireworks or “flower-fire” (花火). I think the Japanese word is much more descriptive and beautiful (though English speakers probably won’t understand you unless they know the Japanese word), but the English word does put the focus on how much effort it must take to make them!