“If the singing stops, so does the engine.”🎵

“Carpool Karaoke” made singing in cars a thing. For a few days in one city in Finland, you could sing in taxis instead of paying, says this short article from Japan Times Alpha (a good place to get some reading practice in English, this site has Japanese translations of the articles to help you understand and improve vocabulary). This article is labeled in the “easy” to read category. Read it to find out why the company did it.


The English: “Finnish karaoke taxi lets passengers pay for their rides by singing”

The Japanese: 「フィンランドの音楽フェス、シャトル運賃の支払いは「歌」で」


Hedwig and the glass harp

You’ll recognize this song from “Harry Potter”:

Here’s more about glass harps:


Norkore is what writer Travis Jeppeson calls North Korean pop music. He traveled to NK in 2012 and was the first American to ever enroll in a North Korean university (according to Wikipedia).

“norkore – excerpt from see you again in pyongyang” (from 3:AM Magazine)

He describes NK’s “house band” Moranbong Band, tells us that one of Kim’s favorite songs is the theme from “Rocky”, and more.

Many people believe that music is a universal language. Maybe Kim and Trump can bond over music and then move on to talking seriously about nuclear disarmament and freeing the Japanese abductees.

Mixing kawaii and grotesque

Comedian Naomi Watanabe may be “the Japanese Beyonce” (also here) and people have for years been saying that Hayao Miyazaki is “the Japanese Walt Disney” (see this and this and this for example). Now this article from the BBC asks, “Is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Japan’s Lady Gaga?” (it’s mostly an interview with the eccentric Japanese singer and fashion icon).

Some highlights:

  • Her image is called a combination of “kawaii and grotesque”. (That’s similar to Gaga.)
  • She likes Starbucks but doesn’t like coffee. (Maybe not so uncommon these days?)
  • Her private look is not as colorful as her public persona. (Makes sense.)
  • She doeesn’t mind being compared to Gaga, but they are both evolving, she says.

Summary task: Continue reading the interview and summarize your own “highlights”.