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.


How to lead a good life

Everyone wants to be happy, right? According to this philosophy professor who teaches a class on Happiness, it’s quite simple:

“The answer is that we should strive to lead a rooted, or worthwhile life.” (The emphasis is mine.)

Read more here: “What the Aztecs can teach us about happiness and the good life” (from Aeon)

And you can listen, too, by clicking on this in the page:


To sum up, they believed in four steps or levels to find harmony in body, mind, community and nature:

  1. Build character — or “ground yourself” —  by taking care of your body.
  2. Repair your psyche: find a balance between “heart”/desire and “face”/judgment.
  3. Find your role in your community: what can you offer society?
  4. Call it spirituality or whatever, but learn to find wonder in nature.

White lies

Is it okay to tell white lies? They are those small lies people tell to spare the feelings of others. For instance, if a friend asks you if you like her new haircut, and you really don’t, but you tell her it looks nice because she’s your friend. Is it better to be completely honest?

The philosopher Immanuel Kant believed that we should never lie. Here’s a very brief explanation:

I was thinking about Kant the other day because I was doing the “Philosophical ideas everyone should know” course on Highbrow (which I introduced on my language learning TOOLS site a while ago). He’s a name we all know, but how many of us know what his key philosophical ideas were? I’d forgotten. Now I know again.

You’re never too old to stop learning. Should we stop lying, though?

“Until philosophers are kings …”

Encouraging students to pay attention to current events is something I do nearly every week. On the other hand, there’s this (the title of today’s post is from Plato):

Something to think about now at the end of the year, when Google comes out with their Zeitgeist video:

Compare that to the top searches in Japanese (you can switch countries/languages at the top of the page):

How about another country you’re studying? What were the top searches there?

I’m taking a break for the next couple of weeks or so, but there are plenty of topics in the archives if you’re looking for something to fill your language learning portfolio with. I hope you all have a good winter vacation and, as the video suggests, take time to consider not only what is new but what is important.

Happy Holidays!

I’ll be back in January with more ideas (nearly) every day.