A, B, O, AB

In the first week of class I asked students to come up with 3 adjectives describing their personality, using a thesaurus to experiment with new vocabulary.

How about your blood type?

This is a detailed explanation of the role of “blood type personality theory” which used to be so popular in Japanese society (from Tofugu).

When I first came to Japan, one of the first questions people asked me as I got to know them was, “What’s your blood type?” I thought it was an odd question, asked as casually as “Where are you from?” or “What do you do?” (or maybe the often asked in Japan but less commonly asked by native speakers, “What’s your hobby?”). In fact, at the time I didn’t know what my blood type was because to me it was one of those things only doctors cared about.

Here’s a chart that uses lots of adjectives for personality. Can you guess which blood type this is?

These days, people don’t seem to care about blood type as much. Maybe it was the realization that, like horoscopes, trying to explain a person’s character through blood type is, at best, a good conversation starter. At worst, it can lead to what the article calls “blood harassment”.

Do you and your peers care about blood type? Is it something you ask about when you meet someone new? Have you heard any stories about blood type affecting a relationship? What about horoscopes — do you read them or believe them?

Going viral

This subway performer’s videos have gone viral at least a few times in recent years. You wonder (well, I wonder) why some arguably less talented singers go viral. Piko Taro said last year that he had not made much money off his “song” and Mike Yung, if you look at his Twitter feed, hasn’t either.

This was funny (he means “front page”):

A student last semester did a research project about what it takes for people to become famous. He never really found a secret formula (and if he had, we’d all know him by now, right?). But what do you think? Why do some people, or videos, go viral and others don’t? (writing prompt). And another writing prompt can be: Explain what Reddit is to Mr. Yung.

Anyway, I could listen to “A Change is Gonna Come” over and over again. Not something I can say about PPAP.

Read more about Mike Yung here: “Searching the Subway for Mike Yung, the Viral Singer that Time Forgot” (from Pitchfork)

In perfect harmony

This is a “two birds with one stone” remedy to at least a couple of issues facing Japan today.

I haven’t heard the term “parasite singles” in the news recently, maybe because it’s rather insulting (here are a few more examples)?

Here are a few articles about young (and even older) adults who live with their parents:

Some related topics:

  • “I don’t” (from the Economist) — this is about how many Japanese people these days find it hard to marry and the effects on society and the economy

I kept thinking of this song when I was trying to decide a title for this post: the original Coke ad from 1971, the popularity of which led to this song which dropped the Coke reference, and the “Mad Men” version of the ad from 2012

What have you learned this year?

It’s that time of year again — time to reflect. Here’s one person’s list of the 52 things he learned this year, and he links to the sources where you can learn about them, too. Some of the ones that interested me:

#11 – Even though iPhones are banned in Iran, there are at least 6 million of them in the country.

#13 – The number of people with dementia in the U.S. has actually decreased since 2000.

#18 – There’s a “halo effect” in restaurants. If you see something unreasonably expensive on a menu ($1000 for a frittata, for example), then $26 for french toast doesn’t sound so expensive.

#28 – Tuareg guitar players from North Africa have been influenced by Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, and more suprisingly, Dire Straits. Here’s the very interesting (to me) article about that.

Yes, I immediately thought of the guitar in “Setting Me Up” when I heard that. And of course the great “Sultans of Swing” which definitely gets even better with age.  And the beginning beat made me think of Soul II Soul’s “Keep on Moving“, which I listened to a lot in the early 90’s:

I posted his list last year, too … and then promptly forgot about most of it. I’ll try harder to make my own list this year. And I’ll encourage students to use this time to review and reflect on your langauge learning portfolios to find at least 20 or 30 things you’ve learned this academic year.