Wind telephone

About the “wind telephone” in northeastern Japan, where you can “talk” to loved ones you have lost:

1. A short article from Atlas Obscura

2. Audio (with transcript) and video from Spotlight English

3. A more challenging audio (with transcript) from This American Life


A perfect memory

Imagine having a perfect memory. This might come in handy during exam time, but imagine remembering everything that ever happened to you — good and bad things, successes and failures. This woman is one of only 60 people worldwide who’ve been identified as having something called “highly superior autobiographical memory” (H.S.A.M.) She even remembers something from when she was 12 days old.

If you want to learn more about this condition, here’s an article from the BBC: “The blessing and curse of people who never forget”

If you want to watch an enjoyable, funny movie about memory (or lack thereof), try “50 First Dates” (Japanese title: 『50回目のファースト・キス』)

“Aimlessness is advisable.”

A quick quiz before reading:

  • What are the 5 senses? Can you name them all in English?
  • What’s the 6th sense? (not the movie)

This article from Quartz describes the concepts of biophilia (the affinity humans have for the natural world) and 森林浴 (shinrinyoku・literally, “forest bathing”).

‘Japanese “forest medicine” is the art of using nature to heal yourself—wherever you are’

When I was reading this, I read “bibliophilia” (the love of books/reading) instead of biophilia. I think reading has just as much power to heal as forest bathing, and you can certainly read wherever  you are.

Here’s some forest bathing I did in Kyoto a while ago. Definitely sublime.

Today’s post title is from this section of the article:

“To experience soft fascination, it’s necessary to meander through the woods. Forest bathing isn’t the same thing as hiking or brisk walking.Aimlessness is advisable. The tree tonic works best with minimal effort. Let your gaze be drawn wherever it wants to land.”


And on that note, I’ll be taking the rest of our spring break off from posting, to recharge my batteries and prepare for the new year.

The academic year begins again in April. I’ll be back then with more topics.

In the meantime, there’s plenty in the archives, if you’re looking for something to read, watch, talk or write or think about, in English.