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.

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99%

According to this short article from PRI, 99% of the refugees seeking asylum in Japan are rejected. Here’s the story of one who wasn’t. (You can listen to the audio, though it’s not the same as the written text. I suggest reading first and then listening, after you have a good idea about the story).

It’s a good story to learn about the people behind the statistics.

“Meet one of the handful of Syrians granted asylum in Japan”

 

 

Draw a circle

Right now, before you continue reading, draw a circle on a piece of paper.

 

 

Now, try it again on your phone or computer (click on the screenshot below, but try not to read the headline or article yet; just scroll down a little until you see this):

So, did you draw it clockwise or counter-clockwise? Did you start at the top or the bottom?

Read on: “Different languages: How cultures around the world draw shapes differently” (from Quartz)

I think it’s funny that when I think about how I’m drawing it, I draw it clockwise — maybe because I’ve been in Japan so long? But when I’m not thinking about it, I draw it counter-clockwise — my native-English-speaker self is still stronger subconsciously.

“People in order”

More interesting than statistics? The real people behind them.

Here are three videos showing people “in order” — the first is 48 couples in order of the length of their relationship. The second is 100 people in order of age. The third is 73 households in order of income. I would really like to see a student create something like this to show the world more of Japan.