It felt like spring yesterday, but it’s cold again today. It’s hard to imagine having to “sleep rough” but that’s what the homeless are faced with.
In Brussels, Belgium, where (according to the video below) there are 2,600 homeless, and where canvas is illegal but cardboard shelters are not, Belgian entrepreneur Xavier Van der Steppen helps the homeless with “origami cardboard tents” that cost only $35 to make.
More about this story from the BBC
More about homelessness in Brussels (from the Brussels Times).
How about the homeless in Tokyo? According to this article from Mainichi Shimbun, “Tokyo sees 4,000 homeless sleeping in 24-hr cafes on any weeknight”.
One interesting point about the cardboard tents is that they’re made by prison inmates. One possible research project topic is to find out what prison inmates in Japan (or another country you’re learning about) are doing. Do they work? Do they make anything that contributes to society?
Another project for helping the needy (of a different kind): help the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour & Welfare with their English-language information. This is just awful: “Self-support of needy person” (PDF)
One incomprehensible sentence:
This article from Atlas Obscura describes some very funny translation fails on menus, including:
smallpox — a deadly disease that has been eradicated (last known case: 1977). In Japanese, it’s 天然痘。
Some you can probably guess:
- “ink fish”
- “chicken in her own juices”
Some of the other really funny ones:
- “steak on the way home”
- “mouth bags”
- “sweaty tacos”
- “nuts of St. Jack”
- “sad cold noodles”
And some simple bad editing and misspelling:
- “Human Taste” (instead of Hunan Taste — Hunan is a province in southern China. In Japanese it’s 湖南省)
Like I tell students all the time, if you want to really explain what お好み焼き is, you can’t just say, “Japanese pancake” and you certainly can’t just translate “Grilled whatever you like”.
Take this example (three translations of a French dish called ile flottante) and try it with some hard to translate foods from Japan or your major language country.
Students will remember the mnemonic device Roy G. Biv, I hope.
So if we think of the rainbow as containing 7 colors, what did people think in medieval times? If most of Europe didn’t eat oranges until the end of the 15th century, what did they call the color between red and yellow?
Read this British doctoral student’s short research report to find out what she discovered:
But I like the way she ends her research report:
“It seems that there are as many colours in the rainbow as we are prepared to see.”
This “news” made me laugh:
Japanese ramen-maker Nissin wants to end “noodle harassment” with a slurp-canceling fork
And it made me think about the spaghetti eating scene in one of my favorite movies, “Tampopo”:
A third video, minus the subtitles, if you want to try to translate it yourself