Street food stories

This YouTube channel may not give you much language input, but it’s a good example of the demonstration task and you could try adding English explanations to one of these videos, or try making your own.

I sometimes visit family in Portland, Oregon, where street food is very popular. My favorite is Nong’s Khao Man Gai.

And this is a favorite memory, from a trip to Enoshima (and the cat waiting for leftovers)

What’s your favorite street food story?


Seat 14C

This writing competition is already over, but it’s fascinating. It’s called Seat 14C and here’s the intro video:

The contest was to write the story of what happened, as a person sitting in one of the seats on ANA Flight #008, which departs Tokyo in June 2017 and arrives in San Francisco 20 years later.

You can read the stories that were submitted to the contest, including the winner:

The contest offered a prize worth $10,000, including 2 round-trip tickets from SF to Tokyo. Read more about it here: “Seat 14C jets into the future” (from Wired).

It’s too late for this contest, but I’ll encourage students to write their own science fiction stories in your portfolio.

I’m glad I found this *after* a recent ANA flight between Tokyo and the West Coast and not before.

Last photos and alien fish

This short documentary asks people to share the stories behind the last photo on their phone. It’s a good discussion starter. WARNING: This particular video has a bit of swearing, but I think it’s worth it to see real people speaking real English.

One of these stories reminded me of something I was watching on TV last night about alien fish species in Lake Biwa. In a short time, the people caught something like 30+ blue gill (a foreign species) and only 1 fish that was indigenous to the lake. They also caught some turtles that didn’t belong there. The problem is partly due to people throwing unwanted pets into the lake. Like the lady in the video with the guinea pig her kid no longer was interested in. At least they did the responsible thing and took it back to the pet store, instead of abandoning it in the wild.

Here’s a little explainer about alien fish in Lake Biwa and other places. It’s a teacher’s blog and it’s a bit old, but it may give you some ideas for research.

Anyway, what’s the last photo on your phone? Mine is of Mt. Hood in Oregon. Last week my dad and I took a drive to¬†Jonsrud Viewpoint, about 25 miles outside Portland, to see the view.

On the way, we passed a sign for a small community with a funny name:

Here are other videos in the Last Photo series::

Last Photo – San Francisco:
Last Photo – Los Angeles:
Last Photo – New York:
Last Photo – Miami:
Last Photo – Alabama:
Last Photo – London:
Last Photo – Detroit:


That’s the name of a town in Kyrgyzstan. It’s unusual to have a name with no vowels, in English, anyway.

This article from Roads & Kingdoms describes a Muslim minority group, called the Dungans, who live in this part of the world.

The article is about more than food — we learn about their agriculture based society, as opposed to the traditional Kyrgyz culture which is nomadic for example, and we learn that the Dungan tradition is to marry only other Dungans, but that has changed recently to ensure their survival — but some of the quotes I liked best are about the food culture:

“(They)¬†consider cooking to be a work of art, the dining table a blank canvas that must be completely filled, always with an even number of dishes.”

“The greatest insult you can give a Dungan women is to call her food untidy.”