If you love animals…

The Dodo is a website “for animal people”. If you love animals, you’ll find videos in three different categories: pets, farm animals, and wild animals.

Here’s the video I saw on Twitter yesterday that made me want to visit the site:

And speaking of shelter dogs, there’s a TV show on in the US called “Downward Dog”. Here’s the trailer. We can’t watch the series on the ABC site over here because of annoying international rights agreements, but maybe it’ll show up on Netflix Japan or Hulu Japan, if you’re using either of those to stream TV and movies.

To tell the truth

In some classes this week, we played a conversation-starting game called “True or False” where you have to make three statements about your winter break experiences and we have to guess which of the three is  true.

And speaking of truth-telling, I happened across a video from an old TV game show called “To Tell the Truth” — it was a quiz show from the 1950s and 60s (and still going on today in a different incarnation) where panel members (TV celebrities) have to guess which of the three contestants is the real person.

Most Japanese students know about Rosa Parks, yes? She, along with Mother Teresa, were two historical figures I remember being popular research topics in the Japanese junior high school where I used to teach. Ms. Parks was the African American woman who refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in the segregated South in 1955.

Here’s Ms. Parks as one of the contestants on “To Tell the Truth”. Can you guess which one she is?

There’s lots to talk about her, including Ms. Parks, the format of the show, the hairstyles and fashions of the time (this episode aired in 1980).

If you’re curious, you can try searching for other famous people appearing on this show. For instance, Frank Abagnale, the man whose life the movie “Catch Me If You Can” (with Leonardo DiCaprio) was based,Or, jumping ahead 5 decades, Sergei Brin, the founder of Google.

This is from a different 1950s quiz show, but here’s a man who witnessed the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Jaw-dropping, yes?

Remember Nasubi?

Most of my current students are probably too young to remember him, but some of you might. Or ask your parents. He was a star of reality television back in the late 90s and early 00s — the show was called “Susunu Denpa Shōnen” and I recall watching a couple of episodes and thinking, either this is staged or it’s incredibly cruel. He was put in an empty apartment, naked, and had to survive only on what he could win for free by sending in postcards to various sweepstakes he found in magazines.

I’d forgotten all about the show and Nasubi, until I heard a segment on This American Life about him. It’s episode 568, and the segment is called “I Am the Eggplant.” It’s about 23 minutes long and you can read along with the transcript.

The interpreter does an excellent job, and there are many, many things you can think, write and talk about after you listen. For instance, why is it he never won any clothing? And, do you see any similarities between his coping strategies and Tom Hanks’ character in Cast Away?


Finally, there’s a post about the show and about Nasubi on Tofugu, too. And if you Google “Nasubi” you’ll be able to find episodes — some with English subtitles — on YouTube and Vimeo.