In the first week of class I asked students to come up with 3 adjectives describing their personality, using a thesaurus to experiment with new vocabulary.
How about your blood type?
This is a detailed explanation of the role of “blood type personality theory” which used to be so popular in Japanese society (from Tofugu).
When I first came to Japan, one of the first questions people asked me as I got to know them was, “What’s your blood type?” I thought it was an odd question, asked as casually as “Where are you from?” or “What do you do?” (or maybe the often asked in Japan but less commonly asked by native speakers, “What’s your hobby?”). In fact, at the time I didn’t know what my blood type was because to me it was one of those things only doctors cared about.
Here’s a chart that uses lots of adjectives for personality. Can you guess which blood type this is?
These days, people don’t seem to care about blood type as much. Maybe it was the realization that, like horoscopes, trying to explain a person’s character through blood type is, at best, a good conversation starter. At worst, it can lead to what the article calls “blood harassment”.
Do you and your peers care about blood type? Is it something you ask about when you meet someone new? Have you heard any stories about blood type affecting a relationship? What about horoscopes — do you read them or believe them?
Merriam Webster‘s Word Central has a “Daily Buzzword” page, which introduces new vocabulary every day. The explanations are simple, there’s one example sentence, and there’s an audio clip for pronunciation. There’s also a short quiz at the end. Here’s a recent example:
Word clouds are a fun way to introduce your topics, present and teach vocabulary, and find out what the most used words in a certain text are.
Here are some websites where you can create your own word clouds. You can make one using the URL from a website, as I did for these examples (most of which I made using the “2 Minute Topic Talk” page from this site), or you can also cut and paste a list of words. On most of these sites, you have many options for shapes, fonts, colors and layouts. Try them and if you need help, ask in class.
Word Art (formerly Tagul): (the first cloud on this page was also made using Word Art)
Word It Out:
Word Cloud Generator:
This short video from The Met explains how different lighting makes us see one famous painting very differently, and probably more as the artist intended us to see it.
… which of course makes me think of the classic movie “Gaslight” and its relevance today. The movie is the origin of the verb “to gaslight someone”.
It also makes me think of the phrase “bread and circuses”…
and this amazing circus performance I saw on Colbert the other day:
Discussion and writing prompts:
- Have you ever been to a circus?
- Should circuses have real animals?
- How would you explain the concept of “bread and circuses” in Japanese? In your own words in English?
- What do you think are the main “bread and circuses” of today’s society?
- Have you seen the movie “Gaslight”?
- How do you say “to gaslight someone” in Japanese? Can you think of an example from the news, history, or a book, movie or manga you have read or seen, of someone being gaslighted?
- How would you explain the differences between the words “diversion” and “distraction”? Try using both in detailed example sentences.