Becoming a citizen

Becoming a citizen of the U.S. may be something not many people really want to do these days, but this practice civics test for people to become naturalized citizens is a good review for people who are already citizens. I wonder if our current president could pass this test (especially question 9). Here are a few examples:

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civics-test-q7

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“Naturalization is the process to voluntarily become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. You may be eligible if you can show continuous U.S. residence for three to five years, are at least 18 years old, and demonstrate good moral character and loyalty to the U.S. Constitution. You must also take the English and civics test, unless you qualify for an exemption.” (from the Explore My Options page)

The application process for permanent residents to become citizens is $640. That’s a lot of money.

I was a little nervous taking this practice test. Like a TOEIC or TOEFL test, I should pass with flying colors, right?

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This story from a couple of years ago said that high school students in one US state had to pass a civics test to graduate. I don’t think this is too much to ask. And I think that people running for president, congress, and any other public office should have to take one.

These are the requirements for becoming a Japanese citizen. Again with the “good moral character”! Where’s the practice test for that? These requirements are pretty much the same as those for becoming a US citizen. Except you’re not allowed to hold dual citizenship in Japan.

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Writing prompt: What does being a citizen of Japan mean to you? Would you ever give up your Japanese citizenship to become a citizen of another country? Why do you think some immigrants to Japan become naturalized citizens? Do you know any?

Short of the Week

The Academy Awards are this weekend. One of the awards that doesn’t get as much media attention is Animated Short Film. These are the nominees this year, one of which I posted about in October.

Short of the Week is a collection of short films — from very short (2 or 3 minutes) to a bit longer (45 minutes or so).

Short of the weekIn the About page they say,

“We believe in the power of stories. Stories were our first way of passing on knowledge. From tales around a cave fire to dramatic theater to virtual reality experiences, great stories have shaped our culture.”

You can browse in several ways, including the channels (Animation, SciFi, Horror, Documentary, Comedy, Drama), by genre, topic and style (see below) and also by country and collection.

Short of the Week

Some of the shorts I have watched and thought were ripe for contemplation and discussion — and one was just plain charming:

“3 + 1” (in French with English subtitles) — Comedy

“Rosa: These Storms” (in Spanish with English subtitles) — Documentary

“Eggplant” — Drama

Here is an interview with the creators of the site: “Andrew S. Allen and Jason Sondhi on the Relaunch of Short of the Week” (from Filmmaker)

Another related article: “Why Short Films Are Still Thriving” (from the Atlantic)

Down the rabbit hole of movie titles

This short video shows some examples of how Pixar movies are translated and adapted for international audiences. My favorite is exchanging broccoli for green peppers in the Japanese version of “Inside Out” because Japanese kids tend to dislike green peppers about as much as American kids hate broccoli. The video doesn’t mention that the Japanese title of that  movie is “Inside Head”. Which sounds to me like what they might use for the title of “Being John Malkovich”. Which is actually titled “Malkovich’s Hole” in Japan. Yikes.

Here’s a post from 2014 about movie titles and translation.

And if you haven’t guessed what “going down the rabbit hole” means from context, here’s the definition and the literary reference.

Clockwise or counter-clockwise?

I don’t follow figure skating closely, but I know a lot of students are huge fans of Yuzuru Hanyu.

“Hanyu still looks good for gold at worlds despite defeat” (from the Japan Times)

But have you ever thought about which direction skaters, ballet dancers, gymnasts and other athletes spin? Is it usually clockwise or counter-clockwise? (I hope past students remember those words, as we used them many times in class! And you may come across the word “anti-clockwise” too.)

See more GIFS here (from the Atlantic)

This article researched the question: “Why do ballet dancers turn clockwise?” (from Ballet Focus)

You can also see which way Michael Jackson spins when he does his moon-walk.  (Spoiler alert) there’s not a very surprising (or satisfying) answer, but it’s fun to watch the videos and it’s a great idea for a research project. Also, this is one article where the comments section doesn’t include a bunch of trolls.

And for people like me who look at the various ice skating jumps and think they mostly look the same (axel? salchow? toe loop? lutz? What’s the difference?), here’s an explainer. Next time you watch Hanyu and Mai Mihara, you can understand what they’re doing better.