Helping the needy

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:


She makes it look easy

But she did it by practicing. A lot. And being supported by her family.

Here’s a video from a couple of years ago about snowboarder Chloe Kim and how she got started:

And here are a couple more videos about her from The Kid Should See This.

Chocolate ears

I found this video on a post from Youngzine about chocolate and Valentine’s Day. Youngzine is a good source of reading and watching/listening material — mostly about news & current events —  for EFL students of any age, though the specified target audience is native English speaking children.

The video has a couple of funny subtitle mistakes. Listen and see if you can correct them.

at about 1:46:

at about 2:30:


First, bridge the language divide

This article from VOA News explains that one of the hurdles the South Korean and North Korean women’s ice hockey players had to overcome was language: hockey terms in South Korea are mostly loan words from English, but in the language they use in the North, loan words have been removed.

Here are some of the examples, with the Hangul added (from Language Log):

If you want to read about how the game went, here’s an article from the New York Times: United, They Fall: Korean Hockey Team Loses, 8-0, in Olympic Debut”.