Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning English with Obama

Another weekend is upon us and things in Kobe just got a little chillier. No plans this weekend aside for tomorrow's race. I'm running in the Kobe Marathon. Actually, I'm not sure why the call it a "marathon" since the longest distance is 10km. I'll be running in the "Kobe 10km Road Race"...I think that's a more appropriate term. It's on Rokko Island, which is relatively close to me. No super early rise and shine in order to get to this run! Awesome.

So,I was just reading on Japan Today that Barack Obama's speeches are now the "in thing" in Japan for English language learners.

Japanese learn English using Obama speeches

Saturday 24th January, 06:29 AM JST


Aspiring English speakers in Japan have made President Barack Obama’s book of speeches and accompanying CD a national best-seller.

In Aichi, central Japan, a Buddhist monk has reportedly been playing the president’s speeches during his temple service. And dozens of students in an English-language class in Tokyo have been memorizing his 2004 Democratic Convention speech to improve their understanding and pronunciation.

“Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let’s face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely,” the students at Kaplan Japan school recited together Friday.

“The Speeches of Barack Obama” has sold 420,000 copies since its release on Nov 20—an “unprecedented huge hit” for an English-language text, according to publisher Asahi Press. Read More...

Once upon a time, in a Land far far away, I was an English teacher. Not one of those "unqualified" ones that Korean folks enjoy demonizing, but a "qualified" one. I also made a few videos on my You Tube channel about teaching ESL in Korea. To this very day, a few of them remain my most popular vid, even though the production quality bites and they're filled with vocal fillers....lots of "ums and ahs"!

I probably receive at least a dozen emails and twenty comments a week from people who are interested in moving to South Korea to be language teachers. Because of this continued interest in my ESL vids, I've decided to make a new advice series. These aren't about teaching though. They are about living in South Korea and I suppose they can also be applicable to living in Japan as well.

I am no longer a language teacher in Korea (I live in Japan) and am not a language teacher here either, so I really know little about the ESL market in Japan.

Here's my latest vid. It's all about the pitfalls of trying to get a haircut in Korea.

A haircut in Korea or Japan...

See original here.

Oh yeah....cheers to cheap beer!

Asahi says cheers to cheap beer

Saturday 24th January, 04:27 AM JST


Asahi Breweries Ltd said Friday it expected a sharp rise in sales of low-malt beer as recession-hit consumers drown their sorrows with cheap suds.

Japan taxes beer based on malt content, meaning lower prices at the cash register for low-malt beer or beer-like drinks made of beans, corn or other produce. Read More...

This "low malt" beer is an "acquired" taste, but it does fit the pocket book more. I drink it myself from time to time. Tastes like a crappy lite beer. Expect Coors Lite when you open a can!

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