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The Floating Bridge of Dreams ★★

The Floating Bridge of Dreams was written by Ota Nampo. Born into a samurai family, he expressed his literary talents in satirical forms, such as kyoka and kibyoshi. The focus of this story is Eitai Bridge. Two hundred meters long and six meters wide, it was the biggest bridge in Edo. In 1807, during the Fukagawa Hachiman festival, the bridge collapsed under the weight of sightseers who had flocked from all over Edo. Over 400 people died. They included a woman who went to the festival to spite her unfaithful husband. In the wake of the accident, painful farewells and chance meetings fill the city with drama. In this level-headed account, Nampo looks at the causes and effects of an unprecedented disaster.

和訳: 1808年頃に書かれた「夢の浮橋」。作者は大田南畝(おおた・なんぽう)。武士の家に生まれ、狂歌や黄表紙といった滑稽のジャンルで文芸の才能を発揮した。舞台となった永代橋(えいたいばし)は、隅田川にかかる全長200メートル、幅6メートルの江戸第一の橋。1807年、深川八幡宮の祭礼で、江戸市中から見物客が詰めかけたことが原因で永代橋が落下。400人以上の犠牲者を出した。夫の浮気の腹いせに、祭りに出かけ亡くなってしまった妻。事故が生んだ別れや出会いのドラマが街にあふれた。この未曾有の大参事を、南畝は冷静にみつめ事故の実態と意味を書きとめた。

From NHK’s J-Bungaku

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読売 ニュースの英語 ★★★


The Justice Ministry opened one of the nation’s seven execution chambers to the media for the first time at the Tokyo Detention House.


open: 開く、公開する

execution: 死刑執行

chamber: 部屋, 引用文は原文と一部異なります

◆ Detention House: 拘置所

(2010年8月31日  読売新聞)

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Inherit the Wind ★★★

Inherit the Wind is a 1960 Hollywood film adaptation of the play of the same name, starring Spencer Tracy (as Drummond) and Fredric March (as Brady), and featuring Gene Kelly (as Hornbeck), Harry Morgan (as the Judge), and so on. Inherit the Wind fictionalizes the 1925 Scopes “Monkey” Trial as a means to discuss McCarthyism.Written to respond to the “threat to intellectual freedom” that the McCarthy era represented, the play is dismissive towards creationism.

adaptation: (…の)改訂;改作物, 翻案物⦅from, of …⦆;(…向きの)脚色⦅for …⦆

a television adaptation of …  …のテレビ化

a successful adaptation from another novel  他の小説からの巧みな翻案.

McCarthyism: マッカーシズム:1950年代前半の米国のヒステリックな反共赤狩り運動.[米国の上院国内治安分科会委員長Joseph R. McCarthy(1908-57)]

dismissive: (思い上がった態度で)(…を)却下する[はねつける]ような⦅of …⦆

He was dismissive of the proposal.  彼はその提案をはねつけた.

creationism: 〘神学〙霊魂創造説


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The Corporation ★★★

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary, written by Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott, that is critical of modern-day corporations and their legal status as a class of person. The film  evaluates corporate behavior towards society and the world in general as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person. It is a must-see for anyone concerned about the considerable power that corporations wield today.

The entire documentary is available on YouTube with and without Japanese subtitles.

THE CORPORATION [1/23] What is a Corporation?

ザ・コーポレーション(The Corporation)日本語字幕 01/18

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Kotowaza – Two Rabbits

I’ve been meaning to give this blog a new lease on life by adding more things that interest me personally, postings related to my own study of the Japanese language and culture, in addition to the English resources for my students I’ve been posting, in the hope that it will attract a larger more varied audience. One of the things I’ve been meaning to write about is Japanese kotowaza, or sayings and proverbs.

The first installment of this series is a saying that occurs to me every time I play tennis:


Ni to wo ou mono wa itto o ezu

He that hunts two hares loses both.


Between two stools you fall to the ground.


Whenever I try to pick up a tennis ball that is near feet before my partner can return a ball to me, 9 out of 10 times I fail to both pick the ball on the ground up and hit the ball that’s flying towards me. And yet, I try, try, try again to get both balls. When will I ever learn?

Another Japanese saying with a similar meaning is abuhachitorazu (アブ蜂取らず):


Chase two hares and catch neither.


If you are too greedy, you’ll end up with nothing at all.


You have one girlfriend. Don’t start after another. You’ll fall between two stools.


She had to choose between a career and marriage. She knew she couldn’t have it both ways.


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Comics – BP ★★

The oil spill at BP’s Deep Water Horizon, predicted to be the worst oil-related disaster ever, is already creating havoc for coastal communities and impacting the livelihoods of shrimp farmers and fishermen for months if not years to come. Here is a selection of editorial cartoons from American newspapers that try to inject a little levity into this very serious problem.

A play on the saying “The sun never sets on the British Empire”.


1 影響, 効果;感化have [make] an impact upon …|…に影響を与える.

2 (物体と物体の)衝突;衝撃;突き当たる[ぶつかる]こと;衝撃力on impact|衝撃で.

livelihoods: 生計(の手段), 暮らし

earn [gain, get, make] a livelihood as a teacher [=by teaching]|教師をして生計を立てる write for a livelihood|物を書いて生活するearn an honest [a moderate] livelihood|正直にかせいで[まずまず]暮らしていく.

levity: 軽率, 軽はずみ, 移り気;軽率な行為.


Speak! English Salon/スピーク英会話サロン