Speak English Salon

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Better Together ★

There's no combination of words
I could put on the back of a postcard,
No song that I could sing
But I can try for your heart,
Our dreams, and they are made out of real things,
Like a shoebox of photographs,
With sepiatone loving,
Love is the answer
At least for most of the questions in my heart ,
Like why are we here? And where do we go?
And how come it's so hard?
It's not always easy,
And sometimes life can be deceiving,
I'll tell you one thing, its always better when we're together
MMM, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, we'll look at the stars when we're together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together
And all of these moments
Just might find their way into my dreams tonight
But I know that they'll be gone,
When the morning light sings
And brings new things,
But tomorrow night you see
That they'll be gone too,
Too many things I have to do,
But if all of these dreams might find their way
Into my day to day scene
I'll be under the impression,
I was somewhere in-between
With only two,
Just me and you
Not so many things we got to do,
Or places we got to be
We'll sit beneath the mango tree now
Yeah, it's always better when we're together
MMM, We're somewhere in-between together
Well, it's always better when we're together
Yeah, it's always better when we're together
MmMMmm MmMMm MmMMm
I believe in memories
They look so, so pretty when I sleep
Hey now, and when, and when I wake up,
You look so pretty sleeping next to me
But there is not enough time,
And there is no, no song I could sing
And there is no combination of words I could say
But I will still tell you one thing,
We're better together


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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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Hawaiian English

Recently I’ve been listening a lot to KINE 105 FM, a radio station from Honolulu, Hawaii. It offers a selection of both old and new Hawaiian songs, as well as information about what’s going on. When you listen to it, you can almost imagine that you are actually in Hawaii. (Sadly, I’m not.)

Anyways, the more I listen to KINE, the more I pick up Hawaiian words which I understand from the context. This reinforces why it’s so important for language learners to expose themselves to the language they are learning. If you study English, then try to listen to English as often as possible. With the Internet, there are no longer any excuses!

Some of the Hawaiian words and phrases I’ve picked up:

Aloha Kakahiaka – Good Morning

Aloha Auina La – Good Afternoon

Aloha Ahiahi – Good Evening

Aloha au ia ‘oe – I love you

Kala mai ia’u – Excuse me

Mahalo – Thank you

‘A’ole pilikia – You’re welcome / No problem

A hui hou – Till we meet again

Pehea ‘oe? – How are you?

Maika’i no au – I am fine

‘O ia mau no – Same as usual

‘A’ole – No

‘Ae – Yes

Pupule – Crazy

Hau’oli La Hanau – Happy Birthday

Hau’oli Makahiki Hou – Happy New Year

Mele Kalikimaka – Merry Christmas

Keiki – Child

Pili loco – Local places

Ohana – Family, relatives

Aloha – Love, compassion, affection, etc.

And here’s a good resource for Hawaiian-English dictionaries.

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Owner of Multi-Million Dollar Company Hands Over Business to Employees – ABC News

Owner of Multi-Million Dollar Company Hands Over Business to Employees – ABC News.

Before the words “whole grain” and “organic” became part of Americans’ everyday vocabulary, Bob Moore knew the importance of healthful eating.In 1978, he started Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods, as a small family-run business in Oregon selling stone mill-ground whole grains.

The company has since grown into a multi-million dollar business that sells more than 400 whole grain products including flours, hot cereals, and organic and gluten-free products.

Moore is dedicated to making America healthier and he believes Bob’s Red Mill is a small part of the solution.

“Our company needs to exist so that some of the people that eat our product will be healthier — and I think they will be,” he said.

Employee-Run Business

Moore’s work is a way of life and his employees are a second family, which is why he announced this week that he’s handing over the keys to his 209 employees.

Moore said he’s gotten countless buy-out offers over the years, but he couldn’t envision selling the business to a stranger.

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Internet Radio ★★

A fun way to improve your listening ability is to listen to American radio stations. In the past the only way to do this was to subscribe to Yusen, but thanks to the Internet, many radio stations stream their programs on-line. Here is one of my favorites.:

Hawaiian 105 KINE

Just click the play button and after a few seconds, the music should start. Every twenty minutes or so there are some commercials and information about what’s going on around Oahu.

Aol Radio

Aol Radio offers more than 350 Sports, News, Music, and Talk stations all just a click away.


Over 6000 Internet radio stations run by real people.


One of the best sites around for exploring music. Type in the name of a band you like and Last.fm will introduce other bands you might like.


Speak! English Salon/スピーク英会話サロン



Bill Moyers Journal: Hope for Haiti

This was aired on January 22, ten days after the horrendous earthquake in Haiti. Bill Moyers an American journalist and commentator gives an overview of the country’s sad history on his weekly TV program, Bill Moyers Journal. I have included a full transcript of the segment to help you understand what Moyers is saying.

BILL MOYERS: Even some of the most hardened reporters I know, old hands at covering famine, disaster, and war, are shaken by the carnage in Haiti. Over my own long life in journalism I’ve had my share of the sounds and smells that linger in your head long after you have left the scene. But I’ve found it especially hard this past week to absorb the pictures coming from Haiti.

Perhaps it’s that as we get older, we become more melancholy watching history repeat itself, seeing people suffer all over again, when you’ve already seen them suffer so much. As if you know now some things will never change.

You have to ask, why does this country suffer so? The reverend Pat Robertson gave us his answer, recycling his theology of a vindictive god.

REV. PAT ROBERTSON: Something happened a long time ago in Haiti and people may not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French. You know, Napoleon the Third and whatever. And they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, “We will serve you if you get us free with the French.” True story. And so the Devil said, “Okay, it’s a deal.”

BILL MOYERS: This is the same Pat Robertson, of course, who agreed with his soul mate, the late Jerry Falwell, that God had allowed the terrorist attacks on 9/11 because America needed a come-uppance for tolerating gays, women’s rights and the separation of church and state.

But this time Robertson’s callous idiocy toward the suffering in Haiti created such a backlash that his press agent came out to explain that the good Reverend does indeed have compassion for Haitians and is actually sending relief and recovery teams to help them.

Another controversy was triggered when the conservative David Brooks offered a less superstitious explanation for Haiti’s suffering than Pat Robertson’s. Brooks opined that it’s because Haiti is “progress-resistant” — a society held back by voodoo religion, high levels of social mistrust, poor child-rearing traditions, and a lack of any internalized sense of responsibility. Critics fired back that brooks should read a little history.

The journalist Mark Danner has done just that. He’s also lived some of Haiti’s history, almost losing his life a few years ago while covering unrest there. Writing in the New York Times this week, Danner said “There is nothing mystical in Haiti’s suffering, no inescapable curse that haunts the land.” It was brought on, he said, by human beings, not demons.

Start with the French. They ran Haiti as a slave colony, driving hundreds of thousands of slaves to early deaths in order to supply white Europeans with coffee, sugar and tobacco. In 1804, the slaves rebelled and after savage fighting defeated three foreign armies to win their independence. They looked to America for support, but America’s slave-holding states feared a slave revolt of their own, and America’s slave-holding president, Thomas Jefferson, the author of our Declaration of Independence, refused to recognize the new government.

Their former white masters made matters worse by demanding reparations, and by exploiting and exhausting the country’s natural resources. Fighting over what little was left, Haitians turned on each other.

Coup followed coup, faction fought faction, and in 1915, our American president Woodrow Wilson sent in the Marines. By the time they left almost 20 years later, American companies had secured favored status in Haiti. In 1957, the country was taken over by the brutal and despotic rule of Papa Doc Duvalier, whose son, Baby Doc, proved just as cruel as his old man. Don’t let the familial nicknames fool you. The Duvaliers were murderous thugs and thieves who enjoyed the complicity of American interests until the dynasty played out in 1986.

Five years later in 1991, when the popular former priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide won the presidency as a champion of the poor, he spooked Washington. Said one U.S. senator, Aristide “wasn’t going to be beholden to the United States, and so he was going to be trouble. We had interests and ties with some of the very strong financial interests in the country and he was threatening them.”

The Bush/Cheney administration, in cahoots with Haiti’s privileged, helped destabilize his government.

Every president from Ronald Reagan forward has embraced the corporate search for cheap labor. That has meant rewards for Haiti’s upper class while ordinary people were pushed further and further into squalor. Haitian contractors producing Mickey Mouse and Pocahontas pajamas for American companies under license with the Walt Disney Company paid their sweat shop workers as little as one dollar a day, while women sewing dresses for K-Mart earned eleven cents an hour. A report by the National Labor Committee found Haitian women who had worked 50 days straight, up to 70 hours a week, without a day off. If that doesn’t impact the tradition of child rearing and lead to social distrust, I don’t know what will.

So, once again, beware the terrible simplifiers and remember that through all its suffering Haiti is a country born of revolution, like our own, whose people sing of their forefathers breaking their shackles, proclaiming their right to equality, and shouting “Progress or Death.” Yes, there’s still more death than progress. It’s the bitter fruit of exploitation centuries old. But even if the Devil were at work, there are Haitians determined that he will not have the last word. The last word is the poet’s calling. Listen to what was written by Danielle Legros Georges, born in Haiti and now teaching at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She sent us a poem and we asked our colleague Kamaly Pierre, who also has family and roots in Haiti, to read it. Its title: “Poem for the Poorest Country In the Western Hemisphere.”

KAMALY PIERRE: Oh poorest country, this is not your name.
You should be called beacon, and flame,

almond and bougainvillea, garden
and green mountain, villa and hut,

little girl with red ribbons in her hair,
books-under-arm, charmed by the light
of morning,

charcoal seller in black skirt, encircled by dead trees.

You, country, are the businessman
and the eager young man, the grandfather

at the gate, at the crossroads
with the flashlight, with the light,

with the light.

BILL MOYERS: That’s all for now. I’m Bill Moyers.


Speak! English Salon/スピーク英会話サロン


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Vocab Building – Noticeable ★★★

A scratch on someone’s face might be noticeable, while a scar that runs from cheekbone to chin would be conspicuous. When it comes to describing the things that attract our attention, noticeable means readily noticed or unlikely to escape observation (Ex.: a noticeable facial tic; a noticeable aversion to cocktail parties), while conspicuous implies that the eye (or mind) cannot miss it (Ex.: her absence was conspicuous).

Use prominent when you want to describe something that literally or figuratively stands out from its background (Ex.: a prominent nose; a prominent position on the committee). It can also apply to persons or things that stand out so clearly they are generally known or recognized (Ex.: a prominent citizen).

Someone or something that is outstanding rises above or beyond others and is usually superior to them (Ex.: an outstanding student).

Remarkable applies to anything that is noticeable because it is extraordinary or exceptional (Ex.: remarkable blue eyes).

Striking is an even stronger word, used to describe something so out of the ordinary that it makes a deep and powerful impression on the observer’s mind or vision (Ex.: a striking young woman over six feet tall).