Monday, November 19, 2007

Bubble Wrap

Often my students are surprised at some of the obscure [strange, not known by many people] things that I know. (On the other hand, I’m often surprised by the important things I don’t know!) I have a secret: Many years ago, one of my friends gave me a Page-a-Day desk calendar on trivia. Every day, I could rip off a page and learn something new and useless.

The cover of next year’s Page-a-Day Trivia desk calendar
With the calendar came a “key” (actually a code of numbers) to their online service. Since I used that key on their Homepage, I have been receiving a daily e-mail telling me more new and useless information.

Last Thursday’s trivia question was, “What were the two engineers who invented Bubble Wrap trying to develop when they came up with the poppable protective packaging material?”

The answer was, “A plastic wallpaper with a paper backing. The two, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, quickly saw the potential of the bubbly laminated material they ended up with and established the Sealed Air Corporation to sell their new Bubble Wrap.”

Bubble Wrap

I remember the first time my family got a package wrapped in Bubble Wrap way back when I was a kid. My sister & I spent hours popping the individual bubbles with our fingers. What fun!

If you want to experience the modern day equivalent of that “fun,” you should check out Virtual Bubble Wrap.

If you like that, I also recommend you check out these other goofy (strange but funny) sites…

Kikkoman – You all know Batman & Superman, but who is Kikkoman?

Shinbashi – This is guaranteed to make you laugh! (If that doesn't play straight away, click on "cracking piece")

By the way, while I was checking out the new Page-a-Day Calendars, I found this interesting title...

Find out more at The Bad President Page-a-Day Calendar

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Inner Sky Concert this Friday Night

Our friend Simon holds a monthly concert called Inner Sky at Covent Garden in Kita Horie. The next Inner Sky is on this Friday November 16th, from about 8:30 pm. It costs 1,000 yen to enter, but that includes one "free" drink.

Simon has recently formed a new band called “Goodman Bad.” He’s very excited about the band and thinks this month’s concert will be a lot of fun. Here’s what he has to say about it:

"Osaka reggae-rock three-piece Goodman Bad return to Covent Garden (Kita Horie) on Friday, November 16 to do a range of 80s pop and 90s grunge covers in a laid-back acoustic style while you drink and dance.

今月の「インナー・スカイ」(アコーステック音楽のライブイベント)は11月16日(金)に行われます。Goodman Badというバンドが80年代のポップスや90年代のGrungeをレゲエふうAcousticで再現します。Goodman Badはベース、パーカッション、ギターの三人組。9月のライブも大好評でした。今月もお見逃しなく。"

場所は堀江のCovent Garden です。

20:30から \1000(1ドリンク付)


I have to teach until 9:30 pm tomorrow night but I will definitely go to the concert after that. Hope to see you there!

By the way, You can also check out some photos from the last time we went to "Inner Sky" here: Be & Me Inner Sky Photos

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Pocky Day

As many of you already know, I’m interested in unusual holidays. Recently, I wrote about International Talk-Like-a-Pirate Day. I made some class sheets based on those Blog entries which I used in the week leading up to that day. As a warm-up question to those sheets, I asked, “What’s the most unusual holiday you’ve ever heard of?” One of my students (Hi, Megumi!) suggested November 11th – Pocky Day! The reason November 11th is Pocky Day is pretty clear...
Pocky Day is this Sunday. Don’t forget!
How do you celebrate Pocky Day? Well, that’s easy! Just buy some Pockies & share them with your family & friends!

Did you know that they have Pockies in other countries? Just over 10 years ago, I travelled through Europe with my sister. We took a 3-day bus tour to Pompeii & Amalfi from Rome. (Everybody should visit Pompeii & Amalfi for 3 days!) On the way to Pompeii, the bus stopped at a service station [gas stand] for a break. I felt like a snack – something chocolatey – so I went for a wander through the convenience store. That’s when I found the European version of Pockies…

“The Mikado” is a famous Gilbert & Sullivan musical that is popular in Europe. Maybe that’s why Glico changed the name for the European market.

Internationally, November 11th is Armistice Day (in some countries it’s known as “Poppy Day”), the memorial of the end of World War One (“The War to End All Wars” – Mmmmmm?). An armistice is an agreement to stop fighting. The armistice that ended World War One was signed at 11:00 am, on November the 11th (“the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month"). People usually remember Armistice Day by stopping everything they are doing at exactly 11:00 am, and thinking quietly for 2 minutes about all the people who died in the war.

This Sunday, I guess you can do both. At 11:00 am, stop whatever you’re doing and think about the uselessness of war and the sacrifices made by all of our ancestors in the name of peace. Sometime after that, cheer yourself up again by sharing some Pockies with your family and friends!