Friday, April 25, 2008

Anzac Day

Today is Anzac Day. Anzac Day is an important holiday in both Australia and New Zealand. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps [a corps is a big group of people working together. It’s pronounced “Korr”), whose soldiers were known as the Anzacs. Anzac Day remembers all Australian and New Zealand soldiers who have died in war.

The Anzacs first fought together in World War One. April 25th 1915 is the day the Anzacs first landed at Gallipoli, in Turkey. Their goal was to travel inland from Gallipoli and take Istanbul, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, which was helping Germany in the war.

Unfortunately, the plan didn’t work. The Anzacs were stuck on the beach at Gallipoli for 8 months. Conditions were very bad. Many soldiers - both the Anzacs and the defending Turks - were wounded. Many others got sick. Finally, the Anzacs had to retreat. In that time, more than 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers were killed.

Australia and New Zealand were relatively “new” countries. Even though the Gallipoli attack had been a failure, the determination and sacrifice of the Anzacs had a big impact on the national identity of both countries.

Anzac Day starts with a dawn service (a Christian ceremony to remember the dead, held at dawn [just as the sun begins to rise]). Later in the morning, parades are held in almost every town and city across both countries. Veterans [returned soldiers] march through the streets followed by active soldiers, and other uniformed service groups. The parades usually finish at monuments remembering the war dead, where more ceremonies are held. As part of these ceremonies, wreaths [circles of flowers] are placed at the feet of the monuments and buglers play “The Last Post” [a very sad sounding piece of music].

Returned soldiers march in an Anzac Day Parade

A bugler plays “The Last Post”

People lay wreaths

In the afternoon (or the weekend before), various sporting events are held to commemorate the day. The most notable of these is the Anzac Test Match, a rugby league game played between the Australian and New Zealand national teams.

After all the ceremonies and games are finished, parties are held for the veterans. These parties often take place in pubs or Returned Servicemen’s Clubs (RSL’s). During the First World War, soldiers often relaxed by playing gambling games. The most popular game was “Two-Up,” a simple coin-tossing game. Although it’s now illegal, games of “Two-Up” are usually an important part of the veterans’ parties.

A “Two-Up” board


The 1981 Peter Weir movie Gallipoli is a moving retelling of the Anzac story. This movie is also famous for introducing a very young Mel Gibson to international audiences.


Tonight, Murphy's Irish Pub, in Shinsaibashi, is holding an Anzac Day party, featuring Australian and New Zealand beers and Australian meat pies.

On Sunday, Tin's Hall, in Tennoji, is holding an Anzac BBQ from 5:00 pm. They’ll be serving Australian and New Zealand beers and food, and playing Aussie & Kiwi music all night. At 9:30 pm they’ll observe a minutes silence in memory of the Anzacs.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Really Good Concert this Friday Night!

Every month, our friend Simon hosts a concert called “Inner Sky” at Covent Garden (06-4391-3177), in Kita Horie. Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the last concert because I was too busy. I've since heard it was very good.

This month's concert sounds like it's going to be even better! Simon's band Goodman Bad will be doing unplugged covers of 80s pop and 90s grunge. Cool Bossa Nova duo Sae and Koba will also be playing. They will be joined by Kurasan onthe alto sax. DJ Barry will be spinning tunes between sets and into the small hours.

Inner Sky - Goodman Bad, sae & koba (featuring Kurasan), & DJ Barry


北堀江の外国人バー Covent Garden (06-4391-3177)にて


種類豊富なお酒と音楽で楽しいfriday nightを。

Unfortunately, I probably won't be there until after 10:00 pm. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Ola, Amigos!

Our all-time favorite place to hang out in Osaka is Ola Tacos Bar. Friendly staff and great food – why wouldn’t it be?
Ola is celebrating its 7th anniversary this weekend. It promises to be a wild weekend! If you’re looking for something to do this Friday or Saturday night, there’s only one place to go!

For more information, go to Ola Tacos Bar, Osaka.

4月4日(金)・5日(土)Ola Tacos Bar's 7th Anniversary Party!

おかげ様で7周年を迎えることが できましたほんとにありがとうございます!これからも元気に楽しくやってきま~すどうぞよろしくお願いしますパーティはまたもやテキーラ祭 ! (怖がらないでね) それに新兵器も登場です(笑)みんなで飲んで踊って誕生日をお祝いしてください

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Online Calendar & Announcements Pages Updated

I've just updated our online Calendar & Announcements pages. By visiting them, you can check our Service Lesson time, Kids' Classes Model Lesson dates, holidays (including our Golden Week holidays), and special events. To check them out, go to , click on "生徒のみなさんへ" (the Students' Page), then click on "The School Calendar" or "Be & Me Announcements."

Or click on the links below;

The School Calendar:

Be & Me Announcements:

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Important Notice

Because of the growing importance of China, we have decided to stop teaching English. From today, all our classes will be in Chinese. Thank you for your understanding.
Be & Me's new teachers

Oh, by the way… April Fool!

April Fools' Day

Most of us take it for granted that New Year’s Day is January 1st. However, it doesn’t have to be. For example, the Celts, an ancient people of Europe, used to celebrate New Year’s Day at the beginning of winter. Even today, the Chinese – virtually 1/5 of all the people on Earth! – celebrate New Year’s Day according to their lunar calendar, which means each year’s celebration falls on a different date.

The early Ancient Romans used to celebrate the beginning of the year in spring. In 46 BC, Julius Caesar, Emperor of Rome, introduced the Julian calendar. Even though the calendar officially started in the middle of winter with the month of January, the New Year was celebrated soon after the Spring Equinox, as this was the ancient tradition. The beginning of April became a time associated with parties & formal visits to friends & business associates.

While the Julian calendar was the basis of our current calendar, it was complicated, and basically wrong. In 1582, Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the Christian world – Europe and all its colonies – should adopt the Gregorian calendar. As part of this change, he also wanted everyone to celebrate the New Year on January 1st, the beginning of the calendar.

In the early years that followed the introduction of the new calendar, some people either forgot about the change or decided they didn’t want to give up the old tradition. On April 1st, they dressed in their finest clothes and visited their friends & business associates as they always had. As a joke, those “friends” would often tease them or send them on a fool’s errand [a task that is impossible to finish; “Could you go and buy me a dozen hen’s teeth, please?” would be a good example – hens don’t have teeth!].

Although the change of calendar is now long forgotten, the tradition of fooling friends or playing pranks on them on April 1st still continues. These days, it’s common for people to start the day by telling their family, friends, & workmates something that is vaguely possible, but probably not true. Sticking signs on peoples' backs with messages like “It’s my birthday,” “Kick me!” or “Call me ‘Al!’” are common pranks played on this day as well.
A classic "Kick Me!" sign
Also, the media makes a big thing of April Fools’ Day, trying to trick its audience into believing something clearly not true. One of the most successful modern-day pranks was a 1957 BBC news item about growing spaghetti, which even included film of farmers “picking” spaghetti from trees. The following day, some people called the BBC asking how they could grow their own spaghetti at home.
A photo from the BBC's April Fools' Day new report about spaghetti farming
The French call April 1st Poisson d'Avril, or "April Fish." It has been a long tradition for French children to stick a picture of a fish on the back of their schoolmates, crying "Poisson d'Avril" when the prank is discovered.

A cute cartoon of the "April's Fish" prank

A French advertisement for McDonalds Fillet-o-Fish

How will you celebrate April Fools’ Day? Can you think of any good pranks you can play on your family or friends? Remember, April 1st is usually a lot more fun for the prankster than the fool!